Cannabis Topicals 101


by Jeff Eckenrode, director of operations

Winter is almost here, folks. Short, chilly days and long, cold nights will once again become the norm in the Pacific Northwest.

But along with the quiet beauty that winter yields, so too come the return of familiar aches and pains of old injuries and weary joints.

And though many of us are prepared to face looming end-of-the-year-deadlines, the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, and long-distance travel plans, the search for relief to these same old aches and pains can seem endlessly complex.

You might have even asked yourself: Is there something, anything, that can help ease the discomfort of the winter season?

If you’re anything like us and want to stay active and cheerful this winter, then cannabis topicals may be the solution that you have been looking for!

But how can you be sure? How do they work? And what types are best for you?

Not to worry. Hashtag’s friendly budtenders are here to help. And unlike many dispensaries, we’ve got plenty of products and information to help you navigate the options and find the topical that’s just right for you.

So what’s a topical, anyway?

Topicals include all cannabis-infused gels, lotions, and balms. When they are placed externally on the skin, they are absorbed through your skin over time.

Although many topicals contain THC (the principal intoxicating property of cannabis), their effects are almost always non-intoxicating. Especially when applied to the skin.

What does that mean for you? Simply put, topicals are an ideal product for anyone looking to address localized discomfort without feeling a heavily altered state!  

How do topicals work?

There are endocannabinoid receptors located all over your body that allow you to absorb THC and CBD. These receptors are connected in a network that scientists call the endocannabinoid system.

Scientists sort these receptors into two groups: CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors, which are located primarily in your brain, are remarkably good at absorbing THC. The result? You get high!

In contrast, CB2 receptors, which are located throughout your body (including your skin), are particularly proficient at absorbing CBD (a non-intoxicating property of cannabis).

What does that mean? CB2 receptors may play an important role in your body’s ability to mitigate soreness & discomfort.

What types of topicals are out there?

There’s a wide variety of topicals on the market today. At Hashtag, we like to break them up into three categories: oils, gels & lotions. And depending on your needs, one type may be best fit to meet your needs this season!

Topical oils


If you’re looking for to maintain flexibility, then oils are a great choice. Take for example Empower Oil from Avitas. Made from Non-GMO Grapeseed Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, non-GMO Sweet Almond Oil, non-GMO Vitamin E Oil and cannabis extract, Empower Oil is a great buy for folks looking for a little help to get up and moving. Its unique blend of essential oils produces a calming, soothing sensation and includes herbs like Wintergreen, Bergamot, and Oregon Lavender.


And if you’re looking to spice up your love life with that special someone, topical oils are just the thing.

One example is Fairwinds “O” sensual lubricant. Made from Medical-Grade Silicone & Cannabis Concentrate, Fairwinds “O” sensual lubricant is a great buy for anyone looking to add excitement to their love life. “O” is hypoallergenic and condom-safe and is especially formulated for sensitive skin. Which makes it a great option for lovers looking for long lasting glide that won’t leave them sticky or dry.  

But keep in mind: topical sensual oils can yield intoxicating effects, especially when absorbed through mucous membranes.

Topical gels

For people looking to quell discomfort for those hard-to-reach places, like the small of your back, topical gels are a great option. Many topical gels are made from carbomer 940, a cosmetic-grade gel base that requires no rubbing!


CPC’s CBD 1:1 topical gel is a staff favorite and is made of carbomer 940, Grapeseed Oil, Potassium sorbate & Cannabis. This gel contains equal amounts of THC as well as CBD making a great buy for people looking for discreet & effective relief.


For those looking for maximum CBD, check out Flow Gel by Fairwinds. This gel-based topical is a state-wide best-seller and works great on creaky knees and stiff elbows. And its lemon-zest aroma smells amazing, too!

Topical lotions

If you’re looking to hydrate your skin while you get deep tissue relief, topical lotions are the right choice for you.

Bodhi High’s line of Body Care lotions are a hot new item that’s as effective for relieving chapped hands as they are for sore shoulders. Made from shea butter & cocoa butter, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, St John’s wort, chamomile and vitamin E, Body Care comes in two varieties: High THC & High CBD.


If relief from bruising, muscle tension, minor cuts and abrasions, burns, or inflammation is what you need, then the Body Care High THC is a terrific choice.

But if you’re in need of relief from dry, itchy and irritated skin, or stretch marks, wrinkles, or sun or wind burns, then Body Care High CBD is an excellent buy for you.

Topical balms


And if you’re interested in maximum potency, check out Ceres’ Dragon Balm. Designed for deep tissue relief, Dragon Balm is made with menthol to cool and reduce inflammation and itchiness, camphor to increase blood flow and reduce swelling, and clove to minimize inflammation and maximize its cooling effects.

So what are you waiting for? Stop on by either our Fremont or Redmond location today and ask us about our topicals.

You’ll be so glad you did!

Jeff Eckenrode