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Cannabis Topicals Explained: What They Are & What They Can do for You

Many among the general folk believe that cannabis consumption more or less revolves around bongs or joints.  

However, topicals are a prime example of how diverse cannabis’s uses really are – something which is gradually changing people’s perception that the drug is not only safe to consume, but now accessible to majority of people, while also serving a multitude of benefits.  

Cannabis Topicals – What They Are and Uses  

Cannabis topical are lotions, oils, sprays and balms infused with cannabis, to aid in not only improving skin health but also treat anything from burns and sports injuries to pain and inflammation.  

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Cannabis topicals are not psychoactive by definition – meaning that they will not get you ‘high’. This makes the cannabinoids in the herb very effective at treating a variety of conditions in a highly versatile way.  

Cannabis-infused products today have become much more than just a beauty staple – they boast powerful healing properties which include: 

Reduced Inflammation and Symptoms of Arthritis  

An estimated 350 million people suffer from arthritis around the world. Unfortunately, the elderly are not the only ones to suffer from the condition as more than a quarter million children in the US are also inflicted.  

Typical arthritis symptoms include inflammation, pain and swelling in the joints. Since the main culprit behind this condition is, in fact, inflammation – cannabis topicals make for an effective remedy.  

A study done by Rheumatology confirmed how cannabis can fight off inflammation. It was revealed that patients suffering from arthritis had an abnormally high amount of CB2 receptors present within the joint tissues. Since cannabis can easily bind with these receptors, they can effectively combat inflammation.  

Better Localised Pain Management  

Knee and back pain has become all too common, unfortunately – especially given how most of us spend the better half of the day starting at a computer screen.  

Luckily, fast-acting cannabis-infused oils and creams are great for managing localised pain. The cannabinoids in your topical have the ability to bind easily with the CB2 ‘pain’ receptors in the skin, providing almost immediate relief.  

It’s good to know that cannabis topicals only work through a peripheral mode or mechanism – they will not enter your bloodstream. This means there’s no psycho-activity as such, which pretty much means that you can apply topicals generously, without having to worry about the potent after effects of high THC content.   

To find quick relief from full-body pain, you can try a cannabis massage or add cannabis-infused salts in your bath.  

Therapeutic Massage  

It’s quite possible that a cannabis-infused massage may be superior to traditional massages which incorporate lotions or other products. Current science and research certainly suggests that a cannabis-infused therapeutic massage can better target CB2 receptors, resulting in quick relief from pain and inflammation. This can not only be great for arthritis or sports injuries but also neuropathy, fibromyalgia and much more. 

In fact, massage therapists have gone on record to say that they noticed a major difference after administering massages with cannabis topicals, as it reduced their own inflammation, post-therapy.    

Heal from Burns 

Depending on the severity, burns can take several weeks, sometimes months, to heal properly, not to mention the severe pain and discomfort that victims experience.  

The pain associated with burn marks is largely due to skin inflammation – something that cannabis topicals can help soothe, paving the way for faster healing. Anecdotal reports so far have been very promising, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see cannabis-infused healing becoming the norm in burn wards.  

Relief from Psoriasis 

Ask any psoriasis sufferer and they’ll tell you how painful the condition is. An excess build-up within skin cells causes the condition – symptoms are characterised by painful red patches and itchiness.  

Psoriasis can be an uncomfortable and embarrassing condition for many, and as far as a cure is concerned, options are fairly limited at the moment.  

However, cannabis may hold promising potential to provide a cure for the condition. A study conducted nearly 10 years ago confirmed that cannabinoids can put a stop to dead skin cell build-up, which is what causes psoriasis to begin with.  

Despite the lack of formal studies to establish a clear link between cannabis and psoriasis, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest otherwise. While continued research is required, the positive impact of topicals infused with cannabis on psoriasis is clear as day. 

Alleviate Minor Skin Conditions  

You may not know this even as a regular cannabis user, but topical cannabis solutions can treat mild skin conditions like abrasions, bug bites and scratches. Cannabis salves and topicals work rather well because of their ability to neutralise localised pain, while also reducing swelling. In addition, the best cannabis topicals also contain powerful antibacterial properties.  

It’s always important to take a cautious approach toward using cannabis topicals for skin conditions – not all topicals have the same composition and as such, certain ones may exacerbate symptoms. Therefore, it is recommended that you consult your physician before using one.   

Retain Youthful Skin   

Go ahead and incorporate cannabis topicals into your skin beauty regimen, if you want youthful and vibrant looking skin in the long run.  

Topical cannabis can encourage the skin to regenerate cells faster which keeps it from premature ageing, given the powerful dose of antioxidant it delivers.  

Antioxidants are just as important for the skin as they are for your entire body – they can help protect the skin from oxidative damage and boost the healing process as well. A study discovered that topicals infused with the cannabinoid CBD can work as a more powerful antioxidant than Vitamins E or C. 

Combat Bacterial Skin Infections 

Since cannabinoids have anti-bacterial properties, cannabis topicals can provide relief from a number of bacterial skin infections including folliculitis, cellulitis and impetigo.  

Unlike conventional antibiotics which cause the skin to become immune and resist them in the long-term, topicals with cannabis infusions can do a lot more than just provide sustained relief from skin infections. A decade-old study has already confirmed that cannabis-infused topicals can put a stop to MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) – a form of bacterial skin infection which, in fact, develops as a direct result of antibiotic resistance.  

Sexual Aphrodisiac  

You may eventually see cannabis-infused topicals making their way into bedrooms because one company has already developed oils and lubricants based on cannabis formulas, to improve sexual pleasure.  

Cannabis’s reputation as an aphrodisiac dates back to more than 2000 years where it has been used in India as part of tantric sexual practices. As it stands today, cannabis is being rediscovered as a potent arouser.  

How to Best Apply Cannabis Topicals 

Here are a few tips to make the most of your cannabis topical: 

Where to Apply 

Naturally, you would want to apply your topical at the sight of the pain but it’s important to consider where the pain or discomfort is originating from.  

For example, is your head to blame for the headache or excessive tension in the neck? Finding the source of the pain is far more important than where it is being felt.  

However, if you’re having difficulty pinpointing the origins of the pain, you can certainly add a little cannabis ointment or lotion to common ‘pain points’, and have someone massage it for deeper penetration. These points typically include the neck, shoulders, temples, wrists, soles of the feet, the back of the foot and ‘protruding’ joints such as the knees and elbows.  

Clean the Site 

An entire mini-world of undetected and unseen bacteria can cling to our skin – therefore, prior to applying your favourite marijuana topical, give the area a good rinse. And you don’t need to hop into the shower – even a damp wash cloth with a mild cleaning solution would do just fine. As long as you have scrubbed and dried the area of unwanted ‘microscopic baddies’, you are all set.   

Apply Vigorously and Generously 

Once the site has been adequately cleaned and dried, it’s time to apply a generous dose of your topical. You don’t want to go all out and finish half a tube, but 2-3 applications would do no harm.  

After each application, vigorously massage the topical application into your skin. Use a firm circular motion without applying too much pressure as you don’t want to exacerbate your condition or discomfort level. 

Wash Those Hands   

Once you have applied your topical, wash your hands thoroughly. Many topicals are infused with mint, pepper or citrus – these compounds could leave you with unwarranted discomfort and itchiness, should you inadvertently make contact with your eyes, nostrils or any other ‘sensitive cavity’ for that matter. Better safe than sorry – wash those hands properly.  

Keep Expectations in Check  

Cannabis topicals are not a magic formula that can make your pain vanish for all eternity. A lifetime of arthritic symptoms cannot be thwarted by an application or two. However, what you should expect is subtle but quick relief, depending on what kind of ingredients are present in the topical.  

Much like an anti-inflammatory cream or heating pad, cannabis topicals can definitely make pain and discomfort symptoms more bearable and manageable – as opposed to curing them permanently.  

 

References 

https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/what-are-cannabis-topicals 

https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/cannabis-cream-weed-skincare-personal-experience 

 

 

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