You might have heard the latest health and beauty buzz about how CBD and THC from marijuana are infusing all kinds of skincare products.
Ordinary folks along with high profile celebrities are singing the praises of slathering marijuana on their faces and all over their bodies, of soaking in it, bathing with it, and even bringing it into the bedroom to enhance intimate moments. Ooooooh la la!
I know what you are probably asking yourself.
Does slathering cannabis salve on your body have any actual medical benefits or is this all just a heap of Hollywood hype?
Not at all!
Science shows us that topical marijuana can help regulate immune responses in the skin, and has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antibacterial properties!
More often than not, cannabis topicals are used for inflammation, itching, and localized pain relief, but new studies, coupled with tons of anecdotal evidence, is beginning to reveal a host of other conditions that topical cannabis may help including, but not limited to, skin cancers.
How and Why Topical Marijuana Works
While it might seem difficult to believe that rubbing cannabis salve on your body could provide any real relief, when you understand a little of the science behind how it works, it begins to make sense how it's possible to significantly improve pain, inflammation and a variety of other symptoms.
The human body contains two main cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, both of which are abundant in the skin’s epidermal cells and sensory nerves. The receptors can affect pain, itch, inflammation, and other skin issues. Cannabinoid receptors are also found in the skin’s mast cells, which are linked to inflammatory and allergic responses.
So what do the cannabinoid receptors do?
- CB1 receptors mediate pain, along with many other bodily functions necessary for maintaining homeostasis or a state of equilibrium between the body’s various systems. They are also the receptors responsible for the high you feel when you smoke or eat marijuana, although that is not an issue with topicals.
- CB2 receptors mediate inflammation along with pain.
When you apply a cannabis topical to the skin, the cannabinoids in that topical are absorbed through the skin and bind to and interact with the cannabinoid receptors there.
Topicals interact via the skin in other ways too, but the explanation gets a little wonky and outside the scope of this introductory article, but I cover the topic in more detail in my online course Easy DIY Marijuana Topicals and Skincare.
Everyone Responds to Topical Marijuana Differently
While the science on topical marijuana is still in its infancy we do know that different people respond to topical marijuana differently.
Just like there is no such thing as an ideal marijuana dose and strain that works well for everyone, there is no such thing as a one size fits all topical solution. What works exceptionally well for one person might do nothing for another.
The complex ways in which cannabis interacts with the body via dermal applications explains why some patients respond better to THC, CBD, or other cannabinoids in varying doses.
Also as a body changes and heals its topical cannabis needs can change too. This explains why a topical formula such as pain relief salve that used to work for you, might no longer be as effective.
What’s a Consumer to Do? How to Best Use Marijuana Topicals
What does all this mean in practical terms for the home consumer?
Regardless of whether you are going to make your own cannabis salves and marijuana topicals formulas or buy them, some personal trial and error will be necessary so you can determine which formulas best suit your needs and at what strength.
Everyone responds differently to cannabis, and that goes for topicals as much as it does for edibles or cannabis you inhale. One big advantage with experimenting with topicals, however, is you won’t get high, so there is no worry in overdoing it (except for transdermal patches, but that outside the scope of this article).
Which is not to say that more is always more!
For instance, one of the students in my Easy DIY Marijuana Topicals and Skincare online course made a pain relief cannabis salve at half the dose of the commercial salve he used to buy. His pain responded equally as well to the half dose.
My student was already saving a bundle by making his own instead of buying it, but by experimenting with the dose he was able to cut the cost of his most expensive ingredient in half.
Marijuana Massage Oils: An Easy DIY Intro to Marijuana Topicals
Cannabis-infused massage oils are without a doubt the easiest of all marijuana topicals to make and likewise an excellent way to try out topical cannabis for yourself. Besides helping you relax and leaving your skin feeling awesome, they can relieve both all over or localized relief from pain and inflammation. They can even ease pain in stiffness in the person GIVING the massage as well as the lucky recipient. Talk about Win/Win!
Making massage oil is simple and easy. I created a FREE tutorial that will have you whipping up batches of your own Marijuana Massage Oil by tonight! I also include 5 of my personal favorite Marijuana Massage Oil formulas:
- Pain Relieving Massage Oil
- Headache and Tension Tamer Massage Oil
- Menstrual Cramp Massage Oil
- Itch and Bug Bite Relief Oil
- Sleepy Time Massage Oil