It’s been well-documented that cigarette smoking has decidedly negative side effectson your appearance, but should cannabis be looped into the same category? As it turns out, it depends on how you use it and how your body responds.
Studies have shown that CBD can potentially be helpful for fighting acne, too, and may even give your skin a more youthful appearance, thanks to its inflammation-fighting prowess. And here’s yet another anecdotal way cannabis is becoming a BFF for holistic types: It can potentially help relieve pain. Capobianco says she has witnessed cannabis lotion provide super-quick relief countless times. “I could tell you a hundred different stories of people standing in front of me with tennis elbow, a shoulder injury, or some sort of pain, and they use our lotion and 10 minutes later they don’t feel it anymore.”
Science shows why this is the case: “CBD binds to a special set of receptors in the skin known as TRPV-1 receptors, where it can help feelings of heat, itch, and pain,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD, a New York-based dermatologist. “This explains why it has a soothing effect on the skin. Just as other natural oils are used in skin care, the natural fatty acids and antioxidants in hempseed oil make it a good choice for people with dry skin and eczema.”
Marijuana contains powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidants which can protect the skin against damage caused by environmental exposure.
A study published by the National Academy of Sciences in 1998 found that the cannabinoid CBD is a more powerful antioxidant than Vitamins E and C. THC was also found to have antioxidant properties.
Antioxidants protect the skin by neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that harm the cells in your body and cause all sorts of damage, from aging to cancer.
The powerful antioxidants in marijuana may fight aging by protecting the cells in your body against free radical damage.
Marijuana products have also been reported to help treat more serious skin problems, such as cancer.
Marijuana activist Rick Simpson famously used marijuana-infused oil to heal a cancerous growth on his arm. He was already using marijuana oil medicinally, so he tried applying some on the growth directly.
Simpson checked his skin after a few days. To his surprise, the carcinoma was gone. Simpson believes the cannabis oil treated his skin cancer where traditional methods failed.
Marijuana’s effects on skin cancer appear to be more than just anecdotal. A 2003 study found that treatment with cannabinoids caused skin cancer cells to die, while leaving healthy cells unharmed.
The experiment was repeated in living mice with skin tumors and the same results were found. Human trials have not been done yet, but the evidence so far is promising. Marijuana-infused skin creams can also be used to treat rashes, dry skin, and more serious skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties.
Let’s look at some of the ways cannabis-based topicals can take your skincare to a higher level.
There are many things that can damage your skin. Harsh sunlight, hydrocarbons (in the form of smoking), and environmental pollution can prematurely age your skin. These factors can damage cellular DNA, which means your skin will not be able to replicate and repair itself effectively. In addition, toxins can deplete collagen and other natural fatty oils that keep your skin smooth, healthy, and wrinkle free.
Cannabis topicals, however, are loaded with powerful antioxidants, which help prevent and repair genetic damage at the cellular level. Indeed, studies show that cannabinoids pack more punch when it comes “free radical scavengers” than even vitamins A, C, and E. An addition, cannabinoids are loaded with lipids that help keep your skin smooth and elastic.
Skin health can be undermined by fungi, bacteria, and inflammation. These factors have been implicated in common disorders such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema. THC and CBD, however, are powerful anti-inflammatory agents. Therefore, they can help reduce the pus, swelling, and irritation that attends these conditions.
In addition, cannabinoids are also known for their antimicrobial properties. Therefore, they naturally counteract microbes and bacterial infections that give rise to conditions like acne in the first place.
Both THC and CBD appear to have rather potent antitumor properties. In fact, studies involving mice indicate that cannabis-based compounds can shrink melanomas (skin cancers) in mice. As one study noted:
“Collectively, our findings suggest that THC activates noncanonical autophagy-mediated apoptosis of melanoma cells…” In other words, early research suggests that THC kills skin cancer cells.
Muscle tension and soreness
Cannabis is a natural analgesic. Today, many cannabis-based topicals are blended with menthol. These balms can be applied directly to sore regions on the skin–such as arthritic joints–to provide localized pain relief. Cannabis-based balms are not for everyone since they tend to reek. However, they are a great way of getting the analgesic and anti-inflammatory benefits of marijuana, but without getting stoned.
Take your skin care to a ‘higher’ level
According to one group of researchers, “Skin care products that target the endocannabinoid system are likely to be a fundamental element of next-generation cosmetic treatments.”Cannabis-based topicals won’t get you stoned, but they are taking skin care to a much higher level.