In my previous column, I explained some of the latest research and evidence regarding the use of cannabis to treat common skin diseases like acne, eczema, rosacea and psoriasis. While we have lots of data to show that a component in cannabis called cannabidiol (CBD) lowers inflammation and may play a significant role in treating these skin issues, the truth is that we do not know just yet which topical products and formulations will work best.
There are several reasons why it is simply too early to evaluate cannabis in skin care and make an informed recommendation.
Why don’t we know more?
First, the FDA has not allowed research on cannabis in the United States until this year, so much more research is still needed to determine the best delivery methods for the beneficial components in cannabis to reach various receptors within the skin.
Secondly, we still do not yet completely understand which cannabis receptors in the skin play a role in inflammatory skin diseases like acne, eczema, rosacea and psoriasis. We also need to learn more about the chemistry of CBD and THC for topical use and how to formulate topical products in a manner that is a) stable, b) penetrates into the skin, c) does not interact with other ingredients, and d) has a long shelf life.
And we do not yet know the proper concentration of CBD or THC, the effects of THC vs. CBD, whether these cannabis components are better alone or together, what percentage of each is most effective, and what subtypes of CBD have the greatest effect on the skin.
While we still do not know everything about the relationship between cannabis and skin disease, we are learning. In fact, this is probably the year of cannabis for the skin!
The subject is being talked about in all the dermatology medical journals and conferences. For now, stick with the oral forms of CBD, because topicals are just not there yet.