Almost everyone suffers from acne, signs of ageing, or sensitivity at some point in their lives. Eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis and other conditions are also incredibly common.
As Cannabidiol (CBD) contains anti-inflammatory properties, the thought is that it may offer an alternative treatment for these various skin conditions. While it may treat everything from arthritis pain to anxiety, can CBD help with skin conditions?
You will find our article titled What is Cannabidiol (CBD)? very helpful with understanding CBD.
After spending some time doing online research, the following information covers what I’ve managed to find out about CBD and skin conditions.
What Are the Most Common Types of Skin Conditions?
Acne is probably the most common skin condition, affecting 85% of people between the ages of 12 and 24. It can also occur at any stage of life, affecting up to 15% of adult women in to their 30s and 40s.
Besides acne, there are dozens of skin diseases that affect millions of people. Just a few of the most common types of skin conditions include:
- Contact dermatitis
- Atopic dermatitis (eczema)
- Hidradenitis suppurativa
- Kaposi sarcoma
- Systemic sclerosis
Dermatitis is a general term for inflammation of the skin and causes itchy rashes. Contact dermatitis refers to rashes that occur after exposure to an allergen. Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, causes flare-ups of red, itchy skin.
Doctors often treat dermatitis with corticosteroid creams, hydrocortisone cream, and various anti-inflammation or anti-itch products.
Hidradenitis suppurativa is a disease that causes painful bumps to appear on the body. It often starts after hair follicles get blocked.
Pruritus is chronic itchiness while psoriasis causes scaly, itchy patches of skin to develop. For all three conditions, doctors often use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroid creams.
For hidradenitis suppurativa, doctors may also prescribe antibiotics to reduce the risk of skin infections.
Kaposi sarcoma is a type of skin cancer that causes lesions to grow and tends to affect those who suffer from immune deficiencies such as AIDS or HIV. Common treatments include chemotherapy and radiation therapy, which bring a range of potential side effects such as:
- Loss of appetite
While some traditional treatments are very effective in dealing with specific skin conditions, they also bring potential risks. CBD may offer a healthier alternative.
How Can CBD Products Help with Skin Conditions?
A medical review published in 2018 summarizes the potential benefits of CBD based on existing research. When compiling data, the authors only looked at studies published within the past 10 years.
The review discovered positive results from the various studies. They found that CBD may help treat the skin conditions discussed above, including eczema, acne, and allergic reactions. However, the authors also note that there is a lack of quality medical trials.
The CBD anti-inflammatory properties may offer relief for various skin diseases including eczema.
Nearly 30 million adults in the U.S. suffer from eczema. Inflammation leads to flare-ups of the condition. CBD may also protect the skin’s barrier and the healthy balance of bacteria.
Besides treating eczema, CBD may fight the signs of ageing. With CBD anti-ageing products, users benefit from the anti-inflammatory properties as the signs of ageing are associated with chronic low-grade inflammation.
CBD acne treatments may offer a safer option compared to traditional products. Increased production of oil from the sebaceous gland is the primary cause of acne. Researchers found that CBD helps suppress sebaceous production and provides anti-inflammatory effects that reduced acne in test subjects.
Basically, CBD appears to contain anti-inflammatory properties and inhibits the spread or production of specific cells to offer relief from a wide assortment of skin diseases.
CBD Offers Natural Relief for Itchiness and Irritation
The next set of research found that CBD may help treat itchy skin. The authors discovered that the activation of cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors reduces itch by up to 86.5% and produces no major side effects.
The study involved the use of a topical cream with cannabinoids. Patients applied the cream twice per day for three weeks. Most patients experienced less itchiness.
The study also highlights the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD, which may help reduce irritation caused by contact dermatitis or pruritus. This relief may also help reduce the symptoms associated with other skin diseases, allowing patients to avoid itching and aggravating the issue.
What Is the Best Way to Use CBD for Skin-Related Health Conditions?
CBD dermatology products come in many forms including pills, creams, sprays, oils, edibles, and vaping products. Each delivery method affects the bioavailability of the CBD compound.
Have a read of our article CBD Product Types to discover much more about CBD delivery types.
Greater bioavailability means that more of the substance reaches the body. With low bioavailability, the product becomes less effective.
Cannabinoids have very low solubility, causing the compounds to degrade quickly. Researchers note that oral CBD products provide 20% to 30% bioavailability. Inhaled CBD vapours provide 10% to 60% bioavailability.
Using a transdermal patch or topical cream allows the CBD to bypass the first-pass metabolism that limits the bioavailability of orally administered or inhaled substances.
Researchers also believe that these products may reduce the risk of adverse effects as transdermal patches and topical creams allow for prolonged delivery of the compound. Unfortunately, researchers don’t seem to know how much greater bioavailability these products provide.
Explore the Potential Side Effects of Using CBD Skin Care Products
While the research looks promising, most products contain a few drawbacks. Luckily, CBD seems to have limited negative effects on the body. In fact, most of the reported side effects are non-serious:
- Dry mouth
- Red eyes
Dry mouth was the most frequently reported side effect, experienced by 11.12% of all CBD users.
A lot of the research into CBD for treating skin conditions involves the use of topical creams. Some people have reported adverse effects from topical CBD products but these issues are likely due to the other ingredients in the product.
People also often associate the negative aspects of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with CBD. THC may lead to increased paranoia, depression, and anxiety. However, CBD appears to counter these effects.
You can discover much more about THC in our article: What is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)?
Besides the limited risk of side effects, the quality of the available products is another concern. Due to the lack of regulations for CBD, not all products provide the same results.
Some CBD creams contain irritating terpenes that can exacerbate the symptoms of dermatitis. Other products may contain less CBD than advertised or contaminants such as metals and pesticides.
Penn State University conducted a study that concluded up to 70% of CBD products sold online contain inaccurate labelling.
Please refer to our article Potential Side Effects of Using CBD for more important information.
Summary: Can CBD Help Fight Common Skin Conditions?
As the medical review from 2018 pointed out, many studies have found that CBD contains properties that may help relieve various skin conditions.
In studies completed in the past decade, researchers have explored the use of CBD for treating acne, dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, and a variety of other skin diseases.
The research indicates that CBD contains anti-inflammatory properties and interacts with cannabinoid receptors to produce various physiological effects. These properties and interactions may limit oil production to help treat acne and fight inflammation to reduce irritation.
The studies also found that CBD rarely causes adverse effects in users and patients. The results of these studies are positive but based on limited data.
While we don’t have definitive proof that
CBD products can help treat common skin conditions, the latest research is