Could cannabis or Cannabidiol (CBD) cure acne?

by Sylent Jay on 07/10/2015
Cannabis is known to be an efficient solution to serious dermatological conditions. Indeed, scientific studies have proven that cannabinoids as well as hemp seed oil have a positive impact on many issues, and can also improve overall skin quality.

Cannabis is known to be an efficient solution to serious dermatological conditions. Indeed, scientific studies have proven that cannabinoids as well as hemp seed oil have a positive impact on many issues, and can also improve overall skin quality.

Lately, Cannabis Sativa-based products have been considered a potential solution to patients suffering from one of the most common skin conditions, that affects millions across the world: acne. In particular, Cannabidiol (CBD) is at the centre of some medical studies focused on the role of cannabinoids as treatment for acne, as well as for a range of skin-related afflictions.

Could cannabis or Cannabidiol (CBD) cure acne? - Sensi Seeds Blog


Non-medicinal CBD products VS. hemp seed oil products

Non-medicinal Cannabidiol (CBD) creams

In the dermatology department, CBD is proven to be efficient to cure or alleviate symptoms of serious skin conditions such as psoriasis or dermatitis. It is also known to be a potential actor in the race against the aging process.

From a cosmetology standpoint, CBD is used for its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities, albeit there has been very little availability of relevant products due to the currently limited legality of cannabis.

Nevertheless, in select places within the ever-growing world of legal cannabis, the purchase of CBD-rich ointments and creams is possible, but these products generally aim to improve skin quality in general. They often consist in a blend  of CBD together with many other components ranging from various oils to chemicals, which in some cases can provide less satisfying results, and possibly counterproductive ones. It is also pertinent to point out that despite the generally small quantity of CBD contained in such creams, their prices, at times comparable to those of medicinal CBD, can make a daily use, intense use or medicinal use somewhat unrealistic.

Hemp seed oil creams

On the other hand, countless cosmetic and healing products based on hemp seed oil have been manufactured, and specifically catered for skincare. These creams, balms and other products designed to be applied topically are also, in most cases, mixed with plethora of other ingredients, if only for the purpose of increasing shelf life.

Such cosmetic products, while ineffective in the context of severe skin conditions, or in occurrences of acute acne, can bring significant improvement to the more casual acne sufferer. The anti-inflammatory property hemp shares with cannabis certainly constitutes a good incentive as to why hemp seed oil-based cosmetics can be added safely to the beauty regimen of anyone dealing with acne outbreaks. Moreover, due to its light consistency, it can be a good base for acne-friendly, homemade moisturizing cream, providing intense nourishing due to its fatty acids content, and profusion of nutrients. Last but not least, hemp seed oil is to a certain extent available as a culinary product, making these tailored, homemade solutions an attainable reality.

Medicinal Cannabidiol (CBD)

There have been a handful of recent studies solely focused on the impact of pure CBD on human sebocytes. One especially, published in 2014, gained a lot of attention. For the study, cannabidiol was used on sebaceous glands (which secrete sebum, which consists in oil, from which can result oily skin and/or obstructed pores). The study successfully determined that CBD acted as a “highly effective” sebostatic agent.

Acne is characterised by the outbreak of pimples, as well as blackheads, whiteheads, and overall greasy skin, that generally appear on the face, larger neck area, and back. These symptoms, whether of genetic, hormonal, or infectious origins, are mainly caused by an excessive secretion of sebum. This is why the aforementioned study focused on the very glands responsible for this secretion.

According to the study, CBD administrated directly to cultured human sebocytes has resulted in the inhibition of lipogenic actions in several compounds. Lipogenesis is strongly linked to the processing of glucose (sugar) and lipids (fatty acids), notably into the adipose tissues.

The administrated cannabinoid, via the activation of a transient receptor called TRPV4, successfully interfered with a prolipogenic pathway, which in turn, influenced the downregulation in nuclear receptor interacting protein-1 (NRIP1). Said receptor, which influences glucose and lipid metabolism, successfully achieved the inhibition of lipogenesis in sebocytes.

Besides, the very well-known anti-inflammatory properties of CBD have only been beneficial to the inflammation that often comes with outbreaks.

The study concludes as follows: “Collectively, our findings suggest that, due to the combined lipostatic, anti-proliferative, and anti-inflammatory effects, CBD has potential as a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of acne vulgaris.”

Practical use

While other studies besides the one referred to in the above paragraphs have proven that CBD, as well as less targeted use of cannabinoids, could be beneficial to acne sufferers, acne is not recognized yet as officially treatable with cannabis, or CBD.

Countries as well as US and Canadian states in which medicinal cannabis is authorized often function based on a list of ailments approved by governmental entities in charge of Public Health. Unfortunately, dermatological conditions are not yet a priority for policy-makers.

However, for patients residing in places in which CBD oil made from industrial hemp (as opposed to made from medicinal cannabis) is freely available for purchase – i.e., some of the places in which industrial hemp is legal, there is a possibility for improvement. Yet, this generally depends on specifics inherent to each country’s legislation on not only industrial hemp, but also import of dietary supplements (if ordering abroad), CBD percentages regulations, etc.


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