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Can CBD Oil help the dreaded itch of eczema?

02 Apr 2019

The usual treatment for Eczema is regular use of medicated creams and ointments, but recently CBD oil has been claimed  to relieve the symptoms of eczema and other skin conditions like psoriasis, rosacea and acne. But does it really work?

Cannabidiol oil or CBD is made from a chemical compound  found in the cannabis plant. The National Eczema Association suggests these cannabinoids have a “powerful anti-itch effect”, as well as anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

Our bodies have a cannabinoid system - the endogenous cannabinoid system ( ECS) - that produces its own cannabinoids. These bind to specific reseptors in the body and brain.

The The National Eczema Association say, “There are receptors in the skin that interact with cannabinoids that could reduce the symptoms and appearance of atopic dermatitis. These effects happen through a constellation of interactions between phytocannabinoids and our body's own naturally-occurring cannabinoid system."  

Reduced itching

 According to the National Eczema Association, in a clinical trial for patients with eczema an endocannabinoid cream improved severity of itch by an average of 60 per cent among subjects. This was because the cannabinoid molecules in the cream interacted with the ECS and inhibited the activation of mast cells. Mast cells are those that release histamine and lead to intense itching and inflammation when activated.

Twenty per cent of subjects were able to stop their topical immunomodulators, 38 per cent ceased using their oral antihistamines, and 33.6 per cent no longer felt the need to maintain their topical steroid regimen by the end of the study.

Reduced staphylococcus bacteria

The National Eczema Association also said that cannabinoids could also “hold promise” as a treatment for eczema due to their ability to reduce colonisation of staphylococcus bacteria on the skin.

The National Eczema Association warns, however, that more research needs to be done to understand the risks and benefits of cannabinoids in dermatology.

Cannabis and acne

A 2018 paper published in Skin Therapy Letter explained that CBD oil possesses strong anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant qualities, making it a beneficial ingredient for a number of inflammatory skin problems, including acne.

Not only does CBD help to reduce erythema (redness) associated with acne due to its anti-inflammatory properties, but it has also been shown to decrease the skin’s production of sebum, or oil. One study found that a 3 percent cannabis seed extract cream effectively reduced both redness and sebum production in acne patients. 

Cannabis and rosacea

There have been very few studies investigating the effects of CBD on rosacea, but we do know that CBD can effectively reduce redness caused by inflammation. Based on current research, there is promising evidence that cannabis, in combination with the latest prescription treatments, could help to reduce rosacea flare-ups, similar to its positive effects on eczema flares.

The Bottom Line

Until recently research was illegal and there are still many things that we do not know. For example, we don’t know which delivery method is best (oral, topical, sublingual) or which formulations are best and researchers agree more studies are needed. But what we do now know is that cannabis, marijuana, and CBD oil possess anti-inflammatory properties and other beneficial qualities that could treat certain skin diseases.

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