Most of us don’t think of skin as an organ, but that’s exactly what it is. In fact, it’s the largest organ in our bodies. So it comes as a surprise that, while there are reliable medicines that target ailments in specific parts of our bodies, we lack effective methods to treat one of the most disruptive injuries people can suffer from – serious burns. Or at least it used to be that way. Recent studies have discovered that everyone’s favorite plant has healing properties. Using cannabis topically is possibly the most underrated of its medical applications. Marijuana oils, creams, salves, lotions, and balms are widely available, yet few even know they exist. Cannabis can heal wounds topically and recent studies support this fact. Research into the effects of cannabis on malignant wounds is particularly valuable, especially as these painful lesions can quickly infect surrounding tissues.
Healing Wounds with Topical Cannabis
Marijuana is truly a unique plant. As a medicinal herb, it stands apart from all others. Not only does it contain psychoactive THC, but it also produces well over 100 different chemical compounds called cannabinoids. Although scientists have only had the opportunity to study a few of them, it is already clear in preliminary results that most are pharmacologically active with immense therapeutic value.
As with other plants, marijuana also produces terpenes, at least 200 of them. These are the aromatic molecules responsible for giving the plant its smell. Different weed cultivators create different terpenes, which are highly responsive to environmental conditions. This is why plants smell different to each other, as each individual has its own unique scent.
Science indicates that terpene levels of just 0.05 percent can have active medical benefits. Although cannabinoid molecules are big and less able to permeate skin, terpenes do not have this problem. They are smaller and abundant in cannabis plants, but the combination of terpenes and cannabinoids is what makes marijuana such an effective wound healing medicine.
4 Reasons to Use Topical Cannabis for Wounds
Safety is always a priority, and with this in mind, it is important to note the risk involved any time you apply any product to an open wound. Having said that, there is sufficient anecdotal evidence of patients using full extract marijuana oils on open wounds successfully, most notably skin cancer wounds, but various other skin afflictions, as well.
Manufacturers use grain alcohol or ethanol as solvents when making full extract cannabis oils. Solvents strip the plant material of beneficial oils, resulting in a concentrated extract of the marijuana plant. Never use oils made with questionable additives or harmful solvents on broken skin. When using lotions or balms, always choose those made with skin-safe oils, such as almond or coconut oil.
Coconut oil, in particular, contains lauric acid. This is a natural anti-microbial agent ideal for preventing infections. When applying any type of topical product onto broken skin, always be mindful of these facts. It is always wise to discuss any type of self-treatment with your physician beforehand. Having said that, here are four reasons to treat wounds with topical cannabis:
1. Malignant Sores
The Journal of Pain and Symptom Management published a case report in January 2017. Its results suggest that topical marijuana can help treat malignant wounds effectively. In fact, people have been using cannabis topically for this very reason for centuries already, and the report even notes this. Consumers have been making global headlines recently for self-treating cancer lesions with weed oils.
This specific report cites using a 44-year old male as a case study. He had a cancerous cheek wound that doctors diagnosed as squamous cell cancer three years earlier. He had undergone chemotherapy, radiation, and even surgery, yet despite this, his cancer continued its destructive path through the side of his cheek.
Initially, the man wanted to use medical marijuana to help treat the associated pain. With his doctor’s permission, he began using vaporized cannabis with both THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, and CBD, or cannabidiol. As the psychoactive compound in cannabis, THC is what makes users high. CBD, on the other hand, is non-psychoactive.
For the man in the case study, vaporized cannabis proved successful in both reducing his discomfort and easing his symptoms. Within one month, he was able to decrease the quantity of pharmaceutical painkillers he was consuming by 25 percent. After this success, he started using topical marijuana directly on his cheek wound.
Infused with sunflower oil, the product he used contained 8.02 percent CBD and 5.24 percent THC. By swishing it around inside his mouth and applying it directly onto the wound, there was five percent healing within just four weeks. He also reported pain relief within 15 minutes of each application. Unfortunately, the man discontinued marijuana treatment after a hospital stay, and has since died.
2. Antibiotic Proof
Back in 2008, scientists published research that proves the antibiotic properties of cannabinoids, such as CBD and THC. In fact, not only did they discover its antibiotic value, they also realized its potency. Marijuana is powerful enough to kill bugs resistant to methicillin, such as Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, in laboratory tests. MRSA is an antibiotic-resistant bacterium responsible for painful wounds.
Because MRSA does not respond to conventional antibiotics, it is exceptionally challenging to treat after an infection takes hold. In preclinical trials, research concludes that some psychotropic cannabinoids, including cannabigerol, or CBG, cannabichromene, or CBD, and cannabinol, or CBN, effectively kills the dreaded MRSA bacteria.
3. Skin Burns
People have been using marijuana as a topical treatment for cuts and burns for most of humankind’s history. However, cannabinoids are not the only marijuana compounds effectively treating burns. Terpenes play a crucial role in burn treatment, most especially but not limited to linalool. Linalool is a terpene found in some marijuana cultivars, and it gives buds a strong lavender scent.
Research indicates that linalool can help burn victims enormously. It has both painkilling and cooling properties, which is particularly effective for treating burn wounds. Always check the terpene profile of the strains you use, and choose those with high concentrations of linalool for treating burns. You can also find linalool in lavender oil, but it does not contain crucial THC or CBDs.
4. Acne and Related Pustules
Although nobody considers pimples wounds, severe acne can cause pustules and facial skin sores. There is early evidence showing how CBD may be helpful in treating acne-related problems. CBD is anti-inflammatory. It is also sebostatic. This means that CBDs can decrease the quantity of sebum produced by skin glands, reducing overall facial oiliness and effectively treating these conditions.
Science is daily proving the health benefits of marijuana and its ability to treat an array of medical conditions, from mild to severe. Used topically, cannabis can reduce scarring, treat wounds and burns, and even cure skin cancer if treatment starts early. Because accidents happen and people cut or wound themselves frequently, it is always wise to have topical cannabis products in a family’s medicine cabinet.