Many people are turning to cannabis and its cannabinoids when having problems with anxiety, stress, sleep, pain and increasingly with our largest organ, skin. Skin care using cannabinoids has become increasingly popular with people who are aware of its wide range of positive effects. With the right ingredients we can help our skin and bring it to an optimum state.
Nowadays we can find various products with large CBD labels. However, most of the products do not offer the real effects of CBD and other cannabinoids. Are you able to distinguish between real, high quality skin care products from the marketing traps? To understand how cannabinoids from cannabis work and their effect on our skin, we first must look at some basic terminology and the science behind cannabinoids. In the end, we will also discuss some of the threats that winter season brings for our skin.
CANNABIS AND CANNABINOIDS
The main ingredients of cannabis are cannabinoids. The most known cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which are the most researched as well. Cannabinoids bind to cannabinoid receptors, which are spread throughout our body (CB1 and CB2 receptors) and enter our bodies in this way. The main element that regulates everything is called the endocannabinoid system, which is a support system for all our other body systems. Our body generates endocannabinoids naturally. They are very similar to cannabinoids found in cannabis. In this way, endocannabinoid system regulates the processes of our entire body system and provides homeostasis to our body. You can read more about the effects of cannabinoids and the role of endocannabinoid system here. You can also find articles on this topic from various areas on our Dragon Blog.
We will continue by looking at the different cannabis extract options.
To achieve cannabinoid concentration, we must create a cannabis extract. There are different methods of extraction such as alcohol or CO2 extraction. Before the extraction process, we must decide on what kind of extract we would like. There are 3 main types of extracts found in products and 1 additional, which is very common and can be misleading:
Full Spectrum Extract
Full spectrum extract is the fullest extract rich in various cannabinoids and terpenoids. Research show that it has greater positive effects due to the “entourage” effect.
Broad Spectrum Extract
Broad spectrum extract has THC completely excluded from the formula. It is common that other compounds are also left out in the process of extraction, which would be beneficial for our organism.
Isolate is an extract of only one cannabinoid. The most known is the CBD isolate (expl. 99 % CBD), which is usually sold in powder form and is very easily added to products. It is also the most cost-efficient option, however not that effective in terms of positive effects on the body.
Cannabis Seed Oil
Cannabis seed oil is included on this list as many products have CBD labels and include only a tiny amount of cannabis seed oil which is in no way connected to cannabinoids. Cannabis seed oil is made from pressed cannabis seeds used in food – like olive or pumpkin oil. Although it has different positive effects on our body, it is far away from cannabinoid science.
Now that we understand the basic terminology to differentiate between the products, let’s look at how cannabinoids affect our skin.
SKIN CARE USING CANNABINOIDS
One of the most known effects of cannabinoids is the inflammation regulation effect. When CBD is applied to our skin (CBD is usually found in largest amount) interaction with cannabinoid receptors in our body begins and endocannabinoid system starts to regulate our inflammation response. Consequently, interleukin number is decreased, which is expressed in decrease of skin redness and improvements of various skin conditions including eczema and psoriasis (Dellavalle R., MD, PhD, Colorado School of Public Health). Furthermore, CBD can be effective in itching decrease as CBD cream decreases the skin dryness level (Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 2017).
A small study published in March 2019, researched people with psoriasis, eczema, and scarring. It concluded that CBD, with moisturizing and water loss prevention, can increase skin elasticity and improve the general skin condition. Oils and fatty acids additionally help in this process. Additionally, cannabinoids can also help with scratches or skin burns, as they regulate inflammation and help in the healing process.
For many skin conditions dermatologists often prescribe steroid creams, which are an effective option for skin inflammation problems. However, some people are not keen to use steroids and cannabinoids can fill in this gap. Side effects of steroid use can be skin thinning in cases of overuse or long-term use. The right cure in right dosages can of course decrease these risks. As inflammation is the basis of most skin disease including skin aging, cannabinoids have a potential of mitigating the skin aging process as well.
WINTERTIME AND CHOOSING THE RIGHT CREAM
As we are often exposed to very dry air and temperature changes between warm indoor spaces and cold outside in the wintertime, the consequences can also be felt on our skin. Additionally, strong sunrays can influence our skin, especially at higher altitudes. Due to these factors, our skin can quickly become too dry, itchy, and even inflammation can occur. And if you think hot shower is a good way to warm up, guess again. It also has negative effects on our skin as hot water dries out our skin by washing off all the natural skin oils. That is why skin care is especially important in the wintertime.
Today, there is an additional danger that can lead to a bad skin state, due to excessive hand washing and disinfection. This can damage our upper layer of skin, which is especially important in the wintertime.
CBD or cannabis cream can help us with this by moisturizing the skin and mitigating inflammation. When choosing the right cream for yourselves make sure, that real cannabis extract is in it (if possible full spectrum of cannabinoids), other beneficial compounds, and that the cream ingredients are as natural as possible without potential allergens and additives. For smaller skin areas or specific skin conditions you can also try applying CBD oil on the skin, which is also an effective way to resolve various skin conditions.
LET’S GET TO KNOW NATURE
New knowledge and modern approaches to cannabinoid science brought amazing results for various skin conditions. Cannabinoids can improve a person’s life on many areas. Healthy skin is one of them. As we could see, cannabinoids offer support to natural skin mechanisms, and help are skin reach the wanted results more efficiently. However, we would also like to point out, that skin care is not the only important factor. Healthy lifestyle including, healthy diet, exercise, and stress level optimization are also very important in the process.
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G. D. C.
30. 09. 2021