Imagine the feeling of having dry, itchy, and inflamed skin. For most of us, this is nothing more than a temporary state of unease, but for people suffering from Eczema, this is not the case.
Apart from making the skin dry, itchy, and inflamed, Eczema is known to damage the very barrier function of the skin failing to retain any kind of moisture so the body can be protected from external elements.
However, some good news is roaming around the horizon for patients suffering from Eczema. Studies have revealed that CBD and delta-9 THC have the potential to be effective in treating a number of skin-related conditions.
These conditions include skin cancer, Eczema, psoriasis, acne, etc.
At this point, you might be wondering how exactly cannabis even reacts with the body. Well, the credit goes to the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The whole system is made up of fat-based neurotransmitters which can be influenced by an increase or decrease in the CB1 and CB2 receptors. The ECS is responsible for controlling several body functions such as maintaining core body temperature and controlling inflammation/pain perception throughout the body including skin.
Studies have revealed that cannabis also activates the TRP receptors within the body. These receptors are abundantly present within skin cells and responsible for the maintenance and formation of skin barriers.
Additionally, the impact of cannabis on peroxisome-proliferator-activated receptors (PPAR) is also scientifically proven. This is important as patients suffering from Eczema often have specific gene mutations resulting in skin allergies, itching, and dryness.
Itching and medical cannabis
Before moving forward and understanding the role of cannabis in treating the sensation of itching associated with Eczema, you do need to understand that there are several different types of Eczema.
What scientists believe is that medical cannabis has great potential in treating atopic dermatitis (AD) which is infact the most common form of Eczema.
Due to its ability to impact the CB1, CB2, and TRP receptors within the body, medical cannabis is super effective when it comes to reducing inflammation.
Another explanation is that TRP receptors act as the âionotropic cannabinoid receptorsâ, directly influencing the nociceptors. This means that TRP receptors do infact control the nociception, which is also known as the perception of pain within the skin cells and the rest of the body.
As cannabis is responsible for affecting the TRP receptors, this is how itching associated with Eczema is reduced by the use of medical cannabis.
It is also important to note that along with a number of over-the-counter lotions, corticosteroids are considered a prominent standard for Eczema care.
The ability of cannabis to influence the impact of corticosteroids on a receptor-based level is already proven. All of this information and scientific discoveries combined make cannabis a great contender for effective Eczema treatment.
Can cannabis help with Eczema treatment?
The definite answer will be yes, it can. It has been reported that many people who are diagnosed with Eczema infact prefer to use skin topicals and ointments that are rich in THC and CBD. But why is that?
Well, THC is known to influence the CB1 receptors which are infact responsible for the perception of pain. In other words, the THC content can reduce the overall pain that is often associated with dry skin patches and itching caused by Eczema.
The CB2 receptors on the other hand are nicknamed the âimmunocannabinoidâ system receptors and are directly responsible for aiding the immune function of the body and reducing inflammation.
The THC content along with CBD can influence the CB2 receptors as well leading to a significant decrease in the overall inflammation caused by Eczema.
Dermatological use of medical cannabis: Things to keep in mind
Even though cannabis has great potential to subdue the most common symptoms associated with Eczema, it is important to keep a few things in mind.
The use of the âwholeâ cannabis plant for skin-related problems is still quite a new stream of research throughout the globe. We canât deny the most prominent risks of side effects associated with it.
Also, cannabinoids are known to bind with multiple receptors throughout the body. There are no specifics or parameters when it comes to controlling the overall influence of cannabis on the body.
In other words, any sort of change in the dosage can lead to cannabis-associated symptoms that will vary from person to person.
In the end, the lack of scientific research and the use of cannabis for dermatological needs being a completely new research stream does influence the overall dermatological use of cannabis. We still need more solid evidence backed by clinical drug testing to make a concrete and controlled suggestion.
Types of Eczema
Many people across the globe believe that Eczema is just one medical condition. This is one of the most common misbeliefs associated with the disease. Eczema is infact a group of skin diseases and can be classified into multiple types.
The symptoms, causes, and potential remedies for these types differ greatly from one another.
Hereâs a detailed and comprehensive list of different types of Eczema and what are some common differentiating factors associated with each one of them,
Contact dermatitis is characterized by irritated and inflamed skin that occurs when something touches the skin and triggers some kind of allergic skin reaction. Unlike AD, Contact dermatitis is not genetically transmitted within family members. The disease is further divided into two types,
Allergic Contact Dermatitis: As the name indicates, allergic contact dermatitis occurs as a result of a delayed allergic reaction to something that has touched the skin. The delay is usually between one or two days after the skin contacts the allergen. Skin reaction of poison ivy plants is a common example.
Irritant Contact Dermatitis: This type of CD occurs when the skin has been damaged because of some solvent, detergent, soap, or any other nickel-based chemical. Vigorous handwashing with soap and hot water can also lead to this.
Often labeled as the most common type of Eczema. The major cause behind Atopic Dermatitis is multiple disorders occurring within the immune system which leads to the immune system becoming overactive and causing inflammation.
The inflammation is responsible for destroying the barrier to the skin causing dryness, itching, and rashes occurring. In extreme cases, the skin may ooze out liquid or bleed.
Patients who are already suffering from asthma or hay fever are more likely to develop atopic dermatitis due to similarities within the genetic mutations.
Genetically transmitted AD usually occurs within the first six months of a baby’s life. Some people are fortunate enough to outgrow this condition in their early teens while others are not so fortunate.
Researchers have revealed that the mutation impacts the gene responsible for producing the Filaggrin protein which helps in the formation of a healthy and protective top layer of the skin.
This type of dermatitis is quite limited in appearance and only about 12% of the population affected by Eczema gets affected by it. Neurodermatitis is confined to one or two spots on the skin.
The disorder is characterized by the development of skin patches that cause itching and lead to scratches being developed once the person scratches again and again.
The continued scratches lead to the skin becoming leather-like and may even start bleeding at times. The disease is often linked to factors such as stress, anxiety,
Known as pompholyx, which translates to “bubble,” dyshidrotic dermatitis results in intensely itchy and red blisters appearing on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and the edges of the fingers and toes.
The exact cause of this condition is not well understood, but it tends to be more prevalent in individuals with other types of Eczema, and there is often a genetic component.
Referred to as nummular dermatitis or discoid Eczema, this particular form of Eczema is characterized by the presence of scattered, circular patches of skin that are often oozing and itchy.
Nummular Eczema shares a visual resemblance with psoriasis and is more frequently observed in males than females. It can be triggered by factors such as extremely dry or sensitive skin, as well as skin trauma resulting from insect bites, abrasions, or exposure to chemical burns.
Commonly known as gravitational dermatitis, venous Eczema, or venous stasis dermatitis, this condition arises due to inadequate circulation in the lower legs.
Poor circulation, also termed venous insufficiency, occurs when the valves in the leg veins weaken, hindering their ability to efficiently propel blood back to the heart.
This weakening of valves is a normal part of aging, but it can also signify a more serious underlying medical condition, including heart disease or kidney disease.
This persistent form of Eczema typically affects the scalp, upper back, and nose, where abundant oil-producing glands are present. Predominant in individuals aged 30-60, it exhibits recurrent episodes over the years.
Termed cradle cap in infants, leads to itching, flaking, and greasy scaling. The condition results from an inflammatory response to excess Malassezia yeast, which naturally resides on the skin.
It is associated with various medical conditions, including psoriasis, HIV, acne, Parkinsonâs disease, epilepsy, alcoholism, depression, eating disorders, and recovery from heart attacks or strokes.
The role of medical cannabis and its potential to treat various Eczema-associated symptoms canât be denied. However, researchers still need some more time to find some concrete evidence in favor of the use of medical cannabis for dermatological needs.
Till then, using medical cannabis products for treating Eczema must be done with caution and keeping the limitations in mind.