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Is it legal to sell cannabis topicals?

Region: Ontario Answer # 2444

Cannabis topicals refer to cannabis extracts prepared with alcohol, oil or wax and applied to the skin, hair or nails, such as lotions, creams, ointments, oils, and salves. They are most commonly used to treat pain, inflammation and muscle soreness. The user does not experience the euphoric feeling or “high” that other cannabis products produce as they are for topical use and are not absorbed into the bloodstream.

Until recently, cannabis topicals were only available with a doctor’s prescription. However, cannabis topicals can now be legally sold and bought without a prescription. They must be purchased from a provincial government online or retail site, or through a licensed private retailer. Licensed producers must first submit their cannabis products to Health Canada before they can be available for legal sale to the public. Once submitted, the products are subject to a 60-90 day approval and procurement process.

Federal regulations

Health Canada has released regulations regarding the content, packaging, labelling and promotion of cannabis topicals.

The content in a cannabis topical must contain:

  • a limit of 1000 milligrams of THC per package
  • no added vitamins or minerals
  • no nicotine or alcohol

The packaging of a cannabis topical product must:

  • be child-resistant and plain

The label on a cannabis topical product must display:

  • a list of ingredients
  • intended use
  • the standardized cannabis symbol for products containing THC
  • a health warning message
  • the THC/CBD content
  • the equivalency to dried cannabis to determine public possession limit

As well, cannabis topical products:

  • are only for use on skin, hair and nails (not for use in eyes or on damaged skin)
  • cannot make any claims respecting health benefits
  • cannot be appealing to youth
  • cannot contain elements that would associate the product with alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, or vaping products
  • cannot make cosmetic claims


Provincial regulations

Although cannabis topicals may be legal federally, provincial and territorial governments regulate how and where they can be sold. For more information, view other topics in Cannabis Law or view our Links and Resources.


For information on where cannabis topicals may be legally purchased in Ontario, view topic 2402 Private retailers and government sales.

To erase your criminal record for simple cannabis possession or any other criminal charges, call toll-free 1-888-808-3628 or learn more at Pardon Partners. It’s easier than you think.

For legal advice and assistance with a cannabis related matter, contact our preferred cannabis law expert, Harrison Jordan Law .

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