Cannabis has been used for medicinal purposes many times in history. Chinese Emperor Fu His made a reference to cannabis use around 2900BC, there have been references of a Holy Anointing Oil made from cannabis in the Book of Exodus (30:22-23) around 1450BC, and ancient Greeks used cannabis as a remedy for inflammation around 200BC.
It is easy to see that this plant was valued for its healing properties. Today, although it is still outlawed in certain US states, we are slowly turning back around to using this plant for medical reasons.
If you live in a state where medical marijuana is legal, you can get prescriptions to help you with chronic and severe pain, chemotherapy related nausea, hepatitis C, multiple sclerosis, asthma, epilepsy, alzheimer’s disease, and many terminal illnesses. However, it turns out cannabis is also useful if used topically.
That’s right, it can help your skin conditions! If you suffer from any skin condition that causes pain, inflammation, or irritation, cannabis based creams can do wonders for you. The best part is that the majority of these creams are legal in all US states.
But how does it work? Luckily, we are here to explain exactly that, how cannabis based cream products function when they are applied to your skin topically. We will even talk about a few of the topical cannabis products out there and what we thought of them. Let’s begin!
Cannabis and Your Skin
Before we talk about how cannabis creams can affect your skin, we need to talk about how your skin functions. Your skin is the largest organ you have. It comes in contact with the surrounding environment before any other organ. Because of this it is able to protect our internal organs, not just passively but also actively if harmful elements are detected in the area.
Even though on the outside it might seem calm and inactive, our skin is actually constantly working. The cells of our epidermis are constantly synthesizing vitamin D, monitoring and adjusting our body temperature, and actively searching for changes in our environment while notifying us about it. All of these functions are a vital part of a healthy body and they are exactly why we should keep our skin as healthy as possible.
Our skin also has a variety of different glands, cells, and hairs which help it perform its daily functions. Amongst these many different parts of our skin are cannabinoid receptors which are found on cells throughout the epidermis.
These receptors are responsible for binding compounds like THC and CBD, which are phytocannabinoids. Our bodies actually produce versions of these compounds which are called endocannabinoids.
Many people think that cannabinoid receptors are only found in the central nervous system and our brain, and this is common misconception. Research shows that cannabinoid receptors are located all around our body, including the skin, our gut, and even our reproductive organs.
Because these receptors are found in so many different parts of our body, we can deduct that endocannabinoids are very important to our basic health and physiological function. The same can be said about our skin’s health and function.
The Endocannabinoid and the Epidermis
Cannabinoid receptors and the compounds which function alongside them form a network in our body. We call this network the endocannabinoid system. This system, just like many other systems in our body, actually plays a huge responsibility in our skin. The compounds which are found in our endocannabinoid system regulate a few of our skin’s functions.
Immune Response and Inflammation
The immune response and inflammation of our skin are directly affected by the endocannabinoids found in our body. Since our skin is our largest organ and it is external, it’s constantly being bombarded by harmful elements and goes through quite a bit of stress during our daily life. Our immune cells help control the inflammatory responses which occur to combat this bombardment.
Endocannabinoids actually engage with these immune cells and help them regulate inflammation. Researchers showed that mice with increased levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide displayed reduced allergic responses in the skin.
Cannabinoid receptor antagonists exacerbated allergic inflammation, whereas receptor agonists attenuated inflammation. This shows that the endocannabinoid system plays a huge protective role in our body.
Sebaceous glands are responsible for producing oil which we call sebum. This oil is responsible for a few different functions: it keeps your skin waterproof but also functions as a two way barrier to keep too much water out and to also keep us from losing too much water.
It also protects skin from bacterial and fungal infections, its slight acidity helps neutralize harmful bacteria that might come in contact with your skin, and it contain antioxidants and helps with your skin nutrition.
The endocannabinoid system helps create sebum when your skin needs it. This system is also responsible for maintaining the correct functions of hair follicles, which is vital for proper sebum production since they are connected directly to sebaceous glands.
Reduced Hair Growth
According to some research, THC and our own endocannabinoid, anandamide, are capable of slowing down the growth of hair on our body. The level of hair reduction directly correlates with the dosage of THC and anandamide.
This means that the more THC you put onto your skin the slower hair will grow in that part of the body. Many skincare companies who are researching cannabis based products are very interested in this ability to reduce hair growth, including Phytecs.
What Happens When Cannabis is Applied to Your Skin?
In the simplest of terms, when you apply a cannabis based cream onto your skin topically, the cannabinoid receptors in that area become engaged. So if you have a sprained ankle or a bruise due to high impact on a part of your body, using a cannabis based cream on the damaged area can both reduce the pain and reduce the inflammation in that area. Exactly the same effect happens with other inflammatory abrasions, bruises, and skin conditions.
It is important to understand that cannabis based creams are not psychoactive. This means that the traces of THC in these creams are very low and aren’t high enough to affect your brain. So using these creams isn’t going to get you “high”, but they are perfect for those frequently occurring abrasions which we witness happening in our lives.
Instead of using cream and ointments, there are also transdermal patches. These cannabis based patches are frequently used by those who suffer from arthritis or are in recovery from injuries. You would use these patches in the same way you would use IcyHot or a nicotine patch, and the localized area is quickly relived of pain and reduced in inflammation.
While these products are capable of doing wonders for minor injuries and abrasions, if you have a serious injury it is always recommended that you consult your medical professional. Your doctor might be able to determine the best product to use for your specific situation.
The same goes for your local dispensary or care center. They will have a much better knowledge of the different cannabis inspired products out there and they will be able to suggest the absolute best products for you.
Best Cannabis Skincare Products
Just like with many other products, deciding on which one is the best to use for your specific condition can be somewhat troublesome. Thankfully we are here to help you!
We have looked and some of the cannabis skincare products out there and determined which ones are the best at what they are designed for. Read on and see if any of these will suit your needs.
Apothecanna Lip Buzz
If you suffer from frequently chapped lips, then this is the perfect product for you. This lip balm product brings antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits to your sensitive lips due to incorporation of cannabis in its formula. At the same time, mango and shea butters will keep your lips perfectly hydrated and nourish any damaged skin.
Apothecanna Lip Buzz is ideal for cold locations with dry climates, such as the High Rockies. While the price of this product is somewhat in the mid ranges, around $12, the benefits that you get out of this product far outweigh any other products in the same category. We think it’s a small price to pay for keeping your lips safe.
Apothecanna Everyday Crème
This cream is ideal for dry climate and works on any skin type. While the cannabis ingredient used in the formula offers amazing antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, the mandarin, cedar, and geranium components not only produce one of the best scents we have experienced but also bring a wonderful hydrating effect, as well as the ability to alleviate tension.
Unlike some of the other creams on the market, this formula is very light and is perfectly balanced on the fragrance scale. Again, the 8 ounce bottle might be somewhat on the high price side, about $40, but we urge you to remember how much more this product bring to the table versus other products in the same category.
Cannabis Basics Love Yourself Healing Oil
Made out of a blend of Premium Cannabis Flower, Organic Hempseed Oil, vitamin E, and nourishing fruit and nut oils, this oil is the perfect solution for nourishing your skin after your shower or bath routine, or perhaps even during a massage session.
It delivers wonderful pain relief to aching sores, muscles, and joints. Because of its amazing formula, this oil continues to sooth and moisturize long after application. The scent of this oil is also a very relaxing blend of lavender and tangerine.
As far as the cost goes, it’s far better than the other products we have listed and will cost you only $28. This is a very small price to pay for the amazing benefits you get.
Cannabis Basics Sole’s Desire Repair Cream
One might think that this cream is designed to repair the soles of your feet, but it works just as well all over the body. Cannabis flower which is paired with tea tree oil helps kill any fungal infections you might have throughout the body while arnica helps with various pains, swellings, bruising, muscle ache, headaches, migraines, and even PMS related symptoms.
To counteract the somewhat sharp scent of tea tree, a smooth mixture of lavender and spearmint is used with amazing fragrance results. Furthermore, that same spearmint brings a warm and tingling sensation to the skin immediately after application.
The price isn’t too rough on the wallet either, about $22 per 2 ounce container, which seems fair for the antifungal properties that it possesses.
Dixie Elixirs Muscle Relief Lotion
This is a powerful lotion infused with pure CO2-extracted THC. Designed to offer amazing post-workout muscle pain relief, this formula is non-greasy and can be easily applied to any large area on the body. Since this product is used topically it’s non-psychoactive.
This means you can take 30 to 60 seconds massaging it into the affected area, relax for about 5 minutes until the lotion takes effect, and get on with your day. Perfect for those who are constantly on the go!
A mixture of rosemary, lavender, and cedar wood is used for the fragrance of this lotion, which we must say is rather pleasant. One bottle of this lotion will cost you about $20, which we think is affordable.
Cannabis Skincare Summary
There are many other cannabis skincare products out there which incorporate cannabis in them and offer wonderful benefits for your skin and beyond. Keep in mind that some of these products might have a higher amount of THC in them, which will make them illegal in some states. Always check if the product you are intending to use is legal in your state.
We strongly suggest that you speak to your medical professional if you are planning on using any type of cannabis based product. They will know whether the product is right for you or if you need something different. Remember to notify your doctor that you are interested in using all natural cannabis based products for healing.
There is a possibility that your doctor will refuse prescribing cannabis based products simply because of their own bias. If that is the case, remember that you always have an option to get a second opinion from another doctor. Seek the right medicine for your body and always stay safe!