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THC Patch: The Ultimate Guide To THC Transdermal Patches


THC Patch: The Ultimate Guide To THC Transdermal Patches

Woman applying a THC patch

Hey, have you heard the news? Thanks to the THC patch, now you can get your daily dose of tetrahydrocannabinol without the need for blunts, joints, bongs, edibles, creams, or tinctures. We know it sounds like science fiction, but it’s not.

In fact, transdermal patches (a.k.a. transdermal delivery system or TDDS) have been around for almost 40 years. Way back in 1979, the FDA approved a scopolamine patch for motion sickness. Not long after that, the FDA approved the nitroglycerin patch for individuals with heart problems.

Other transdermal patches followed shortly thereafter. The most famous TDDS is the nicotine patch introduced in 1991 to help tobacco users kick the smoking habit.

With the legalization of medical and recreational cannabis in the early part of the 21st century, the next logical step was the THC patch. And now, they’ve finally arrived. But what are THC patches? And how exactly do they work?

The experts at Honest Marijuana will answer those important questions and many others, including:

  • Will a THC patch get you high?
  • Are all THC patches the same?
  • What’s the difference between reservoir patches and matrix patches?
  • What are the benefits of transdermal delivery?

We’ll also talk about what strains work best and the difference between a THC patch and a THC cream (topical). First, though, it’s vital that you understand what you’re getting when you slap on a THC patch.

What Is THC?

Chemical breakdown of THC

It’s hard to believe we even need to answer this question anymore. But for the sake of thoroughness—and for those you who have lived in the Bornean rainforest for the past 80 years—we’re going to do it anyway.

THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol) is one of a group of chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are found exclusively in the cannabis plant (indica, sativa, and ruderalis) and are responsible for the myriad of psychedelic and medicinal effects. Common cannabinoids include:

THC is most famous (infamous?) for its ability to get you high, but it can also be used to:

  • Kill cancer cells
  • Relieve chronic pain and inflammation
  • Stimulate appetite
  • Reduce/eliminate nausea and vomiting
  • Treat PTSD and other neurological disorders

We’ll talk about whether a THC patch will get you high in a later section. But first, let’s get to know the THC patch a bit better.

What Is A THC Patch?

Put simply, a THC patch is a thin piece of plastic coated with adhesive (like a Band-aid™) and infused with the cannabinoid THC. Because of the way they work, THC patches can offer all-day or all-night relief to those suffering from chronic issues like pain and anxiety.

To get this relief, you simply apply the THC patch to a venous part of your body, like your ankle, your arm, or the inside of your wrist. Your body heat activates the patch and causes it to release a small amount of THC through your skin and into your bloodstream.

We’ll get into the specifics of how the THC patch works in just a moment. Now, we’re going to answer the question on everyone’s mind: will a THC patch get you high?

Will A THC Patch Get You High?

Getting high from a THC Patch

The short answer is no. A THC patch won’t get you high because your body absorbs the cannabinoid slowly over a number of hours rather than all at once (like it is when you smoke or dab). This is great news for those who need THC’s medicinal effects without the intense psychoactive high.

So as you can probably guess, THC patches are not for those who want to go flying in a Blue Dream. Instead, they’re for those with real medical issues who need the healing effects of THC.

For the recreational user who enjoys a bit of couchlock now and again, your best bet is still a strong weed strain and a movie from this list. Leave the patches for those who need them, and try a Thai stick or some moon rock weed instead.

How Do Transdermal THC Patches Work?

We’re going to drop some science, son, but don’t let that scare you off. THC patches provide a unique method of cannabinoid delivery, and it’s essential that you understand how they work. So buckle up; here we go.

When you apply a THC patch to your skin, you set up a drug concentration gradient. That just means that at one point (in the patch), there’s a lot of the cannabinoid, while at another point (in your skin), there’s not a lot of the cannabinoid.

When your skin’s heat activates the patch, the cannabinoid begins to spread out into your skin (this is technically known as “moving down the gradient”). This concept is very much like pouring boiling water into a coffee mug and leaving it sitting on your counter.

The hot water contains a lot of heat (212℉ worth), while the atmosphere around it doesn’t. Because of this difference (the gradient), the heat naturally “spreads out” into the air around it.

As the drug moves further into your skin, it’s absorbed into your bloodstream and transported to your brain and throughout your body. The nice thing about transdermal delivery is that it bypasses your lungs, liver, and stomach (places where the cannabinoid is filtered or broken down). That means you get 100 percent of the medicinal value of the THC.

Are All THC Patches The Same?

At first glance, one THC patch may look like every other patch. But let us assure you that there are significant differences. The primary difference lies in how the patch is constructed. Here’s a breakdown of each.

Matrix Patches

Matrix THC Patch


In a matrix patch, the THC is infused into the matrix of the patch itself (often in the adhesive). When the adhesive comes in contact with your skin, the THC begins to move from the area of higher concentration into the area of lower concentration (as described in the section above).

The dose of THC you get depends on the amount of the cannabinoid held in the matrix and the size of the patch (and the area of skin it covers).

Reservoir Patches

Reservoir THC Patch


Reservoir patches get their name from the fact that the THC is—drum roll, please—contained in a reservoir within the patch. The reservoir holds the THC in solution (most often with a gel) and releases it through a rate-controlling membrane between the reservoir, the adhesive, and your skin.

People have been using reservoir patches successfully for almost 40 years. In addition, reservoir patches provide tighter control of delivery rates. For these reasons, many feel that reservoir patches are better than matrix patches.

What Are The Benefits Of Transdermal Delivery?

THC patches provide a whole host of benefits over other methods of cannabis consumption. Here are just a few of the most notable.

Whole-Body Relief

Because the THC is absorbed directly into your bloodstream with a THC patch, transdermal delivery can provide whole-body relief instead of just targeted (spot) relief.

Time-Released Relief

Transdermal delivery releases THC slowly over a number of hours (four to six on average). This is in stark contrast to other methods of consumption, which peak quickly and then taper off.

Specific Cannabinoid Options

Transdermal patches make it possible to deliver specific cannabinoids in order to target specific problems. When you smoke a joint, you’re getting a whole mix of different cannabinoids. With the THC patch, you’re only getting THC. So, the medicinal effects will be stronger.


THC patches are probably the most discreet consumption method on the market today. You simply apply the patch to a venous part of your body, like your arm or wrist. Depending on how long the patch lasts, there’s no need to administer another dose for quite some time.

What Strains Work Best For THC Patches?

Marijuana plant

When producing a THC patch, it’s not so much the specific strain that matters, but rather, the purity of that strain. Patch manufacturers isolate THC by subjecting the plant matter to some form of extraction (e.g., CO2, alcohol, butane, ice water). The extraction process removes the cannabinoids (in this case, THC), terpenes, and trichomes from the plant matter.

The purer the strain, the more THC, terpenes, and trichomes will be available for use in the patch. Organic marijuana is some of the purest product on the market and provides the best raw material for transdermal patches. Make sure the patches you use are made with 100-percent organic cannabis.

Is There A Difference Between THC Patches And Topicals?

Many people wonder if there’s a difference between a THC patch and a THC cream (a.k.a. a topical). There is.

Because of the way topicals are made, they only affect the first three layers of skin and are really only good for spot treatment. This is because those top layers of skin don’t have a lot of veins, so the THC isn’t absorbed into your bloodstream.

With THC patches, the cannabinoid does reach your bloodstream and can circulate throughout your entire body. As mentioned, this provides a whole-body effect rather than a spot effect.

Are THC Patches Right For You?

The only way you’re going to know if THC patches are right for you is to give them a try. There’s really no downside because the patches won’t get you high and they don’t have any discernible side effects.

And if you don’t like your experience with THC patches, you can always switch to one of the many other forms of cannabis on the market today. That’s the beauty of cannabis: there’s no right or wrong way to use it.

For more information on all things marijuana and to check out our 100-percent all-natural cannabis products, visit today.

The post THC Patch: The Ultimate Guide To THC Transdermal Patches appeared first on Honest Marijuana.

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