Cannabis Topicals: More Than Skin Deep Benefits
Cannabis has a vast range of therapeutic potentials that are only beginning to be understood, with the potential to support a wide variety of needs and wellness goals. In this guide, we’re breaking down the basics of cannabis topicals, exploring how they may be able to support skin health, reduce pain, and other benefits – and why topicals may just be an invaluable tool for full-body wellness.
The Endocannabinoid System and the Skin
The human body is a complex network of systems working in tandem to maintain equilibrium. One lesser-known but vital system in this intricate balance is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS).
The ECS is composed of cell receptors, namely CB1 and CB2, and their corresponding molecules. These receptors are not just present in the brain but are also scattered throughout the body, including the skin. When cannabinoids like THC or CBD, commonly found in cannabis, are introduced to the body, they interact with these receptors, influencing a variety of physiological processes.
Let’s take a closer look at how the endocannabinoid system influences your overall well-being so that we can better understand how cannabis topicals’ benefits may support a variety of different needs.
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) and Pain/Inflammation
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is intricately linked to our body’s pain and inflammatory responses.
While CB1 receptors are predominantly found in the central nervous system, CB2 receptors are more common in the peripheral nervous system, especially in immune cells. When the body experiences injury or inflammation, it naturally produces endocannabinoids to bind to these receptors, aiming to reduce pain and limit inflammation. The introduction of phytocannabinoids, like THC and CBD from cannabis, can also interact with these receptors. For instance, CBD is particularly notable for its potential anti-inflammatory properties. Some studies suggest that CBD can influence the activity of the ECS to reduce the release of pro-inflammatory substances and promote the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines.
Essentially, the ECS acts as a modulatory system in the pain pathway. By influencing the activity of the ECS, there is potential for relief from both acute pain, like post-surgical pain, and chronic conditions, such as osteoarthritis and neuropathic pain. The deeper understanding and targeting of this system could pave the way for innovative pain and inflammation management treatments in the future.
The ECS and Skin Health
Interestingly, the ECS also plays a pivotal role in maintaining the health and vitality of our skin.
Recent studies suggest that the skin’s ECS contributes to the formation of skin barriers, hair growth, and even sebum production. An imbalance in the ECS might lead to conditions like eczema, acne, and hair growth disorders. For instance, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation revealed that CBD could help reduce sebum production and has anti-inflammatory properties, making it a potential therapeutic agent for acne vulgaris treatment.
This is where cannabis topicals can come into play. Infused with cannabinoids, these products can potentially leverage the therapeutic properties of these compounds to address skin concerns. By directly applying these topicals to the skin, it is believed that they can provide localized relief without the effects associated with oral or inhaled cannabis consumption.
Pros and Cons of Cannabis Topicals
Cannabis topicals, which are specifically designed for external application, have been growing in popularity. With their distinct mechanism of action, these products provide a unique means of engaging with the therapeutic potential of cannabis. However, as with any product, there are both advantages and disadvantages to consider.
Here’s a breakdown of CBD/THC topicals’ benefits and drawbacks to help guide your decision:
Advantages of Using Cannabis Topicals
- No Systemic Effects: One of the biggest advantages is that they don’t produce systemic effects, which means no psychoactive impairment. You get the therapeutic benefits where you need them without feeling “high.”
- Effective Local Treatment: These products are excellent for targeted relief, be it for pain, inflammation, or other localized issues.
- No Dose Limitations: Unlike other forms of cannabis consumption, topicals can be applied liberally without concerns about dosing.
- Minimal Side Effects: Due to their localized nature, side effects are generally minimal when compared to systemic cannabis products.
- Enhancement of Systemic Products: For those using both oral and topical cannabis, the local application can enhance the effects of systemic cannabis in the target area, offering dual benefits.
- Frequent Application: Because of their safety profile, they can be applied multiple times a day.
- Variety Choices: The topical form allows users to easily experiment with different cannabis strains or compositions to find what’s most effective for them.
Disadvantages of Using Cannabis Topicals:
- Localized Effects: The very advantage of targeted relief can also be a limitation. If someone has systemic issues, topicals might not be the best choice.
- Frequent Re-application: Due to their localized action, some people might need to reapply them several times a day for consistent relief.
- Cost Concerns: Quality cannabis topicals can be expensive, especially if used regularly.
- Experimentation Needed: Just as with many cannabis-based solutions, it might take some trial and error to find the right product, strain, or concentration that works best for an individual’s needs. While this can be a therapeutic journey for some, others might find it tedious.
How to Choose the Best Cannabis Topicals for You
The world of cannabis topicals is vast and varied. With a range of options available, how do you decide what’s best for you? Here are a few tips to help you get started.
Research the Different Types of Cannabis Topicals
- Salves & Ointments: These are thick and often greasy, primarily composed of oil, paraffin, or petrolatum. Their greasiness aids in penetrating the pores, making them suitable for dry or inflammatory skin conditions.
- Pastes: A hybrid between an ointment and a powder. Its consistency allows it to target a specific area without spreading, making it ideal for dry skin or a unique skin issue surrounded by normal skin.
- Creams: Essentially a mix of water and oil, they come in two types: oil-in-water and water-in-oil. The former spreads easily and is non-greasy, while the latter is thicker and lingers longer on the skin. Perfect for soothing inflammation or for oily skin. Check for preservatives on the label.
- Lotions: Typically, oil-in-water concoctions combine alcohol with a moisturizing agent. They offer swift evaporation and are apt for wet skin conditions or oily skin, and cannabis lotion uses are impressively versatile.
- Oils: Predominantly oil-based, these are thicker than lotions but share the same advantages. Suitable for dry skin conditions. For example, THC oil on the skin will often add nourishing moisture.
- Gels: These are semi-solid, turning liquid upon application. Generally composed of cellulose, they might dry the skin as they’re alcohol-based with no oil content.
- Sprays: Ingredients are combined with aerosols, facilitating quick administration and aiding in reaching tricky areas. Ideal for swift application.
When selecting the appropriate topical, consider your skin’s condition and the product’s texture so you can pick the best-suited option.
Select a Reputable Dispensary
Once you’ve decided on the type of topical, it’s crucial to purchase from a trusted source. Research dispensaries that provide third-party lab test results for their products. This ensures you’re getting a quality product free from contaminants and that it contains the advertised amount of THC/CBD.
Shop Premium Cannabis Topicals Today
Are you ready to introduce cannabis topicals to your wellness routine? Giving Tree Dispensary has an exceptional selection of top-tier products, making it easy to weigh your options and find the ideal fit for your needs.
For more information about topical cannabis, visit our Phoenix dispensary today!
Photo Credit: 010110010101101