What Can CBD Do for Your Skin?

Already sold on cannabidiol (CBD) for anxiety and joint pain, but wondering if it’s good for your  skin? While more studies are needed, early research has shown promise in using CBD for skin conditions and anti-aging.

As one example, one limited study found that the topical administration of CBD ointment without any THC helped to improve the quality of life in patients with some skin disorders. The research included 20 patients with two of the most frequent skin disorders: psoriasis, eczema or atopic dermatitis, and their resulting scars. Study participants applied topical CBD-enriched ointment two times a day for three months. They showed some improvement, including reduced inflammation. [1]

The National Eczema Association (NEA) says that the benefits of CBD for eczema may be due to cannabinoids having anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-itch qualities. Receptors in the skin that interact with cannabinoids could reduce the symptoms and appearance of atopic dermatitis.[2]

CBD Helps Fight Skin Aging

In addition to helping to control skin conditions, CBD has a number of qualities that can help counteract the effects of aging on the skin.

Boosts collagen levels:  CBD has significant antioxidant properties, which means it interacts with free radicals in the body. Free-radicals speed up the breakdown of collagen, causing fine lines and wrinkles. By keeping collagen from breaking down, CBD can help keep the skin looking more youthful, firm and strong.

Fights dryness A study released in 2008 illustrated a connection between endocannabinoids and oil excretion in sebaceous glands. [3] These glands secrete sebum, which lubricates the skin and hair.  Healthy amounts of sebum help to reduce dryness and wrinkles.

Reduces stress and anxiety: Stress causes a chemical response in the body that makes since more sensitive and reactive. It can contribute to skin aging and exacerbate inflammatory skin issues as noted above. While more research is needed on CBD and anxiety, a 2011 study found that CBD was able to reduce Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD). Pretreatment with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in the speech performance of control patients, and significantly decreased alert levels in their anticipatory speech. The placebo group presented higher anxiety, cognitive impairment, discomfort, and alert levels when compared with the control group.[4]

Aids sleep: Sleep deprivation ages skin. Some research on CBD and sleep indicates that CBD may interact with specific receptors in the endocannabinoid system, CB-1 and CB-2, to potentially affect the sleep/wake cycle.  Also, by reducing anxiety as well as pain, CBD may also contribute to a more restful sleep.[5]

With its skin enhancing benefits, along with its effectiveness in controlling joint pain and anxiety, CBD may be able to help the body “inside and out.”

[1] Palmieri B, Laurino C, Vadalà M. A therapeutic effect of cbd-enriched ointment in inflammatory skin diseases and cutaneous scars. Clin Ter. 2019;170(2): e93-e99. doi:10.7417/CT.2019.2116. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30993303/
[2] Lio, Peter, M.D., Yardley, Helena, Ph.D. Altus Labs & Fernandez, Jon, SVP CQ Science, “Can marijuana help eczema?”, National Eczema Association. https://nationaleczema.org/can-marijuana-help/
[3] Editorial Team, “Studies Show That CBD for Anti Aging Really Works,” WayofLeaf, February 24, 2020. https://wayofleaf.com/cbd/ailments/cbd-for-anti-aging
[4] Bergamaschi MM, Queiroz RH, Chagas MH, et al. Cannabidiol reduces the anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment-naïve social phobia patients. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011;36(6):1219‐1226. doi:10.1038/npp.2011.6.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21307846/  
[5] “CBD: For Sleep and Insomnia, American Sleep Association, accessed November 25, 2021. https://www.sleepassociation.org/sleep-treatments/cbd/