Topical Cannabis: Little Pots of Infused Goodness


All photos by Sharon Letts
The Bud Sister’s Pain Relief Salve, infused with lemongrass

Lotions, Salves & Oils… Oh, my!
By Sharon Letts
“Why would you put something in your mouth, you can’t swallow?” my friend asked, showing me the label of a trusted tube of toothpaste. 
It was 1975. I was 16, she was 17, and the “Clean Air & Water Acts” were in effect, opening up a whole new topic of conversation at home…. How would we make our own difference? Shortly after that conversation I bought my first tube of “Tom’s of Maine” (Fennel) toothpaste, and have not looked back.
Around that same time my mom gave me my first bottle of fancy face lotion – “Oil of Olay.” The glass bottle of thin, pink cream with its black cap seemed elegant and French to my young, impressionable mind. It smelled good, was soft on my face, and I had seen it in magazines. It must have been alright, right?

Humans: Putting Things in our Mouths from the Day we are Born
The thing is, up until this past year, I’ve spread that shit all over my face since — not knowing what it’s made of — never making the correlation between ingesting and skin as a sponge — which is really, the same thing.

Granny Greenleaf’s 420 Herbal Balm in a handy little pot

A simple search 37 years later, and I see the pretty little bottle contains nothing more than water, mineral oil, glycerin, and lanolin as its active ingredients — hence the fictional word, “Olay.” A footnote informs “water” is a hydrating element in its own rite. So there you are, another company making things up as they go along. 
Note: This information comes on the heels of a separate search on another  topic… it seems sport drink manufacturers have their own theory on how much the body actually needs to hydrate — but that’s another story.
Well, I could have just splashed water on my face all these years with a dab of mineral oil? It seems so. I mean, what did I think “Olay” was? Oil from a special little nut found in the rain forest?
At 53, having grown up on the beach in Southern California, I’ve had several “skin tags” removed over the years. That’s a kind word for cancer, and currently, I have more than 12 little spots to deal with – four of which have been removed by seemingly archaic means – leaving little, raw volcanos in the wake, likened to third degree burns.
Sometimes I think modern medicine is still just a step away from bleeding with leaches.
Salves that Heal
My first experience with a salve made from cannabis was for bug bites and cuts from the garden, with great healing success. Like most, for years my medicating goo of choice was “Neosporin,” a popular anti-infection cream made with antibiotics, mainly, Polymyxin B, Neomycin, and Bacitracin. 

Tubs of goodness… Medicated salve, gel, mud and lotion

From Wikipedia: “… although the widespread use of antibiotics can lead to the emergence of resistant bacteria.” Makes you wonder… not so good for long-term use?
The first little container of salve handed to me was made by a local Humboldt chef, stating it’s the best thing for kitchen cuts and burns. In fact, an unlikely, local five-star Humboldt restaurant owner also makes her own salves from cannabis for the very same reason, and has big jars of the stuff in kitchens at two of the restaurants she co-owns.
An article published in 2008 in Science Daily reported, “pre-clinical data” was encouraging in treating cell cultures from human sebaceous glands. “… with various concentrations of endocannabinoids -substances produced by the body that are similar to the active ingredient in cannabis.”
The article sited a paper published in 2006 in The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, or “FASEB,” which further details the positive findings of cannabis aiding in curing skin cancer. 
Testimonials with before and after photos are easily found online, as many cannabis patients are discovering this non-invasive treatment. In the photos you can see the cancer just disappears. 
A Little Dab’lll Do Ya

Produced by the Hercules Health Center in Hercules, California, just north of Oakland, “Nternal” is the main ingredient infused into each of Hercules Health Center products. Initially formulated to aid in relieving soft tissue pain, this highly concentrated oil can be found in a “Muscle Rub,” endorsed by MMA fighters, made with Bentonite Clay; and in a “Topical Analgesic Spray,” that works in a pinch on aches and pains. It’s also infused into a “non-petroleum” based gel.

Sharon’s personal favorite, Xternal’s “Comfort Cream”

“Nternal” when taken internally (as the name suggests) helps me to sleep at night, but it’s also strong oil, and every night I’ve been putting a drop on each tag before bed. In just a few weeks the tags are visibly breaking down.
Dodging going under the knife eight more times sounds good to me at this point. Which makes you wonder, why isn’t this stuff more readily available? Oh yes, we are at war with this plant.
Comforting Cream
My personal pick for an “Nternal” infused product is a little bit of wonderfulness in a jar aptly named, “Comfort Cream.” This creamy, rich lotion with a tint of green can be used as a hand and body lotion, but I love it on my face.
With tell-tale signs of menopause — pustules and pimples, with large, re-filling pores, or sebaceous cysts, added to the mix, my face is showing its age. Since using “Comfort Cream” daily for more than a month, the pores have closed up, the hormonal acne is gone, and skin tags are fading.
The company states that the cream also aids in wrinkle reduction and a decrease in “turkey neck.” While my face is much more hydrated than with other store bought brands, causing the wrinkles to appear less, the final wrinkle test is still pending.
Medicating the Masses
While the emphasis with my own trials are on Xternal and Internal products, there are many other salves, lotions and oils available at collectives and dispensaries (in legal States), made by cottage industry producers that will work just as well. 
Hemp-Eaze is
a popular salve and cream brand with a varied line to choose from. I’ve used their “Therapy Cream” on the tendonitis in my hands with great success.
The Bud Sisters are two women “Back to the Landers” from Southern Humboldt ([email protected]). I like their Wintergreen lip balm, lemongrass pain-relief salve, and their little, quick relief stick, scented with grapefruit.
Body Bud Botanicals also makes a spray-on pain relief called “Daba Doya,” as well as bath and massage oil.
And, lastly, my favorite little pot of goodness, “Granny Greenleaf’s 420 Herbal Balm,” a compact little pot of cannabis and herbs to put in your pocket.
Citations for Salve?
Technically, oils, salves and lotions are considered to be “concentrates” in some jurisdictions. Even though there are no psychoactive effects with topical use. 
According to Americans for Safe Access law enforcement gets more aggressive where concentrates are concerned, advising,” Label your concentrates ‘For Personal Use’, and only possess/transport an amount you will feel comfortable proving to both a police officer and a jury is reasonable for your personal use.”
In my mind, it’s just a matter of time before cannabis will be valued in this form by many. For me, it’s here to stay, and I’m eternally grateful (pun intended) for cottage industry producers spreading healing over all.