Your skin is not only your largest organ but your personal billboard to the world. It is one of the first things people notice about you and it's been a symbol of beauty and health for thousands of years. If you've ever struggled with a skin condition, whether it's acne, eczema or psoriasis you'd try or buy even the most obscure product for just the smallest chance of it working. You're not alone, in the US alone over $6Billion is spent on skin care each year, worldwide nearly $55 Billion is spent. There are hundreds of large and small companies fighting to secure even a fraction of that market share each year. Extensive testing and exotic blends are marketed, knowing that people with skin conditions are willing to pay top dollar and try just about anything. If you're one of these people your days of hunting for a product that works, and more importantly keeps working, may soon be over. Over the last few years numerous studies have found that one of the most promising treatments for skin related problems might be found in cannabis and more specifically CBD oil.
What is CBD Oil
Cannabidiol, or CBD oil is the non-pyschoactive part of the cannabis plant that provides the medical benefits normally attributed to using cannabis. CBD does not have the mind-altering effects of recreational cannabis (marijuana) but instead provides the therapuetic benefits associated with medical marijuana. CBD comes from the industrial hemp plant, which has virtually nothing to do with the recreational drug. Hemp has been used for thousands of years in everything from paper to oil and clothing. As state laws have recently changed over the past few years for both medical and recreational cannabis; research studies have become more easily accessible. In the past it was difficult for labs to obtain consistent samples for studies. This limited the areas that researchers could study and it limited the upside potential of who could use any resulting cannabis related therapies. Due to legal changes for cannabis and hemp access to samples have opened the flood gates to a wide array of studies. Research studies on the benefits of CBD are now being released on topics ranging from cancer to acne. New research techniques previously not available when hemp and cannabis were plentiful are now available to explore the benefits of this ancient plant.
Despite cannabis being used for thousands of years it has only been recently that medical laboratories have been able to identify how it is helpful. The lag in research was almost entirely due to the listing of cannabis as a schedule 1 drug. This limited the ability of Labs to study the plant and essentially put a huge obstacle in the way of detailed research into a wider group of conditions. As more states have relaxed the restrictions, labs have been able to further study conditions that were historically not top priorities. One of the primary benefits has been the isolation of compounds within hemp plants. Hemp is the industrial cousin of the traditional marijuana plant. As recreational marijuana was cross breed over the years to increase the content of THC, the mind-altering counpund; hemp was cross breed to increase the CBD and minimize the THC down to zero. By having a higher CBD content, hemp provides more practical therapy application, without the concern of getting users high. The CBD oil is extracted from hemp and used in a wide variety of ways for an ever-increasing number of reasons.
All cannabinoids, including CBD attach themselves to certain receptors in the body. The human body produces certain cannabinoids on its own. It has 2 receptors called CB1 and CB2 receptors that make up our internal endocannabinoid system. CB1 receptors are found all over the body, but mostly concentrated in the brain. These receptors deal with coordination, movement, pain, emotions, mood, thinking, appetite and memories. CB2 receptors are more common in the immune system and influence inflammation and pain.
It was originally believed that CBD would act directly on these receptors. The recent research has found that CBD has a more indirect relationship with these receptors and instead the use of CBD oil stimulates the body to use it's own endocannabinoid system as a self regulating healing mechanism. This is beneficial in two primary ways. First CBD is non-toxic in high doses - meaning if you take even huge amounts your side effects are limited to drozziness or nausea . More importantly you can't overdose. In fact, the national cancer institute even explicitly stated this in their revised report on CBD in April of 2017.(https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/hp/cannabis-pdq#section/_15)
The second benefit of using CBD is the self regulating mechanism. Because CBD works with your bodies own endocannabinoid system it does not create new unintended consequences or conditions that create new problems. Instead it stimulates your body to modulate itself, a concept known as retrograde signaling (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11301031). This feedback loop is driven by your own bodies endocannabinoid system and either ramps up or down different biological processes based on the signals it receives. Combining CBD being non-toxic at high doses and this feedback loop it limits the possibility of negative side effects and gives your body the chance to heal itself.
CBD Oil for Acne
While acne isn't a life threatening condition, it does have large social impacts on teenagers and even adults. As a parent, I can attest to the pain of watching my child worry about acne or dealing with comments from other kids. There is a roller coaster of emotion, happiness when a treatment works and then disappointment when it stops being effective. Many of the current treatment regiments, such as antibiotics, cleansers or Accutane are harsh and have an alarming list of side effects, making the possibility of using a natural remedy more intriguing.
Acne involves the over production of oil in the skin. Specifically, a lipid substance called sebum is over produced by the sebaceous gland. Sebum is intended to help with the waterproofing of the skin, which is why too much leads to acne and too little leads to dry skin conditions such as eczema, or seborrhea. In addition to excess oil, acne can be accompanied by inflammation and pain in the form of redness and swelling.
It is already well established that CBD is helpful in the treatment of inflammation, however its impact on sebum was surprising at first. Cells that lacked sebum production were ramped up into more production when treated with CBD oil. It was thought that CBD would be helpful for dry skin conditions but make acne worse. Surprisingly CBD when administered to healthy cells it did not sitimulate the production of more sebum and in fact reduced the production in over active cells. This self regulating mechanism shows immense promise for skin conditions. Previously a balancing act between medications or treatments was needed. To much of one treatment and skin became too dry, to much of another and it was too oily. This guessing game doesn't provide the wanted result and even worse does long term damage to the skin.
How to use CBD Oil for Acne
Using CBD for Acne is very simple. Ingesting any form of CBD will act on the body in the same way so it ultimately become a consumer preference. While most people would immediate look for a topical application it might not have the desired effect. The majority of CBD topicals are just that, topical. They only penetrate shallow into the skin and while they provide some relief they don’t get into the blood stream where the real mechanism of action lies. You can’t go wrong with using both a topical and an ingested form of CBD for Acne, however it’s not necessary. A good qualitytincture,edible or evenisolate product will act in similar ways.
Using an isolate and tincture has been especially useful for our clients. The tincture they ingest once or twice a day as anyone would, however the isolate gives them some additional flexibility. Ourisolate is a clean white powder that can be dissolved in most creams. If you have a favorite night time cream you can mix isolate powder into the cream and get the topical benefits of CBD. This internal and external approach has been used by many of our clients. Another benefit is cost savings. Isolate is a much cheaper alternative compared to expensive skin creams and will last much longer.
One final word of warning about topical CBD products; avoid soaps, shampoos and cleansers. These products don’t stay on the skin long enough to be absorbed and you’ll more than likely wash most of your CBD down the drain before you get any benefit from it.