Wound care with CBD topicals? It’s not a new idea. But first, from my own anecdotal experience, I think yes. While chopping vegetables one day, my finger got in the way of the knife. I sliced the end of it. I managed to slow the bleeding enough to apply a CBD balm and a band aid. By morning the wound had already sealed and begun healing. I had pain, but with continued application, healing seemed to speed up and pain subsided quickly. However, as I said that’s not really scientific evidence, so I decided to learn more.
CBD topicals and wounds
Wound care with CBD topicals, is not new. It’s been around and used therapeutically for millennia. Lately it has gained a resurgence of popularity and can be found in products from topicals to edibles to vapes. For the purposes of this blog, I’ll just focus on CBD topicals.
CBD is the nonpsychoactive component of hemp and marijuana. It works in concert with our endocannabinoid system (ECS), which regulates our bodies’ balance. According to the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, “The endogenous cannabinoid system – named for the plant that led to its discovery – is one of the most important physiologic systems involved in establishing and maintaining human health.”
Ethan Russo, MD, medical director, PHYTECHS, says, “There is hardly any physiological process that is not affected by it to some degree.”
Our bodies create endocannabinoids to stimulate CB receptors sprinkled throughout the body. If the balance is off, the receptors can’t do their jobs. Illness or imbalance occurs. On the other hand, to kick-start the system, small doses of CBD from cannabis can signal the body to make more endocannabinoids and build more cannabinoid receptors. Plus, the receptors on the skin respond to the anti-inflammatory, anti-itching, analgesics, wound healing and anti-proliferative effects on the skin.
What does CBD wound care benefit?
Healing wounds is a collaboration between body systems and cells. The three stages of healing are: inflammation, proliferation and maturation. For the purposes of this blog, we’ll focus on the first phase, inflammation. Inflammation is when the pain starts, but is a good thing. It’s the body’s way of limiting further damage by closing the wound, removing cellular debris and bacteria and fostering cellular migration.
Cuts, lacerations, abrasions, sores
Wound care with CBD topicals is easy because they are versatile and accessible and have few, if any, side effects. As I mentioned earlier, I applied a CBD balm directly to a fresh cut. CBD has sterilizing properties that protect the area. At the same time, it promotes skin cell growth, and even desensitizes your body to pain. It also sanitizes the wound providing antibacterial protection as the wound heals.
However, if you have slow-healing wound, such as from diabetes or other conditions, CBD can also help speed recovery with its antifungal and antibacterial properties. According to WebMD, topical applications of CBD can relieve pain and swelling associated with minor cuts and scrapes. It can also help prevent infection when applied directly to the affected area.
All mammals have an ECS, which means you can probably use CBD topical on an animal’s wound. A friend applied CBD balm to her dog’s puncture wound on its ear. By morning the wound had sealed and healing was in process. I also have it on good authority that an iguana that sustained deep cuts from another iguana healed quickly with CBD topicals.
Burns, sunburn, radiation treatment
Obviously use will be different for the varying degrees and type of burn. Using it for sunburn can help heal the skin quickly. Frequent use can stave off scarring and deeper skin damage.
For first- and second-degree burns, CBD can aid in faster healing. The reason it promotes healing, as I’ve said, is that topical application activates the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the area of the burn. Remember the receptors’ job is to help maintain balance. Use common sense and get prompt medical attention with third-degree burns.
First, cool the burn as best you can, using a stream of cool water. Then, apply burn cream to keep the area moist and protected. You can apply it several times a day, but keep the burn covered to help keep it clean.
For radiation treatment, use the burn cream to hydrate and help soothe the skin and reduce burning and blistering. Best results occur when you use the cream as soon as possible after each radiation treatment. Modern radiation is specific and targeted, so make sure you are aware of the area being targeted. It’s okay to spread the cream beyond the targeted area to ensure adequate coverage. You can also do a second application if desired. Just make sure that the area to be radiated is completely clean and free of any residue prior to treatment.
As burns heal, continued use of CBD may help reduce scarring and keep the skin supple. It’s even been shown to accelerate the healing process.
Bug bites and itching
After this particularly wet winter, we’re being warned about the proliferation of mosquitos and other biting insects. Arming yourself with a CBD balm can help ease the itching and scratching that accompany these bites. Here’s why.
When a bug bites, it injects saliva, or venom into the skin. The venom, in turn, causes an immune response. Initially, a red bump, or inflammation, occurs and itching or pain can follow. As noted, CBD is an anti-inflammatory, which can ease the sting of bites. CBD topicals in concert with their essential oils can help relieve the symptoms of generic bug bites. Too often, scratching bug bites can cause open lacerations, which can lead to infection or scarring. Applying CBD balm right away and while the itching lasts can keep you from scratching and wounding the skin.
Know your CBD topical
Before you rush out to buy a topical for your open wound, bug bite, bruise, burn or chronic wound, do some research. Just because the label says CBD doesn’t mean you’ve got the real deal.
Plus, not all topicals are created equal. Some focus on burns; some on pain; some on cuts; and others address abrasions, bug bites, other skin conditions. Also find products with organically sourced CBD, and other oils. Full-spectrum CBD is necessary in these products so that you get all the elements to effectively treat wounds.