Cannabis has so many known health benefits, and an increasing number of people look to cannabis in treating various medical conditions and alleviating symptoms. These include chronic pain, cancer, nausea, glaucoma, epilepsy, digestive issues, and even PTSD and anxiety, among others.
However, cannabis is used to benefit something else, too: THE SKIN! And this is why some cannabis products come in the form of topicals like skin creams, ointments, balms, and rubs.
These products are used to relieve skin irritation, burns, itch, swelling, acne, dryness, and more severe skin issues like psoriasis and eczema.
How cannabis helps with skin problems
Cannabis has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and many skin-related issues have something to do with inflammation. These inflammation-related skin problems include acne and rosacea. Therefore, for skin woes that are caused by inflammation, cannabis can be an all-in-one solution.
Cannabinoids in cannabis are important biochemical mediators in the skin. The treatment of skin ailments using cannabinoids have been the subject of lab research for years, and it has already entered into an informal clinical stage, thanks to a growing number of patients using cannabis topicals to treat or control skin problems.
The cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) is now considered one of the most promising compounds when it comes to the treatment of various skin ailments.
According to studies, CBD binds to a special group of receptors found in the skin. These receptors are called TRPV-1 receptors, and they are associated with sensations of itch, pain, and heat. This explains why CBD has a soothing effect on the skin.
Cannabinoid receptors and inflammation
Majority of skin diseases is caused by inflammation, and the main inflammatory chemical messengers that are released by immune cells in case of distress are called cytokines. The anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinoids are exerted through their action on the endocannabinoid system, reducing the production of cytokine and regulating the functionality of skin cells.
The body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) consists of biochemical receptors that are found throughout the body. The ECS regulates various physiological processes and functions in order to maintain balance. These processes and functions include appetite, mood, pain response, immune response, metabolism, and memory, among many others. The skin has many cannabinoid receptors and with endogenous and external cannabinoids modulating them, they are able to control the health and balance of the skin cells.
Treatment of acne and seborrhoea
Acne is a skin condition that happens when secretions or sebum clog up the pores. And while there are so many products, such as cleansers, exfoliants, and moisturizers, are available to help treat acne, they don’t always solve the problem completely.
The endocannabinoid system plays a role in regulating the skin’s production of sebum. More specifically, it modulates the activity of the sebaceous glands, which are responsible for producing sebum.
CBD has been found capable of decreasing sebum production. In fact, according to a recent study on acne, CBD has anti-inflammatory and sebostatic properties. This research highlighted CBD’s anti-acne action, which is expressed by slowing down the abnormal production of lipids under the skin by lowering the excess cytokines and reducing cell proliferation.
Treatment of psoriasis
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that is triggered by various external factors. With psoriasis, the inflammatory state accelerates skin cell growth and death, leading to the breakage of skin tissues. Psoriasis is associated with an increased risk of certain other diseases and it does not really have an actual cure. However, some of the treatments can control the symptoms.
A study found that the anti-inflammatory action of CBD, along with other cannabinoids, is able to inhibit the proliferation of skin cells. These cannabinoids slow down the growth of keratinocytes in the skin’s outer layers, supporting their potential role in the treatment of psoriasis. The skin’s reduced immune response induced by CBD and THC is also another contributing factor to the treatment of psoriasis.
Treatment of burns and wounds
CBD’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties can also act as a first aid treatment for burns and wounds. CBD can help with the healing process. Furthermore, it can regulate the production of lipids on the skin, which strengthen natural barriers.
Treatment of dermatitis/eczema
Cannabinoids have the ability to reduce the skin’s immune inflammatory responses and this can inhibit the release of pruritogenic substances that are involved in many cases of dermatitis. Pruritus is the most common symptom of various skin diseases, including those caused by systemic disorders.
Since the endocannabinoid system plays a part in the central and peripheral control of sensory levels, CBD and other cannabinoids can bring in their analgesic effects and inhibit the transmission of pain and itch signals in the nervous system.
Cannabis also has a high concentration of polyunsaturated fatty acids, and this can help relieve the inflammation and itching that are associated with dermatitis.
Treatment of minor skin irritations
Cannabis offers localized pain relief, as well as reduces swelling. This makes it ideal to use when you have scratches, bug bites, and other skin abrasions. Applying CBD can help soothe and relax the skin, and it can help in treating rashes and dry skin.
Treatment of skin infections
According to a study, the antimicrobial and antibacterial properties of cannabis can help fight skin infections. Both THC and CBD have been found to provide relief for many bacterial skin infections such as cellulitis, impetigo, boils, and folliculitis.
Another study found that cannabis helps fight Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a bacterium that causes infections that are difficult to treat since it does not respond to many antibiotics. MSRA attacks different parts of the body causes a life-threatening infection.
Cannabis as anti-aging
Cannabis is said to slow the skin’s aging process. According to a study, CBD is a more potent antioxidant compared to vitamin E and vitamin C, and this makes it effective in treating fine lines and wrinkles.
Additionally, cannabinoids neutralize free radicals, keeping them from damaging the elastin and collagen in your skin. In doing so, cannabinoids help keep your skin tight and young-looking.
Cannabis as protective shield
Cannabis also contains vitamin A and D, which contribute to the natural barrier function of the skin. These vitamins stimulate cell regeneration for a healthy skin and help to protect the skin against damage from environmental pollutants like ultraviolet rays and smoke. What’s more, the fatty acids in cannabis also protect and strengthen the outer layer of the skin, making it healthy-looking and radiant.
More studies and clinical trials are needed
Just like in using cannabis for other medical conditions, the use of cannabis in the treatment of skin woes still need to be studied further and clinical trials need to be conducted in order to gather more scientific evidence that the drug works.
So far, cannabis is known to be the single natural and non-irritating ingredient that helps with a number of skin maladies. And while the application of cannabis in skincare is still relatively new, as scientific research into its therapeutic benefits proceeds, it is possible that even more medical benefits for the skin will be discovered.
As of now, it’s no wonder that CBD-infused products for topical application are working their way into the people’s skincare regimen.