Cannabis Skincare: Just a Fad, or Here to Stay?

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Every year it seems there’s a new lineup of skincare products promising to do wonders for your skin. They claim to be clinically-tested miracle solutions for various skin issues ranging from acne to eczema and even wrinkles, but they are rarely live up to the hype. So, it’s natural to be skeptical about cannabinoid products and their usefulness in improving your skin.

Marijuana topicals comprise a wide range of balms, lotions, salves, creams, and oils that have been infused with cannabis. When absorbed through the skin, they can provide targeted relief for various forms of pain and inflammation. For those concerned about any psychoactive effects or “high” often associated with marijuana, it’s important to note that although topicals contain cannabinoid elements, they are non-psychoactive.

There’s still plenty of debate around the efficacy of these products, and results may vary depending on the individual user. So, Do Cannabis Skin Care Products work? Logically, one would expect that they would. Biologically speaking, your body has something called an endocannabinoid system (ECS) when is a group of endogenous cannabinoid receptors in your brain and throughout your nervous system. This system is involved a number of physiological processes and can help regulate things like your appetite, mood, and even your level of physical pain. In other words, your ECS helps maintain homeostasis throughout your body.

Cannabis-based skincare products may be limited in their efficacy due in part to the fact that it mostly affects anatomical structures within 1 centimeter of your skin. Deeper issues such in your muscular or skeletal system may be too “deep” to be actively relieved by a topical cream or balm.

However, your skin itself is an organ—the largest organ in your body, actually. And your skin performs a lot of functions that may not readily occur to most people. Your skin cells have the ability to synthesize vitamin D, it protects your internal organs, and can help regulate body temperature. So keeping your skin healthy is key to an overall healthy body.

The antioxidants and anti-inflammatories in cannabis topicals can help combat dry skin and rashes which can lead to other long term skin problems such as persistent wrinkles. In addition, these products are often combined with other scientifically proven analgesic compounds such as menthol, capsaicin, or camphor.

So are cannabis skincare products the latest “fountain of youth” we’ve all been searching for? Well, they say that beauty is only skin deep, so if you’re trying to improve the look and feel of your skin, it might be worth a shot. Will it stick around for a while? The odds seem good, and we’ve already become accustomed to seeing hemp oil used in various shampoos, lotions, and other body care products. So it’s not difficult to envision a future in which we are all stocking up on cannabis topicals to improve our epidermis. Whether or not it will work for you in treating a pesky skin issue, you may just have to try it out for yourself, and as always, consult a physician for serious skin issues.

Originally published at www.medicalmarijuana.com on August 4, 2017.

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Sleep Apnea and Medical Marijuana

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“Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.”- Thomas Dekker

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing stops and starts at irregular intervals. There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea, the more common form that occurs when throat muscles relax, and central sleep apnea, which occurs when your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. Some people may have a combination of the two called, complex sleep apnea. Individuals who suffer from sleep apnea are rarely aware of their difficulty breathing, even upon awakening.

Some major signs of sleep apnea include loud and chronic snoring, choking, snorting, or gasping during sleep, long pauses in breathing, daytime sleepiness (no matter how much time you spend in bed), insomnia, forgetfulness, morning headaches and more. If you think you might have sleep apnea, see your doctor. Treatment is necessary to avoid heart problems and other complications.

There are many different treatments to sleep apnea. Some of which are as simple as sleeping on your side or propping your head up, doing throat exercises, and changing your diet, but others can include prescription drugs, CPAP masks, and surgery.

How can cannabis help?

The journal of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, researchers at the University of Illinois Department of Medicine reported “potent suppression” of sleep-related apnea in rats administered either exogenous or endogenous cannabinoids. Investigators reported that doses of delta-9-THC and the endocannabinoid oleamide each stabilized respiration during sleep and blocked serotonin-induced exacerbation of sleep apnea in a statistically significant manner. Several recent preclinical and clinical trials have reported on the use of THC, natural cannabis extracts and endocannabinoids to induce sleep and/or improve sleep quality.

Following the positive results of this pre-clinical trial, lead author Dr. David Carley published the first human trial to investigate the effects of THC (dronabinol) on sleep apnea. The results showed an overall reduction in apnea indexes of 32%, despite significant variance between patients. Even though a 32% reduction is minor when compared to the effectiveness of current treatment options (such as CPAP and oral devices), the authors suggest that cannabinoid medications could still be of benefit to patients who suffer from mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea, and could do so in a much more natural way.

Currently, researchers are studying a synthetic cannabis based pill, called dronabinol, that might be viable, and a much less intrusive, treatment for sleep apnea if approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Originally published on www.medicalmarijuana.com on August 31, 2016.