Cannabidiol, or CBD, is an extract of the cannabis plant that is currently taking center stage on the health scene for addressing human needs on many levels. One of the most popular and versatile products used from the cannabis plant is CBD oil which is typically ingested, vaped, or taken sublingually.
Highlighted below are the extensive benefits of another category of CBD oil uses: topical applications.
The Science Behind Topical CBD Oil Uses
CBD oils should be added to a carrier oil to expedite their entry through the skin’s protective layers. If you will be concocting your own healthy balms, using a carrier oil like coconut or sweet almond oil can accomplish this. Conventional products can be quite advanced in their approaches to CBD topical delivery and are also worth a try, especially for more serious uses like pain management.
Once delivered through the skin, the CBD molecule interacts with the body by indirectly affecting the endocannabinoid system in a way that creates prolonged activation of CB1 and CB2 receptors. In addition to providing a range of other benefits, this mechanism can also help individuals maintain clear, healthy skin because of its anti-inflammatory effects.1,2 Some of the benefits that CBD has for the skin are outlined below.
Inflammation is a response from the immune system that is activated in order to prevent infections. Unfortunately, unregulated inflammation can result in redness, swelling, or discomfort in the affected area.3
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Preclinical studies have demonstrated that cannabinoid receptor agonists, molecules that cause activation of cannabinoid receptors, (especially CB1 and CB2) can block the pain and inflammation that can be seen in acute and chronic models of pain. This is either achieved through the upregulation of cannabinoid receptor activity or increased production of endocannabinoids.
This same study shows that topical application may be the best route of administration for localized inflammation symptoms, such as those found in some dermatological conditions.4
Free radicals are byproducts of chemical processes that take place in the body and are unstable because they contain an uneven number of electrons. Antioxidants, on the other hand, are stable molecules that can donate electrons to free radicals to stabilize them.
So, on their own, free radicals are not necessarily harmful to the body, but when there is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants, the free radical buildup in the body causes oxidative stress, a process that can contribute to neurodegenerative diseases, heart disease, and most relevant to skincare—aging.5
The reason why CBD may be useful for skincare, then, is because some studies have shown that it may be a potent antioxidant. This was determined by comparing its ability to protect against glutamate neurotoxicity and hydroperoxide-induced oxidative damage to other known antioxidants. The study found that it protected against this damage as well as or better than other known antioxidants in chemical systems and neuronal cultures.6
If CBD has the potential to act as an antioxidant in this model, researchers believe that it could reap the same benefits for the skin, allowing the skin to look better by preventing excess damage caused by oxidative stress.
Controls Skin Conditions
CBD also has the capacity to ameliorate the physical effects of skin conditions like psoriasis, acne, and even chemical or stress-induced alopecia. In addition to boosting immune function and reducing the inflammatory response, CBD can improve the skin’s natural capacity to resist these conditions.7,8,9
The CBD molecule can be introduced into the body in a number of ways, and each has its own advantages and drawbacks. The major drawback with topical CBD oil use is the aqueous layer of the skin. Because CBD oils are hydrophobic, they can have some difficulty getting through.
Certain topical CBD products are designed to breach this layer, delivering the CBD molecule and its health benefits deeper in the skin tissues.
Additionally, there are some important advantages to topical CBD oil use, especially when it comes to skincare. CBD oil topical treatments continue to provide benefits for hours after application. This is a superior option to some over-the-counter analgesic creams that try to distract from pain by causing another profound sensation, typically the menthol burn.
Another benefit of topical CBD oil use is that it can be applied exactly where you want it to go. This is difficult to do if you’re ingesting CBD orally or inhaling it through vaping.
Overall, CBD oil demonstrates great potential as a skincare tool in the future. For now, it has been shown that using CBD-based skincare products likely won’t damage your skin, and with more research, experts hope that there will be an even larger body of evidence to support the using CBD to improve the skin.
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