CBD Patches in the UK – Everything You Need to Know
There are all sorts of ways to take CBD, as we’ve seen before, ranging from drops to capsules to vapes to gummy sweets. But one way that’s been gaining a lot of interest recently is CBD patches. So what’s this all about? Let’s learn more about the different types of CBD patches in the UK, including their history, uses and benefits.
What is a CBD Patch?
A CBD patch looks almost like a plaster, and it’s applied to the skin in the same way. However, it’s infused with cannabidiol (CBD) – a natural compound found in parts of the hemp plant. CBD patches are applied to the skin, allowing the CBD to be absorbed transdermally into the bloodstream.
How to use CBD patches
CBD patches should be applied to a part of the body with lots of veins – like the arms, wrists, or your ankles. This allows the CBD within the patch to be absorbed by the body more easily, as it has a more streamlined access to the bloodstream.
The amount you’ll need to change your CBD patch and how long the patch lasts depends on the dose and the manufacturer. However, it’s best to slightly vary the position of the patch each time you change it to avoid any skin irritation.
What about hemp patches?
We see a lot of confusion surrounding CBD and hemp products. Lots of UK consumers think that they contain the same ingredients and provide the same benefits. And many retailers aren’t always upfront about the fact that CBD and hemp products (including patches) are very different.
Hemp patches look largely the same as CBD patches, and work in the same way. However, hemp patches do not normally contain any CBD. This is because hemp patches are infused with hemp seed oil. Hemp seed oil, as the name suggests, comes from the seeds of the hemp plant – which do not contain any cannabidiol. CBD patches are infused with CBD oil – which comes from the flowers, leaves and stalks of the hemp plant. (These are the only parts of the plant which contain CBD.)
So, always make sure to check the ingredients! If you don’t see the words ‘CBD’ or ‘cannabidiol’ in the product you’re buying, then you’re not buying a CBD product.
The history of patches
Patches have been around for quite a while now. However, they started in the late 1970s when they were originally used to treat travel sickness (infused with a drug called Scopolamine). They work transdermally: in other words, through the skin. And as the name suggests, you just stick them on like a plaster. The closer they are attached to the skin, the more effective they are. Almost like an intravenous drip without the needles. However, there’s no soreness or irritation of the skin where the patch is stuck on.
These days, patches are most closely associated with nicotine, as a way to help people give up smoking. (This works by progressively using patches with decreased nicotine content, to diminish dependency over time).
Nicotine patches first appeared in 1991 and they have been a regular part of life since. The idea is that nicotine is pulled from the patch into your skin, producing the desired effect. In the case of CBD patches – which have only been introduced very recently – the theory is exactly the same. The CBD is absorbed via the skin cells, making its way to the blood vessels, and from there to the endocannabinoid system (ECS.) Here, it binds with the body’s receptors: known to regulate a number of the body’s functions, including sleep, memory, mood and the immune system. Essentially, CBD’s effect on the ECS is at the very heart of how CBD works. It’s also the reason why CBD is able to have so many widespread benefits for our physical and mental health.
2 Types of CBD Patches
However, there are two different types of CBD patch: the matrix patch and the reservoir patch.
The difference lies in the way in which they dispense the substance into the skin. The matrix patch was the original concept. This type of patch releases the amount of substance that’s contained in the patch, over time. The dose is controlled simply by the size and concentration of the patch (which is why traditional nicotine patches get progressively weaker if you want to give up).
The reservoir patch is a bit more complex. This is because, as the name suggests, there’s a ‘reservoir’ within the patch, with a release membrane. This allows a controlled amount of the substance to be released progressively, helping to regulate the dosage though with an initial dosage burst.
The reservoir patch has become the most widely used model, particularly when it comes to CBD, though the matrix technology has many followers.
As always, exactly how you take CBD depends a lot on the problem you are trying to address as well as your particular needs and lifestyle. However, a number of people have reported benefits from trying CBD patches.
So, what are the benefits of using a CBD patch?
The key advantage with a patch is that the CBD is absorbed directly into the bloodstream. If you’re consuming drops or capsules, the CBD has to pass through the stomach and the liver. The functions of both those organs is to break down whatever is ingested, so the end result can be diluted. People using patches often say that they feel a direct effect more quickly, with up to 50% of the CBD applied entering the bloodstream. In other words, patches have high bio-availability. This is a term that describes how much of the CBD in a particular product actually enters the system.
Because of this, patches have reportedly been particularly beneficial for people suffering from chronic pain, such as arthritis or back pain, as well as pain resulting from an existing medical condition.
And that leads us on neatly to the second key advantage, which is that patches can be used to target pain in a particular area. It’s the most localised way to take CBD. If your hip hurts, for example, you can stick it on there and start feeling the effects more immediately.
The third advantage is a purely practical one: using a CBD patch is nice and discreet. Instead of getting out a bottle and administering yourself drops, or vaping with an e-cigarette, the patch is just there, all day, invisible under your shirt. (We recommend putting the patch on your arms or wrists, as there’s a high concentration of veins there). But as we said earlier, you can stick it anywhere. It won’t irritate your skin, and you’ll probably even forget it’s there.
A regulated dose
Finally, particularly if using a reservoir CBD patch with a release membrane, the dose can be more accurately regulated to help you through the day, rather than taking one ‘hit’ of CBD and then running lower as the day goes on. Of course, CBD taken through a transdermal patch will still contain only negligible traces of THC (the psychoactive element of the cannabis plant.) So, it won’t get you high or have any instantly discernible effect. As always, the true benefits of CBD are only noticeable over time. The patches tend to work over four days, but you can keep them on throughout that time as most are waterproof, allowing you to shower.
Finding out what works
As is the case with CBD oil, there are different types of CBD within the patches available. Some contain terpenes and essential oils to create a full-spectrum CBD effect. This enhances the effectiveness of CBD by helping it work together with other natural supplements.
Of course, a lot of the benefits of CBD patches can be found with topical CBD creams as well, which can be applied directly to aching joints. For example (many athletes have found relief through the use of creams after exercising). However, they work in a slightly different way.
As is the case for all forms of CBD, it’s just a question of finding what suits you and helps you most effectively. Patches won’t be for everyone. But for some, they will be a quick and efficient solution to problems that have troubled them for years.
It’s so important to find a CBD product that works for you. When choosing a CBD product, make sure to consider the reason you’re taking them, as well as your lifestyle.
For example, if you’re taking CBD to help with a skincare issue, you should consider a CBD skincare product. Alternatively, if you suffer from chronic pain, you might be better suited to a patch, or ingestible oil.
You should also consider your lifestyle. As we’ve already mentioned, patches work really well for people who need a low-maintenance, discreet form of CBD. However, if you already vape, then you might choose a CBD vape e-liquid to blend seamlessly into your daily routine.
It’s all about finding a product that suits you! (And of course, we’re always on-hand to offer advice about this if you need some extra support.)
Happy CBD shopping from the ULU team.