If you are like me, you’ve been wondering for the past year what is all the hype about cannabis skin care? After intensive research, I found an interesting article published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology that answers a lot of questions and makes some interesting promises.
Cannabis is in Vogue and as regulations on the substance gradually lighten, more research on the product’s benefit for skin care is coming to light. Along with skin-soothing properties, research is being actively conducted on how cannabinoids can effectively treat psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.
Inflammation relief is the most promising avenue for cannabinoids in skin care, along with the treatment of itch and burns, according to the Robert Dellavalle, M.D., Ph.D in his study, “The role of cannaboids in dermatology,” published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
"Topically-applied cannabinoids do not cross the stratum corneum, so people who use them topically don't run the risk of getting high."
The interesting thing about the skin is that it expresses the endocannabinoid system (eCS). Virtually all skin cell populations (epidermal keratinocytes, cutaneous nerve fibers, dermal cells, etc.) express both CB1 and CB2 receptors as well as the enzymes of the eCS.
When phytocannabinoids are applied to the skin they interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors, among others, to reduce pain and inflammation following irritation, they contribute to epidermal cellular differentiation (help skin cells become the type of cells that are needed for optimal skin health), they mitigate psoriasis, dermatitis, acne (phytocannabinoids are antibacterial, antiproliferative, and anti-inflammatory) and have been found to reduce growth of melanomas and carcinomas. In addition to the eCS receptors in skin cells mentioned above and their associated effects, cannabinoids also absorb UV radiation offering some protection against the sun's damaging UV rays. There is still a lot to discover regarding phytocannabinoids and skin but the pre-clinical data is very promising.
Several skin care brands have showed up in dispensaries. Notably, Whoopi Goldberg entered the budding industry with her Whoopi & Maya line in early 2017. Per the brand’s website, its offerings are formulated to provide relief to women suffering from menstrual discomfort, and its body balm and bath soak formulations soothe the skin.
The future of cannabis is skin care seems bright assuming regulations don't completely eliminate the use of cannabis in skin products and overall skin care.