An obstacle with cannabis product absorption is that cannabinoids love fatty environments and hate water. This makes it difficult for them to travel across the water layer of our skin, which can prevent entry to the bloodstream. However, there are numerous topical cannabinoid formulations available to provide relief for various conditions, like acne. How can this be?
Despite the hydrophobic(water-fearing) nature of cannabis oils, our skin is highly populated with cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2). This enables topical formulations to exert an effect without entering the bloodstream. That being said, there are topical cannabbis products that can permeate our skins layers to enter the bloodstream.1
Many adults struggle with chronic Acne Vulgaris, one of the most common skin diseases. Some people that have difficulty treating their acne have found little success with traditional over-the-counter and prescription treatments. In these scenarios, patients may benefit from utilizing cannabis products in their skincare routine.
In order to think about the treatment of any condition you need to think about the issue causing it. While acne is a common affliction, it can be quite difficult to treat due to the multifaceted nature of the disease. The cause of it varies greatly from person to person. Acne is a result of overproduction of sebum, irregular shedding of the skin cells, accumulation of specific bacteria, and inflammation. While modern medicine has advanced to formulate treatments for all the afformentioned causes of acne, these treatments may contain harmful additives, disrupt the skins barrier and pH, cause sensitivies to sun and medications, etc.
These negative side effects associated with numerous OTC and prescription acne treatments can drastically limit the patient’s access to safe and effective treatment of their acne. This is where topical cannabinoids enter the chat.
Multiple studies demonstrate cannabinoids’ ability to inhibit excessive sebum production and reduce inflammatory mediators in the laboratory and some have even demonstrated this in human subjects.
The role of cannabinoids has been widely studied in various other inflammatory conditions, including Alzheimer’s diseases, multiple sclerosis, rheumatic conditions setting the stage for further research of cannabinoids in other inflammatory conditions like acne in the coming years.
Similar to many other topics in this area of medicine, there is still a ton of research that needs to be done to better understand how to best utilize these products for us and our patients.
Interesting Fact: Creams and lotions can typically be applied anywhere on the body while oils can not only be used topically but ingested orally as well!
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