Medical cannabis is growing in popularity, and more patients are incorporating marijuana into their treatment plans every day. However, those who have not approached this topic before may not be aware that there are many different ways to utilize cannabis when treating their medical conditions. The various administration methods include smoking cannabis flowers, eating edibles, vaping, or using cannabis topicals.
Cannabis-infused topicals are perhaps one of the lesser-known methods of medical cannabis administration, but they offer many benefits. Topicals are safe, accessible, and in most cases, work very well. One of the most significant advantages of cannabis topicals for many people is that they do not cause a psychoactive “high,” something new patients often worry about when researching these options.
Essentially, cannabis topicals are infused oils, creams, lotions, or balms applied directly to your skin. As the skin absorbs the topical, it provides relief from pain, inflammation, or skin conditions such as eczema or rashes. Topicals have various chemical profiles consisting of terpenes and cannabinoids (CBD, THC, and THCA).
How do cannabis topicals work?
The body has an endocannabinoid system that naturally interacts with cannabis. This system features two receptors, known as CB1 and CB2. These receptors are located throughout our bodies, and they absorb THC and CBD when cannabis is consumed via smoking or edibles. The cannabinoids enter your bloodstream via your digestive tract or lungs, where cannabinoids bind with receptors and move throughout the body.
However, cannabis topicals do not require cannabinoids to travel through the body in that manner. Primary CB2 receptors, which bind with CBD, are located on our skin. When a patient applies a topical product, the receptors absorb it, and the effects are felt fairly rapidly, offering relief from localized pain with efficiency.
4 Important Facts about Cannabis Topicals
Cannabis topicals provide localized pain relief: One of the important benefits of cannabis topicals is that they provide localized relief from pain. Pain management is considered one of the main reasons people opt for medical cannabis. Cannabis topicals allow patients to apply the medication directly at the source of the pain. Topical creams or oils often produce results within 20 minutes.
Cannabis topicals can alleviate psoriasis symptoms: Psoriasis is a painful skin condition resulting from excessive buildup of cells. This condition manifests symptoms such as severe itching, sore red patches, and inflammation. Psoriasis has no cure, and there are minimal options for treatment. This condition is not only painful but can be awkward and uncomfortable.
Cannabis topicals, however, are proving to be an effective treatment for psorasis. Cannabinoids can inhibit the buildup of dead skin cells. Although more research is required to understand the relationship between cannabis and psoriasis, the positive effects of cannabis on psoriasis are apparent.
Cannabis topicals help heal skin irritations and itching: Severe skin irritations can make it impossible for a person to focus or concentrate. But cannabis topicals such as salves and creams can also be beneficial in treating minor issues such as bug bites and scratches and rashes, eczema, and more. Aside from the medicinal qualities we have discussed, many topicals also contain potent antibacterial properties. But you have to be careful with topicals and read ingredients carefully. If you have a sensitivity or allergy to any of the ingredients, it could worsen the irritation.
Cannabis topicals can treat inflammation and arthritis: According to the CDC, 43 million people in the United States have arthritis. Nearly 1 in 4 adults are afflicted with this joint disease, leading to pain due to inflammation. Some of the main symptoms include swelling and pain in the joints, stiffness, and irritation. Cannabis topicals help people with arthritis by activating CB2 receptors in the joint tissues to fight off inflammation.
If you have additional questions about medical cannabis in any form, call Dr. Daniel P. Stein at Neurology of Cannabis in Sarasota. Dr. Stein is a Board Certified neurologist who specializes in integrating traditional therapies and medical cannabis to create custom treatment plans for his patients.