The Transdermal Patch: What It Is and What It Does

The Transdermal Patch: What It Is and What It Does

Medicine can be delivered to the human body in any number of ways. More often than not, oral consumption is the preferred delivery method for Medical Cannabis. You simply swallow some pills or capsules and that’s that. There are also aerosols to be inhaled and medications delivered through injections. Then there is the transdermal patch. It doesn’t get a lot of play because it’s not utilized as much as most of the other delivery methods.

The transdermal patch is a means of delivering medication through the skin. Here in Utah, transdermal delivery is legal within the Medical Cannabis realm. So it’s theoretically possible that a manufacturer could produce a Medical Cannabis transdermal patch for pain, or some other qualifying condition.

How Transdermal Applications Work

A transdermal Medical Cannabis patch works the same as any other transdermal application. The explanation is found in the name. ‘Transdermal’ refers to the idea of transferring medication into the body through the skin. In terms of the transdermal patch, the patch is saturated with the medication in question. As it makes contact with the skin, the medication is transferred and then absorbed. It travels through the skin and into the underlying tissue.

Delivering medication through a transdermal patch is very similar to delivering it through a topical ointment. The big difference is that a patch maintains contact with the skin, thereby delivering more medication for a longer period of time. A transdermal patch gives you a lot more bang for your buck than a topical ointment or cream.

Transdermal applications are possible due to the skin’s nature as an organ. In fact, the skin is the largest organ in the body. It is waterproof yet breathable. It is flexible but still strong. Finally, it has an uncanny ability to absorb all sorts of substances.

How Transdermal Patches Are Applied

Medical science has known of the effectiveness of transdermal applications for quite some time. So much so that doctors have been recommending them for decades. Three of the most common uses are:

  • Fentanyl patches for pain relief
  • Nicotine patches to help smokers quit
  • Clonidine patches to help reduce blood pressure.

As effective as transdermal patches are, patients really shouldn’t be careless with them. Preparation is key before applying a patch. Preparation starts with removing any other patches that contain the same medication. This is to prevent overdose. The second step is to clean the area where the patch will be applied and then wash the hands with soap and water.

Only after all the prep is completed is it appropriate to open the package and remove the transdermal patch. It is then applied directly to the skin. Adhesive on the patch keeps it in place.

Keep the Doctor up to Date

It’s a good idea with any type of transdermal patch to keep your doctor up to date on how it’s working. The doctor should also be kept informed of any negative side effects you may experience. Of course, this applies to all transdermal patches.

If you are using a transdermal Medical Cannabis product, you’ll be delivering THC to your body through your skin. Keep a record of how this works for you. Write down when you apply a patch, how it makes you feel, and any unpleasant side effects you experience. Give that information to your pharmacist next time you purchase Medical Cannabis. Every bit of information you can provide will help them offer you the best possible advice.

The transdermal patch has been an effective medicine delivery tool for years. Undoubtedly, some Medical Cannabis patients prefer it as their main delivery option.

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Published February 14, 2023

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