Here are the best cannabis and CBD patches for pain and anxiety.
Transdermal CBD patches are the most effective topicals for physiological benefits. They contain beneficial cannabis compounds such as cannabinoids (CBD, THC, CBN, etc), terpenes (linalool, limonene, myrcene, etc), and flavonoids.
Unlike other CBD topicals, CBD patches are able to penetrate through the skin into the bloodstream for an extended period of time. You get fast-acting delivery of all these cannabis compounds discreetly and conveniently.
Many users apply hemp-derived CBD patches for a whole range of health and wellness benefits such as relaxing, feeling less anxious, enhancing mood, improving sleep, and targeted pain relief in joints and muscles.
CBD patches from companies such as PureKana and CBDMEDIC are some of the more popular products you can purchase online. Papa & Barkley and Mary's Medicinals offer the most effective cannabis patches (with higher THC content) but they're only available at dispensaries in certain states.
Hemp-derived CBD patches with <0.3% THC are federally legal and readily available to purchase in 47 states online and in-store. Both convenient options. Many patches to choose from.
CBD patch strength and potency is important. Beginners start at 15-25mg of cannabidiol per patch. Good for mild symptoms. CBD veterans typically use 50-150mg patches (sometimes more) which is more effective for pronounced symptoms.
5 Best Transdermal CBD Patches
Check out our top picks for the most effective CBD patches below.
Terpene enriched with Myrcene, Linalool, Limonene, Pinene, Caryophyllene
How we pick the best CBD patches
Third-party testing (COA)
Third-party testing is arguably the most important factor when purchasing any type of CBD product (CBD patches or otherwise).
Third-party tests are conducted by independent and accredited laboratories specializing in cannabis testing, analysis, and evaluation. They test for unwanted toxins and contaminants and analyze the number of cannabinoids and terpenes in the extract.
Once tests are complete, the lab issues a Certificate of Analysis (COA), a document proving testing and analysis has taken place. All CBD brands should have these up on their site for public viewing.
Full-spectrum hemp extracts are preferred and most effective. You get the fullest range of cannabinoids (incl. THC), terpenes, flavonoids, and other beneficial cannabis compounds absorbing through your skin into your bloodstream. We prefer this over any other extract available, simply for the trace amounts of THC.
Broad-spectrum extracts are suitable if you don’t like the idea of THC in your system.
The best cannabinoids to look out for in your CBD patches include:
The cannabidiol content in your CBD patch is crucial. Think about your requirements. Do you want a dose of CBD for general health and wellness? Try a medium-strength 20-25mg hemp patch. Do you have localized muscle or joint pain? Try a higher-strength patch – 50-100mg is suitable here.
Some CBD patches are made using synthetic CBD. Don’t be alarmed by this. It guarantees a THC-free experience. Perfect if you have an upcoming drug test or generally dislike the idea of putting an intoxicating compound in your body (no matter whether it’s a very small percentage).
Make sure the THC content is <0.3% (0.5% in some states). All federally legal hemp patches will carry this percentage of THC. Won’t cause a high or stoned feeling. The trace number of THC may combine with other cannabinoids and terpenes for a more rounded experience. Choose a full-spectrum CBD patch for THC.
Transdermal CBD patches often come with specialized ingredients. You’re not 100% limited to just the hemp extract. Two common ingredients added alongside the hemp extract are caffeine and melatonin.
Melatonin is a naturally-occurring hormone created in the body to induce sleep and aid sleep-wake cycles. Melatonin infusions are either natural (from animal pineal glands) or synthetic. Most melatonin-infused products (CBD or otherwise) are made using synthetic melatonin. Said to aid sleep and balance out your sleep-wake cycle. Improves some insomnia symptoms and jet lag.
Many companies infuse caffeine into hemp patches. You get the relaxing experience of CBD alongside a swift shot of energy. Good for concentration and focus. Best-used for busy days at work, studying, or other mentally exerting exercises and activities.
Length of time you can wear the CBD patch
The length of time you can wear your CBD patch should be stated on the product label. If you’re looking for long-term relief, you don’t want a patch that lasts only 6-8 hours. You generally want a patch that lasts at least 48+ hours. Though, the shorter length patches can be useful for post-workout recovery and mild aches.
Not all CBD patches are created equal. A variety of different materials are used. If you have skin sensitivity or you’re allergic to certain materials, CBD brands do take note of this. Many produce hypoallergenic, latex-free, pharmaceutical-grade patches for your comfort.
Package & patch quality
Once you’ve received your hemp patches, make sure the packaging is secure and untampered with. The patches should be in pristine condition. No material rips or holes. If you find your patches don’t look right or have material flaws/faults, do not use it. Send them back to the company explaining the damage.
This is the most obvious one. Once you’ve placed the CBD patch on your skin, are you experiencing relief from your symptoms? Is your localized pain feeling less severe? Do you feel calmer, more relaxed?
If the answer is a resounding “no” then it’s possible you’ve picked the wrong patch or it’s faulty. Either way, keep in mind the effects on your body. Be conscious of how it’s working within you.
If the CBD patches sold online (<0.3% THC) aren't providing any meaningful relief for your pain or anxiety, we recommend trying a cannabis patch from a dispensary. Papa & Barkley and Mary's Medicinals make some of the best cannabis patches in the industry – if you're okay with a little extra THC in your patch, these are the ones to try.
What are transdermal CBD patches?
CBD patches (also known as CBD transdermal patches or hemp patches) are very similar to medical or regular nicotine patches in terms of appearance and functionality.
CBD patches contain hemp extract diluted in a gel, lotion, or other solution. These solutions carry specialized carriers for increased permeability (entrance through the skin into the bloodstream). The CBD doses are regular and consistent all throughout the day.
How to use CBD patches
Transdermal CBD patches are very easy to use. They’re self-adhesive and stick directly onto your skin, providing you with a steady dose of cannabidiol to the affected area or into your bloodstream.
For best results, place the CBD patch on venous parts of your body (think arms, legs, back, etc). These areas have veins and microcapillaries closer to the surface of your skin. Don’t place them on bony areas (knee caps, elbows, etc). This isn’t suitable.
We recommend keeping the skin dry and clean before use. Dirt, oils, or excess sweat/residue may stop the patch from doing its job properly.
How long can you leave a CBD patch on for?
Depending on the patch, the CBD dosing timeframe typically runs between 6-12 hours — sometimes 14 hours. Other patches can last up to 72-98 hours. You can leave them on for longer but there really isn’t any point. You’ll get no beneficial CBD effects.
Not only is it convenient and easy to use (perfect for beginners) but it’s also efficient and highly effective.
Without permeability enhancers, CBD patches are said to inject 40-50% cannabidiol into your body through the skin. With permeability enhancers, the percentage rises by a significant number.
Transdermal CBD patches are effective at helping:
Pain & inflammation on the skin
Relaxation (anti-stress, anti-anxiety)
Sleep (with melatonin)
Energy, focus, concentration (with caffeine)
Transdermal patches are amazing for long-term, slow-releasing CBD administration. An excellent choice for users who are busy and on-the-go. The dosing is consistent and frequent. You don’t have to think about dosing a CBD oil or inhaling CBD e-juice throughout the day. You simply keep the patch on and let it do its magic.
Unlike vaping and smoking CBD hemp flower, patches are very discreet. You can place them on your leg or arm and cover them with clothing. No one will ever know.
CBD patch side-effects
Side-effects of hemp patches are likely short-term, temporary, and subtle. You rarely experience adverse side-effects.
Common side-effects include:
Weight loss and/or gain
Nausea & vomiting (rare)
If you start experiencing any of these side-effects, stop using CBD patches altogether and call your local doctor or health practitioner. To potentially avoid side-effects, we recommend starting with a low-strength patch, especially for beginners. A 15-20mg patch is suitable here — 30-50mg for seasoned users.
CBD may also interact with certain drugs. Be careful when taking medications such as Xanax, viagra, fentanyl, and Ambien, as well as antidepressants, opioids, and neuroleptics.
CBD matrix patches vs CBD reservoir patches
There are two types of CBD patches available for purchase, both with pros, cons, and differences.
A. CBD reservoir patches
CBD reservoir patches are the preferred option. They carry a permeable rate-controlling membrane to deliver accurate doses of CBD over a certain period of time. Perfect for consistent, periodic dosing throughout the day. Superior choice over matrix patches for this reason alone. More auto-control over the dose you receive.
The downside of reservoir patches is you may get a very strong first hit when applied.
B. CBD matrix patches
The most common CBD patch option — also the most simple and arguably less effective. Doesn’t carry a permeable rate-controlling membrane. Commonly created with five layers. The “matrix” layer contains vital CBD extract. This layer hits your skin and is absorbed into your bloodstream.
The upside of using matrix patches is you get an even spread of CBD across the skin, resulting in an even (and continuous) dose.
CBD patches vs. cannabis patches
CBD patches and cannabis patches (also referred to as THC patch or weed patch) aren’t all that dissimilar. You can purchase reservoir and matrix patches in both variants. The only main difference between the two is the extract infused in them.
CBD patches use hemp-derived CBD extract with <0.3% THC (full-spectrum). Cannabis patches use marijuana extract with higher percentages of THC (between 10-20% on average).
Hemp-derived CBD patches won’t cause a high. Marijuana-derived cannabis patches will cause a high.
CBD patches are ideal for mild anxiety, relaxation, pain, and inflammation.
Cannabis patches are effective for improved sleep, moderate-to-high pain, and mental relaxation.
CBD patches vs. CBD oil
CBD patches are designed for long-term, consistent dosing via the skin.
CBD patches are flavorless and odorless. CBD oils aren’t.
CBD oils are less discreet than CBD patches.
CBD oil is designed to be consumed orally and/or sublingually.
CBD oil is less effective than CBD patches. CBD patches have a +50% absorption rate and increased bioavailability. Sublingual application of CBD oil has a bioavailability of 12-35%.
CBD oil and CBD patches can carry additional ingredients e.g. melatonin + caffeine.
CBD oil is ideal for relaxation, sleep, and mild pain.
CBD patches are ideal for localized inflammation and pain, as well as general health and wellness.