Because our skin is a sophisticated ecosystem, and one that works closely alongside other biological systems such as the endocannabinoid system, the ability to treat it comes with numerous complexities that are far beyond skin deep. In the interest of pain management, the complexities heighten, and while traditional practices have turned toward synthetic medications, CBD is now on the rise as a major player in skin-related treatment options, especially factoring in how the human body is naturally designed to interact with cannabinoids such as THC and CBD.
There are two means of pain management that both involve the skin. The first is transdermal, where an agent (typically a patch) is applied to the skin, where it can then be absorbed by the body to produce a systemic response. Topical on the other hand involves an agent applied directly to the skin—oftentimes a cream, salve, or oil—with the intent of spot treating the specific location. Both relieve pain, both enter through the skin, passing through what’s called the stratum corneum.
Synthetic medications, regardless of transdermal or topical, can temporarily relieve pain but potentially produce adverse effects ranging from skin irritations to even organ damage. The role of oral anti-inflammatories’ dangerous effects on the liver and stomach are well known, though the same can be said for transdermal applications. CBD has quickly become an agent for change in skin-related pain management due to its healing effects and simultaneous elimination of pain.
Known as part of the endocannabinoid system, the body has at least two known cannabinoid-specific receptors that are found widespread throughout the body, so CBD has the capability to directly interact with said receptors and aid in both pain relief and repair.
To break it down a bit further, the first receptor, known as CB1, is found in the central nervous system, and the second (known as CB2) is in the peripheral nervous system, the digestive system and in specialized cells in the immune system. Through these receptors, the endocannabinoid system plays a role in regulating a multitude of important functions, such as:
- immune function
- temperature regulation
- motor control
The body activates the endocannabinoid system with precision, meaning that the ECS is only engaged when and where it’s needed. This allows the system, when activated, to do what it needs to do without disrupting balance. In other words, the endocannabinoid system found throughout our bodies works on a specific and precise cellular level to repair and rebuild a wide variety of ailments, while also helping our bodies maintain a consistent and necessary state of homeostasis. With the ECS helping regulate key aspects of our biology on a molecular level, the incorporation of CBD is not only welcome, but further aids in inflammation reduction, pain relief, and healing. This can be said for both transdermal and topical in two completely different ways. For transdermal, CBD is absorbed systemically, producing a pain reducing response throughout the body with the help of THC. The result is non-toxic pain relief that can enter through the skin with a timed release, as opposed to an oral application. Studies have shown that this approach can be used for such conditions as allergies and even cancer-related pain relief. For one example, a 2015 study published in European Journal of Pain found that transdermal CBD reduced inflammation and pain-related behaviors in a rat model of arthritis, showcasing the therapeutic potential without any evidence of side effects.
Topically, CBD works directly with the skin to begin the process of repair, as it is immediately absorbed into the skin. When paired with other agents like arnica, it can both heal and provide heightened pain relief for such injuries as sprains and strains, along with arthritis. CBD can also aid in direct skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. The reason? CBD acts as an antioxidant , which serves as a barrier for the skin from any free radicals including the sun’s harmful UV rays. These free radicals are key components in producing stress responses to the skin which lead to physical and visible irritation, which includes redness, swelling, dryness and itchiness. tasaLong-term damage can include scarring and even skin cancer. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties and assistance in lipids production, CBD both relieves pain and moisturizes the skin while providing a total benefit to the body while shielding the skin. The result is a win-win.
CBD can also aid in direct skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis . The reason? CBD acts as an antioxidant, which serves as a barrier for the skin from any free radicals including the sun’s harmful UV rays.
CBD's antioxidant properties, paired with its versatility, has made it an increasingly popular ingredient in drug-free pain management practices and holistic approaches to skin and overall body health. Studies have shown that CBD not only assists with a wide range of skin-related ailments, it also serves as a nutrient for the skin and body. This greatly reduces the risks of organ toxicity from the application of synthetic medications.
Whether transdermal or topical, CBD is moving up the ranks as a valued asset to one's drug-free pain management practice.