9 Surprising Benefits of Cannabis Topicals
By: Rachel Garland
You’ve probably heard that cannabis topicals are great for your skin, but did you know they could also treat burns, alleviate arthritis, and take therapeutic massages to a whole other level?
And this barely scratches the surface.
Because cannabis topicals are non-psychoactive, they are a versatile way for you to take advantage of those cannabinoids.
Available as lotions, balms, sprays and oils – cannabis-infused skin products are quickly becoming more than a beauty staple. Indeed, these powerful antidotes offer numerous healing properties.
In celebration of Green Flower’s new online course with expert Jordan Person – Cannabis & Massage – (debuting on February 23 in a free live-stream), check out these 9 surprising benefits of cannabis topicals.
#1) Provides Localized Pain Management
If you’re suffering from back or knee pain, for example, cannabis topicals could help.
Cannabis-infused creams or oils are great for treating pain in a specific area of the body.
Better yet, they are also fast-acting. Once applied, the cannabinoids in topicals bind with the CB2 receptors in your skin, providing quick relief.
Topical cannabis infusions act on a peripheral basis, which means they do not enter the bloodstream. This translates to zero psychoactivity. So you can apply them liberally without the potential side effects of too much THC.
For full-body aches and pains, we suggest cannabis-infused bath salts – or a cannabis massage (see #9).
#2) Enhances Sexual Pleasure
Women and men of the world rejoice, cannabis topicals are making their way into the bedroom. Companies such as FORIA have developed cannabis-infused oils and lubricants designed to enhance sexual pleasure.
Cannabis is a well-known aphrodisiac, particularly for women. In fact, references of cannabis for sexual pleasure date back over 2000 years ago in India where cannabis was incorporated into tantric sex practices.
Today, we’re re-discovering this powerful ancient arouser.
#3) Treats Mild Skin Irritations
Did you know you could be applying cannabis topically for bug bites, scratches, and other skin abrasions? Cannabis-infused creams and salves are ideal because they offer localized pain relief while reducing swelling.
The right cannabis topical can also contain potent antibacterial properties.
However, apply with caution. Not all cannabis topicals are created equally. Always be sure to check the ingredient list first. Certain additives could potentially exacerbate your symptoms.
#4) Alleviates Symptoms of Psoriasis
Sufferers of psoriasis know just how painful the condition can be. Characterized by an excess buildup of skin cells, psoriasis causes itchy, painful red patches on the skin.
Psoriasis can be embarrassing and more important uncomfortable. For many psoriasis patients, the options are limited. After all, there is currently no known cure for the condition.
Cannabis, however, is proving to be a powerful treatment option. A study in 2007 revealed that cannabinoids inhibited the buildup of dead skin cells – a direct cause of psoriasis.
Although few formal studies exist on the relationship between psoriasis and cannabis, there is no shortage of anecdotal evidence.
While more research is needed, the positive impact of cannabis infusions for psoriasis is clear.
#5) Keeps Skin Youthful
Want great looking skin for years to come? Then it’s time to consider incorporating cannabis into your beauty regimen. Applying cannabis-infused balms, oils, and lotions can do wonders for your skin.
Essentially, cannabis applied topically prevents your skin from aging. This can be explained in part by the fact that cannabis happens to be a powerful antioxidant.
Antioxidants are shown to speed up the healing process and prevent tissue damage caused by the environment. One study found that Cannabidiol (CBD) is a more potent antioxidant than Vitamins C or E. So not only does cannabis keep your skin looking more youthful, it also keeps it healthier.
#6) Reduces Inflammation and Arthritis
It’s estimated that 350 million people worldwide suffer from arthritis. While this condition is often associated with the elderly, over a quarter of a million children in the United States are also affected.
Symptoms of arthritis include swelling, pain, and inflammation in the joints. Because arthritic pain is primarily cause by inflammation, cannabis topicals are a potent remedy.
A study in the journal Rheumatology revealed how cannabis helps fight inflammation. The study found that in patients suffering from arthritis, CB2 receptors in the joint tissues were present at an abnormally high rate. Cannabis helps to fight inflammation by activating these receptors. Sure, the need for more research is evident, and yet the current findings are no less astounding.
#7) Heals Burns Faster
Burns are one of the most painful types of injury someone can experience and can take weeks or even months to heal depending on the severity.
A lot of the pain associated with burns is due to inflammation. Cannabis helps soothe inflammation while also reducing pain.
A well-made topical can also help the burn heal faster. And again, we want more research on this. Until then, the anecdotal reports are impressive.
#8) Fights Bacterial Skin Infections
Did you know cannabinoids contain anti-bacterial properties? From boils, cellulitis, impetigo, to even folliculitis – cannabis can provide relief for numerous bacterial skin infections.
And unlike other antibiotics, using cannabis does not lead to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance, even leading some researchers to call cannabis the antibiotic of the future.
Great example: a study in 2008 revealed cannabis could help stop MRSA – a bacterial infection that often develops out of antibiotic resistance.
The researchers concluded:
“All five major cannabinoids tested (cannabidiol, cannabichromene, cannabigerol, tetrahydrocannabinol, and cannabinol) showed potent activity against a variety of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains of current clinical relevance.”
While the researchers did not study the specific implications of cannabis-infused salves, lotions, and oils in relation to antibiotic resilience, the message was clear. Cannabis contains powerful and game-changing antibacterial qualities.
#9) Cannabis Topicals Are GREAT for Therapeutic Massages
Could a cannabis-infused massage oil be superior to any other type of massage product? The current science seems to suggest as much when you consider the therapeutic advantage of targeting those CB2 receptors in the skin, reducing any inflammation or pain.
This can be great for conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, sports injuries, neuropathy, and much more.
We’ve even got anecdotal reports from massage therapists who notice a big difference in how cannabis topicals help keep their own inflammation levels in check after giving a massage.
But if cannabis topicals are so great for massage, how do you choose the right topical? What ingredients do you look for? What do you need to know if you’re a massage therapist, nurse, or any other type of healing practitioner?
If you want to learn more about the therapeutic power around using cannabis topicals, you can check out Green Flower’s new online course with nurse and massage therapist Jordan Person, “Cannabis and Massage: Everything You Need to Know” (debuting on February 23 in a free live-stream).
Jordan Person is also executive director of Denver NORML.