CBD — full name Cannabidiol — has risen to mainstream popularity in the past few years.
Sourced from the cannabis Sativa plant, CBD’s broad commercial appeal lies in the fact that it’s not psychoactive, i.e., it doesn’t alter consciousness. THC, another hemp-based derivative, on the other hand, is intoxicating and is known to trigger unfavorable psychoactive activity in its users.
Because CBD’s innocuous yet powerful antioxidant, anti-epileptic, and other therapeutic properties, researchers have hotly contested it as a viable medication for various conditions.
You can add CBD oil to cosmetic products for direct application to your skin. However, before trying out this delivery system, here are some important things you need to keep in mind.
How Does Topical Application of CBD Oil Work?
The skin is our body’s primary defense against environmental toxins. Therefore, it has evolved to make the infiltration of foreign substances harder.
However, topical CBD oil can force its way through despite the skin’s sprawling defense system.
CBD enters our skin through small openings called pores. Skin pores come in two varieties:
- Hair follicles: These attach hair to the skin’s roots.
- Sweat glands: These exude sweat from the skin’s topmost layer.
In addition to these entry points, CBD can absorb into the little places between the three layers of our skin.
How Does Topical CBD Interact with the Human Body?
CBD, including topical CBD creams, interacts with our natural human endocannabinoid system to produce several beneficial effects.
The human endocannabinoid system contains a vast network of receptors. These receptors regulate many important functions, from releasing “bliss chemicals” to combating inflammation.
One receptor of the endocannabinoid system which CBD heavily interacts with is the CB1 receptor.
While CBD doesn’t directly bind to the CB1 receptor, it stimulates certain chemicals to trigger its activity and impart beneficial effects, such as alleviating pain and lowering inflammation.
Why Is CBD Oil Only Preferred for Localized Treatments?
When CBD is applied to affected skin sites, it immediately binds to nearby receptors, producing localized effects in those regions.
Keep in mind that CBD in a topical form never enters our bloodstream, making it more suitable for localized treatments.
This is why researchers believe topical CBD might have potential medicinal values for arthritis and other bone degenerative diseases, rather than conditions with more intrinsic roots.
Topical CBD for Arthritis Pain
Arthritis is a degenerative bone disease that subjects victims to severe inflammatory joint pain. This leads to painful symptoms, such as joint stiffness, swelling, and compromised motion.
Existing medical treatments aim at alleviating joint inflammation to fight arthritis. CBD’s anti-inflammatory qualities have also indicated similar potential, and that, too, without exhibiting any adverse side effects.
Studies have shown that CBD can stomp the progression of inflammation-triggering responses.
One of these studies found topical CBD to be a potent deterrent against inflammation in rats with arthritis. The rats also revealed no side effects throughout the study. Researchers measure pain from 0-10. This pain scale was around 6.0 at the study’s outset; however, after administering 62.3mg of topical CBD every day, it fell to an average of 4.0 in most rats, within a week.
Scientific data also suggests that topical CBD is more bioavailable than oral CBD. Anecdotal evidence also supports this claim. Many people living with arthritis have experienced a marked decrease in pain after the religious application of topical CBD.
These findings indicate that CBD has an excellent potential to curb pain in arthritis patients because of its potent effects and excellent safety profile.
However, you shouldn’t consider these results as a gold standard to treat your arthritic condition. They are not translatable in humans, and therefore require extended human clinical trials to provide conclusive evidence and guidance regarding dosing.
Topical CBD For Inflammation Resulting From Acne
Acne can pop up on your skin, especially during the hormonal teenage years.
Although underlying hormonal imbalances are often the prime culprits behind teenage acne, the main agent that acts on the face and triggers acne-associated activity is the bacteria — P.acnes. P. Acnes hyper-activates your skin cells, releasing an excess of oil secretion.
In a skin culture study, researchers found topical CBD oil to demonstrate powerful anti-inflammatory activity. Findings showed that CBD reduced redness and pain around the affected regions and modulated oil production to diminish P.acnes’ food source.
For Reducing the Symptoms of Epidermolysis Bullosa
In Epidermolysis Bullosa, a patient’s susceptibility to blistering skin increases. This makes the skin fragile and exposed.
Epidermolysis Bullosa is incurable. Currently, healthcare providers only focus on managing the blisters to contain the condition. Blistering can lead to pain and itching and can cause severe pain because of their pus-dense cavities.
A study published in Pediatric Dermatology closely studies three families who used topical CBD to treat Epidermolysis Bullosa in their children.
Their decision to combat the disease in their kids mostly hinged on anecdotal accounts of people claiming CBD to have potent anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, they found that many cosmetic companies added topical CBD to their products and advertised it as a skin moisturizer.
A special formulation of Topical CBD removed the need for painkiller use in one of three young children. Moreover, all three reported a significant improvement in their wound-healing capacities. The prevalence of blisters was also significantly reduced in the group.
One of three patients was a three-year-old girl. She had severe pain in her feet. After topical application on the affected regions, her mobility returned, and she could walk a lot better. This was mainly because she experienced a lot less pain after using topical CBD.
None of the children reported having any side effects. The study showed that Topical CBD is safe for use in one vulnerable demographic — children. However, extensive clinical trials are needed to further back this study.
While scientific evidence suggests that Topical CBD might have excellent medicinal potential to treat various conditions, ranging from arthritis to acne, you should exercise caution. Before introducing a topical CBD product as part of your holistic treatment, talk to your doctor first to ensure safety.