This week, Meghan Campbell, PA-C from Hilton Head Dermatology Skin Cancer Center, shares with us her expertise and opinion on CBD and dermatology.
As a dermatology physician assistant: I see patients with a wide realm of concerns. I see a lot of rashes, acne, skin cancer, and psychogenic problems. All of which stem from inflammation, nerve over exertion. CBD is a known anti-inflammatory agent, thus it is easy to make the connection that CBD could alleviate a variety of dermatology related problems.
Cannabis has been used for its medicinal properties for hundreds of years. Cannabis can be broken down into two strains. One strain is marijuana, which is full of the intoxicating chemical, THC. The other strain is hemp, which is high in CBD, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant phytocannabinoid. The medical use of CBD is a new and a rapidly expanding avenue.
Research is Promising
A growing body of evidence suggests that CBD may help with some of the most common complaints in dermatologic conditions. A lot of dermatologic conditions present visible characteristics such as inflammation, redness, and sun damage. And a lot of them present with invisible symptoms including pain, itchiness, insomnia, and anxiety or depression.
One recent study looked at using CBD to treat acne. Ance is a very common inflammatory skin condition in which the top layer of our skin does not shed off like it is supposed to and the oil glands are overactive. CBD was found to have an anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative, and sebostatic effect when applied to human oil glands. This is promising for incorporating CBD into an anti-acne routine.
CBD May Help with Psoriasis & Eczema
There is also some evidence that CBD can diminish itch-a, very common symptom of many dermatologic conditions. The majority of patients with psoriasis and eczema report itch as a main complaint. We feel pain and itch when our nerve endings are stimulated. We also know that our skin and immune cells have cannabinoid receptors on them, and when CBD is ingested or applied topically, it changes the signaling pathway so that you do not feel the pain or itch as intensely. Some examples of painful conditions in dermatology that may find relief from CBD when looking at the pathophysiology of how CBD works are shingles and epidermolysis bullosa (a blistering rash).
In addition to the skin conditions presented, it is important to remember the psychological effects rashes can have on a person. Dermatologic conditions can exacerbate a person's anxiety, depression and insomnia issues. There are numerous studies demonstrating how CBD can help people feel in these avenues as well. It is always important to treat the whole person!
More research is needed on CBD and its use in dermatology, but I feel that it can help a lot of people and conditions as a holistic option. Future studies may look at the photoprotective role as well. It would be interesting to see if CBD has any properties to protect us from the sun.