CBD for Acne

What is Acne

Acne is a type of skin condition that occurs when hair follicles become plugged with sebum, dead skin cells and debris. Acne is most common among teenagers, although it affects people of all ages.

The most common types of acne include:

There are several risk factors, issues and circumstances that can trigger or exasperate acne. These include:

Symptoms of Acne

Acne symptoms can vary depending on the type and severity of the condition and can include one, or many of the following:

Acne Medications & Treatments

There are several treatments available for acne, but it is a condition that can be persistent. Often, as the pimples and bumps start to heal slowly, new ones seem to crop up. And depending on its severity, acne and scarring of the skin can lead to social isolation that can cause additional issues like emotional distress, social anxiety, depression. The earlier treatment is started, the lower the risk of the patient developing these additional problems.

Pharmaceutical Interventions

For more severe acne conditions, pharmaceutical interventions ar

Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions

Certain dietary and lifestyle changes, including avoiding certain foods, regular exercise and stress reduction, can help reduce certain milder forms of acne. In addition, although not always proven as effective, or routinely recommend, some other non-pharmaceutical treatments include:

CBD for Acne

Research & Scientific Evidence

The skin contains cannabinoid receptors with which Cannabidiol (CBD) interacts with to calm, sooth and repair skin. In addition, CBD also has several properties that have the potential to help treat acne, including anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and skin balancing effects.

In a 2014, in-vitro study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, scientists explored the effects of topically applied CBD on human sebaceous gland function.

They found that the administration of CBD to cultured human sebocytes and human skin organ cultures inhibited the lipogenic actions of various compounds, including arachidonic acid and a combination of linoleic acid and testosterone. In addition, they found that CBD suppressed sebocyte proliferation and lipogenesis via the down-regulation of nuclear receptor interacting with protein-1 (NRIP1). The data also showed that CBD exerted complex anti-inflammatory actions.

They concluded that CBD has potential as a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of acne vulgaris due to its combined lipostatic, antiproliferative, and anti-inflammatory effects.

In another in-vitro study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research in 2019, researchers investigated the potential effect of a CBD as an anti-inflammatory agent in the skin to isolate its molecular mechanisms in human keratinocytes and fibroblasts.

The researchers applied CBD isolate suspended in an oil base of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) to cell cultures which were treated with a pro-inflammatory stimulus for 6 or 24 hours. After 72 hours, the cell cultures were then analyzed for various pro-inflammatory mediators and markers as well as its effects on wound healing genes.

They concluded that CBD has the ability to not only down-regulate the genes involved in wound healing but also reduce skin inflammation and promote wound healing, especially in dry skin that is accompanied by cracks and wounds.

In a 2019 clinical trial, researchers investigated the therapeutic effects of a CBD-ointment on severe skin chronic diseases and its outcome on scar formation. They published their results in the journal for Clinical Therapeutics.

In a retrospective study, the researchers collected anecdotal data from 20 patients with two of the most frequent skin disorders: psoriasis (n: 5 patients) and atopic dermatitis (n: 5) that resulted in scarring (n: 10). The subjects were instructed to administer topical CBD-enriched ointment to lesioned skin areas twice daily for a total of a three-month treatment course.

The results showed that topical treatment with CBD-enriched ointment significantly improved symptoms and reduced scar formation. They also found that there were no irritant or allergic reactions during the period of treatment.

CBD as a Complementary Treatment

As mentioned, because of acne being so “visible”, it can often cause social isolation that can lead to additional issues such as emotional distress, social anxiety and depression. CBD can be an effective complimentary therapy to help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety with one particular study concluding that CBD’s anxiolytic properties and minimal adverse side effects make it a particularly good treatment option for a variety of symptoms associated with social anxiety.

Bottom Line

Acne is a problematic and persistent skin condition that affects numerous people of all ages and genders. CBD has been shown to help treat acne and support skin health in a variety of ways, including regulating oil production, reducing inflammation, promoting wound healing, and reducing scar formation. If you are interested in using CBD for acne, speak to your treating physician or dermatologist first when using either over-the-counter and/or prescription medications. He or she can help monitor dosages, track improvements in symptom severity and scar formation while also monitoring other clinical parameters such as potential interactions with other medicines and treatments they have prescribed.