Many of my family members from an older generation are hesitant to try cannabis. It can be hard to watch, especially when they suffer from conditions I know medical marijuana could help them fight. I might not ever get them to puff on a joint, but I have convinced a few to try cannabis topical for non-intoxicating pain relief. My grandma used to experience intense arthritic pain in her hands due to inflammation; but with cannabis topical, her gnarled and cramped fingers would extend with relief and full mobility.
Perhaps my own personal experience dealing with a family member in pain makes me feel a certain kinship with the Papa & Barkley brand we’re talking about today. The brand’s name is an ode to his father and their loyal family dog, a pit bull named Barkley. The company began when a son (now the founder) wanted to help his elderly father fight immobilizing back pain. As a result, this well-respected topical brand now crafts multiple high potency formulations of cannabis topicals and tinctures to bring comfort to those that need it most. And they do it using whole plant, sun-grown cannabis from Humboldt County.
Seeing just how powerful cannabis topical can be in my own experience with elderly family members, now when I try out a new topical for my aches and pains, I think, “Would I recommend this to my grandmother?” As I try Papa & Barkley’s 3:1 (CBD: THC) RELEAF Balm, this is the high standard that I set for the product.
Papa & Barkley products jump off the shelf. Not because of in-your-face packaging, but rather the complete opposite. Their understated, classy and simple packaging is unique in a world of harsh neon green and black. This Papa & Barkley 3:1 RELEAF Balm comes inside of a beautifully frosted glass jar with a honey-colored wood top, adorned with a P&B logo burnt into the wood. The P&B branded blue label is the perfect compliment to the deep green of the cannabis topical that pokes through the frosted glass. The jar is packaged safely inside of a sturdy blue box with an ink sketch of Papa himself. I could see this jar happily living on the chicest of bedside tables and bathroom countertops.
I appreciate the effort to thoroughly label this product. They include its ingredients, directions for use and some information about the Papa & Barkley brand. But there is one major aspect for concern: the printed cannabinoid contents on the front of the box (450 mg CBD: 150 mg THC) doesn’t match the lab test results label on the side of the box (374.04 mg CBD: 121.19 mg THC). If the lab testing is right (as it should be) that’s nearly 75 mg of CBD short…a major disappointment.
The label on the jar restates the 3:1 ratio and informs me this product is good for “pain and inflammation,” but doesn’t tell me much beyond that. I wish there a little more information on what conditions this product is good for. I find myself wondering, is this good for nerve pain, muscle pain, headaches, bug bites?
Luckily, there is a support phone number listed on the label that I can call to get additional answers. The helpline informs me this 3:1 RELEAF Balm is best for pain due to inflammation, like arthritis or injury. I’ve been experiencing major shoulder pain from an injury that has never quite healed, so I get ready to slather this on liberally.
Since the ingredients are right on the jar, I can tell this product is high quality. No harmful fillers, chemicals or additives to be found here; just cannabis, coconut oil, beeswax, eucalyptus, tea tree, peppermint, lavender, vitamin E oil and natural terpenes. Upon opening the jar, the strong aroma of the essential blend punches my nostrils. It smells earthy yet medicinal at the same time and is honestly a bit too pungent for my tastes.
The texture of the balm inside is like that of solidified coconut oil. I scoop a generous fingerful out of the beautifully frosted jar, deposit the chunk of topical to my shoulder and, as I rub, the once-solidified coconut oil spreads like a thick liquid. This topical is so oily and doesn’t fully absorb into the skin for quite some time, so I avoid putting clothing on top of the treated area. I could see this texture being fantastic for a nice cannabis-infused massage.
This product is incredibly easy to use. Just scoop some out, rub it on and that is it! I love the large wooden top on the jar; I think even my grandmother could grab hold and open it, even with her arthritis-ridden hands.
This Papa & Barkley 3:1 RELEAF Balm works almost instantly for me. I immediately begin feeling more mobility in my shoulder and feel my body relaxing around the site of injury. It feels incredible and I find myself more grateful for the relief than I expected to be. I would be interested to see if the wonderful tingly sensation is brought on mostly by the cannabis or the strong essential oil blend. Either way, I did feel great relief! I don’t think I would use this product on more sensitive areas of the skin, for fear the essential oil blend might be too strong.
After testing three different jars of this topical, I feel very confident in its consistency. This product is highly potent, especially when compared to other cannabis topicals on the market. Because of this, the price is steep. At nearly $100 for a 50 mL jar, this topical tops the top shelf. I can’t say this high price point is always accessible for me, but if I had a more debilitating inflammation issue, I think it would be worth the investment. In the end, I would absolutely suggest this product for my grandmother.
Ease of Use: 5/5
This is one of the most effective cannabis topicals I’ve ever tried. The potent sun-grown Humboldt cannabis and proprietary essential oil blend immediately go to work to relieve pain. The beautiful Papa & Barkley packaging looks like it belongs in a high-end skincare boutique, but it’s also functional for those opening the jar with limited mobility. On the downside, the contradiction in potency labels is disappointing and the price point a bit steep. All in all, for those with chronic and debilitating inflammation, would probably find this highly potent and highly effective topical well worth the investment.