How to use Cannabis Topicals and How Does It Work?

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Cannabis topicals are perfect for people who are dealing with skin problems but don’t want to consume or inhale cannabis. You only need to apply some onto your skin, and you can already benefit from CBD and/or THC. They don’t produce psychoactive effects, so you don’t have to worry about the side effects associated with inhaling or consuming cannabis.

But how do cannabis topicals work? What are the symptoms they can control? More importantly, is it really effective and safe?

What are cannabis topicals?

Cannabis topicals are

  • Lotions
  • Creams
  • Ointments
  • Balms
  • Salves
  • And even oils that contain cannabinoids

Some topicals contain just CBD, while others contain a combination of both CBD+THC. There are cannabis-infused ointments, too, that contain terpenes, other cannabinoids, and essential oils. These ingredients work together to promote and maintain healthy skin.

Some topicals, such as cannabis-infused lotions, may be used daily as a part of your hygiene routine. They help support healthy skin by keeping it young, soft, and glowing.

Some cannabis hemp salves, on the other hand, are used to treat inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, and acne. Cannabinoids have potent anti-inflammatory effects. They can help control the inflammation that worsens these skin conditions.

Topical cannabis oil may also be applied to the muscles and joints. It can help control muscle aches and joint pains. It can also help reduce skin itchiness.

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How do cannabis topicals work?

One common misconception about cannabinoids is that they’re mostly located in the brain and the immune system. While these regions do have a large number of endocannabinoid systems, these important biological systems are actually located all over the body. This, of course, includes the skin, muscles, and bones.

Our endocannabinoid system has two receptors called the cannabinoid receptors type 1 and 2. Type 1 receptor is involved in almost all physiological functions – from pain perception to appetite. Type 2 receptor, on the other hand, is involved in the immune response. These receptors are activated by cannabinoid-like chemicals called endogenous cannabinoids or endocannabinoids. These are released by our cells when there’s a stimulus.

The main function of the endocannabinoid system is to help regulate our body’s physiological responses to stimuli. For example, when there’s a high level of pain chemicals, our endocannabinoid system “tells” our cells to stop or at least reduce their release of these chemicals. Similarly, when there’s an overactive immune response, the endocannabinoid system helps our body try to control inflammation.

Cannabinoids found in cannabis also activate the endocannabinoid system. They bind to our cannabinoid receptors and stimulate them to produce a response. When our body has low endocannabinoid levels, cannabinoids can take their place. They help the endocannabinoid system promote balance and homeostasis.

Now, our skin cells also have an endocannabinoid system. When we apply cannabis topicals for pain, our skin cells absorb the cannabinoids, and they, in turn, stimulate the cannabinoid receptors into modulating pain.

Compared to ingesting cannabis, topicals deliver faster results. The cannabinoids are quickly absorbed into the cells, bypassing the stomach and the liver where they lose some of their bioavailability. Some report feeling relief in as little as 10 minutes after applying the cannabis topicals for pain.

Since the cannabinoids won’t be absorbed into the bloodstream, the effects are localized. They will only interact with the cannabinoid receptors found in the skin cells. They won’t reach the brain where they can trigger psychoactive effects.

What symptoms can cannabis topicals treat?

Cannabis topical cream and balms are typically used for localized pain problems. Cannabinoids have a potent pain-killing effect. So when you apply cannabis topicals for arthritis and joint problems, for example, you’ll feel a reduction in your pain.

They can also help control pain caused by nerve damage or neuropathy. In fact, there are cannabis topicals for nerve pain right now that contain both CBD and THC. These work together to control nerve pain.

In addition to pain, you can also use cannabis topicals for psoriasis. Not only can it help control pain and inflammation associated with psoriasis, but it can also help keep the skin hydrated. Cannabinoids also have an antipruritic effect and can control skin itching.

If you’re dealing with acne breakouts, you can apply a cannabis salve acne product to the affected areas. Cannabinoids can help reduce inflamed acne pimples. They can also reduce bacteria buildup since cannabinoids have powerful antibacterial effects.

Cannabis salve benefits other skin conditions as well, such as dermatitis and hives. It can also be used to relieve itching caused by insect bites.

For headaches and migraine attacks, there are topical cannabis headache products like CBD topicals and CBD cool stick. If you want stronger effects, then choose one that also contains THC. These CBD with THC topicals won’t induce psychoactive effects.

Women suffering from menstrual pain and cramping can also benefit from cannabis bath soaks. It can help control painful menstrual symptoms as well as soothe and nourish the skin.

How do you use cannabis topicals?

To apply cannabis topicals, you have to clean the affected area thoroughly with soap and clean water. This will remove particulates that can affect the topical’s effects. Once done, dry the area before applying a liberal amount. Gently massage the area. If after an hour you didn’t feel any effect, then you can apply a second application.

Remember, our bodies are built differently. How we respond to the cannabinoids vary from person to person, and it may take some time before you feel any cannabis topical benefits. Your response will also depend on your skin condition, skin problems, and the concentration of the ingredients found in your cannabis topical cream. So it’s important to be consistent in using your cannabis-based topicals.

Final Thoughts

Similar to our endocannabinoids, cannabis topicals also activate the endocannabinoid systems found in our skin cells. Their activation produces beneficial and therapeutic effects on our skin.

Topicals deliver faster effects and can be used for various skin conditions such as psoriasis, acne, dermatitis, and eczema. They can also be used to relieve muscle pain, headaches, joint pain, and even insect bites. Cannabis topicals are effective, convenient, and safe to use on a daily basis.

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