Around 30% of Americans are affected by eczema, a common condition known to cause dry skin, itching, irritation, and inflammation. Stubborn to treat, could cannabidiol (CBD) be a solution?
While children mostly grow out of eczema by the time they reach adulthood, for some, it develops later in life. As its underlying causes are difficult to treat, people who develop eczema are prone to flair-ups even after symptoms have been cleared.
So far, research indicates that eczema comes from a mix of environmental and genetic factors. Caused by inflammation, a natural immune response, many find that the condition worsens after eating specific foods, undergoing a lot of stress or coming into contact with certain chemicals.
Despite a lack of scientific evidence at present to suggest that CBD can clear eczema per se, due to the substance's known anti-inflammatory effects, some remain hopeful that it may be able treat the skin condition.
A study from 2014 for example found that CBD triggers anti-inflammatory reactions in cells, something that may help ease eczema flair-ups. Another study conducted in 2019 found that the substance can improve natural elasticity and hydration in the skin after being applied via ointment twice daily over three months.
Meanwhile, other research has found that CBD has antioxidant properties, which may help prevent skin infection from eczema, thus minimizing the effects of the condition.
Moreover, as the endocannabinoid system is involved in allergic inflammation, researchers have suggested that using cannabinoids such as CBD may help skin conditions like eczema by reducing inflammation and relieving dry skin. The presence of cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system also means that the substance may ease itching and pain.
Although promising, the National Eczema Association nevertheless recommends caution when treating eczema with cannabis products. This comes as a variety of irritants, such as terpenes, are often present in 'weed creams'.