I SPENT SEVERAL MONTHS foolishly forgoing my regular massages. This came with a price—namely, some serious pain issues after my LMT worked out the kinks and knots I had neglected for so long. It was bad, people. So bad, I had to skip a concert I had just bought tickets for. So bad, I was unable to turn my neck without pain, or shrug, or really do much of anything that required movement.
I knew I had stumbled into a new territory of pain, because a vape session with some high-THC indica gave me scant relief. As I don't tolerate opioids or most any painkillers terribly well, I was considering a megadose of edibles when I recalled receiving a product sample that seemed designed for just this occasion: a THC-infused pain patch.
To be clear, I'm not talking about duct taping an eighth of bud to your body. (But in the interest of seeing someone actually do this, by all means, give it a whirl. Try affixing it to your forehead. Send me a photo so I can make sure you are doing it properly.)
No, I'm talking about the Synergy Skin Worx pain patch. This locally produced item comes to us from Bud (no, really) and Mandy Seybert.
"After running dispensaries and seeing how much people needed a different way to use cannabis to manage and ease pain," says Mandy, "we developed the pain patch with the assistance of a doctor and chemist. We found that we were able to control the delivery rates of the cannabis to the bloodstream, and that we were actually getting a 95 percent absorption rate, which was fantastic compared to other delivery rates of using cannabis such as edibles, smoking, and vaping.
"Now, with that being said, the first patches we made were WAAAY too strong," she continues, "and God bless all of our testers that we did our clinical trials with." (Side note: If you have a canna product that you're worried is "waaay too strong," please just drop it off at the Mercury offices and we'll test it out for you.)
Seybert adds, "We test all of our patches with in vitro testing [cadaver skin] to see the delivery rates along with the longevity of the time release. We discovered that after 24 hours, the delivery system did gradually drop. The patch can last for 48 hours, but the rate of delivery cuts from 95 percent to as low as the 70 percent mark."
The patches come in a variety of formulations and strengths: a THC patch with 70 milligrams THC; a cannabidiol (CBD) patch, which has a 1:1 ratio of 43 milligrams CBD/THC; and a high-CBD version, with a whopping 96 milligrams CBD and 20 milligrams THC. All patches are 24-hour time release, except for the high-dose CBD patch, which is 36 hours. All patches are made from fully activated, whole-plant-cannabis plant oil, which the Seyberts feel is key to their effectiveness. They are waterproof and sweatproof, and can even be cut into smaller sizes—a half patch is half strength.
The Synergy Skin Worx patches work via transdermal delivery, meaning that the active ingredients are delivered to the bloodstream through the skin. This allows the body to absorb the THC and CBD directly without having it broken down and processed by the liver, as happens with an edible. They are also not a "spot treatment" form of relief, so if you have back pain, you don't necessarily need to apply it to your back. Placing it on your arm should work just as well.
After application, users usually start to feel the effects in 45 to 60 minutes. And if the effects are not to your liking—maybe you enjoy pain, and that's just fine, you crazy diamond—you can remove the patch and the effects will diminish and cease after 45 to 60 minutes.
"Just make sure wherever you apply the patch isn't hairy, because it will hurt when removed!" Seybert cautions. This piece of great advice is something my hirsute self would love to have had before I stuck the patch on. Nonetheless, I'm proud to admit that I only let out one very manly shriek. (My girlfriend informs me there was a 20-minute period of post-patch-removal bitching, in which I mansplained just how much it hurts to have hairs pulled from your body with a sticky strip of fabric. I took her rolling eyes as gratitude for this information.)