CBD – cannabidiol – is a natural active ingredient, practically free of side effects, which has proven anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.
CBD has therapeutic potential in dermatology as well and although there is still a limited amount of research to confirm its benefits, what is certain is the endocannabinoid system modulates that skin biology.
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The potential beneficial effects of cannabis on the skin
Going back to the history of China or ancient Egypt, several testimonies indicate the use of cannabis-based preparation to treat wounds and skin diseases. Recently this has been explained precisely thanks to the Endocannabinoid System, which is present and active in the skin. The components of the SEC have been found on most of the cells that make up the skin, and their role is the regulator.
Among the studies that further confirmed the presence of the Endocannabinoid System receptors in the skin, one published in December 2020 on PubMed entitled “Therapeutic Potential of Cannabidiol (CBD) for Skin Health and Disorders”.
The study states that “topical application of CBD may be effective for certain skin disorders, such as eczema, psoriasis, itching and inflammation, while providing an update on CBD research progress to date and potential areas for future exploration.
These studies also gave birth to CBD products designed and tested specifically for use in dermatology. Thanks to cannabidiol and paraprobiotics, together with other functional, active ingredients, clear improvements are obtained that improve the patient’s quality of life.
Cannabis and Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammation of the skin of autoimmune origin: it is estimated that this pathology affects 10% of people between 15 and 45 years of age. Half of the psoriasis patients develop the disease before age 20.
This pathology can be transmitted genetically or triggered by several factors, such as environmental conditions or psycho-emotional distress. Today psoriasis can be treated with topical preparations, phototherapy and systemic therapies. However, despite the effectiveness of these treatments, there are also notable side effects.
This is why medical cannabis could play an essential role in the treatment of psoriasis, at least according to the first studies. CB2, CB1, and PPARγ receptors appear to be the most involved and play an essential role in psoriasis. In addition, the validity of phytocannabinoids has been demonstrated in various preclinical studies, similar to the one just mentioned above, improving the symptoms of the disease.
In conclusion, even if the use of cannabis for the treatment of psoriasis and other skin diseases could find a rational use according to its anti-inflammatory properties, in practice, its use is not yet cleared through customs. Therefore, further research is needed to define the therapies’ indications, efficacy, and safety.
The antioxidant properties of cannabinoids
Driving the researchers towards these analyzes was “the growing popularity of supplements containing cannabinoids” in self-medication and “the growing interest in these compounds in several preclinical and clinical studies”.
Previously, scholars reported that CBD had been recognized as an antioxidant, able to participate in the “prevention of free radicals by integrating with the endocannabinoid system in the body”.
But the study takes a step forward.
At the center of the publication, there are 7 different cannabinoids: in addition to CBD, cannabigerol (CBG), cannabigerol acid (CBGA), cannabinol acid (CBDA), Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (Δ9-THCA), cannabinol (CBN) were also analyzed ) and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC).
The data obtained from the study, published last May in Phytotherapy and available on Science Direct, showed that “all the cannabinoids examined exhibit antioxidant activity”.
Although the intensity of these activities for individual cannabinoids is not the same, it is generally comparable to that of vitamin E.
Finally, the scientists illustrate six conclusive points, explaining that two types of electron sources can be distinguished in the seven cannabinoids analyzed (phenolic groups and double bonds).
Furthermore, the study points out that although the hydrogen bond between the phenolic -OH group and the carboxylic group may explain the lower antioxidant activity of cannabinoid acids, there are situations in which their activity is equal to or greater than that of neutral cannabinoids.
The therapeutic potential of CBD for skin health
CBD may have potential therapeutic properties for health and against skin disorders. This was confirmed by a group of American scientists, who analyzed the latest advances in research on cannabidiol and its possible applications against skin disorders.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the main components of cannabis. In recent years, it has come to the attention of researchers worldwide, who have discovered its therapeutic qualities in various medical conditions, whose symptoms are usually resistant to traditional drugs.
The US scholars recalled the functioning of the endocannabinoid system, whose CB1 and CB2 receptors have also been identified in the skin, particularly in skin nerve fibers, dermal cells, sweat glands, and hair follicles.
Given that the endocannabinoid system plays a regulatory function in the skin, the researchers explain, “it is plausible that treatment with topical cannabinoids may be effective for some ailments or skin health in general”.
In addition, the efficacy of CBD may be related to the route of administration: to date, most clinical trials have focused on the effects of inhaled, consumed, or injected cannabinoids, but scholars emphasize topical, i.e. local, application…
Several preclinical evidence would suggest the effectiveness of the topical application of CBD for some skin disorders. But, at the moment, no clinical evidence has yet been identified to support this thesis. “Despite the promising research on topical therapeutic potential targeting the endocannabinoid system – the researchers explain – much remains unknown about the complexity of cannabinoid interactions with other systems of the human body”.