When people think about cannabis, the first thing that often comes to mind is the waft of smoke curling overhead, creating a sense of calm. But, this isn’t the only way that cannabis can be used to relax the body. For those that do not like to smoke, who are looking to soothe sore muscles or looking for natural healing possibilities, topical cannabis is the way to go.
Sensory Integration with the Central and Peripheral Nervous System
In the skin, there are hundreds of millions of receptors. These receptors range from the tonic receptors in our fingers that are telling us what we are touching to the phasic receptors that sense the soft fabric of a shirt that we have just put on our backs. Receptors are what send the afferent message to the brain that something is hot, that something is painful or that something is moving across the skin.
The receptors in our skin and muscles follow two pathways. There is central pathway that sends messages to the brain and the peripheral pathway responsible for more basic messages that terminate at the spinal cord. New studies are being published in the National Institute of Health finding that the skin has receptors that are activated by certain cannabis factors.
Cannabinoid Receptor 1 and 2 have been linked to the central nervous system, peripheral nervous system and immune system. Finding these receptors is the link to topical cannabis being related to anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive, or pain relieving, properties. When used in this fashion cannabis is purely therapeutic. There is not the psychotropic high that is so taboo, only the healing benefits of the oils.
The Essential Elements Within Topical Cannabis
Similar to the way there are so many strains of cannabis, there are many levels of topical cannabis. The important element to consider is what essential oils are being extracted and combined. Two of the pertinent cannabis factors that should be sought include:
- THC: Tetrahydrocannabinol known for mild analgesic effects creating a sense of pain relief and relaxation through alteration of neurotransmitter released from the dorsal root ganglion in the spinal cord.
- CBD: Cannabidiol known as the non-psychoactive component of Cannabis Sativa being highly studied for it’s pain relief and relief of epileptic and muscle twitch symptoms.
These building blocks of cannabis have been used in medicine for centuries and today the evidence is building for their therapeutic benefits. It is amazing to think that there is something so potent and powerful out there — something so natural — that could help reduce inflammation, decrease arthritis symptoms, decrease seizures and muscle spasms and react so seamlessly with our bodies own receptors.
Combining THC and CBD with Essential Oils
When it comes to topical cannabis the benefits can be enhanced depending on what the cannabinoids are combined with. Many essential oils have been used for centuries and are known for their own medicinal properties. In great topicals you will find a blend of ingredients to maximize pain relief, moisture, anti-inflammatory or other benefits. Some of the important complimentary ingredients to look for include: