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Cannabis topicals have numerous medicinal uses for patients seeking natural forms of treatment. When applied directly to the skin, the revolutionary formula has been linked to reduced pain, inflammation and skin infections. The benefits of cannabis topicals may also extend to easing the spread of aggressive injuries and wounds.

Earlier this year, a group of scientists published a report in the January issue of the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management that shows just how effective cannabis topicals can be in addressing destructive, disease-related wounds. Researchers highlighted the account of a 44-year-old patient based in Canada, who at the time was suffering from oral cancer.

Read on to understand how the man used cannabis topicals to heal his body in the fight against one of the world’s most devastating diseases.

Wound-healing Benefits

According to the report, the patient was diagnosed with oral cancer in 2013. He underwent surgery to remove tumors that emerged in his right cheek. Unfortunately, his efforts were unsuccessful, as the cancer returned – despite rounds of radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Three years later, the man was treated at a palliative-care clinic in Toronto, under the care of Dr. Vincent Maida, an associate professor in the Division of Palliative Care at the University of Toronto.

The patient was prescribed vaporized cannabis to ease pain associated with the condition. This also helped reduce his reliance on prescription opioids. Eventually, he had to stop treatment due to a hole that formed on his cheek. Maida then issued the use of cannabis oil as an alternative to vaporized cannabis. While applying the topical at a rate of four times per day for an entire month, the patient noticed that the wound stopped growing.

Moreover, it also decreased in size, by roughly five percent in the following month. Pain relief that came with the treatment lasted for two hours after applying the cannabis oil. In a major twist of events, the patient died from cancer-related complications arising out of severe deterioration of his condition.

History and Applications

Cannabis topicals have been around for centuries. The use of the plant to treat wounds, aggressive infections and heavy burns dates back to 2,700 BC. During this period, Shen-Nung, a prominent Chinese emperor, applied cannabis (along with other herbs) to exploratory treatments, which earned him the title “Father of Chinese Medicine”.

In other parts of the world, people also used cannabis concentrates in a similar manner. In 1751, Thomas Short explored the application of specially prepared cannabis in his book Medicina Britannica. The author used the formula to address wounds, ulcers, burns and insect bites.

It is important to point out that cannabis topicals are incredibly useful for patients who want to limit the psychoactive effects of the herb during treatment. Since CB1 and CB2 receptors are present in human skin, hair and sweat glands, individuals can directly apply the medicinal rub on the target area without cerebral stimulation. This makes the treatment suitable for the elderly, pediatric patients and people who are sensitive to the effects of cannabis.

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