Can CBD Oil Treat Eczema?
So far, research indicates that eczema comes from a mix of environmental and genetic factors. Caused by inflammation, a natural immune response, many find that the condition worsens after eating specific foods, undergoing a lot of stress or coming into contact with certain chemicals.
Despite a lack of scientific evidence at present to suggest that CBD can clear eczema per se, due to the substance’s known anti-inflammatory effects, some remain hopeful that it may be able treat the skin condition.
A study from 2014 for example found that CBD triggers anti-inflammatory reactions in cells, something that may help ease eczema flair-ups. Another study conducted in 2019 found that the substance can improve natural elasticity and hydration in the skin after being applied via ointment twice daily over three months.
Meanwhile, other research has found that CBD has antioxidant properties, which may help prevent skin infection from eczema, thus minimizing the effects of the condition.
Moreover, as the endocannabinoid system is involved in allergic inflammation, researchers have suggested that using cannabinoids such as CBD may help skin conditions like eczema by reducing inflammation and relieving dry skin. The presence of cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system also means that the substance may ease itching and pain.
Although promising, the National Eczema Association nevertheless recommends caution when treating eczema with cannabis products. This comes as a variety of irritants, such as terpenes, are often present in ‘weed creams’.
CBD OIL FOR ECZEMA: A MIRACLE CURE?
Everyone is on the lookout for a miracle cure for everything aren’t they? A magic pill for every ill. It is this powerful idea that fuels the pharmaceutical industry. In fact, it drives them ever onwards to make normal life experiences into a medical problem.
Had a bereavement and feeling awful? Well, not only is there a whole variety of pills for this but if the trauma of this has caused your blood pressure to rise, but we can give you something for that too. There is a complete failure, and in some cases an absolute determination, not to recognise this moment of your life as a normal phase that will pass.
Going through the menopause? Yes we have plenty of things for that and the list goes on and on.
Unfortunately, in 15 years working as an osteopath I have yet to stumble across any pharmaceutical drug that brings the taker of it good health. In fact, I have seen pharmaceutical cocktails rob people of their quality of life and ruin their days.
I once had a very sick patient who was taking 17 different drugs every day. It was the drugs making her sick. I explained to her that if I, a relatively fit chap, took those 17 drugs I would become sick. So if they make a fit man sick, how on earth are they going to make a sick person well?
Sadly, the chances are you will see the pusher (for that is what the medical system is rapidly becoming in too many instances) of these drugs would probably disparage a gentle therapy such as reflexology or homeopathy whilst busily poisoning their own patients!
However, I have taken a long hard look at CBD oil, or in the case of CBD One what I prefer to call cannabis oil since the CBD (cannabidiol) is just one of many cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids in our products.
There are still plenty of people who think CBD is a scam or a gimmick and I have much sympathy for this viewpoint. Why? Well because, sadly, there is no regulation and there are thousands of unscrupulous sellers of CBD products with no CBD in them or cheap, rancid products that do nothing to help anyone except for filling the pockets of the sellers.
Because of this there is an unfortunate reputation attached to much CBD on the market, much of it rightly earned.
However, I am pleased to say that if you manage to find a well run brand and product like the one we have here then much of what the world is raving about starts to make sense.
We are run and owned by a health professional, that’s me, Nick the osteopath. In my work I spend my days doing my utmost to show people how to be healthy. The road to good health is not a complicated one but the path has been blurred by food processing companies, big pharma, a disjointed and childlike (in its view of the body and illness) medical system and many other factors such as our insane desire for convenience.
An example of this is that I have lost count of the number of times I get asked if my health food shop sells something to help people lose weight. My answer to this is that, more often than not there is no shortcut and the asker of the question knows the answer already – do not eat as much food as you currently do! Yes, it is a revolutionary diet called the eat less diet!
Weight loss is generally achieved with a combination of 80% food and 20% exercise.
This drive for convenience is harming us, our communities and our environment and another area where I see this is in the treatment of eczema.
The basic medical response is simplistic which is to take a steroid cream of some form. The lack of any logic in doing this is astounding. The eczema itself was not caused by a lack of steroid on or in the person’s body. It is not the absence of steroids that is causing the problem in the first place.
However, this is a quick and easy response and there are times when it appears to, temporarily, work. Yet long term use of this type of cream actually damages the skin and can cause horrific withdrawal symptoms that can drive people to depression and even suicidal thoughts.
Our medical system is under so much pressure that the line of least resistance is taken far too often leading to people being sent away with a variety of chemicals, lotions and potions that have just as much chance of causing more harm as they do of fixing you.
So with eczema, as with most health problems, a more nuanced and logical approach is needed.
But before we address that let us take a look at what CBD oil is and if it is appropriate for skin problems.
WHAT IS CBD OIL?
CBD is a cannabinoid compound that is one of many such compounds in the cannabis (or hemp – cannabis and hemp are the same plant) plant.
When CBD is contained in a full spectrum plant extract with all the other compounds in cannabis it can become a very useful supplement. The synergy of all the compounds in cannabis is known as the entourage effect and enables the full plant to be far more potent than isolating one ingredient for use.
This is why all the products at CBD One use a whole plant full spectrum extract. Indeed, it would be more accurate to call our products cannabis oil instead of CBD oil.
The gentle nature of using whole plants means they are often remarkably safe to use and a report by the World Health Organisation found this to be true for CBD oil.
WHAT IS ECZEMA?
Eczema is a catch all term for a group of skin conditions that cause dry and irritated skin. This can be quite mild and in a small area or at its worst may be a whole body experience where it can be difficult to find skin that is not irritated.
Mild cases may come and go with little impact on a person’s life whilst a really chronic case may cause severe discomfort and emotional issues and even lead to people having to be hospitalized to have their skin treated.
There are a wide variety of types such as discoid eczema which causes round, almost disc like patches of irritated skin or contact dermatitis where the skin has been irritated by something it has come into contact with such as washing up liquid or a particular type of metal amongst other things.
WHAT CAUSES ECZEMA?
Whilst we know some of the causes of eczema there are still large gaps in our knowledge but we do understand some of the causes, of which the commonest is that caused by an allergy. This may be to a particular animal such as household pets or a reaction to soaps and detergents.
In addition, infections may cause eczema and so can reactions to being too hot or cold. There is much that is a mystery but it appears there is some form of dysfunction in the immune system too.
One of the biggest contributory factors is high stress. I can vouch for this myself as when I was going through my divorce, at the height of all the stress I developed discoid eczema! Lots of little discs of irritation appeared on my body almost overnight.
I know of dermatologists who refer to the study of the skin as cutaneous psychology because the impact of emotions on our skin can be profound. On a relatively simple level this can be shown by thinking about what happens when we are embarrassed. Our skin goes red. This is a brief moment of dilation of blood vessels to our skin linked to a stressful moment.
Now imagine a subtler version of this where the stress doesn’t necessarily cause an instant redness, however, it slowly but surely changes the blood flow to our skin over a few weeks. The next step may well be eczema and it often appears weeks after the stress has gone so we don’t blame the high stress event as the cause.
WHAT TREATMENT CURRENTLY EXISTS FOR PEOPLE WITH ECZEMA?
The commonest form of treatment is to use a topical steroid cream on the area of irritated skin. However, long term use of this is not recommended because it can thin and damage your skin. It does not get to the cause of the problem so is often merely giving a temporary relief before the problem returns.
There is no real logical thought being used in this kind of treatment but I will acknowledge that when used carefully, in the right place at the right time it may bring some relief from an awful problem but long term use is not recommended.
Other drugs that may be used are immunosuppressants such as cyclosporine and the immunomodulators Elidel and Protopic. All of these drugs influence your immune system to prevent an over reaction of it that can typically cause eczema. Unfortunately all these drugs come with serious risks such as increasing your chances of developing cancer.
They inhibit your immune system which can bring other problems such as throat pain and herpes infections. They can also cause other unwanted problems too like insomnia, conjunctivitis, joint pain and even toothache.
In addition they can increase the sensitivity of your skin to sunlight meaning care must be taken when outdoors and they may also react with alcohol causing your skin to flush red.
CAN CBD OIL CURE ECZEMA?
The one thing we can say with absolute certainty is that CBD does not come with any of the awful side effects listed above. It is amazingly safe to use.
Therefore, if it comes with no risk I would make the case that it is worth trying. The number one guiding principle of any physician should be to do no harm. I would always suggest people try using CBD oil for eczema to test how their body will react to it. The key being that we know the chances of them having a bad reaction are virtually zero.
If you had to choose between a drug that may cause cancer and may or may not help your skin problem and a natural substance that definitely will not cause cancer and may or may not help your skin problem which would you choose? I know which side I would be on in that decision making process.
DOES CBD OIL WORK BETTER ORALLY OR IN A TOPICAL CREAM?
I would say the best method to try is to take CBD orally and topically at the same time.
Use a full spectrum plant extract oil or water soluble product. This can work to balance your body’s stress system and immune system and since we know that stress has an important role in many skin problems this is step one.
Step two is to apply a topical CBD cream to the irritated area. Your skin has cannabinoid receptors in it that help to reduce inflammation and, therefore, it may be a good way of helping soothe irritation to put CBD on the area that is inflamed.
There are some terrible examples of CBD balms on the market where no thought has gone into making them. They are just some CBD extract dumped in a carrier such as beeswax or shea butter. At CBD One we have worked with cosmetic experts to produce a serious, high quality face and body lotion that is a premium product. A little goes a long way so use it sparingly.
Our Complete cream has ten different herbs in it that are all useful for the skin and it has full spectrum cannabis extract in it too.
By attacking the problem both inside and out you are giving yourself the best chance of seeing good results.
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO TO HELP MY ECZEMA?
Of course, taking CBD may only be part of the equation in making a recovery from such a distressing problem. I would also suggest regular, daily exercise because this comes with. myriad of benefits and for skin problems the most important one is that it helps dissipate stress hormones so your body copes better with the demands of life.
Remove processed foods from your diet and especially sugar, mass produced breads, cereals and pastas. Following a keto type diet where good fats and nourishing foods replace processed , vitality sapping foods. Make sure you also eat some fermented food such as kefir, sauerkraut or kimchi every day.
Helping your gut health with a good diet is very important because it is the cleansing system of your body and if this is not functioning effectively your body will do anything it can to remove toxins, including pushing them out through your skin which can also be a reason eczema or other skin irritations appear.
The gut is the key to so many health problems so please pay particular attention to healing it. Good food, fermented food and a high quality probiotic are very useful to help this process.
If you know there is a particular allergy that contributes to your eczema then make sure your exposure to it is limited or does not happen at all.