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Smoke Signals 7/15-7/22 

Just the Medical Applications

As medical weed becomes legal in more|more states (currently 23|D.C.), more medicinal cannabis products are becoming available. Topical salves, lotions,|tinctures using cannabis as a key ingredient can be found on the shelves of many dispensaries now. These products are used for a wide range of ailments such as muscle aches, nerve pain, and skin conditions.

Lizette Coppinger of local dispensary Cannabend says, "Our in-house salve is great to help certain skin conditions and burns. We've actually had quite a lot of success among firefighters who come in during fire season and use it on burns, and as a natural lip protector." Cannabend, like other dispensaries, also offers topical products for anti-inflammatory effects, relief from menstrual cramps, and sensual enhancers.

Holly Hutton, a Bend clinical herbalist, has researched the use of cannabis in topical preparations. She explains that the pain-relieving property of cannabis is its primary medicinal value when used topically. Unlike cannabis that is smoked or eaten, topical cannabis products do not cause the "high" that weed is famous for.

"Anything topically, about 60 percent is absorbed into the skin," Hutton says, "but what isn't absorbed into the skin is the THC." She explains that the psychoactive effects of THC happen when it enters the bloodstream. Because in a topical solution the THC does not get absorbed into the bloodstream, cannabis topicals will not intoxicate the user. Hutton also points out that most of the topical cannabis products on the market are used in combination with other herbs with medicinal properties, saying: "It's usually just one of many herbs that are part of a formula."

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