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CBD and Skin Conditions

The skin has a large number of CB1 and CB2 receptors, and in fact, cannabinoid receptors are found in all the different cell types produced by the skin. Not only that, but our naturally produced endogenous cannabinoids, anandamide and 2-AG, are produced in the same concentrations in the skin as in our brains. In our skin, the endocannabinoid system regulates the hair follicles, oil production, sweat glands, and more. For this reason, cannabinoids can be quite useful in the treatment of skin conditions. CBD in particular has shown promise on a number of fronts. THC and CBD have been shown to reduce skin inflammation,1 while the endocannabinoid system seems to play a role in allergic inflammation of the skin.2

CBD might be useful for acne because it increases the levels of our own anandamide, which in turn reduces the activity of our oil glands. Through different mechanisms, CBD also acts on its own to curb oil glands while providing anti-inflammatory effects.3 CBD’s antibacterial property would be useful for acne sufferers as well. In a 2017 review, it was shown that many of the active ingredients of cannabis could be useful for treating acne, and CBD in particular has great promise as a non-irritating acne treatment.4

For psoriasis, CBD seems to stop the overproduction of keratinocyte cells, the skin cells involved in producing the itchy, flaky layers of skin commonly associated with psoriasis.5

  1. Thomas W. Klein and Catherine A. Newton, “Therapeutic Potential of Cannabinoid-Based Drugs,” Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology Immune-Mediated Diseases 601 (2007): 395–413, doi:10.1007/978-0-387-72005-0_43.
  2. M. Karsak et al., “Attenuation of Allergic Contact Dermatitis Through the Endocannabinoid System,” Science 316, no. 5830 (2007): 1494–97, doi:10.1126/science.1142265.
  3. Attila Oláh et al., “Cannabidiol Exerts Sebostatic and Antiinflammatory Effects on Human Sebocytes,” Journal of Clinical Investigation 124, no. 9 (2014): 3713–24, doi:10.1172/jci64628.
  4. Ethan B. Russo, “Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Reconsidered: Current Research Supports the Theory in Migraine, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel, and Other Treatment-Resistant Syndromes,” Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research 1, no. 1 (2016): 154–65, doi:10.1089/can.2016.0009.
  5. Jonathan D. Wilkinson and Elizabeth M. Williamson, “Cannabinoids Inhibit Human Keratinocyte Proliferation through a Non-CB1/CB2 Mechanism and Have a Potential Therapeutic Value in the Treatment of Psoriasis,” Journal of Dermatological Science 45, no. 2 (2006): 87–92, doi:10.1016/j.jdermsci.2006.10.009.