Eczema, also known as dermatitis, is a group of diseases that affect the skin. Often characterized by rashes, itchiness, irritation, and red skin, Eczema is an autoimmune disorder where the epidermis is hypersensitive to any kind of irritant. Psoriasis is a similar autoimmune disorder; however, it is caused by overproduction of skin cells. Using CBD for Eczema has proven to be an effective treatment for both eczema and psoriasis. Many studies have shown it to be a viable and natural treatment option with no negative side effects.
There are over 30 million Americans exhibiting symptoms of eczema and approximately 7.5 million exhibiting symptoms of psoriasis. Worldwide approximately a fifth of all children and about 3% of adults exhibit symptoms of either disease
What is Eczema and Psoriasis?
Eczema is actually a group of various diseases that are collectively referred to as dermatitis. The causes of this condition are poorly understood, though it is generally accepted that it is caused by genetics and environment. For the most part, it is an autoimmune disorder that causes chronic inflammation. People suffering from this condition periodically have flare-ups that are caused by outside irritants or changes in the environment. At its most basic level, eczema is the body’s immune system attacking its own skin because it detects what it believes to be pathogens that may threaten the body. There are four basic types:
- Atopic Dermatitis (AD), otherwise known as atopic eczema, is a chronic inflammation of patches of skin that begins in childhood and continues throughout adult life. Stress and sweat, both controlled by hormones in the human body, are frequent contributors to AD.
- Allergic Contact Dermatitis (ACD) is a hypersensitive reaction to allergens that cause breakouts of skin inflammation all over the body. The allergens, such as pollens and animal hairs or saliva, are typical allergens, but the severity of the response is atypical in the population.
- Irritant Contact Dermatitis (ICD) is similar to ACD, but is caused by more general chemical irritants or humidity in the air. These chemicals are frequently household cleaners, which are either strongly acidic or strongly alkaline.
- Stasis Dermatitis, also known as varicose eczema, is caused by circulation of capillaries near the surface of the skin. The presence of varicose veins or burst capillaries contributes to sites of inflammation that break out all over the body.
If the general term dermatitis or eczema is used, it is understood that it is one of these four related conditions. Most frequently, though, it refers to atopic dermatitis. The symptoms of all four variants are the same. They include:
- Pruritus, otherwise known as itchy skin, usually most severe at night
- Dry and uncomfortable skin
- Swelling and rawness on the skin
- Small bumps that may crust over or leak fluid
- Patches of discoloration, usually red or brown, that are most commonly found on the hands, feet, wrists, ankles, upper chest, eyelids, neck, elbows, and knees
Psoriasis is a similar condition. It is also a genetic condition that is triggered by outside factors. It is an autoimmune disorder in which the rate of development and life cycle of skin cells is drastically accelerated. In a person suffering from psoriasis, skin cells are replaced every 3-5 days versus the normal 30 days. This manifests as thick, scaly skin with underlying red patches and white, flaky scales on top. It most commonly appears on the arms, scalp, back, and stomach. Because it is a serious malfunction of the immune system, other related conditions may also develop. Most commonly people also develop psoriatic arthritis, which causes painful and stiff inflammation in the joints of the hands or feet. Psoriasis is also linked to higher rates of certain types of lymphomas, heart disease, depression, and Crohn’s disease. The symptoms include:
- Pruritus, also known as itching of the skin
- White, scaly patches of skin with underlying redness
- Dry cracks in the skin that may leak or bleed
- Stiffness and swelling in the joints and fingers or toes
- Burning, discomfort, and pain
Neither condition is curable. Symptoms can only be managed and flare-ups are generally unavoidable. There are various medications that can treat the symptoms of the conditions, but they do have a range of side effects. Many people are starting to look into CBD for Eczema because of it’s anti-inflammatory properties because it brings no negative side effects.
What is Cannabidiol (CBD)?
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is a naturally occurring chemical of the cannabis plant and is one of several chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the most widely known cannabinoid and is a psychoactive product of cannabis cultivation. A compound is psychoactive when it disrupts the regular function of the brain as well as alters a person’s behavior, consciousness, or mood. To put it in its most basic terms, THC gets you high and CBD does not.
Both components have powerful medicinal qualities. Because CBD is not psychoactive, however, it is rapidly becoming the preferred treatment modality for many people. It does not disrupt a patient’s ability to function and allows them to treat their illness while going about their everyday life. CBD for Eczema is safe and has few side effects while acting as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent as well as an effective painkiller. Research has also indicated that CBD for Eczema is a powerful treatment for pruritus and can combat itchiness and the discomfort associated with chronic itchiness.
How Can CBD Oil Help Eczema and Psoriasis?
CBD oil can help treat both the symptoms and underlying factors that contribute to eczema and psoriasis. The symptoms are easy for CBD to treat; it has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and helps decrease sensations of discomfort and itchiness in patients. CBD for Eczema truly shines in its ability to actually decrease the severity of these skin conditions as well as the frequency of their flare-ups. It does so by interacting with cannabinoid receptors.
CBD binds to what are known as cannabinoid receptors that are distributed all over the human body (including the epidermis). This network of receptors is part of a larger system known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS) that regulates a wide variety of vital functions in the body. The widespread distribution of the ECS in the human epidermis, specifically known as the cutaneous ECS, has intrigued researchers and led to breakthroughs in understanding just how the skin and the immune system work in the human body.
The cutaneous ECS regulates various functions of the epidermis, including:
- The proliferation and growth of human skin cells
- Communication and contact between various skin and immune cells via what are known as “cytokines”
- The natural life cycle and regeneration of skin cells, including the death of cells on a necessary timeline in a process known as “apoptosis”
- Production of hormones in oil glands and hair follicles
The cutaneous ECS is instrumental in the normal function and growth of the human epidermis. CBD’s high reactivity with cannabinoid receptors in the cutaneous ECS has suggested that CBD for Eczema helps the human epidermis in a variety of ways. For one, it helps the body’s immune system properly communicate, thereby decreasing flare-ups and oversensitivity in the auto-immune disorders. It also helps regulate the proliferation and growth of skin cells, ensuring that they have a normal life cycle and do not grow abnormally fast.
How Do I Take CBD for Eczema and Psoriasis?
CBD can be taken in a variety of ways, including as a cream that could hypothetically be applied directly to the affected areas. However, many of the ingredients in the creams could actually irritate the underlying conditions and make the flare-ups of eczema or psoriasis worse. The ideal way to administer the medicine would be via a tincture or capsules.
Furthermore, CBD should be taken with supervision from a medical professional. It is also crucial to determine the proper milligram dosage for the patient and their particular condition, depending on severity, frequency, and other factors. Only CBD tinctures or capsules from a reputable company with specified doses should be taken.
Is Using CBD for Eczema Better Than Traditional Medication?
As neither eczema nor psoriasis have any known cure, traditional medications for these conditions can only treat the symptoms and decrease frequency of flare-ups. These traditional medications include steroids and steroidal creams, anti-inflammatory drugs, and immunosuppressant treatments. All of these exhibit various side effects.
However, CBD for Eczema can treat both the symptoms, with its powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-itching properties, as well as the underlying causes. It does so by having a high reactivity with the cutaneous ECS. Furthermore, as it is not psychoactive, it does not have a negative effect on a patient’s life and will not disrupt their regular function. If taken properly, CBD has the potential to vastly improve the lives of patients suffering from eczema and psoriasis.