By Kate Kasbee
When the hurricane of hormones mellows out after puberty, we expect our acne to go along with it. Unfortunately, we aren’t guaranteed perfect complexions as we age. In fact, a majority of adults are plagued with pimples that cause redness, pain, and a blow to their self-esteem.
While it might sound backwards to fight oily skin with oil, scientific studies have shown that cannabis-based treatments are showing promise.
To know how CBD oil can treat acne, it’s important to have a basic understanding of what causes those ugly lumps and bumps. Acne appears when the sebaceous glands produce too much sebum, and hair follicles on the face, chest, upper back, or shoulders become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. Bacteria that live on surfaces, such as cellphones, also can cause breakouts, as can hormonal imbalances.
For patients who struggle with moderate to severe acne, a dermatologist might prescribe medications to reduce oil production and get breakouts under control. The medications that are effective, including Isotretinoin (formerly Accutane) and its generics, come with nasty side effects: nosebleeds, rashes, cracking and peeling skin, and even birth defects. A pair of Pakistani pharmaceutical researchers in 2015 studied the effectiveness of a cream made from crushed cannabis seeds and mixed with solvent-aqueous methanol. The test subjects reported the cannabis treatment was effective, and none reported irritancy.
How does it do it?
Like many other organs and tissues in the body, our sebaceous glands and hair follicles have CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. These special receptors are an important part of our endocannabinoid system (ECS), which helps promote homeostasis in the body. When cannabinoid receptors interact with cannabis compounds, CBD included, they communicate messages to the nervous system to produce a variety of effects.
Studies published on the US National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Biotechnology Information database found that CBD can inhibit the production of sebum, leading to less oily skin and reduced acne. In addition to decreasing oil production in the sebaceous glands and hair follicles, CBD could also help reduce inflammation. In other words, CBD oil might combat the unsightly swelling and redness that accompany pimples and cystic nodules.
Trying CBD for skin?
To reap the benefits of using CBD oil to treat acne, buy a brand from a dispensary or other reputable seller. You should also try to find sources from an organic-certified farm where available; pesticides are generally not approved for use in cannabis cultivation. A CBD facial serum or balm can easily be added to your morning and nighttime skincare routine. As you increase your dosage, a couple of CBD oil drops under the tongue can boost the benefits of a topical treatment and offer health benefits that go further than skin deep.