Cannabidiol (CBD) and Skin Care
Chances are you've seen loads of products touting cannabidiol or CBD in everything from tinctures to topicals, water, food, and everything in between. But perhaps you've been wondering what CBD is and if it lives up to the hype. In this blog post we'll look at what CBD is and zoom in on some of the research concerning CBD in skin care.
First of all what is CBD or cannabidiol anyway? CBD is one of many naturally occuring phytocannabinoids found in Cannabis sativa which includes strains of both hemp and marijuana plants.
CBD is non-psychoactive, which means it doesn't elicit a high that other phytocannabionoids (plant based cannabinoids) like tetrahydrocannabinol or THC can cause. Although one canNOT make medical claims about CBD or suggest it can cure or treat an illness or disease, is often used in therapeutic or holistic applications to support health and wellness.
CBD can be used topically or internally. Topically its often used to soothe muscle or joint aches in salves, creams, ointments, or bath products. CBD tinctures or foods are often intended to support sleep, calm the mind and nervous system, support digestive health, or simply to support the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS consists of the ECS receptors (such as CB1 and CB2), endocannabinoids (cannabinoids made naturally by the body) that bind to these receptors, and the enzymes that build and break down the endocannabinoids. The ECS is thought to help maintain balance in the body. ECS receptors occur throughout the body suggesting it plays a huge role in supporting the body.
ECS receptors are found: in the brain and nervous system, the bones, the digestive system, reproductive system, endocrine system, reproductive system, immune system, as well as in the skin. When a molecule or ligand binds to or activates a receptor it initiates a response in the cells and body -- turning things on or off or gearing things up or down so to speak.
So to recap CBD is a phytocannabinoid found in Cannabis plants and it can bind to or sometimes indirectly affect ECS receptors located through out our bodies and make things happen.
So the question I'm exploring in this blog post is -- is CBD good for the skin? Is there any research or evidence that suggests CBD can help ease skin issues?
in the publication "Therapeutic Potential of Cannabidiol (CBD) for Skin Health and Disorders" by Baswan, S. et. al. in the journal of Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology the authors explored the current research on the topic of:
"Though a body of preclinical evidence suggests topical application of CBD may be efficacious for some skin disorders, such as eczema, psoriasis, pruritis, and inflammatory conditions, confirmed clinical efficacy and elucidation of underlying molecular mechanisms have yet to be fully identified. This article provides an update on the advances in CBD research to date and the potential areas of future exploration."
The authors conclude "while the therapeutic potential of CBD for acne, seborrhea, eczema/dermatitis, and skin barrier function is promising, more robust studies are needed to fully validate its efficacy. "
Likewise in the journal Molecule, Toth, K. et. al. in Cannabinoid Signaling in the Skin: Therapeutic Potential of the “C(ut)annabinoid” System noted that "research efforts of the past two decades have undoubtedly proven that cannabinoid (CBD) signaling profoundly influences several aspects of the cutaneous biology, and its dysregulation is likely to contribute to the pathogenesis of several skin diseases. "
Again these authors acknowledged more research is needed.
In my personal practice adding CBD to skin care alongside essential oils and herbal infused carrier oils has been beneficial in soothing irritated, inflamed skin much to my clients relief! And the amounts of CBD I used was small (5 to 10 mg per oz of carrier) compared to preparations intended to ease muscle and joint aches (250 to 400+ mg/oz of carrier).
So should you start incorporating CBD into your skin care routine? It seems like there is still much to learn about the benefits. Do your research and stick with people and brands that you trust to do the research vs those simply using the latest buzz words.
While CBD is most often employed to improve moisturization, improve skin barrier function, soothe the skin, ease acne prone skin and moderate oil production, and support sensitive skin that suffers from atopic dermatitis and psoriasis, there is minimal data to support these claims and more research is needed to prove the efficacy of CBD in skin care.
One of the benefits of artisan skin care formulators and aromatherapists is that armed with the promise of the initial research and anecdotal findings within our creative community, we can create small scale products to explore the potential of CBD in skin care.
Of course do educate yourself on the regulations regarding the use and sale of CBD in your products.
What is your experience and thoughts concerning CBD in skin care?