The U.S. Food & Drug Administration doesn’t verify how well specific CBD products work, whether they’re safe or if they contain the labeled compounds. Lio suggests asking your dermatologist to vet specific products.
“I think that for adults who want to try a CBD topical, there’s little to lose,” said Lio, who noted he has many patients who said they benefit from the products. Like anything else applied to skin, CBD products can cause reactions, so test a small area over a few days before applying widely.
Research also suggests CBD is anti-microbial, with some data showing it works about as well as antibiotics to kill Staphylococcus aureus. Staph can infect the skin of people with atopic dermatitis, triggering flares and other complications.
What else do I need to know before buying a CBD cream or oil?
“I think topical CBD is a very promising treatment for eczema; in theory, it could decrease itch, pain and inflammation. In the correct vehicle, it could also help heal the skin barrier,” said Peter Lio, MD, who is clinical assistant professor of dermatology and pediatrics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and the founding director of the Chicago Integrative Eczema Center.
“Evidence in humans is still pretty limited, which means it’s hard to know how well CBD works for eczema, or the key components necessary for success,” Lio said. Clearer answers about CBD and eczema may be available soon. The results from a trial of a CBD gel in about 200 people with moderate atopic dermatitis are due this year.
Some CBD products are labeled “isolate,” which means CBD is the only cannabinoid they contain. Broad- and full-spectrum CBD products are made with multiple cannabinoids, sometimes including THC.
Reputable manufacturers may also offer a certificate of analysis (COA). Often found on company websites, COAs are compiled by an independent, accredited laboratory and detail the quantities of a product’s various cannabinoids.
We are run and owned by a health professional, that’s me, Nick the osteopath. In my work, I spend my days doing my utmost to show people how to be healthy. The road to good health is not a complicated one but the path has been blurred by food processing companies, big pharma, a disjointed and childlike (in its view of the body and illness) medical system and many other factors such as our insane desire for convenience.
Had a bereavement and feeling awful? Well, not only is there a whole variety of pills for this but if the trauma of this has caused your blood pressure to rise, but we can give you something for that too. There is a complete failure, and in some cases, an absolute determination, not to recognise this moment of your life as a normal phase that will pass.
Because of this, there is an unfortunate reputation attached to much CBD on the market, much of it rightly earned.
So with eczema, as with most health problems, a more nuanced and logical approach is needed.
However, I have taken a long hard look at CBD oil, or in the case of CBD One what I prefer to call cannabis oil since the CBD (cannabidiol) is just one of many cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids in our products.
Our medical system is under so much pressure that the line of least resistance is taken far too often leading to people being sent away with a variety of chemicals, lotions and potions that have just as much chance of causing more harm as they do of fixing you.
However, this is a quick and easy response and there are times when it appears to, temporarily, work. Yet long term use of this type of cream actually damages the skin and can cause horrific withdrawal symptoms that can drive people to depression and even suicidal thoughts.
Based on the recent studies, we know that the interaction of the skin with a CBD-based product can inhibit cell activation on the histamine response, which, when activated, leads to intense itching and inflammation. “However, purity of product and additives or other ingredients included in the product also matter and can have a reverse effect,” she says.
J ust like any relationship, the connection between CBD and eczema is complicated. Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is an itchy skin condition that can creep up anywhere on the body but is usually found on the face, hands, wrists, back of the knees and/or the feet. Eczema affects millions with symptoms including “redness, irritation, dryness, flaking and itchy skin that has a rough appearance and touch,” explains California-based dermatologist Ava Shamban, M.D. “Eczema presents itself physically in a number of ways, [including] inflammation and cell proliferation.” Skin is our barrier from the outside world, and it keeps allergens, irritants, infection agents and other generally bad stuff out. Not only that but “it also wants to keep moisture in and avoid transepidermal water loss,” says Shamban. “When the barrier is not performing optimally is when we see the greatest intake of issues and the greatest loss of moisture, and the balance of the skin is part of the cause of the vicious cycle of eczema.” Atopic eczema is a chronic disease where the skin barrier has become leaky, and inflammation occurs.
Although CBD oil is still a new industry in terms of medical applications, “it has been long observed and known since the first dermatology textbooks that cannabinoids do possess strong anti-inflammatory benefits as well as calming anti-itch properties,” says Shamban. “Until recently, there was no research to understand how and why, but it has been more ‘anecdotal reporting’ and community consensus, not clinical.” According to Shamban, CBD is not harmful against certain skin conditions, but doctors are unsure of how helpful it is. “Truthfully, there is probably a direct connection and benefit [of CBD oil for eczema], but the range of cannabis topicals in terms of type, amount and delivery systems … makes it more complicated for us as medical professionals to give accuracy on the specifics,” she says.
CBD purity: How does this affect eczema, if at all?
Although CBD oil is considered harmless, there is not enough evidence or studies to back up its true effectiveness in treating eczema. There are many other ingredients on the market that can help treat and prevent eczema, including ceramides. “Ceramides are lipids found in our skin that help retain moisture and keep the barrier function working,” explains Shamban.
According to Mary’s Nutritionals’ Chief Scientist, Jeremy Riggle, Ph.D., CBD has demonstrated the potential to help mitigate the symptoms of eczema, particularly pain, itch and inflammation. “All these responses are modulated by the endocannabinoid system, [which] plays a crucial role in skin pathogenesis and the maintenance of homeostasis,” he says. The endocannabinoid system helps regulate different processes including mood, memory, pain, appetite, stress, immune function and more. “CBD interacts with this system and may help the skin re-establish or maintain homeostasis, the result, in this case, being a reduction in symptoms associated with eczema.”
Shamban also agrees. “Ingesting the product has to get through the entire digestive system to work inside out for inflammatory issues, whereas topically you can target the dermal cellular level if the product is pure and able to penetrate.”
The next question is whether an ingestible CBD oil or topical product containing CBD will help treat eczema better. “In my opinion, I think it is better to apply a moisturizing product that contains CBD as opposed to straight CBD oil,” explains Riggle. “The other ingredients will work together with CBD to help treat the symptoms of eczema — plus, pure CBD oil tends to be highly viscous and would be difficult to apply.”