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What Exactly are Cannabis Topicals? How do They Function?

Sep 15

The advantages of cannabis topicals are varied and intriguing. As it turns out, cannabis oil is useful on the inside as well as the outside. In addition to Omega 3 and 6, the oil extracted from the Cannabis Sativa plant is packed with other beneficial elements.

It works well as a skin emollient and provides essential nutrients. The cannabinoid components of the oil have an analgesic effect, which may have far-reaching consequences on the tissue.

Their main benefit is decreasing inflammation, but they may also help skin stay supple if applied topically. Cannabinoids reduce joint pain and inflammation by interacting with the body's own endocannabinoid receptors. In addition, cannabinoids in cannabis have been demonstrated to inhibit pain transmission to neighboring nervous system tissue.

Two of the numerous cannabinoids found in cannabis are cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD and THC both interact with cannabinoid receptors in the body to alleviate or mitigate symptoms of a number of disorders.

CBD and THC have similar chemical structures while having distinct pharmacological actions. They each contain 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. But a little difference in the way the atoms are arranged is what distinguishes CBD from THC.

Tetrahydrocannabinol, often known as THC, is the primary psychoactive component of cannabis. It is one of 113 different cannabinoids that have been identified.

What Are Topical Cannabis Products?

The word "topical" is used to describe a broad variety of cannabis-infused products that are intended for external usage. Topical cannabis products include moisturizing ingredients such as lotions and balms such as ointments that have been infused with cannabis oil.

 In fact, anything that is applied directly to the skin rather than being ingested is considered topical. 

Topicals may vary from being very potent (produced from raw Cannabis oil) to have very little effect (infused with very little amounts of THC or CBD). Unlike the more publicized markets for sweets and vape pens, the one for cannabis topicals is still unexplored.

Creams and balms infused with cannabis are the most popular topicals sold at dispensaries, and they may also have cosmetic advantages.

In recent years, businesspeople in the cannabis industry have added a wide variety of new products to the market, including scented candles, edibles, topical patches, sprays, and sex lubricants. You can have whatever you desire and whatever kind of physical experiences you want.

Cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), which are often found in topicals, each have distinct therapeutic effects when applied topically.

Working Dynamics of THC

Cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, which are a component of the body's endogenous cannabinoid system, are the targets of THC's binding. Although there is some binding to CB2 receptors, the majority of the effects of THC come from its interaction with CB1 receptors.


However, it is known that CB1 receptors typically express in the central nervous system (CNS), whereas CB2 receptors are expressed in the peripheral nervous system (PNS), immune cells, and organs. The expression and route of these receptors are currently the subjects of study.


It is believed that the binding of CB1 receptors in the central nervous system (CNS) by THC is responsible for its effects on emesis, hunger, and pain. Through this mechanism, THC affects the sensory, somatic, and cognitive experience.


Cannabis helps the body return to its normal state of homeostasis and lowers inflammation as a consequence of its interaction with the CB2 receptors found throughout the body. It has been shown to be helpful for a variety of illnesses, including muscle spasms, arthritis, and Crohn's disease, and these results have been seen in this context.


The human body generally does a good job of keeping foreign objects out of the circulatory system. When applied topically, THC does not reach the circulation or bind to CB1 receptors.


Since this is the case, the intoxicating effects of THC in topicals are usually muted. We shall discuss why patches laced with marijuana are an exception in the following section.


The endocannabinoid system is a network of receptors that medical marijuana uses to exert its effects. Since the endocannabinoid system regulates homeostasis or internal equilibrium, cannabis may affect a broad range of symptoms, not only chronic pain and inflammation.


These receptors, which are widespread, are especially dense along the nerve fibers that traverse our skin. To alleviate pain and reduce inflammation, cannabinoids found in topical creams interact with these receptors. The antimicrobial and immune-regulating effects of cannabis applied topically are also helpful. Patients suffering from psoriasis, eczema, and persistent infections on the skin often utilize cannabis topicals to alleviate pain and speed recovery.


When it comes to the treatment of OSA (Obstructive sleep apnea), it would seem that THC acts as a serotonin antagonist in the parasympathetic nervous system. The neurotransmitter serotonin plays a role in the regulation of respiration, and problems with its control have been linked to irregular breathing patterns during sleep.


Since the benefits of topical cannabis are felt solely at the application site, there is no risk of intoxication from the THC they contain in comparison to smoking or ingesting the drug.


Cannabidiol (CBD) topicals are applied to the skin and may come in a wide variety of forms, including but not limited to lotions, oils, patches, sprays, soaps, lubricants, bath salts, and cold or heated balms; many of these products are infused with essential oils and other

Used for symptoms

Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC for short, is the primary psychoactive cannabinoid extracted from the cannabis plant, often known as marijuana.


Although its psychotropic qualities led to its historical usage for recreational reasons, there has been a recent uptick in research towards the possibility of medical uses.


The FDA has approved synthetic versions of THC, including nabilone and dronabinol, for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.


The Food and Drug Administration has also greenlighted the use of dronabinol to treat anorexia caused by HIV/AIDS.


Only these two drugs include synthetic forms of THC that are legal in the United States, according to the Food and Drug Administration. 


Despite the fact that marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug at the federal level, indicating that it has no accepted medical value and significant potential for abuse, its use for therapeutic reasons has been allowed in a number of states.


According to the 2017 guidelines given by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, THC alone is not an effective treatment for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. There is some evidence that THC may be effective as an addition to standard antiemetic medication for cases of nausea and vomiting that do not respond to ondansetron.


Scientists are now investigating several off-label uses for THC. Randomized controlled trials showed that the synthetic THC dronabinol improved respiratory stability in those with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).


Long-term acceptability, safety, and usefulness still need further research. Therefore, at this time, it is not recommended for use in treating OSA by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

To Wrap it Up

Both cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are produced by cannabis plants. In spite of the fact that their structures are comparable and that they both have the potential to cure similar conditions, the most significant distinction between them is that THC may lead to psychoactive effects, whereas CBD does not.


Before obtaining THC for their own use, individuals should make sure they are aware of the legal requirements in their area. CBD and THC are both still considered to be used in narcotics at the federal level, and medical or recreational use of these compounds is only permitted in a few states.