Are cannabinoids absorbed through the skin?

Cannabinoids are known to be crucial elements in pain relief and healing with cannabis. However, there are different ways to administer them in our body, including marijuana cream. Therefore, many people want to know if cannabinoids are absorbed through the skin, and how they interact with the skin.

In this article we will talk about how cannabinoids are absorbed into the skin. We also explain the role of cannabinoids in our body, as well as the potential dermatological problems that can arise.

What are cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are a type of chemical compound derived from hemp and cannabis. These compounds interact directly with cannabinoid receptors, which in turn are part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
cannabinoid receptors
cannabinoid receptors, which in turn are part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Cannabinoids are in fact responsible for activating the cb1 and cb2 receptors in the brain and our body.

Once both receptors are activated, it is possible to experience an improvement in the functioning of different systems and organs of the body. It is also important to mention that cannabinoids, like terpenes, grow in the resin glands of both the flower and the leaves of the cannabis plant.

Terpenes and cannabinoids have to work together to amplify the benefits of the individual components of cannabis.

cannabinoids are absorbed through the skin

How do cannabinoids work in our body?

The structure of cannabinoids is similar to that of neurotransmitters, usually called endocannabinoids. These neurotransmitters are found in the body’s central and peripheral nervous system, forming a network known as the endocannabinoid system.

The two types of receptors that communicate with endocannabinoids are the cb1 and cb2 receptors. As mentioned above, these receptors can influence the functioning of organs and body systems. In fact, the way these receptors communicate can affect how we feel emotionally and physically.

The endocannabinoid system is responsible for controlling the central physiological processes of our body, including mood, pain, memory, appetite, among others. If the nervous system fails, the compounds derived from cannabis help our body to regain its natural balance and stability.

Can can cannabinoids be absorbed through the skin?

It is common for cannabinoids to be consumed orally, sublingually, or even inhaled with a vaporizer. However, certain types of cannabinoids, such as CBD, are also available in different presentations of cosmetic products. These include everything from marijuana ointment to creams and lotions. In other words, they are applied topically to the skin.

However, the questions that arise in this regard have to do with how they influence the skin. Many even wonder if a marijuana cream can pass through the protective barrier, or do these products simply generate their effects superficially.

There is also the belief that once an ointment with cannabinoids is applied to the skin, these substances penetrate into the bloodstream. However, it all depends on each case. That is, CBD, like other cannabinoids, can be applied to the skin in two different ways: one is topical, and the other is transdermal.

Topical application

Cannabinoids can be applied topically using marijuana ointment, creams, lotions, and other similar products. That is, products that are designed to be absorbed by the most superficial layer of the skin, the epidermis.

Consequently, topical cannabinoids act directly on the skin. Therefore, cannabinoids do not penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin, let alone reach the circulatory system.

Transdermal application

The opposite is true for transdermal products, which deliver cannabinoids through the upper barriers of the skin. Therefore, cannabinoids get into the bloodstream. In fact, research on CBD showed that the cannabinoid, applied in the form of a transdermal gel, reaches the bloodstream. In doing so, it increases the plasma level of cannabinoids.

However, here it is very important to emphasize that the application of cannabinoids transdermally does not only involve massaging the skin. That is to say, to get CBD into the bloodstream requires the use of adjuvant compounds that make it possible to obtain a hydroalcoholic gel, capable of passing through the epidermis.

cannabinoids skin

How do cannabinoids interact with the skin?

While it is true that transdermal application allows cannabinoids to be delivered directly into the bloodstream, topical products such as marijuana ointment offer an important advantage. That is, the skin, as in other areas of our body, has cannabinoid receptors. In fact, the endocannabinoid system plays a regulatory role in the body by maintaining homeostasis. It is the same with the skin.

In addition, a research on the endocannabinoid system concluded that the ECS of the skin has a fundamental role in different essential processes of the organism. It was discovered that external cannabinoids have a similar structure to the cannabinoids produced by our body, and that they also bind to the same receptors.

dermatological problems cannabinoids

Dermatological problems of cannabinoids

Because cannabinoids are applied to the skin, it is important to talk about the dermatological problems they can potentially cause. Research on cannabinoids looked at the effects of these compounds on keratinocyte hyperproliferation, a condition linked to red, scaly skin.

These symptoms appear when our immune system mistakenly attacks healthy skin cells. As a result, there is a sudden accumulation of skin cells on the surface of the skin. The study cited above concluded that THC, CBD, CBN, and CBG have the ability to inhibit keratinocyte production.

cannabis skin

Cannabis Could Restore Skin Balance

In addition, all these cannabis compounds can also help to restore the skin’s balance. Nevertheless, more research is needed to validate these findings.

In other research on the effects of cannabinoids on sebum overproduction, it was found that cannabinoids can help sebocytes, i.e. the cells that produce excess sebum, to behave normally.

In the end, although more research is still needed, it is clear that cannabinoids have positive effects on the skin.

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