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Skin Care Cannabis Is No Fad- Here’s The Science

Matt Weeks

Here’s what science says about cannabis-based skin products.

Cannabis is a wonder medicine. The little plant has outsized powers endowed with the ability to calm tremors, ease anxiety, kill pain, stimulate the appetite and unlock creativity. Now, some researchers are eyeing its potential in a new field: skin care.

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The notion makes sense, economically.

The skincare market has exploded in recent years, rocketing knowledgeable “YouTube vloggers” and boutique cream companies to international stardom. The cannabis industry, creative and entrepreneurial as ever, is not far behind the pulse.

While there’s good reason to be wary of miracle cures, the trend of luxury skin care products with cannabis oil in them isn’t just a fad. Increasingly, reputable science is finding that this little plant holds promise for all sorts of ailments, from acne to eczema, and may even lessen chronic conditions like psoriasis.

The breakthrough began with the discovery that human skin contains cannabinoid receptors, just like the ones found within our body. These provided a groundwork for exploring the use of cannabis topically.

Topical THC

Research demonstrates that the same psychotropic ingredient that produces a euphoric mental state (THC) also has powerful analgesic effects when applied directly to skin. In addition, a second cannabinoid, CBD, is a fantastic anti-inflammatory agent that can treat many skin conditions. In fact, in peer-reviewed trials, cannabis oil beat out the traditional medical standbys, hydrocortisone and aspirin, for treating puffy, inflamed skin.

That’s good news for eczema sufferers who find that their skincare regime isn’t producing results. Or, for those who would like a more natural option for treatment. What’s more, oil derived from cannabis is loaded with polyunsaturated fatty acids, which reduce topical dryness and redness in the skin. Eczema patients who used cannabis-oil products saw a dramatic drop off in their use of other medications (when they had access to CBD skin).

Even small blemishes, like blackheads, will reduce with a cream made of only 3 percent cannabis seed extract. In research trials, such a mixture reduces redness and excess facial sebum, making topical cannabis creams an excellent way to clear up puffy or problematic skin.

But it’s not just for cosmetics.

Beyond the desire for an even complexion, there are real medical advantages to treating topical problems with cannabinoids.

The auto-immune disease psoriasis has left millions of sufferers with itchy, scaly, red skin. An excessively fast growth of the outer layer of skin causes it. Scientists found that such growth can be slowed down by topical application of a cannabis oil cream. It’s not a cure (none yet exist) for psoriasis. However, we are only beginning to realize Cannabis oil’s role in its treatment and management.

That doesn’t mean it’s new, however. Cannabis oil has been an integral part of traditional folk remedies for skin problems from time immemorial. Traditional cultures valued the leaves and seeds of the cannabis plant to treat a variety of village ailments. Today, we’ve nearly come full circle.cannabis, medical cannabis, skincare, skin cream, psoriasis, CBD, cannabinoids, skin treatment, acne, dry skin, eczema

Folk Remedies; But Scientifically Proven

For example, Iranians traditionally rely on a cream made from the oils of sesame, hemp, pistachio and walnut. It helps to heal burns quickly and without scarring.

Recently, the folk treatment passed into scientific legitimacy after researchers showed that burned mice responded far better in wound closure 10 days after they were treated with the traditional cream.

The study of traditional treatments in India led in part to the discovery that cannabinoids have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, which could be reason that it was used to make an medicinal resin in ancient cultures.

There is no doubt that many products with dubious health claims will continue to hit the shelves. Especially as the market responds to the increasing legality and entrepreneurial interest in cannabis oil. But for now, at least there’s cannabis to control and counter skin afflictions.

Matt Weeks

A writer living and working in Athens, GA, Matt's work has appeared in various newspapers, books, magazines and online publications over the last 15 years. When he's not writing, he hosts bar trivia, plays in local bands, and makes a mean guacamole. He holds an undergraduate degree in journalism and a master's degree in organizational theory. His favorite movie is "Fletch."

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