Does topical cannabis really work?

October 14, 2019

Some people have doubts about cannabis products such as creams and ointments. It is common knowledge that cannabinoids work through the bloodstream and endocannabinoid receptors only when they are ingested directly.  However what about topical products?

 

The skin is the largest organ of the human body.  It is the first point of contact with the world around us and is responsible for protecting our internal organs from the sun. The skin is surprisingly active. Its cells help synthesize vitamin D, regulate body temperature and detect environmental changes.

 

1.- Does topical treatment act as a placebo?

 

Studies conducted on cannabis topical application on the skin have demonstrated anti-inflammatory mechanisms; reduced pain in diseases such as rheumatic arthritis and created doubts as to  whether their effects are simply placebo.

 

It is a common misconception that cannabinoid receptors only concentrate on the central nervous system and in the brain. In fact, cannabinoid receptors are found throughout the body, including the skin, intestines and reproductive organs. The fact that these cellular sites cover a wide range of body parts indicates the importance of endocannabinoids for our basic health and physiological functions. This is not a placebo effect. Below we will briefly explain the endocannabinoid system in the skin, how it works and what it is for.

Let's add to the complex structure of the skin the cannabinoid receptors that coexist within it. Each part of this integumentary system has a function, whether regulatory or sensory, that collectively executes necessary mechanisms for perfect physiological homeostasis. The parts of this system are:

 

• The epidermis

•Hair follicles

•Sebaceous glands

• Sweat glands

• Immune cells

• sensory nerves

 

 

 

The role of the endocannabinoid system in the skin is proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, and production of cytokines, hormonal mediators of various types of skin cells and appendages. The two main receptors that process chemical messages from cannabinoids are called CB1 and CB2, the latter possessing the highest number of skin cells that can be activated by CBD Phytocannabinoid.

 

2.- How are endocannabinoids produced in the skin?

 

Cannabinoids in the skin are synthesized by various types of cells in the epidermis, hair follicles, and sebaceous glands. Anandamide (AEA) and 2-AG are the molecules that are constantly released in specific amounts, depending on the need of the organ. The endocannabinoid system is expressed in the sweat glands, in the hair follicles, and in certain sensory nerve endings.

 

This has shown that Many skin conditions or diseases, muscle aches, and even more dangerous diseases, such as cancer, can draw benefit from cannabis plant properties.

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