How Patients Use A THC Patch

Matt Weeks January 24, 2020 2 comments

The THC patch can be a game changer for treating chronic pain.

The THC Patch offers a new way for patients to consume cannabis. Discreet, effective, and easy-to-use, THC patches offer a way to get all the benefits of THC, without getting high.

Measuring two square inches in area, a THC patch can deliver a steady dose of cannabis medicine for four to six hours. This slow flow of cannabis, which absorbs through the skin, is ideal for many patients who want the medicinal benefits of THC, but not the intoxicating effects.

This format has become a hit among patients who consume THC to manage physical pain and those with chronic conditions who don’t want to partake in continual dosage throughout the day. The patch takes just a second to put on — it’s stick and go.

Here’s a handy guide to understand how the patch works, the proper ways to use it, and which patch is best for patient need.

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Transdermal Delivery: The Science of Skin

While the THC patch may be new, the science behind it is not. Most people are familiar with the nicotine patch, which has been effective in helping people quit smoking — or calming cravings during air travel.

The nicotine patch helps smokers break the habit by administering small doses of nicotine that simultaneously wean the smoker off the drug while making space for the mental work of separating the dopamine rush of using cigarettes.

The THC patch works in a similar way, but without the addiction aspect. The patch allows cannabis to absorb into the bloodstream through pores in the skin.

Since the medicine moves straight from skin to blood, THC bypasses the organs that tend to filter out some of the functional elements of THC, such as the lungs and liver. That’s why patches can deliver results with far less THC. As a result, patch consumers don’t get high from wearing the patch. There’s simply not enough THC in the patch to produce intoxicating effects.

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thc patch administered to man by woman

The Two Types of THC Patches

There are two kinds of THC patches, and consumers should be aware of both. Although the majority of patches on the market today are the reservoir variety, cannabis patients can still find matrix patches if they prefer.

The reservoir patch gets its name from the small pool (or reservoir) it contains. It holds the THC suspended in a middle layer, immersed in a carrier liquid. A polymer membrane sits between the THC solution and the skin’s surface, and allows for a slow and steady release.

These patches are more popular because these allow for precise microdosing. The membrane ensures that the solution is meted out gradually over several hours until the THC solution is completely used up.

The matrix patch, on the other hand, does not have a polymer membrane. Instead, the THC solution is built directly into the patch and comes in direct contact with the skin. This, unfortunately, doesn’t mean that the patch works faster than a reservoir patch, but it definitely doesn’t last as long.

On the surface, it may seem less effective, but the matrix patch is just as good at treating pain. A study published in the journal Drugs (2008), found matrix patches just as effective at treating cancer-related pain as reservoir options.

The real difference is the dosing levels, and because reservoir patches are more precise, many physicians prefer them.

How to use a THC Patch

For best results, consumers need to know a few things about THC patches before slapping them on to treat pain, auto-immune disorders, or for cancer treatment symptoms.

First, the patch works best when applied to skin that’s directly over veins. Many consumers choose the inside of their wrists as an easy and discreet spot. The proximity to a vein ensures that more medicine will make it directly into the bloodstream.

Second, it’s important to understand the patch doesn’t affect just one part of the body. It doesn’t work like a topical cream or even a CBD patch. These target the area they’re applied to. The THC patch moves medicine into the bloodstream, where it circulates throughout the body. This is why the THC patch is good for chronic aches, such as back and surgery pains.

woman putting on thc patch

Benefits of the THC Patch

Aside from its subtle appearance and ease of use, the THC patch offers a number of real benefits to consumers. First and foremost is the lack of side effects. THC is a powerful agent, but its intoxicating qualities can make it too much for some people to handle. The patch gets around these side effects by delivering doses that are too low to cause side effects while still delivering medical benefits.

No one wears a patch to get high. It’s ineffective (or at best would take an awful lot of patches). As such, the patch also doesn’t cause the munchies the way that smoking THC does. Nor does it stimulate the paranoia that some people associate with cannabis high in THC.

The patch offers real advantages over other methods of THC delivery because it gives accurate dosing measurements. Eating edibles or smoking a joint make it difficult to judge the exact amount of THC consumed.  The patch provides a precise measure, allowing patients to easily adjust dosage if needed.

Most importantly, the THC patch boasts all the benefits of other forms of THC. It helps physical and neuropathic pain, curbs vomiting, reduces stress, acts an anti-depressant, and works as an anti-inflammatory.

For patients who want a convenient way to access the all the powerful benefits of THC without the stigma of smoking or the hassle of pills, the THC patch could be a game changer. These are available wherever cannabis is legal.

Author avatar

Matt Weeks

A writer living and working in Athens, GA, Matt's work has appeared in various newspapers, books, magazines and online publications over the last 15 years. When he's not writing, he hosts bar trivia, plays in local bands, and makes a mean guacamole. He holds an undergraduate degree in journalism and a master's degree in organizational theory. His favorite movie is "Fletch."

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  1. I have been suffering in Pain for 27 year’s and I am not on my Medication, Morphine sulfate at 200 mgs every 6 hours and I had relief and able to do things with out Pain and Never had a problem with my Medicine or my doctor’s. I didn’t plan on Suffering in my life by those who ran red lights or the Chiropractor that gave me a Forceful manipulation at T-6 Thru T12 . I have more pain, lumbar blown out

  2. Marlene Dinsmore

    Where do you buy the THC patches?
    I grow my own Cannabis is it possible to make your own?