Why Use Topicals for Your Health?
If you've ever been curious about whether cannabis topicals actually work, don't be scared to give it a try.
Published on February 11, 2016

People everywhere are becoming fans of topical medical marijuana therapies...even many individuals who would never touch a joint or a bong.

Cannabis topicals - typically lotions, salves or oils - are the go-to form of medical marijuana for elderly people and those with painful disorders of the skin, joints, and nervous system. These include arthritis, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, eczema, psoriasis, and more.

Applied directly to the skin, topicals allow cannabinoids like THC and CBD to be absorbed into the muscles and work their magic directly on the affected area. Typically, a cannabis extract is mixed with other natural pain-relieving ingredients such as menthol and arnica to maximize the soothing effect.

The secret to how it works is simple. Your skin contains both CB1 and CB2 receptors, which pick up cannabinoids and use them to send signals to the rest of the nervous system, reducing inflammation, dulling pain, and even regulating the hair follicles and various glands of the skin.

Like most medicated products, dozens of different topicals exist using different strains of cannabis and different ratios of cannabinoids. A topical formulated with an indica or high-CBD strain is likely to have stronger pain-relieving effects, versus a more rare sativa-dominant formula which might be better suited for calming a sunburn or eczema outbreak. There is even emerging evidence that some cannabinoids have the potential to cure or treat acne due to their antimicrobial properties.

Proper absorption is an issue that the topicals community is still trying to figure out, as it's extremely difficult for the oily cannabinoid extracts to penetrate through multiple layers of skin to reach the muscles and tissues underneath. One popular delivery method is emu oil, apparently one of the closest to human skin in the entire animal kingdom.

Compared to traditional treatments (Icy Hot, Tiger Balm and Bengay come to mind), the effectiveness of medical marijuana topicals is absolutely staggering. Based on widespread anecdotal evidence, for many people, it is the only treatment that has ever worked for their particular condition, or will ever in the future.

Many who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis often cannot move their fingers when they wake up in the morning; by applying a thin layer of cannabis salve to the hands, this painful stiffness is relieved in minutes, without ingesting any risky opioids.

Athletes are also beginning to catch on to the pain-relieving properties of these lotions, lathering up injuries and post-workout sore muscles for faster recovery time.

There is even a new movement around personal sexual lubricants infused with cannabis. Who knew weed could enhance orgasm? (Besides everyone).

The range of individuals in the market for topicals is vast and diverse. Those without pain or skin disorders can also benefit from the healthy omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids contained in hemp oil, a natural moisturizer and skin protectant that has been imported and used in beauty products for years.

No matter what forms they take, topical treatments will be the major bridge from the “outside world” into the medical cannabis community. People who have never tried marijuana before will love the fact that they don’t have to smoke or eat infused foods to experience a pain-free lifestyle, and those who would prefer a more sustainable and natural skin care industry will appreciate further research into how hemp and cannabis could make many modern chemicals obsolete.

Someone you know is hurting - if you live in a state where medical marijuana is legal, make their day, totally rock their world, and completely change their mind about marijuana by gifting them one of these amazing topical treatments.

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Roni Stetter
Roni is a long-time cannabis advocate who has been involved in the community since her days with California's 2010 legalization campaign. A former high school athlete who successfully treated her sports injuries with medical marijuana, she now promotes the health movement on her own blog. When not writing or researching on the web, you can find her at a drum and bass show, hanging out with her dog and cat, or otherwise living the simple San Diego beach life. See what else Roni is up to on her website
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