Skin conditions. They can be harder to deal with than they are to spell.

Rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, dry, cracked, prematurely aging skin. Like any other affliction, these conditions can quickly go from annoying to debilitating.

What has this got to do with cannabis? Well, cannabis is a known anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal AND it’s even a proven antibiotic. It makes sense that, skin, the body’s largest organ, exposed and ever vulnerable, can benefit from these effects.

Let’s talk about the antioxidant properties. A 1998 study published by the National Academy of Sciences found that CBD is a more powerful antioxidant than vitamins E and C. THC was also found to have antioxidant properties.

Antioxidants, bless them, can neutralize free radicals. Do free radicals make you think of unruly armies? Crazy foraging ‘destroy-everything-they–come-in-contact-with’ armies?

They can be!

Free radicals are unstable molecules that harm the cells in your body and cause all sorts of damage from aging to cancer. To help cannabis’ antioxidant capabilities neutralize free radicals, you can vaporize, eat or apply cannabis topically.

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Do not smoke it if you want to avoid free radicals.

Smoking causes further free radical damage, making skin drier and more brittle and potentially exacerbating conditions like aging, rosacea and psoriasis.

Would you like to reverse some of the effects of aging? My skin thanks me when, after a dry brushing, I have a warm shower to help open pores, and then, post-shower, I apply a coconut oil infused with CBD and essential oils (choices include cooling menthol or peppermint post workout, or arnica and lemongrass essential oils, which are known pain relievers, or lavender for its ability to help relax.

If you are dealing with open skin, skip the essential oils and test a small amount of cannabis-infused coconut oil salve on the area first).

I like to make my topical products with coconut oil for a few reasons, such as:

  • Coconut oil readily available at Costco or any grocery store.
  • Coconut oil has among the highest concentration of fatty acids (approximately 80% saturated fats versus 20% in olive oil). This gives it the ability to retain far more cannabinoids during extraction, as cannabis is fat-soluble.
  • Coconut oil is edible and has an agreeable taste.
  • The end product remains solid at room temperature.
  • You can combine your infused coconut oil with beeswax and aloe vera, vitamin E or almond oil to make your salve into an infused lotion or cream.

Since you aren’t using carriers that would help breach the bloodstream (as transdermal patches would) you don’t need to worry about getting the ‘high’ you would get from ingesting cannabis, even if you add active THC.

Personally, I use CBD strains, which act on the CB2 receptors. (As always when using any new products, test it at home first. Things like Epsom salts (magnesium) and alcohol can act as a mild carrier into the bloodstream for instance.

I have a Magical Butter Machine, so after I decarboxylate my 15 grams of CBD in the oven, I follow the directions on their website. Magical Butter Machines retail for $250 in our clinics’ educational areas. If you are thinking about cooking, topicals and tinctures, they are well worth the investment.

There are plenty of recipes online on how to make a cannabis-infused salve using a double boiler or crockpot. We recommend informational sites such as Herb.co or Leafly.com for well-tested plans.

Besides skin conditions, topicals are most popularly chosen for localized pain relief (cramping and headaches), muscle soreness, tension, and inflammation from arthritis.

— Written by Kait Shane, Natural Health Services. Follow Kait on Twitter @Medikait.

For further insight into all things cannabis, don’t forget to check out The Cannabis Show (new episodes every Wednesday) and connect with us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. The Cannabis Show is also available as an audio podcast, subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, TuneIn, and Overcast.

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