Your age is revealing. It tells stories about your life and experience you would rather keep to yourself. It can age with you or ahead of you. You owe some of its condition to your DNA or disease. However, it also reflects your personal life thanks to smoking, drinking, and other vices.
Skin is your body’s largest organ—a complex, multilayered, breathing envelope in which you dwell. And, there is much talk about how cannabis can treat skin and joint problems.
What you need to know about skin
The American Association of Dermatology says, “Your skin keeps all your insides in, from your heart and lungs to your blood and muscles. And unless it's cut or damaged, it keeps stuff out, including germs and water.” However, it might help to look beneath the surface.
- Skin as a respiratory organ: Like tapeworms, leeches, and frogs, humans transfer gases through the skin. We take in oxygen through the skin and release carbon dioxide just as we do through our lungs.
- Skin as a sensory organ: JAMA admits that skin so far defies research analysis: “A vast number of intricate nervous structures, partly autonomic and partly sensory, has invaded every level of the skin: the epidermis, the dermis, and the hypodermis, the hair follicles, the sebaceous and sweat glands, the smooth muscle, and the vascular elements are all entwined by these nerves.” The skin constantly registers its environment whether you’re aware or conscious. It takes temperature, recognizes threats, and relays pleasure and pain through all its layers and elements.
- Skin as a nervous system: The skin contains a complex web of sub-cutaneous nerves that initiate messages to spinal cord and brain. It is a major part of the peripheral nervous system. In ways too complicated to review here, skin holds neurological receptors that report touch, temperature, chemicals, pressure, inflammation, itching, pain, and more. These receptors are spread throughout the skin in varying degrees with some concentration in the genitals. These peripheral nerve receptors also trigger multiple biochemical and cellular responses.
What happens to skin?
There are scores of diseases that affect the skin. They may be diseases of the skin, or the skin problems can be the symptom of other conditions. Some are as serious as fatal cancers and as mild as dry skin. Doctors prescribe medications for diseases, and people spend millions each year on lotions, oils, and balms to relieve their condition or related issues like itching.
What happens to joints?
The pain originating in the body’s joints can be crippling. Each joint is a nexus for nerves, muscles, and tissues—each of which is subject to infection, inflammation, and injury. The many conditions include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, cancer, and more. They are also junctions for the bloodstream’s traffic.
What’s the connection?
Applications as old school as Musterole and Bengay have been rubbed into joints for generations. The massage and some ingredients would work their way into the area around the joint for momentary relief.
The connection? As the skin absorbs the application, it does a couple things. It uses the skin’s respiratory system to send soothing ingredients into the blood system reducing inflammation and modulating pain messages to the brain.
The application will influence the skin as a sensory organ by managing smooth muscle, inflammation in cells and nerves, and rejuvenating cell walls. And, some applications will trigger neuroreceptors, biochemical responses, and muscle relaxation.
What’s cannabis got to do for skin and joints?
The skin is a mode of cannabis consumption. Cannabis topicals are non-toxic and non-intoxicating. Balms, lotions, oils, and transdermal patches relieve localized pains in muscles and joints. And, they do it without the inconvenience and other issues associated with smoking.
It’s only fair to report that inhaled cannabis can provide some of the same and some of the more extensive benefits than skin treatments. However, skin applications provide easy use and surface benefits in treating dried, irritated, or chafed skin.
Here are at least five of the many well-reviewed products available:
- Empower® Black Label is only available in Oregon. Their Topical Relief Oil blends essential oils and carrier oils infused with cannabinoids. Ingredients include a proprietary blend of non-GMO essential oils with wintergreen, bergamot, and Oregon lavender. (A White Label product using hemp-derived cannabinoids is available everywhere.)
- Ambaray Gardens Deep Rub is a concentrated CBD-infused shea butter salve. The Shea butter is mixed with almond oil, Argan oil, Coconut Oil, and 250mg CBD Hemp Extract per jar. You’ll enjoy the feel and aroma of lavender, rosemary, and eucalyptus.
- Baba Salve from Omm Remedies offers a mix of naturally-derived essential oils, butters, and full spectrum CBD with notes of menthol.
- CW Hemp: Unscented Hemp Infused Cream has a creamy texture to absorb easily into the skin. The CW Hemp Oil CO2 Extract is processed with a score of natural ingredients including Shae butters, natural oils, turmeric, Aloe Vera, Vitamins B5 and E.
- Synergy Skin Worx™ leads the market in transdermal patches. Where legal, they are available with High CBD content (21:1 CBD to THC), CBD 1:1 (25mg CBD: 24mg THC), or THC (40mg THC: 0.5mg CBD).
What’s a patient to do?
If you suffer from mild skin conditions or just want to moisturize and rejuvenate, there are cannabis-infused lotions and creams for you. If you feel the pain from fibromyalgia or lupus in your skin, you can massage it away with cannabis-based rubs and balms. If arthritis or other disease irritates your discs or joints, you can rub in pain relief with cannabis lotions or creams. And, if your pain is centered where you can apply a transdermal patch, cannabis patches provide relief up to 36 hours.
People who suffer from conditions that appear in their skin or joints will find relief in prescription medications, some of which can be addictive and all of which have negative side effects. They can smoke cannabis strains known to soothe such problems. Or, you can use these side-effect free, non-toxic, and convenient solutions.