Hot Stuff! Why Cannabis Topicals Belong In Every Kitchen First Aid Kit
Kitchens are hazardous spaces. Beyond the sharp knives and cramped environs, commercial and home kitchens alike are rife with scalding substances and dangerously hot surfaces. So it’s no surprise that burns are one of the most frequent injuries in the restaurant world.
Cannabis is gaining a reputation as an efficacious remedy for burns and scald injuries, which is why I tell all of my chef friends that every kitchen first-aid kit should contain a cannabis topical. As a veteran of legal marijuana and founder of a leading Colorado cannabis brand, I might be biased, but my restaurant and home chef friends tell me about the soothing relief and accelerated healing of burns they experience with marijuana topicals -- a.k.a. non-intoxicating infused lotions, balms or salves applied directly to the skin.
Researchers have found cannabis has many healing properties that relate to burns suffered in the kitchen, along with numerous anecdotal reports of cannabis topicals helping with sunburns, chemical burns and radiation burns from cancer treatments. But first, some important caveats and cautions:
For major burns, always consult with a medical professional, and especially in the case of a third-degree burn, call 911 or head to the nearest urgent-care center or ER. What’s the difference between a minor burn and a major burn, you ask? According to Urgent Medical Center of Florida, first- and second-degree burns are considered minor if the skin is unbroken and the affected area is smaller than three inches. It’s advised to seek medical treatment for any burns to the face, hands, buttocks, groin or feet, and any that affect major joints.
Cleanliness and cooling are key for a burn. Experts at the University of Arkansas Dermatology Clinic caution strongly against ever putting butter or other greasy ointments on a fresh burn. Cooling helps stop the damage, and substances like butter and oils slow the release of heat from the skin. So definitely don’t reach for your homemade cannabutter. Also, do not apply ice—the best way to release heat from the skin is with cool water. Rinse until the pain is reduced. If needed, cover the burned area with a nonstick, sterile bandage.
Once you’ve cooled the skin, that's the time to tap into cannabis topicals. The chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant, called cannabinoids, hold many skin-soothing and healing properties.
How cannabis helps a burn.
Even minor burns can hurt like hell for quite a while as nerves in damaged skin transmit pain signals and inflammation creates added sensitivity. Extensive scientific research has shown cannabinoids are analgesic, meaning they stop you from feeling pain. In a sweeping review of 10,000 cannabis studies conducted since 1999, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine reported there is conclusive evidence that cannabis provides pain relief - and that’s a game-changer for those experiencing any kind of pain. In addition, cannabinoids have been shown to suppress your body’s inflammatory response, according to a research review in Future Medicinal Chemistry.
Infection is a major risk when it comes to burns, and a growing body of research shows cannabinoids have antibiotic properties. Researchers from Italy and the United Kingdom teamed up for a 2008 study on how cannabinoids interact with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a potentially deadly staph infection. The study found that five different cannabinoids were all effective in killing six different strains of MRSA. While we need more research into cannabinoids’ antibiotic potential, the researchers were enthusiastic about their findings: “The most practical application of cannabinoids would be as topical agents to treat ulcers and wounds in a hospital environment, decreasing the burden of antibiotics,” said Giovanni Appendino, a professor and co-author of the study.
Cannabis topicals provide targeted relief.
While consuming cannabis in other forms such as smoking, vaporizing or eating an edible can also decrease pain and inflammation, topicals have several significant advantages when it comes to burns.
Cannabis topicals allow for direct targeting of the afflicted area, as opposed to waiting for cannabinoids to enter the bloodstream and reach the receptors at the site of the injury. Also, cannabis topicals do not get you high and won’t cause you to fail a drug test, so kitchen workers can use them for relief without ending up stoned at work.
While there’s always room for more study, current research findings point toward cannabis topicals as a safe, non-intoxicating form of relief for minor burns -- making it a natural inclusion for your kitchen’s first-aid kit.