If you’re a human being, you’ve had skin problems. Acne, eczema, dryness, itchiness, rosacea, random rashes, blotchiness, discoloration, that forehead shine—you get the unattractive picture. We’ve all used a filter to disguise one or more of these conditions that at times seem totally untreatable. We owe it to ourselves—and our largest organ—to protect our skin from the ravages of this nasty world to the best of our ability. Cannabis, a plant with an incredible array of therapeutic attributes, may very well be a way to do just that.
When you think cannabis, the first thing that comes to mind probably isn’t skin care. However, the same mechanism by which you achieve the most glorious high is the one that can have incredibly therapeutic effects on the skin. That mechanism is the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is comprised of endocannabinoids and their receptors and is responsible for the facilitation of essential functions including temperature regulation, digestion, memory, mood, pain, sleep, reproduction, pleasure and reward, motor control, and immunity. Its fundamental task is to promote internal stability, and that is why cannabis consumption usually leaves people feeling mellow and uplifted—they’re bodies are synergizing with the plant’s incredibly therapeutic compounds.
When it comes specifically to skincare, cannabis demonstrates anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Free radicals are a constant danger to our skin and overall health, but anti-oxidants help us temper their destructive effects by preventing them from destroying our cells. A slew of skin conditions are caused by inflammation, so cannabis’ potential to reduce that root problem make it a possible therapy for skin disorders like dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, and rosacea. Cannabis infused topicals thus have the potential to prevent premature aging, enhance our bodies’ healing mechanisms, and prevent the root cause of an array of skin conditions.
The Way Cannabis Enters the Body Matters
Cannabis consumption is a great way to reduce stress, and it is undeniable that stress is a risk factor for a host of nasty conditions including unhealthy skin. However, not every intake method is equal, and if skincare is a priority, there are definitely methods to avoid. Combustion, for example, is probably the least healthy way (ironically the most popular way) to consume cannabis. The process of combustion produces carcinogens that are bad for skin and irritating to the throat and lungs. Vaporizing is a far better alternative since the heating element used for that process does not actually cause the oil or flower to burn.
Edibles could be a great way to consume cannabis, but depending on the nutritional value of said snack, they could also be terrible for health despite the cannabinoids. Foods like refined sugar, dairy, and trans and saturated fats are not great for the skin and can cause acne outbreaks and premature wrinkling. So while there might be cannabis somewhere in that delicious cookie, there are also a whole lot of other ingredients that might counteract all of the good the cannabis would have done to revitalize skin health.
Topicals are a way to directly expose the skin to the benefits of cannabis without allowing cannabinoids to be absorbed into the bloodstream. So if you’re looking to get stoned, don’t think that dispensing the entire bottle of lotion on your arms is going to get you any higher than eating a bowl of hemp seeds. You might end up with really moisturized arms, though.
The following products are only available in select locations since THC is still federally illegal and the state-legalized cannabis industry is still growing. If you live in one of the 29 states that have legalized cannabis or the District of Columbia and one of these products is in a store near you, you might want to give it a try. None of these products will get you high, but all of them will still make you feel good.
Mary’s Medicinals Topical Compound
This balm contains 100mg of cannabinoids including CBDA and THCA. The compound is applied directly to the skin and is designed to alleviate pain, inflammation, and muscle soreness. Rubbing the balm at the source of pain provides quick relief without inducing psychoactive effects.
Mary’s Medicinals products are available in Arizona, Colorado, California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.
Whoopi & Maya Medical Cannabis Rub
This brand is specifically designed for women seeking relief from menstrual discomfort. The rub is made of beeswax, essential oils, THC, and CBD. The cannabinoids work synergistically with these natural ingredients to create a soothing experience for a woman who is in pain or who just wants to enjoy the relaxing (but not psychoactive) effect of this rich topical.
Whoopi & Maya products are available in California and Colorado.
Flour Child Balm
Flour Child Balm is made with delicious ingredients like mango butter, avocado oil, sunflower oil, and cannabis, of course. This balm does not cause users to get high but promises quick relief for painful conditions like sciatica, arthritis, and muscular or joint pain. The balm’s anti-inflammatory properties can also be used to treat skin conditions such as burns, sunburns, eczema, and psoriasis.
Flour Child products are available for delivery throughout California.
Dixie Synergy Relief Balm
Since it is absorbed through the skin and not the bloodstream, this excellent choice for chronic pain relief will not get users high. However, its 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD does promise to provide powerful therapeutic effects for the alleviation of pain. In addition to cannabis, the balm is made with natural ingredients including olive fruit oil, beeswax, cocoa seed butter, and lavender flower oil.
You can find this product in California, Colorado, or Nevada.
Dixie Synergy Cool Balm
Made with the cooling oils of peppermint, eucalyptus leaf, pine needle, and German chamomile, this balm uses the power of aromatherapy in conjunction with the healing properties of THC and CBD to offer a versatile topical. This cooling balm can be used to promote blood flow and skin repair as well as to relieve muscle cramps, itching and irritation, and dry and damaged skin.
You can find this product in Colorado.