Cannabis plant is famous (and infamous) because it contains a specific type of chemical compounds called phytocannabinoids. There are over 100 different types of them.
These compounds are similar in their chemical structure and biological effect to endocannabinoids, the chemicals that human body produces naturally. These chemicals can bind to special receptors in our cells, “instructing” the cell to behave in a certain way. For example, to change its inflammatory response or grow slower or faster. Our skin cells have the cannabinoid receptors, and this is why cannabis is more than just a trend in skincare.
Not all parts of the hemp plant contain cannabinoids. For example, hemp seeds contain, if any, only a small amount of cannabinoids. This means that if you see a product with a cannabis seed extract in it, you should not expect any cannabinoid-related effects.
Among the many different types of cannabinoids found in cannabis, the two types, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are the most studied and used ones. THC has the ability to bind to receptors in our central nervous system. Because of this property, it can have a psychoactive effect on humans. In other words, THC can make people feel high. CBD, on the other hand, does not have a psychoactive action but still can impact many other processes in our body.
Researchers have established that cannabinoid signaling is important for regulating skin health, proper barrier function and regeneration. The major theme with all the possible applications of CBD in skincare is that while the potential is promising, we do not have enough studies yet to know how to apply CBD to bring about positive effects and minimize negative ones.
CBD does not have a direct effect on the skin like a vitamin C or hyaluronic acid does. Instead, you can think of CBD as a messenger that can pass on information to skin cells. Unfortunately, at the moment scientist do not fully understand the “language” in which CBD and skin cells communicate. This means that we cannot “write” our own CBD messages to the skin with any precision. This is why it is a good idea to take any promises that skincare brands are making today about their CBD products with a grain of salt: maybe they work, maybe they don’t, and no one knows just yet what side-effects are possible.
In case you are ready to take a chance on CBD already, here is the potential upside:
Decrease in sebum production. A few first studies show that CBD can help regulate the activity of sebaceous glands in skin.
Anti-inflammatory effect .
These two potential effects make CBD a solid candidate for treating acne and clogged pores . Because of the anti-inflammatory promise, researchers currently investigate the CBD’s potential as a treatment for psoriasis, allergic and atopic dermatitis.
In addition, given the fact that inflammation in skin is an enemy of collagen, CBD might be helpful for anti-aging.
Excited to see more research coming out to help us understand the effects of a topical application of CBD and the effective concentration!