I’ve seen a lot of skin care products containing Cannabidiol (CBD) these days. Why is this becoming so popular?
Dear Beauty Buzz,
A timely question! For those that haven’t heard, Cannabidiol (CBD) in skin care products is one of the biggest beauty trends of the moment. It seems like everyday another brand is releasing a new product with CBD as the superstar ingredient, touting benefits ranging from relieving itchiness to preventing signs of aging. Here, let’s explore whether the hype is real and how to incorporate CBD into your skin care routine.
But first – what is CBD? It is a non-psychotropic compound that won’t get you high like THC but still has a powerful effect on your body and mind. It’s principally used medicinally, as it has been shown to have great potential as an effective form of therapeutic relief.
Is cannabis actually good for your skin?
It turns out that cannabis could have some skin care benefits, if you use it right. Out of the 100+ cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, CBD is the specific compound that has the potential to positively impact your skin, says Dr. Roberta DeLuca, MD and CBD advocate, educator, and researcher.
A little background info before we dive further into the cannabis-skin connection: Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in cannabis, activates your endocannabinoid receptors (which are located all throughout your body). The two most common of receptors are cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2). This is why you feel the way you do when you use THC, but the activation of CB2 can lead to skin problems too.
Unlike THC, CBD, the non-psychoactive compound in cannabis, doesn’t activate CB2.
Dr. Vahid Salimpour, MD, Apollo Cannabis Clinics in Toronto, says that a “recent experimental study has suggested that CB2 agonists like CBD could be helpful for the treatment of early inflammatory stages of systemic sclerosis [an autoimmune disorder].” With system sclerosis, the immune system attacks the body—and the main signs of the disorder are changes in the skin.
Salimpour adds that many of his medical cannabis patients facing skin conditions like dermatitis and eczema have responded well to high-CBD strains. Due to its anti-inflammatory nature, some of the skin care benefits you can see from CBD are a decrease in redness, dryness, flakiness, and itchiness, especially if you have an autoimmune condition like psoriasis, says DeLuca.
Most of the research on CBD and its effects on skin is limited to conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and dry skin. While more studies are needed to demonstrate the true potential of CBD as a beneficial agent for skincare, there’s definitely promise. Experts do know that CBD has antioxidant properties—and antioxidants protect against free radicals, such as UV rays, smoke, and pollution. These are molecules that damage the skin and can cause accelerated signs of aging, like wrinkles, says DeLuca, so keep in mind that if you’re smoking cannabis, this will offset any anti-aging benefits you might receive from CBD.
CBD is also suggested to have an analgesic effect, so it could help relieve pain associated with skin conditions like psoriasis, says DeLuca. A study published in the Journal of Dermatological Science showed that CBD has promising effects on psoriasis management.
As a bonus, this analgesic effect can be used to soothe sore muscles as well. A study published in the journal Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management found that CBD had promising results in mitigating chronic pain. And it’s receiving celebrity attention too– Olivia Wilde told the New York Times in 2017 that she started to use a CBD body lotion to ease her achy muscles while performing in a Broadway play.
Clearly, there is a lot to consider when it comes to exploring the possibilities of incorporating CBD into your skincare regime. Want to learn more? See here.
By Christina Heiser
Van der Pop does not condone or endorse the illegal consumption of cannabis.