Cannabis-infused topicals—creams, lotions, salves, and other products applied to the skin—are exciting and newly-legal options for Canadians interested in cannabis’s therapeutic potential without its high.
Jordan Pearson, senior medical expert for CannabisMD and a licensed massage therapist in Colorado, where cannabis is legal, knows firsthand that there is no one-size-fits-all answer: “I wish that I could give you some magic answer like ‘for pain apply 20mg of so-and-so’s product’ and ‘for bruising apply a quarter-sized amount six times a day until gone’. We just don’t have that scientific answer, yet.”
Know your base ingredients
According to Dr. Sana-Ara Ahmed, an interventional chronic pain and cannabinoid medicine specialist, cannabis topicals can sometimes help patients with joint pain. “We still do not know the full mechanism of effect, but based upon my clinical experience, the application of topical THC and CBD in combination in a 1:1 ratio provides my patients with analgesic relief,” she says.
Hemp seed oil has been used in the aesthetics industry for some time—it’s an excellent carrier oil and contains hydrating lipids and omega fatty acids. There will always be a place in the beauty industry for hemp seed oil, but it’s important to understand hemp seed oil is not CBD.
Weed through the marketing terms and discover which topical ingredients are right for you with these topical tips:
Top healing (and in some cases, now world renowned) CBD strains include:
First, many unfamiliar patients would rather not ingest cannabis due to its psychoactive effects, and prefer to inch slowly into their cannabis experience with something milder like a tincture or topical. We totally get that, trying THC for the first time for its psychoactive effects can be intimidating (although trust us, with the proper dose, anyone can feel comfortable with it).
What Is CBD Ointment Used For?
Topical cannabis use dates back thousands of years. While its primary form of ingestion has always been smoking, it’s also traditionally been used as a medicinal component to existing remedies such as ointments, salves and tinctures.
When CBD and THC are combined they produce a powerful one-two punch by enhancing each other’s most useful characteristics. Interestingly, CBD slows down the breakdown of THC in the liver, allowing THC’s therapeutic effects to last longer.
We have answers for you. And if one topical topic’s been on your mind more so than others, just click on that link right below!
According to results of a CBD-administration study on human skin cells, Dr. Biro points out the possibility of the ECS actually regulating skin inflammation: “[It appears that when] an inflammatory or irritation challenge assaults the skin,” Dr says, “the endocannabinoid system fights against it.”
It’s easy to visualize the absorption process of something like oral CBD oil or a CBD gummy. You swallow it, then it dissolves into the digestive gut and eventually makes its way into the bloodstream. With topicals, it is harder to visualize how the CBD ends up functioning at the cellular level.
Just last year, in fact, the FDA issued warning letters to several companies for manufacturing CBD products with inaccurately labeled bottles. As Dr. Adam Friedman (Assistant Professor of Dermatology at George Washington University) puts it, “Cannabinoids haven’t really emerged [yet] within mainstream dermatology, but there’s going to be an exponential increase in the [amount of] attention paid to them…”
What’s the difference between CBD salves and CBD oils?
In reality, the skin is an incredibly active and functional organ. In fact, it’s the largest organ in the human body. And while it does act as a barrier to potentially harmful substances, it also acts as a useful molecular passageway. It is quick, for instance, to absorb lipid-based oils (such as the ones that comprise CBD salves).
Salves are super-simple concoctions, even though companies can make them with various ingredients. Do a little online searching, in fact, and you can find dozens of ‘DIY CBD salve’ instructions out there. Most of them, though, are similar in that they include the following three ingredients:
Photo Credit: Euphoric Grounds
When you apply a CBD salve topically, the lipids in the oil base transport phytochemicals across skin cell membranes. At this point, the CBD can initiate its physiological mechanisms on surrounding cell and tissue layers.