Topical Cannabis is a great example as to how cannabinoid-to-CB receptor interactions work. When applied to the skin, cannabinoids connect to CB1 and CB2 receptors distributed throughout it* (think why paper cuts are painful AF).
When we think of the typical relationship between the Brain and Central Nervous System, we’ve been taught that the brain sends a signal, via the spinal cord, branching throughout the CNS, to deliver instructions to malfunctioning nerve cells. On the contray, Cannabinoids work backwards by first connecting to the malfunctioning nerve cell, which in turn changes the cell’s “we need help!” signal to the brain to “NVM we got this”. In theory, a fully efficient Endocannabinoid System would self-stimulate the release of endocannabinoids at the first sign of a cell’s distress, thereby remediating the issue on its own. #goals,
As a bonus, topically applies cannabinoids only interact with receptors in the skin - veggie oil based topicals aren’t capable of penetrating deep enough into the skin to cross into the blood (hence no cannabinoids crossing the blood brain barrier) which provides localized relief with no psychoactive effects. My OG lotion had over 15 plants in it…this one has three, all of which I’m proud to say came from the land I live and love on. Sometimes simpler is better.
Comfrey – meaning ‘to grow together’, hence its nickname knitbone – has long been used to heal bruises, fractures and wounds thanks to high levels of the compound Allantoin. Allantoin has been shown to increase cellular repair, bringing healing to tissues, muscles, and bones alike.
St. John’s Wort isn’t my fave just for the deep red color, but also because its ace at releasing heat from muscles, soothing fried nerves and calming inflammation.
Lastly of course, sweet Cannabis. The standard spectrum – THCa for anti-inflammatory effects, THC for pain, and CBD to make it all last a little longer.
Specifics on How Topicals Work:
“CB1 and CB2 immunoreactivity was observed in cutaneous nerve fiber bundles, mast cells, macrophages, epidermal keratinocytes, and the epithelial cells of hair follicles, sebocytes and eccrine sweat glands. In epidermal keratinocytes, hair follicle and sebaceous glands, CB1 and CB2 were distributed in a complementary fashion. Double-immunostaining with an anti-CGRP antibody suggested the presence of cannabinoid receptors on small afferent peptidergic nerves,“ via Distribution of cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and 2 (CB2) on sensory nerve fibers and adnexal structures in human skin., J Dermatol Sci. 2005 Jun;38(3):177-88. Further, “Recent studies have intriguingly suggested the existence of a functional ECS in the skin and implicated it in various biological processes (e.g. proliferation, growth, differentiation, apoptosis and cytokine, mediator or hormone production of various cell types of the skin and appendages, such as the hair follicle and sebaceous gland),” via The endocannabinoid system of the skin in health and disease: novel perspectives and therapeutic opportunities, Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2009 Aug; 30(8): 411–420.