- As with many other conditions, cannabis has proven to be a great resource to allay the symptoms of various skin diseases. Cannabis oils and creams made from the plant make a big difference for many patients for whom more traditional medicines do not work.
Cannabis is most commonly consumed via combustion, vaporisation or the ingestion of different edibles. However, its topical use is increasingly popular, boasting many advantages that can benefit people with diseases that manifest on the skin. Whether in the form of an oil, ointment or cream, cannabis helps reduce a whole amalgam of symptoms in patients with conditions such as psoriasis, Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria (CIU), and atopic dermatitis, among others.
One of its most notable qualities is its anti-inflammatory effect. Various scientific studies have found that both THC and CBD have very beneficial properties in the treatment of the joint inflammation associated with most of these ailments, representing one of the biggest problems for patients.
In addition, various cannabinoids present in the plant – such as D9-THC, CBD, CBN, CBC and CBG – also have an important anti-fungal and antibiotic capacity, key to treating skin wounds and blemishes that appear as a result of these ailments.
A remedy for every disease
Although cannabis-based oils and creams constitute good treatments for a long list of skin diseases, studies, research and the experience of patients who have used them have identified some keys to treating various ailments.
A 2007 study conducted by the University of Nottingham, UK, showed that cannabinoid compounds function as inhibitors of the spread of keratinocytes, the predominant cells in the epidermis. This makes cannabis, and especially CBD oil, an effective way to treat psoriasis, a disease characterised by the hyperproliferation of these cells.
And this was not the only study that came to this conclusion on CBD. A 2011 study, and another from 2013, confirmed this data, specifying that it is the activation of the CB1 receptor that inhibits the inflammation and proliferation of keratinocytes; these same cells are also involved in the development of certain skin cancers.
For all these reasons, the topical use CBD oil is especially recommended, because it not only helps reduce the itching generated by psoriasis, but also helps to reduce its extension and the degree of inflammation. Some experts also recommend the use of cannabis creams whose ingredients include moisturising agents, such as coconut oil or Shea butter, in order to help the skin regenerate.
In the case of acne, another study, published in 2014 and conducted by experts from a conglomerate of institutions, including the University of Manchester (UK) and the University of Osaka (Japan), reported that the lipostatic, antiproliferative and antinflammatory properties of CBD make it an ideal therapeutic agent to deal with this malady, which affects the sebaceous glands.
Regarding other pathologies, the regular and consistent use of creams and oils that help control skin outbreaks should be combined with the vaporising of cannabis in those cases in which joint pain and inflammation are serious.
Massages for joint pain
One of the common symptoms suffered by those with skin diseases, such as psoriasis, or CIU, is the pain caused by joint inflammation. In these cases, besides using ointments and creams, body massages with cannabis-based topical products can be of great help to improve patients' quality of life.
In fact, in Spain there are now different massage and physiotherapy clinics using these products due to their medical properties and the relief that they are capable of providing. Dr. García de Palau, medical director at the Kalapa Clinic (the first clinic in Spain specialising in treatments with medical cannabis), explains that cannabis-based topical products work better against certain diseases than traditional ones. One reason, according to this doctor, is that cannabinoids are not soluble in water, but they are in fats and organic solvents. Therefore, when applied they are absorbed much better than other substances, and can be much more effective.
Cannabis in diets
In addition to using topical products containing cannabis to treat skin diseases, the use of cannabis preparations can also be very beneficial for patients. Hemp oil, for example, contains essential omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, necessary for the production of healthy cells and, therefore, healthy skin.
In this regard a Finnish study published in 2005 compared hemp seed oil with olive oil, and found that the cannabis-based product was more effective against eczema. This is due to the fact that including it in the diet increases endogenous levels of the two essential fatty acids mentioned, and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Its ingestion also reduced Transepidermal Water Loss (TWL), levels of skin dryness and itching, and improved the perceived need for medication among patients.
Acquiring these products
Although getting cannabis-based creams and products at pharmacies is not yet a possibility in Spain, buying them online is not very difficult. Brands like My CBD, Dixie Elixirs, Apothecanna, Trompetol and Cannavitrol are good options for creams or lotions. If none of these products convinces you, you can also choose to make your own home remedy.
Should you choose to make a cannabis cream yourself, the process is not too complicated. First you'll have to have the ingredients ready: about 10 grams of buds of whatever marihuana you choose (Purple Orange CBD, Amnesia CBD or OG Kush CBD, for example), coconut oil (a coffee cup), 30 grams of beeswax, and an essential oil with aromatic properties will be all you need.
Then you can begin to prepare it. First, decarboxylate the cannabis by placing the flowers in the oven at 120° C for about 20 minutes. While the grass is in the oven, warm the coconut oil in a saucepan, stirring it over low heat. When the flowers are ready, add them to the saucepan and, after mixing them with the oil, cook them for 20 minutes, again over low heat.
Then remove the saucepan and strain the mixture to prevent any woody debris. Then it's time for the final steps, which will require a bit of precision with the measurements: in the saucepan, mix one part beeswax to five of the cannabis and coconut oil mixture. For example, if you use tablespoons, mix 5 of the cannabis substance with 1 of the beeswax. Once well mixed it is time to remove it from the heat and add whatever essential oil you have chosen to give it an even more special scent.
By following these simple steps you will be able to produce a cannabis cream with which to treat skin ailments, a natural product that makes a big difference in the lives of many patients, who improve thanks to the therapeutic effects of cannabis-based topical remedies.