What is Eczema?
According to the National Eczema Association, over 30 million Americans are afflicted with eczema. Exact causes for eczema are unknown, but researchers do know that it develops through a combination of a person’s genes and environmental triggers. An irritant or an allergen provokes a response from the immune system and skin cells don’t act as they should, causing an eczema flare-up.
There is no cure for eczema. Cases can range from mild to severe, and symptoms and triggers are different for everyone. The key to treating eczema is managing it, and cannabinoids are showing real potential for managing symptoms of eczema.
Types of Eczema
Atopic dermatitis—Studies have shown that it may have a hereditary component and is usually present in families with a history of asthma. It is characterized by an itchy rash on the scalp, the head, behind the knees and buttocks, and inside the elbows.
Contact dermatitis—There are of two types of contact dermatitis: allergic dermatitis and irritant dermatitis. Allergic dermatitis results from an allergy to some irritants (delayed allergy to be specific). Irritant dermatitis, however, results from a direct reaction to an irritant such as sodium lauryl sulfate or a detergent. Many substances may act both as an irritant and as an allergen. Other substances may trigger a disorder after exposure to sunlight, bringing about phototoxic dermatitis. Contact eczema is the most prevalent occupational skin disease. It can be resolved by avoiding the offending substance and removing its traces from one’s environment.
Other types of eczema include dyshidrotic eczema, nummular eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, and stasis dermatitis.
How Cannabinoids Manage Eczema Symptoms
From ancient China to one of the founders of American dermatology, Dr. Henry Granger Piffard, MD (1842-1910), cannabis has been regarded as an effective anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-itch agent. But now, high-quality research is emerging to support cannabinoids and their history of anecdotal success.
Cannabinoids, like cannabidiol (CBD), help combat eczema because of the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a network of neurons that helps with the regulation of many bodily functions such as sleep, mood, appetite, inflammation, immune system function, and pain.
The ECS is made up of the body’s natural cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids, and receptors. These are the body’s natural versions of cannabinoids. Receptors are present all over the body. Phytocannabinoids, or plant-derived cannabinoids, such as CBD, interact with endocannabinoid receptors in the skin to help minimize inflammation, itching, and pain in people with eczema and psoriasis. The same also applies to anyone with itchy, dry or sensitive skin. According to a 2017 review from the University of Colorado, CBD, cannabinol (CBN), and cannabigerol (CBG), have potent effects on eczema and psoriasis treatment. The implication of this is that cannabinoids may be effectively used for the treatment of eczema.
A 2009 study has indicated that these skin conditions may be caused by an imbalance in a persons’ endocannabinoid system – a term referred to as Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency.
Cannabinoids and the Immune System
One reason why cannabinoids may be effective against eczema and psoriasis is that they are immunosuppressant. This means they can counter immune responses such as inflammation. Especially in those with eczema, the cells of the immune system are overactive and can trigger inflammatory responses as a result.
Due to their anti-inflammatory properties, when cannabinoids are directly applied to irritated skin or taken orally, they will inform the immune cells to be less active and take it easy on inflammation. When applied topically, cannabinoids soothe the skin and allow it ample time to heal. The suppressant effect of cannabis on inflammation and the immune system also helps it combat conditions such as Crohn’s disease, Lupus, irritable bowel syndrome, and arthritis.
Time for a Healthy System
Like the imbalance and dysregulation within people’s biological systems that cause diseases and disorders, the way in which we approach the benefits of hemp-derived cannabinoids is fractured and dysfunctional. Many patients, health care professionals, and even legislators have already experienced or watched someone they love experience the beneficial effects of cannabinoids. We need to take a cue from cannabinoids and bring balance to our approaches to health care and medical treatment by urging the government to allow funding for cannabinoid research and to allow access to and provide safe regulation of cannabinoids that we already know work for certain conditions. Research, education, and advocacy for patients is key.
The Nature’s Breakthrough educational resource is just one of the ways The Hemp Haus practices its sincere commitment to and passion for educating people about CBD and helping them find the right, high-quality product based on their needs.
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Lio, Peter et. al. (2017) Can marijuana help eczema? National Eczema Association. Web. Retrieved 16 September 2018. https://nationaleczema.org/can-marijuana-help/
Mounessa, Jessica S. et al. (2017) The role of cannabinoids in dermatology. JAAD; Volume 77, Issue 1, Pages 188–190. https://www.jaad.org/article/s0190-9622(17)30308-0/fulltext
Tamas et al. (2009). The endocannabinoid system of the skin in health and disease: novel perspectives and therapeutic opportunities. Trends Pharmacol Sci; 30(8): 411-420.