Ask an Expert: Can Cannabis Topicals Treat Burns?

Your skin is your body’s most important line of defense against the outside world. When its integrity becomes compromised by a burn, proper treatment is essential to prevent permanent skin damage, infections, and other problems. Cannabis is not a magic bullet for treating all these issues, but in certain cases there’s reason to believe it could be useful.

Before we continue, it may be helpful to understand the different types of burns. These can be caused by exposure to heat, radiation, or electricity, along with chemicals, friction, or even (somewhat counterintuitively) extreme cold. Regardless of their cause, they’re commonly grouped into four categories, based on the layer of skin that has been affected:

First-Degree Burns
These are considered mild, and only affect the top layer of skin (known as the epidermis). It’s common for the affected area to be red and painful. 

Second-Degree Burns
Also known as a “partial thickness burn,” this type of burn affects both the epidermis and the layer of skin beneath it, which is known as the dermis. Typical symptoms for second degree burns include blisters and swelling, along with redness and pain.

Third-Degree Burns
These are sometimes called “full thickness burns,” because they penetrate through the dermis into deeper layers of tissue. With third degree burns, the skin becomes charred (often turning either white or black in color), and the affected area may feel numb.

Fourth-Degree Burns
This is the worst-case scenario type of burn. These burns can reach past the epidermis, dermis, and deeper layers of tissue all the way to muscles and bones. Since this tends to cause nerve damage, the patient will often have no feeling in the affected area.

The final two categories of burns are extremely serious, and treating them is beyond the scope of cannabis in any form. They require urgent, professional medical attention (more on that later). For first- and second-degree burns, cannabis — particularly topicals — may have more to offer, though the existing research is limited.

A 2015 study published in the Journal of Burn Care and Research, found that cannabis use was increasingly common among patients with burns (who tended to be younger and less likely to have medical insurance), though it didn’t specify if — or how — those patients were using cannabis to treat their injuries. In 2018, a different paper in the same journal found that, “[Marijuana] use appears to be protective in acute burn admissions, despite classic teaching that illicit drug use leads to poorer outcomes.”

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Cannabis Massage for Parkinson’s Patients: Is It Safe?

While there’s not yet a cure for Parkinson’s disease, modern medicine has yielded a number of promising treatments that can reduce the severity of its symptoms and improve the quality of life for people living with it. One of the most intriguing (or at least unexpected) options is cannabis, and although research is still in its early stages, the plant does seem to offer some significant benefits — and adding massage to the mix could help, as well. 

By the year 2020, 1 million people in the U.S. will be living with Parkinson’s disease, according to estimates from the Parkinson’s Foundation. The condition, which currently affects around 10 million people worldwide, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that’s caused by the brain’s inability to produce enough of a chemical called dopamine, a deficiency that grows more severe over time. It’s more likely to affect men than women, and older people are more likely to be diagnosed than younger ones — over 95 percent of people with Parkinson’s are over the age of 50.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms of Parkinson’s can vary widely from patient to patient. Tremors are one of the most common symptoms, with some patients noticing these movements even when their limbs are at rest. Many people also experience stiffness or rigid muscles, resulting in painful contractions that can limit mobility. These issues can make it difficult for people with Parkinson’s to write and speak. It’s common for patients to have problems with balancing and walking as well, and their movements are often slower than before. 

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3 Types of Chemicals to Avoid When Buying Cannabis Topicals

Ten years ago, it was hard to find cannabis topicals of any kind. Today, we have more choice than ever before — which means we can be more discerning, as well. It’s become easier than ever to find high-quality products that are made with natural ingredients instead of harsh chemicals, and when it comes to cannabis topicals, it’s worth being choosy.

Many of us have become accustomed to reading labels on the food we eat. This shift in awareness is now moving into body care products. In the past, if a bottle of lotion or face cream had an informative, visually appealing label, then chances were good that you, the customer, would have no intention of checking the ingredients list. That’s starting to change, and since our skin is our largest organ (and capable of absorbing whatever we apply to it) it’s important that ingredients be pure, chemical- and cruelty-free, and as organic as they can possibly be.

It is important to remember that there are varying stages of “organic.” Items can be anywhere from 70-95 percent organic when they are certified. The certification is costly and small batch manufacturers often choose not to receive certification. You will note when purchasing organic products the price is generally higher. This is because organic ingredients cost more to produce, whether in terms of human labor, raw materials, or otherwise. On the bright side, you are supporting organic farmers and the environment with every purchase you make.

Organic Alternatives to Artificial Chemicals in Cannabis Topicals

When shopping for cannabis topicals and skin care products there are a few ingredients you should do your best to avoid. Whether you’re looking to treat arthritis symptoms, reduce neuropathic pain, or just to relax and indulge your skin a bit, it’s better to seek more natural options. Check out this list below for the top three ingredients to avoid, along with their organic alternatives.

See the full list of ingredients to avoid on CannabisMD

Neuropathy Is Chronic and Painful — But Cannabis Topicals May Help

Neuropathy is a condition that affects over three million people a year in the United States alone. Also known as peripheral neuropathy, its symptoms include numbness, weakness, lack of coordination or frequent falls, extreme sensitivity to touch, muscle weakness or paralysis, and stabbing or burning pain in the hands and feet. All of these can have a severe impact on a person’s quality of life, and finding an effective, side effect-free way to manage them can be a challenge. However, recent scientific studies have found that cannabis topicals might be well-suited for the job.

Neuropathy is a result of trauma to the peripheral nerves, which are located outside of the brain and spinal cord. These nerves connect the central nervous system (CNS) to our sensory organs. If one or more of them become damaged, peripheral neuropathy ensues.

Nerves can be damaged by various conditions including alcoholism and diabetes, cancer (and the chemotherapy used to treat it), vitamin B deficiency, autoimmune diseases, toxicity, drug interactions, and even occupational hazards such as strenuous physical exertion over a long period of time. When the peripheral nerves are damaged, they begin to send faulty signals to the brain.

Unlike nociceptive pain (the kind caused by pricking your finger or hitting your knee on the table), neuropathic pain does not start abruptly or dissipate quickly — nor is it as responsive to typical pain medications. It’s a chronic condition, and people diagnosed with it live in a constant state of pain. The severity can increase or decrease throughout the day, depending on various factors.

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Ask an Expert: Treating Arthritis With Cannabis Topicals

Cannabis topicals might not sound like the most intuitive treatment for arthritis. However, recent research — and years of my own work as a nurse and massage therapist — show that the plant has much to offer people who are living with this condition.

Arthritis is a disorder of the joints in the body that causes painful inflammation. The neck, shoulders, hands, spinal column, hips, knees, and ankles are some of our most notable joints — and they’re all common sources of pain. Arthritis is neither age nor gender specific. The inflammation caused by arthritis results in joint stiffness, swelling, redness, and the area can often be warm to the touch. 100 types of arthritis have now been identified and over 300 million people worldwide are plagued daily by this type of pain.

Clinical research studies regarding cannabis topicals and arthritis are still in their infancy. Recent findings show cannabinoids exhibit anti-inflammatory effects by activating cannabinoid type 2 receptors (CB2.) These receptors are part of the endocannabinoid system. Our endocannabinoid systems’ primary goal is cellular homeostasis, or balance. Our bodies naturally produce chemicals called endocannabinoids (which are nearly identical to chemicals produced in the cannabis plant, called cannabinoids) in an effort to activate these receptors. When a cannabis topical is applied to an inflamed area where CB2 receptors are present, the cannabinoids stimulate an anti-inflammatory response.

This is the science behind using cannabis topicals to treat arthritis, but the anecdotal evidence can be just as compelling. Throughout my career, I’ve seen firsthand the ways in which they can transform people’s lives. I’ve also had to answer a lot of questions about how and why they work — here are some of the most common ones.

Frequently Asked Questions About Using Cannabis Topicals for Arthritis

What’s the first question most arthritis patients have about medicinal cannabis topicals?

To see the answer and more questions about cannabis and arthritis please see here: CannabisMD

How Cannabis Helped Me Quit Prescription Drugs

I have been a nurse for almost 20 years, and this is the story of how cannabis saved my life.

In 2010, I fell seriously ill — for reasons that doctors were unable to understand, I began to experience excruciating pain, which hampered my mobility and caused intense mental distress. Their response was to prescribe a pill for every symptom I exhibited, and it didn’t take long for me to tire of the toll they were taking on me. Soon, I was barely surviving. I became so desperate that I was willing to move 2,000 miles from where I was born in hopes of finding something that would save my life. Today, I’m sharing this journey because I want people who are experiencing similar mental and physical pain to believe a better, healthier future is possible.

My Introduction to Prescription Drugs

I’d been in pain for a long, long time before I had my first surgery. This one was to remove my gallbladder. During the procedure, they found a large tumor on my liver that they deemed inoperable. It was an estrogen- and blood-filled mass, most likely caused by years of taking the birth control pill, which I’d used to regulate my intense menstrual cycle. Needless to say, this was an unexpected side effect.

A few weeks after the operation, I woke up and my entire body was puffy. The pain in my right side had only worsened, and the nausea was more unbearable than ever.

To continue reading please see here: CannabisMD

Cannabis Massage 101 Education Classes

Become a pioneer and absorb knowledge you can bring back to your patients, families, and friends in this one day class that will instruct you how to provide the very best cannabis massage care possible.

What you will learn in Cannabis Massage 101:

  • the endocannabinoid system
  • the differences between THC, CBD and other cannabinoids
  • the entourage effect
  • what terpenes are
  • contraindications
  • the benefits of cannabis massage
  • best practices for the best form of massage therapy there is
  • legal issues
  • how to monetize your new skill
  • practical application to “feel the difference”
  • how to make infused topicals at home
  • and so much more…

If you are interested in taking an education class with us please feel free to fill out this form and someone will be in contact with you to discuss your class needs: Cannabis Massage 101 Form

We are excited to have the opportunity to teach you soon! If you have any questions in the meantime please do not hesitate to reach out: primaltherapeutics@gmail.com

Buy the topicals designed for our patients

When Primal Therapeutics first started we tried every topical we could get out hands on. There were only a few that were worthy of our patients. We needed topicals that would be good for a variety of skin disorders and types of pain as well as be viscous enough to apply to the entire body. As the years went by our desire for a better product increased. We are excited to announce you can now buy the products designed for our patients! Visit our SHOP here.

The more time we spent working with our patients learning about different disorders that we would be helping with the more we craved research about other herbs that can be used as plant medicine in our topicals.  After several courses in herbalism we began to formulate our products. Using friends, family and regular clients as our test subjects we experimented until we received enough positive feedback that we had found the recipe we were looking for.

We currently have four topical products available. Our salve is called Primal Salve-Vation because it will become your salvation.  It provides relief to countless conditions.  Our herbal body oil is excellent for dry skin especially after a bath it glides over large surface areas. Primal Soak & Scrub can be used in two ways: as a scrub to your face, feet or anywhere that needs extra TLC or add a couple tablespoons to your bath for total relaxation. Last but not least we have Velvet Balm’s. They work like lotion bars, simply hold it in your hand and rub over the skin and feel your body melt and become soft like velvet.

Topicals are an incredible way to learn more about the power of plant medicine. If you have any questions about our products or would like to place a custom order please email us at: primaltherapeutics@gmail.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you curious if cannabis infused massage therapy is right for you? Here you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about cannabis infused massage therapy. If the answers you seek are not listed here, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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  • Q- Will I fail a drug test after a cannabis infused massage?
  • A. No, to date no one has failed a drug test from the topical absorption of cannabis.
  • Q- How is marijuana actually a part of the treatment?
  • A- The lotions, salves and oils we use are infused with organic cannabis. The topicals all contain the cannabinoids THC, CBD, and CBN for the most therapeutics effects.
  • Q-Will I get high?
  • A-No, there are no psychoactive effects from the use of topicals. Patients do report a deeper induced sense of relaxation then what is felt with standard massage therapy.
  • Q- Will cannabis infused massage help my pain, arthritis or other condition?
  • A- Yes, we have had incredible success with many types of diseases and disorders. Pain is one of the many symptoms we have seen relieved. If there is a specific condition you are concerned about please don’t hesitate to contact us.