Regardless of where you stand personally on the use of marijuana, it appears that this particular drug is not only here to stay, but is even growing in favor for both professional and personal use.
Case in point, when Gallup conducted a poll in 1969, a mere 12 percent of Americans supported its legalization. However, when this same poll was administered in 2015, some 46 years later, that number shot up to 58 percent—representing a 41 percent increase in the number of people in favor of removing criminality of this particular drug.
But why is this statistic so important to chiropractic professionals?
Cannabis topicals on the rise
Because marijuana is touted for offering pain relief and reduction in muscle tension and spasms, there are more and more topicals (creams, lotions, and oils) infused with cannabis on the market today than ever before.
This makes learning about their uses and effects important to any healthcare professional intent on helping their patients decide if this is the best course of treatment for their particular health or medical condition. That is, as long as you live in one of the states in which these types of products are legal for medical purposes as Drug Policy.org explains that “it is not legal to ship cannabis products from state to state.”
However, the first step involves understanding how these topicals work.
How cannabis topicals work
Cannabis is the hemp plant which marijuana is derived from and, according to an article published in Pharmacology & Therapeutics, topicals that contain this ingredient are able to provide relief due to the cannabis binding itself to CB2 receptors.
CB2 receptors are located in peripheral tissues, or tissues within the immune system and, as Leaf Science explains, this type of binding helps reduce inflammation by changing the way the body’s immune system functions.
Basically, cannabinoids are anti-inflammatory, providing positive effects for patients with many different medical conditions. But what about the high typically associated with this specific drug?
Leafly, a top cannabis information resource, explains that cannabis topicals provide “therapeutic benefits of marijuana without the cerebral euphoria associated with other delivery methods.” In other words, topicals are able to ease pain or reduce inflammation without subjecting the patient to the high commonly felt when ingesting cannabis in other forms.
Cannabis topicals and safety
Americans for Safe Access indicate that cannabis topicals are among the safest methods of cannabis consumption. They go on to say that the exact effects of cannabis on a person’s system depends on a variety of factors, ranging from the amount used to the person’s individual biochemistry, but that “all types of medical cannabis produce effects that are more similar than not, including pain and nausea control, appetite stimulation, reduced muscle spasm, improved sleep, and others.”
What’s most important, according to Americans for Safe Access, is the type of strain and which cannabinoids are being used in the product. For example, they report that “strains with more CBD tend to produce better pain and spasticity relief.” CBD refers to cannabidiol, a cannabinoid that is found in the cannabis plant.
Information presented by Nora D. Volkow, Director of the National Institutue on Drug Abuse, to the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control affirmed the safety of CBD. Specifically, she shared that “a review of 25 studies on the safety and efficacy of CBD did not identify significant side effects across a wide range of dosages.”