Over 2 million Americans and Canadians are injured each year from popular summertime activities, according to hospital tracking data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Everyone wants to head out and try something fun. Biking, hiking, bouldering, pickle ball, tennis, and more get us on our feet and outside. While fun and healthy, it is also an invitation to scraps, cuts and bruises. Road rash is a common injury introduced to toddlers and part of every day life as you continue to age. What about road rash and Marijuana?
What is road rash? It happens to your skin when it gets scraped off by a hard surface or contacts a smooth surface for an extended period. For example, falling while using a treadmill, off of a bicycle, or a tumble on the pickle ball court can cause road rash. An open wound needing time to heal and have skin grow back over the exposed body. But does marijuana help with road rash or wounds?
Marijuana can definitely help with pain management and inflammation. Research suggests, the THC in medical marijuana helps us work through soreness and strain by reducing inflammation at injury sites and by modulating pain signals as they travel to the brain.
BUT, it does not clear it helps with road rash for a couple of reasons. There has not been significant research done on this topic, but a one study showed it did not make any difference in the healing process of the open wound.
If you use a THC topical cream over the wound before covering it up with a bandage, make sure you check to ensure it is helpful within a day. A small amount of research says it might help, but nothing has been proven and you don’t want unnecessary scarring.
Traditional smoking of cannabis, joints, pre-rolls, bongs and bowls are not helpful either. While it could help pain management like ibuprofen, the carbon monoxide in cannabis smoke inhibits blood oxygenation and decreases blood flow, which could lead to tissue death, more scarring and slower wound healing.
The best way to treat road rash is clean the injury thoroughly, then apply an antibiotic ointment such as Bacitracin or Neosporin. This will help kill any bad bacteria which may have come in contact with your wound. Apply the ointment carefully to not cause more bleeding. Cover the road rash with a clean bandage. Check to make sure the wound stays moist and is covered until the wound is completely covered with new skin. An exposed cut will pick up dirt and debris from the air. A wound that heals in a moist environment is less likely to leave a scar.