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Eczema: Can CBD oil help to treat and alleviate itchy symptoms of eczema?

ECZEMA is typically treated using medicated creams and ointments, but more and more people are turning to natural products instead. CBD oil has been claimed by some to relieve the symptoms of eczema, but does it really work?

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Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a common skin condition which causes the skin to become dry, cracked, sore, inflamed, itchy and red. The condition is usually treated with topical creams and ointments, some of which an be purchased over-the-counter while others must be prescribed by a doctor. People with eczema are increasingly turning towards natural remedies for the treatment of the condition, especially those who don’t want to put chemicals on their skin. One product which some people claim can alleviate the symptoms of eczema is CBD oil. But does it really work?

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There are receptors in the skin that interact with cannabinoids that could reduce the symptoms and appearance of atopic dermatitis

National Eczema Association

CBD oil is an oil made from cannabidiol, which is a chemical compound – known as a cannabinoid – found in the cannabis plant.

Cannabidiol is non-psychoactive, unlike tetrahydrocannabinol – or THC – which is another cannabinoid of the cannabis plant.

THC is the psychoactive compound that is responsible for the ‘high’ people feel when taking cannabis.

CBD, meanwhile, has no psychoactive properties and is thought to be responsible for the medicinal benefits associated with cannabis.

According to health foods store Holland & Barrett, CBD oil has been shown to ease symptoms of eczema, as well as similar skin conditions like psoriasis.

CBD oil has been claimed to improve symptoms of eczema (Image: Getty Images)

The National Eczema Association suggests this may be due to cannabinoids having a “powerful anti-itch effect”, as well as anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

“There are receptors in the skin that interact with cannabinoids that could reduce the symptoms and appearance of atopic dermatitis,” said the National Eczema Association.

“These effects happen through a constellation of interactions between phytocannabinoids and our endogenous cannabinoid system.”

The endogenous cannabinoid system (ECS) is found in the human body and produces its own cannabinoids that bind to specific receptors in the body and brain.

Cannabinoids could also “hold promise” as a treatment for eczema due to their ability to reduce colonisation of staphylococcus bacteria on the skin.

Staphylococcus bacteria can cause infections to the skin, causing painful red lumps or bumps, hot, red and swollen skin, and sores crusts or blisters.

According to the National Eczema Association, a recent study demonstrated a cannabinoid molecule interacting with the ECS inhibited mast cell activation.

Mast cells are immune cells that release histamine when activated, which leads to intense itching and inflammation.

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Cannabinoids have anti-itch and anti-inflammatory properties (Image: Getty Images)

More research needs to be done into the effects of cannabinoids in dermatology (Image: Getty Images)

Tips for living with a skin condition

Nine things you should know about coping with skin conditions.

Resist the itch – Eczema is almost always itchy no matter where it occurs on the body and although it may be tempting to scratch affected areas of the skin, this should be avoided as much as possible

In a human trial for patients with eczema, an endocannabinoid cream improved severity of itch by an average of 60 per cent among subjects.

Twenty per cent of subjects were able to stop their topical immunomodulators, 38 per cent ceased using their oral antihistamines, and 33.6 per cent no longer felt the need to maintain their topical steroid regimen by the end of the study.

The National Eczema Association warns, however, that more research needs to be done to understand the risks and benefits of cannabinoids in dermatology.

CBD oil can be bought from pharmacies and health shops without a prescription.

The NHS warns against buying CBD oil online, as products sold and bought over the internet from unreputable sources may be illegal to possess or supply. They may not necessarily be safe to use and may contain THC.

The health body also advises that CBD oils sold in health stores are not guaranteed to be of good quality and tend to only contain very small amounts of CBD – making their effects unclear.

Speak to your doctor, if you have eczema, about the potential treatments available.

ECZEMA is typically treated using medicated creams and ointments, but more and more people are turning to natural products instead. CBD oil has been claimed by some to relieve the symptoms of eczema, but does it really work?

CBD and Eczema: Can the Cannabis Product Help with Symptoms?

By Emily Ledger

Cannabidiol, or CBD, has been widely used in a huge variety of products in recent years, helping to bring the benefits of cannabis into the mainstream. Among the most popular products are tinctures, edibles, and even drinks – but topicals have also gained popularity among a diverse audience. These products are often used with the hope that they will provide benefits to the skin – in some cases for skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. So, we’re asking the question – could CBD help with symptoms of eczema?

What is Eczema?

Eczema is a group of some of the most common skin conditions, including atopic, contact, seborrheic and stasis dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, and nummular eczema. These conditions affect the surface of the skin, leading to itchy, red, and inflamed areas. There is currently no cure for eczema, however, there are various treatments, including emollients, available making the condition relatively manageable.

The exact cause of eczema is still unknown. However, researchers and doctors agree that the condition is caused by a combination of genetics and environmental factors. It is believed to be a result of an immune malfunction which causes abnormal behaviour in skin cell development.

Current Eczema Treatments

There are a number of treatments for eczema including many over-the-counter products. These treatments often focus on easing the symptoms of eczema including flakey and itchy skin, and inflammation. A large proportion of these treatments are topicals that are applied directly to the affected areas. However, immunosuppressants and biologic drugs are also sometimes used.

How Could CBD Help with Eczema Symptoms?

Cannabidiol has been implemented in the development of a number of topical products, including face creams and moisturisers. The cannabis derivative has gained a reputation as a potentially effective anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. These potential characteristics of the compound may make it useful in treating conditions associated with Eczema.

CBD has been found to interact with cannabinoid receptors within our bodies. These receptors are found throughout our immune system and central nervous system and are even thought to be expressed in the skin. These receptors form part of the human endocannabinoid system, which has been found to influence various physiological and biological functions.

CBD as an Anti-Inflammatory

Although there have been few studies assessing the use of CBD in eczema cases specifically, there has been a large number of studies assessing the anti-inflammatory potential of the compound. Researchers have suggested that CBD could be beneficial to the treatment of eczema by helping to reduce inflammation and irritation caused by the condition.

CBD as an Antioxidant

Skin affected by eczema is also especially sensitive and vulnerable to secondary infections. This can lead to increased inflammation in the affected area. In addition to being an anti-inflammatory, CBD is also believed to have some antioxidant potential. This could add to protection against free radicals, which often cause flare-ups in eczema-affected skin.

CBD has been rumoured to have potential in a numberof skin conditions. So, we're asking the question – could CBD help with symptoms of eczema?