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When it comes to selecting the best cannabis product, cannabis edibles versus topicals is an area that should be explored. Apart from the convenience offered by the two, variety is another appealing factor here. 

The market is flooded with tones of superbly crafted canna-edibles and canna-topicals; you will be literally spoilt for choice. 

To make it juicier, products in both niches are tech enhanced in a variety of ways. Cannabis sellers are leaving nothing to chance when it comes to creating the most impressive products. In case you feel stuck in the rut, here are a few things that will open your eyes to the stark differences between cannabis edibles and cannabis topicals. In the end you will choose for yourself which category to go with. 

Pharmacokinetics of Cannabis Edibles Versus Topicals

Pharmacokinetics is medical lingo for how drugs are broken down, processed, and eliminated from the body. There is a stark difference between the pharmacokinetics of cannabis edibles and that of cannabis topicals.

When you consume cannabis edibles, the bioactive compounds have to go through the digestive system before they finally end up in the bloodstream. When they pass through the liver they undergo something that is referred to as “first-pass effect.” This significantly reduces the amount of bioavailable compounds. It is estimated that the bioavailability of cannabis edibles is between 4%- 20%.This means only a paltry 12% (thereabouts) of the ingested CBD or THC is available to exert effects in the body when consumed.

When you apply cannabis topically, the bioactive compounds are absorbed through the skin layers and they interact with cannabinoid receptors that are found in the inner layers of the skin. Because the bioactive compounds are absorbed directly without undergoing the first-pass metabolism, the bioavailability of topical cannabis products is higher than that of cannabis edibles.

Topical products can be applied directly to an area of the body in need of treatment. These products are easy to use and are associated with minimal side effects. However, the skin is made up of a water layer while cannabinoids, in general, are very hydrophobic. This may limit the absorption and diffusion of these compounds within the body.

What are Cannabis Edibles?

cannabis buds next to chocolate chip cookies, cannabis edibles versus tinctures

Cannabis edibles are cannabis derived products that are ingested or administered orally. At the moment the market has several types of cannabis edibles which include chocolates, candies, pastries, and beverages among others.

Benefits of Cannabis Edibles

A recent report from Arcview showed that the cannabis edibles market is likely to surpass a value of $4 billion by 2022. This is not surprising; looking at how the market is growing exponentially vis-à-vis increasing popularity of cannabis edibles.

Increased competition in the market is also a propelling factor as manufacturers are being forced to think outside the box and come up with innovative and appealing products. This is yielding positive results as cannabis edibles are among the most sought after product range with considerable following in the market. THC edibles, in particular, are becoming very popular among cannabis users.

Cannabis edibles come with numerous benefits. First of all, they are easy to consume. They are normal foods that have been spiked with some cannabinoids and terpenes to boost the effects and to offer therapeutic benefits.

Cannabis edibles come in a wide variety of appealing flavors. From chocolates and candies to oils and beverages, you can get to enjoy cannabis in whatever form your heart so desires.

Secondly, cannabis edibles offer a discreet way to consume cannabis. That is how the infamous pot cookies found their way easily into school dorms and prom parties. While this is not encouraged, users who wish to keep their cannabis use as a secret can do this easily with canna-edibles. Especially in today’s world where there are dozens of innovative edibles such as chocolate bars, it is very easy to keep things hush in this department.

Cannabis edibles can be offered to children for therapeutic use. Gummies and candies can easily become your child’s happy place because they come in great flavors that may appeal to children.

Cannabis edibles that are enhanced with nano-technology have greater bioavailability. This helps to circumvent the first pass effect that occurs in the liver.

Lastly, cannabis edibles produce effects that last for a long time in the body. This is perfect if you want that prolonged high-feeling or need to fall into deep restful slumber. But as a word of caution, always go slow on cannabis edibles because it can be hard to tell when you are overdoing it. 

10 Best Cannabis Edibles in the Market

This is a hard one as numerous cannabis manufacturers have outdone themselves in this area. But as usual, some companies have products that really stand out and are worth a mention.

1.   Kiva Confections Chocolates

2.   Fairwinds Catapult Infused Coffee

3.   Dixie Elixirs Root Beer


Make the ultimate pot brownies!

4.   Cheeba Chews Weed Caramels

5.   Auntie Dolores Sugar-free Edibles

6.   Waska Weed Cookies

7.   Herve Edibles Macarons

8.   Kush Nuts Cashew

9.   Defonce Gluten-free Edibles

10.  Wyld Gummies

Cons of Cannabis Edibles

Bioavailability is reduced significantly due to the first pass metabolism effects. Absorption is also slow and erratic. It takes a while before the cannabinoids can hit your bloodstream, usually 1-2 hours but this may even take a longer time. How much food you have eaten and how long ago will affect how the cannabinoids peak in your bloodstream. Hence, canna-edibles can be very unpredictable.

What are Cannabis Topicals?

cannabis leaves, bath bombs, salt and topicals on white table

Cannabis topicals are cannabis products that are designed to be applied on the skin. They may come in the form of creams, salves, transdermal patches, lotions, and oils.

Benefits of Cannabis Topicals

Cannabis topicals act locally on the area that is in need of therapy. This works well for relieving skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. They are also effective in soothing joint pain and inflammation. Transdermal patches have a wide-reaching effect and can be used to relieve menstrual cramps.

The skin which is the largest organ in the body has a large concentration of cannabinoid receptors. Once the topicals have been applied to the skin the effects are felt almost immediately.

Because they are not ingested, the risk for side effects is minimized.

Cannabis topicals are technologically enhanced to improve their effectiveness. For example, transdermal patches are designed to penetrate the inner layers of the skin.

Cons of Cannabis Topicals

Cannabis topical may be infused with chemical ingredients to prolong their shelf-life or to enhance their therapeutic benefits. Unfortunately this may trigger allergic skin reactions or cause irritation to the skin.

5 Best Cannabis Topicals in the Market

The CBD skincare market is expected to achieve a market value of $959 million by 2024. With the extensive range of innovative products and increasing customer demand, this target may be achieved sooner rather than later. Here are some of the top product in this category:

1.  SabaiDee Relief Rub

There are over 300,000 jobs in the cannabis industry. CTU trained me for one of them!

marijuana extraction course - Johanna Rose
Makes $24.50 @ THC +

2.  Kiara Naturals CBD Salve

3.  Hemp Bombs Pain Rub

4.  Wa CBD Foot Cream

5.  Just CBD Pain Roll-on


Comparing cannabis edibles to topicals can never be an apple to apple comparison. These are distinct product categories that offer unique benefits as well as unique downsides. It all depends on the effects that you are looking for and as you may have already discovered by now, both categories stand out in their own unique ways. Cannabis edibles versus topicals is better left for you to decide on your own.

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