Updated: Oct 4, 2019
An estimated 31.6 million Americans suffer from some sort of eczema. Worldwide, roughly 20 percent of children and three percent of the adult population have eczema symptoms. More than 70 percent of eczema cases start in children under the age of five. In addition, about 60 percent of infants with eczema symptoms continue to have one or more of these symptoms in adulthood.
With eczema being so prevalent, many people are turning to alternative therapies to treat it. One of the most popular alternative therapies for eczema symptoms is CBD. Studies repeatedly have shown that CBD has powerful healing properties that can help a number of skin conditions, including eczema.
How does CBD Work?
CBD is one of the two main cannabinoids found in marijuana and hemp plants. Unlike THC, CBD does not produce any psychological effects. This has to do with how CBD interacts with the body.
Both CBD and THC work with a widespread regulatory system in the body called the endocannabinoid system, or ECS for short. The ECS is comprised of a multitude of receptors located all throughout the body. These receptors can be activated either by the body’s naturally occurring cannabinoids, or by cannabinoids such as CBD and THC.
CBD and THC primarily interact with two receptors: CB1 and CB2. These receptors mostly are located in the brain, nervous system, and immune system. However, unlike THC, CBD does not directly bind to these receptors. Instead, CBD stimulates the body’s naturally occurring cannabinoids to activate the receptors, causing them to do more of what they normally do.
What Causes Eczema?
Eczema’s true cause largely is unknown. However, scientists think it’s due to a combination of both genetic and environmental factors. For example, things such as stress, heat, sweat, humidity changes, certain soaps and detergents, air pollution, specific fabrics, and even the consumption of common allergens, such as eggs, soybeans, wheat, milk, peanuts, and fish all have been shown to exacerbate eczema symptoms.
There is no cure for eczema, and the disease often lasts all throughout a person’s life. This being said, symptoms can be alleviated and outbreaks can be prevented with various therapies, such as CBD. Avoiding known environmental and food-related triggers also can help prevent eczema.
How does CBD Support Eczema?
A 2007 study conducted by Nottingham University, and published in the Journal of Dermatological Science, found that cannabinoids can help treat and prevent numerous eczema symptoms including the typical itchy, red and dry skin.
In addition, a 2009 review published in the Trends of Pharmacological Sciences stated the following, “Recent studies have intriguingly suggested the existence of a functional ECS in the skin and implicated it in various biological processes (e.g. proliferation, growth, differentiation, apoptosis and cytokine, mediator or hormone production of various cell types of the skin and appendages, such as the hair follicle and sebaceous gland).“It seems that the primary physiological function of the cutaneous ECS is to control the proper constitutively and well-balanced proliferation, differentiation, and survival, as well as immune competence and/or tolerance, of skin cells. The disruption of this delicate balance might facilitate the development of multiple pathological conditions and diseases of the skin (e.g. acne, seborrhea, allergic dermatitis, eczema, itch and pain, psoriasis, hair growth disorders, systemic sclerosis, and cancer).”
In other words, it seems CBD actually can help balance the skin by helping manage the cell life-cycle and encouraging the formation of healthy cells. When the process is disrupted, that’s when certain skin conditions, such as eczema, can occur.
How to Administer CBD
Numerous methods are available for administering CBD. The most popular administration route for eczema is topically. This is because near immediate relief often is felt because of the multitude of nutrients hemp oil provides.
In addition to CBD, hemp oil contains vitamins, minerals, proteins and fatty acids, all of which can help alleviate dry, itchy skin. Plus, many of the vitamins and fatty acids CBD hemp oil contains, such as vitamin E omega-3 fatty acids, are incredibly moisturizing as well.
Other Skin Conditions CBD Can Help
Studies have shown CBD can help treat a number of other skin conditions, including:
General itchiness and/or pain
Hair growth disorders
All in all, the evidence is largely in favor of CBD for supporting eczema, in addition to several other common skin conditions. By working within the body, CBD is able to offer its healing properties, and restore balance in the body from the inside out.