Going Skin Deep: How Cannabis Topicals Work
2 min

Going Skin Deep: How Cannabis Topicals Work

2 min
News Research

Lab and clinical trials confirm THC's, CBD's, CBG's efficacy against erythema, acne, inflammations, psoriasis, wounds and other skin diseases. Patients test cannabis remedies in lotions, balms, oils, gels, patches.

The human knowledge about cannabis parts and resins against skin diseases dates back to ancient medicines. Cannabis ointments were prepared as a single plant healing compound or mixed with other herbs, or animal extracts. These last years’ research brought new scientific evidence to ethnic medicine wisdom, as lab tests confirmed cannabinoids can increase our skin’s biochemical defensive reactions. Unfortunately, the discovering of the endocannabinoid system in animals is very recent. Accordingly, today we are able to understand just a little bit of how cannabinoids’ healing mechanisms actually work. An interesting study investigates the role of the endocannabinoid system within our skin tissues growth, differentiation, and diseases.

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Science proved that cannabinoids can lower inflammation in skins’ sebaceous glands. These glands are in charge for maintaining correct skin lubrication, and sometimes they get crazy producing too much grease.

An inflammation of these glands is the first cause for acne. This study was conducted on human sebocytes and it showed cannabinoids’ potential for treating acne, eczema, and similar skin diseases. Researchers reported that mice lacking both CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors displayed exacerbated allergic inflammation. On the contrary, mice with increased levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide expressed less allergic responses.

The non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD seems to behave as a highly effective sebostatic and anti-inflammatory agent, as confirmed by the results of a study on human sebocytes cultures. Cannabinoids are not the only beneficial cannabis components for our skin.

A study shows that a cannabis seeds extract was able to reduce sebum and erythema in human volunteers. Cannabis seeds contain proteins, oil, antioxidants and other compounds which are considered effective in treatments of acne vulgaris, seborrhea, and pustules.

topical cannabis salvesView Topical Cannabis salves


We call "topicals" a wide variety of cannabis-infused lotions, balms, oils, gels and transdermal patches which contain CBD, THC and other cannabinoids or terpenes. This is a new generation of natural medicines or remedies, being developed combining scientific results and patients’ autonomous experience with medical cannabis. Different topical cannabis preparations may contain various agents to facilitate skin absorption. Sometimes they incorporate other herbs, in order to enhance the entourage effect among the natural active ingredients. Many topicals also contain the fragrant terpenes, which are produced by our plant together with cannabinoids, bringing us similar benefits.

Topicals point is providing enough concentration of active principle directly to the injured or inflamed part for localized relief. When we apply cannabis topicals, their cannabinoids bind to the skin’s CB2 receptors, which are part of our endocannabinoid system. Topicals exert their action on a peripheral basis; they don’t reach the bloodstream and the central nervous system, thus they cannot cause any dizziness due to an eventual THC content. Many patients obtain good results against dermatitis and psoriasis, while others choose different kinds of cannabis topicals for pain relief, arthritis, muscle soreness and stiffness.


Jacob Hooy CBD cream

People interested in topicals infused with CBD and other cannabinoids might check out some good products on our CBD cosmetics page, while a viable option is also making a homemade cannabis salve with plant’s trimmings, stems and small buds, adding coconut oil and bees wax. Here is how to make it.


Patients’ and doctors’ experience couples with an increasing number of official clinic trials, indicating that some kinds of cannabinoid topicals developed for treating skin conditions actually go beyond that single therapeutic goal. In legal US states such as Washington, California, Oregon, Colorado, Alaska, patients are crowding dispensaries purchasing topical cannabis products in order to treat or provide relief from conditions such as fibromyalgia, ALS, arthritis, migraines, sunburns and wounds. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of THC and CBD are today widely proven, and several families of different products are hitting a huge market across the ocean.

Some companies are today investigating pathologies and cannabis strains combinations in order to create the most beneficial topicals. As an example, hemp-derived cannabinoid CBG is a new promising active principle both for acne and skin’s aging. Nevertheless, these promises don’t mean today’s cannabinoid products are effective for all the above listed ailments in every single patient.

Despite prejudices, the emerging international cannabis industry showed a lot of responsibility about the quality of food-grade products offered online or in grow shops and dispensaries. This makes us reasonably believe that all topicals purchased from a well-known reseller are reliable, effective and safe. As usual, in case of serious skin issues or injuries it is necessary to consult a doctor before starting any new treatment.


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