Cannabis topicals have to be among the most exciting cannabis products on the market right now. This example of innovation within the industry has introduced us to a previously unknown side of weed – it turns out that cannabis-infused lotions and potions are loaded with skin-healing properties.
Cannabinoids have antifungal, antibacterial and antioxidative effects, and a new case study indicates that topical weed is an efficient and clean way of treating malignant wounds – such wounds are prone to infection and causing localized pain.
Using topical cannabis to heal wounds
The intriguing group of compounds in cannabis called cannabinoids only appear to be present in this herb. What makes this anomaly even more remarkable is just how beneficial these chemicals are for the body, and how similar they are to endocannabinoids (cannabinoid-like chemicals made by the body). Cannabis researchers have identified more than 100 separate cannabinoids.
Scientists have only been able to extensively study a few of these cannabinoids, but the early signs are that even many of the more obscure compounds could be medically beneficial.
Cannabis also makes plenty of terpenes, more than 200 to be precise. These compounds, such as myrcene and linalool, are also present in other plants – terpenes are aroma molecules, responsible for making your bud smell fruity, piney or whatever else. Experienced cannabis growers try to cultivate their plants so that they contain certain terpenes – this can be achieved by optimizing growing conditions. Every strain of weed has a unique profile of cannabinoids.
Studies have found that terpenes can hold therapeutic value even in as small a concentration as 0.05 percent. Terpenes have a much higher bioavailability than the majority of cannabinoids, as the molecules are much smaller, hence they can be absorbed into the bloodstream more easily. Cannabis boosts its overall medicinal potential via a synergistic reaction known as the “entourage effect” – when all the cannabinoids, terpenes and other plant compounds are activated together, they complement each other in a way that enhances the potency of all the chemicals. This explains why many like to medicate with full-spectrum products over isolates.
How cannabis can help treat wounds
We aren’t recommending that you just rub a random cannabis topical to heal a deep wound – certainly do your research before purchasing any products for that purpose. However, anecdotal stories of patients who have used whole-plant cannabis oils and creams to clear up wounds and treat a myriad of skin complaints suggest the herb is worth a serious look. Many choose to use Rick Simpson Oil, a full extract, THC-containing cannabis oil.
Solvents, typically ethanol or grain alcohol, are used in the production of full extract weed oil. The process creates a potent essential oil of the herb but takes away several of the therapeutic oils that occur naturally in cannabis. Don’t use topical products made from solvents, as you cannot be completely sure whether what you’re applying to your skin is safe.
However, there are a number of excellent lotions, creams, massage oils and more that are made safely – products made with coconut or almond oil as the carrier oil are of no danger to the skin. In fact, coconut oil is quite beneficial, since it consists of the anti-microbial lauric acid. Self-treating a skin wound can be risky, and it’s always preferable to seek medical advice before applying unfamiliar treatments to your skin.
But let’s look at four great reasons why marijuana could help to heal wounds.
1) Cannabis is a potent antibiotic
The antibiotic properties of cannabinoids such as THC, which were first discovered in 2008, could be of great use going forwards for doctors. The compounds can even kill methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in laboratory conditions – the superbug is bacteria resistant to conventional antibiotics that can increase the pain of open wounds.
With standard medication unable to treat MRSA, the condition is often very hard to stop once a patient has become infected. However, preclinical studies into cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN) and cannabichromene (CBC), in addition to THC and CBD, indicates that there are at least five cannabinoids which are effective against MRSA.
2) Malignant wounds
The Journal of Pain and Symptom Management released a case report back in early 2017 showcasing how topical cannabis could help treat malignant wounds. The study also claimed that topical cannabis has been used to deal with malignant wounds for several centuries.
We’ve all heard stories like Rick Simpson’s, who found great success through cannabis oil and went onto help thousands if not millions of people around the world.
The 2017 study demonstrated how topical cannabis healed a wound on the cheek of a middle-aged man. The patient had found no successful remedy for the malignant wound which was steadily eating through his cheek. Eventually, the doctors permitted the patient to use medical marijuana to combat the pain. They suggested that he vaped cannabis that had a balanced ratio of CBD and the psychoactive THC.
When CBD is present with THC, the psychoactive effects of the latter are nowhere near as pronounced. Furthermore, both cannabinoids are natural analgesics, and helped to relieve the patient’s chronic pain symptoms. The cannabis therapy helped him to reduce his pharmaceutical painkiller intake in less than a month.
He made the switch to topical cannabis to treat the wound directly after initial success with vaporizing. The 44-year-old used a product containing 8 percent CBD and 5.25 percent THC, which used sunflower oil as a carrier oil. The patient applied the treatment on the wound and inside of the cheek, while essentially using the cannabis oil as a mouthwash.
The man treated himself with the cannabis oil four times a day and noted that his pain levels fell around 10 to 15 minutes after each application. The effects of each dose lasted for two hours, and the condition of his wound improved by 5 percent over a four-week period.
However, sadly, the patient had to stop using marijuana after his overall condition deteriorated – he passed away later in 2017.
3) Cannabis treats burns
Ancient civilizations were known to use cannabis topicals to heal cuts and burns, so it’s no surprise this treatment remains a favorite natural remedy. However, research suggests that some of the terpenes in cannabis may be more effective at healing burns than the cannabinoids.
Scientists have drilled down on the effects of the linalool terpenes and consider the compound to have pain-relieving and cooling properties. This combination helps to ease the stinging pain of a burn.
Choose a cannabis oil where you can see the cannabinoid and terpene profile before purchasing and select a product with high concentrations of linalool. If you cannot get hold of a linalool-rich cannabis oil, lavender oil may also be of therapeutic value. Or, you could mix lavender oil with cannabis oil to make a potent linalool remedy that way.
4) Treating pimples and pustules with cannabis topicals
Acne and pimples are not wounds in the typical sense, however the wound-healing properties of CBD could help to treat these skin complaints. Inflamed pimples can be calmed by the anti-inflammatory qualities of this cannabinoid, which also regulates sebum production, to prevent the skin from becoming too oily. Not to mention, CBD is also a powerful anti-bacterial compound.