I’m a cannabis nurse and topicals maker in Colorado, where people love skiing. Now that ski season is in full swing, it seemed like an important time to focus on possible injuries skiers can experience while shredding the slopes — and the most effective ways to treat those aches and pains using cannabis topicals.
Aside from a day full of great memories, it’s not uncommon for skiers to come with less-welcome souvenirs like:
According to estimates from Johns Hopkins, around 600,000 Americans suffer ski-related injuries each year. Some of these injuries are more serious than others, obviously — there’s a big difference between having some tightness in your quads after your first day out on the slopes vs. snapping your femur with an over-ambitious jump.
In the first case, cannabis topicals (and a basic knowledge of anatomy) may be all you need to get back on your feet and shredding powder. In the second case, simply rubbing some balm on your leg definitely won’t do the trick — but it could help make the recovery process faster and less painful.
Here’s what you should know about using cannabis topicals for skiing injuries.
The main reason cannabis topicals are useful for sports-related injuries is due to their ability to relieve pain and inflammation. How do they work? By interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is responsible for regulating inflammatory and pain responses.
When therapeutic compounds known as cannabinoids come into contact with the ECS, they work with receptors known as CB1 and CB2. By acting on these receptors, cannabis topicals can reduce discomfort and accelerate the recovery process. In addition, many cannabis topicals contain another class of compounds called terpenes that have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties of their own — and they can also be helpful for preventing infections and other complications.
Let’s take a look at how to use cannabis topicals to treat the most common ski injuries:
Everyone has experienced muscle soreness at some point in their lives. Among skiers, soreness is especially common for beginners and people just getting back to the slopes after a long hiatus. While it’s certainly not pleasant, the good news is that it’s relatively easy to treat.
One of the best ways to get achy muscles back to feeling better is with a good soak. Using a product like my company’s Primal Healing Soak can be highly effective not just because of the cannabinoids but because of the high magnesium content as well.
Magnesium is an important element when it comes to muscle contractions. Soaking in a bath is most effective when you soak for 15-20 minutes and then rinse off after.
Next let’s talk strains and sprains. According to the Mayo Clinic, sprains are injuries to the connective tissue between two bones, while a strain is an injury to the tissues that connect muscles to bones. Knees, ankles, feet, wrists, and any other joint in the human body can experience a sprain. Basic first aid for a sprain is the RICE method:
The swelling and inflammation that comes with a sprain or strain can last for weeks after the initial injury occurs. Inflammation is one of the most common symptoms that cannabis topicals can assist with. It is important to remember not to apply heat to inflammation, as doing so will only increase the tenderness and swelling.
Using a CBD balm or similar product can help accelerate your recovery from a sprain or strain. You can apply this type of topical under the application of ice and heat. Look for products made with organic full spectrum hemp, along with other ingredients like capsicum and menthol to provide a warming and cooling effect simultaneously.
Fractures are one of the worst types of injuries that can be sustained on the mountain. They require immediate medical attention and often lead to surgery. One of the most important things someone can do for a fracture — after calling for help, of course — is to apply ice to the injured area for 15-20 minutes at a time. Remember to never apply ice directly to the skin.
If you suffer a fracture, cannabis topicals probably won’t be useful right away. Generally this type of injury requires some sort of sling, splint, brace, or cast — which may prevent you from applying a cannabis topical to the injured area.
However, topicals like cannabis creams may be helpful in reducing the swelling and pain once the cast or other support is removed. You’ll want to find one that is transdermal (i.e. penetrates deeply into the skin and tissues) for maximum relief.
While skiing injuries are nobody’s idea of a good time, cannabis topicals can be a safe and useful way to minimize the damage and help get you back on your feet sooner. Stay safe, and enjoy the mountains!