Cannabinoid medical aids might seem like a new trend, but they are thousands of years old.
Evidence of topical use of the cannabis plant for various ails has been found as long ago as the Ancient Egyptian Empire. Cannabis was employed by our ancestors as an anti-inflammatory cure for skin problems, muscle problems, as an anesthetic, and to disinfect things.
Now this plant and its derivates are enjoying a booming revival. Many people are turning to them as a supplement to, or even outright replacement for, traditional medicine in various contexts.
What are CBD salves?
They are a type of topically applied alternative medicine, with cannabidiol as their active ingredient. Related items include oils, moisturizers, balms, creams, and lotions. We asked the experts at Cheef botanicals to tell us more about them.
For any of these medicines to work, they have to be applied directly to the skin, as close as possible to the area that needs them. Once they get absorbed into the system, they can help with conditions such as skin irritation, muscle soreness, and pain of various kinds.
When you can get the potency and dose right, a good CBD salve can be a very effective ally. It can help alleviate a range of issues, from dermatitis, through psoriasis, through ordinary soreness, to even light arthritis if applied in the area of a joint, e.g. your knees.
In addition to all those benefits, you will not need to deal with the nasty diverse effects that synthetic medicine inevitably features. And speaking of synthetic medicine, check out this article to find out how CBD interacts with regular medication.
What is their mechanism of effect?
Like we said, these salves are applied topically to specific areas of the skin to ease conditions like itchiness, soreness, pain, irritation, and the like. The cannabinoid is absorbed through the skin and remains in its various layers and sublayers, through it doesn’t enter the bloodstream outright, since it doesn’t get directly consumed.
We rarely tend to think of the skin as an organ, but it is. Our skin is our single biggest organ, and it does amazing things for the body. Among its many other functionalities, skin can absorb water, as well as liquid lipids (i.e. molecules of fats and oils which constitute our cells).This means that a salve will also get absorbed, at least partially, and with it all of its lovely hempy goodness.
To be more specific about this process, what happens is that the CBD from the salve interacts with our endocannabinoid system (often seen as the acronym ECS). The endocannabinoid system’s job is to maintain a balanced state between all the various components that make up our bodies. Among other things, it is involved with how the skin reacts to alien molecules interacting with it. The ECS is comprised of natural cannabinoid receptors which all vertebrates (creatures with a spine) have. Those receptors are connected to other systems in our organisms. This allows them to manage how our bodies respond to pain, how sensitive our skin is, how our hormones behave, how our immune system will respond to threats or potential threats, and so on.
When the molecules of cannabinoid that are infused into the salve come across the endocannabinoid receptors and start interacting, this is where the body begins to reap the health improvement benefits of CBD. WHO (short for World Health Organization, let’s just clear that up right away) has published a report which says that there is no risk of CBD being abused or being able to cause addiction. You can read that report on this page: https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/CannabidiolCriticalReview.pdf
How do they help with pain?
They help quickly and locally. Being topical medicine, the salves are absorbed fast and produce almost immediate noticeable results. Tension, soreness, itchiness, inflammation, and swelling are all quickly taken care of.
Obviously, they are best suited to treating conditions that are themselves topical. This includes swelling, rashes, hives, sprains and the like. Joint pain can also be eased if sufficiently close to the surface: think wrists, ankles, knuckles, elbows. For more physiological pain like a migraine, an ingestible would work better.