Cannabis, and especially the compound cannabidiol (CBD), has permeated what seems to be every field in the consumer market — from edibles, tinctures, and teas, to therapeutic products such as topical creams and patches. For the purpose of this article, we focus on the increasing popularity of cannabis and hemp-derived skincare products. Due to its popularity, there is an abundance of CBD skincare products on the market as well as information on the internet. The important thing to note is that there still is a lack of substantial dermatological research.
Taking what we learned from the research that has been conducted, we want to set forth some information you should know about mixing cannabis with skincare.
A Quick Word on Cannabinoids
There are nearly 100 cannabinoids, or naturally-occurring chemical compounds, found in the cannabis plant. CBD tends to stand out among the rest due to its reputation of healing or aiding in the treatment of a variety of conditions. Our bodies contain an entire system, the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which benefits from absorbing and regulating phytocannabinoid compounds. CBD binds to the TRPV-1 receptors in our skin, providing potential therapeutic effects like relief from itching, burns, and pain.
Photo Credit: The Human Solution International
The Endocannabinoid System
The ECS is responsible for many functions, including maintaining the control and balance of the proliferation, differentiation, and immune competence and tolerance of skin cells. The disruption of this balance can lead to pathological conditions or diseases (e.g., acne, allergic dermatitis, itch and pain, psoriasis, and skin cancer). It is known that our skin is a physicochemical barrier, protecting us from environmental impurities, but it has only recently been discovered that the skin, along with hair follicles and sebaceous and sweat glands, also function as neuro-immuno-endocrine organs. Sophisticated neuronal networks help orchestrate immunological machinery that directly affects inflammatory and immunological mechanisms.
Photo credit: Phytecs.com
Full-Spectrum, Full Effect
When purchasing skin care products with only isolated CBD, one is missing out on all the other beneficial cannabinoids. If you are interested in trying skincare products with many phytocannabinoids, including federally-acceptable amounts of THC (less than 0.3%), you should seek products classified as “full-spectrum” or made with “whole plant" extract. The receptors in our body’s endocannabinoid system will work more effectively and efficiently when interacting with the whole plant—you want the compounds of the whole plant working together in the products you use rather than having an isolated compound working on its own.
Photo credit: CBD Origin
There are a variety of skin conditions that individuals can use cannabinoids to treat, but if you find yourself experiencing excessive inflammation or itchiness, a phytocannabinoid product may be right for you. Rather than listing skin conditions, we encourage you to begin your search on how cannabis can help improve the quality and health of your unique skin. We hope we were able to provide you with the “why” of “how” cannabis and cannabinoids benefit our endocannabinoid systems and, in turn, our skin, resulting in greater assurance in the use of cannabis dermatologically.