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Eczema: Can CBD oil help to treat and alleviate itchy symptoms of eczema?

ECZEMA is typically treated using medicated creams and ointments, but more and more people are turning to natural products instead. CBD oil has been claimed by some to relieve the symptoms of eczema, but does it really work?

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Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a common skin condition which causes the skin to become dry, cracked, sore, inflamed, itchy and red. The condition is usually treated with topical creams and ointments, some of which an be purchased over-the-counter while others must be prescribed by a doctor. People with eczema are increasingly turning towards natural remedies for the treatment of the condition, especially those who don’t want to put chemicals on their skin. One product which some people claim can alleviate the symptoms of eczema is CBD oil. But does it really work?

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There are receptors in the skin that interact with cannabinoids that could reduce the symptoms and appearance of atopic dermatitis

National Eczema Association

CBD oil is an oil made from cannabidiol, which is a chemical compound – known as a cannabinoid – found in the cannabis plant.

Cannabidiol is non-psychoactive, unlike tetrahydrocannabinol – or THC – which is another cannabinoid of the cannabis plant.

THC is the psychoactive compound that is responsible for the ‘high’ people feel when taking cannabis.

CBD, meanwhile, has no psychoactive properties and is thought to be responsible for the medicinal benefits associated with cannabis.

According to health foods store Holland & Barrett, CBD oil has been shown to ease symptoms of eczema, as well as similar skin conditions like psoriasis.

CBD oil has been claimed to improve symptoms of eczema (Image: Getty Images)

The National Eczema Association suggests this may be due to cannabinoids having a “powerful anti-itch effect”, as well as anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

“There are receptors in the skin that interact with cannabinoids that could reduce the symptoms and appearance of atopic dermatitis,” said the National Eczema Association.

“These effects happen through a constellation of interactions between phytocannabinoids and our endogenous cannabinoid system.”

The endogenous cannabinoid system (ECS) is found in the human body and produces its own cannabinoids that bind to specific receptors in the body and brain.

Cannabinoids could also “hold promise” as a treatment for eczema due to their ability to reduce colonisation of staphylococcus bacteria on the skin.

Staphylococcus bacteria can cause infections to the skin, causing painful red lumps or bumps, hot, red and swollen skin, and sores crusts or blisters.

According to the National Eczema Association, a recent study demonstrated a cannabinoid molecule interacting with the ECS inhibited mast cell activation.

Mast cells are immune cells that release histamine when activated, which leads to intense itching and inflammation.

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Cannabinoids have anti-itch and anti-inflammatory properties (Image: Getty Images)

More research needs to be done into the effects of cannabinoids in dermatology (Image: Getty Images)

Tips for living with a skin condition

Nine things you should know about coping with skin conditions.

Resist the itch – Eczema is almost always itchy no matter where it occurs on the body and although it may be tempting to scratch affected areas of the skin, this should be avoided as much as possible

In a human trial for patients with eczema, an endocannabinoid cream improved severity of itch by an average of 60 per cent among subjects.

Twenty per cent of subjects were able to stop their topical immunomodulators, 38 per cent ceased using their oral antihistamines, and 33.6 per cent no longer felt the need to maintain their topical steroid regimen by the end of the study.

The National Eczema Association warns, however, that more research needs to be done to understand the risks and benefits of cannabinoids in dermatology.

CBD oil can be bought from pharmacies and health shops without a prescription.

The NHS warns against buying CBD oil online, as products sold and bought over the internet from unreputable sources may be illegal to possess or supply. They may not necessarily be safe to use and may contain THC.

The health body also advises that CBD oils sold in health stores are not guaranteed to be of good quality and tend to only contain very small amounts of CBD – making their effects unclear.

Speak to your doctor, if you have eczema, about the potential treatments available.

ECZEMA is typically treated using medicated creams and ointments, but more and more people are turning to natural products instead. CBD oil has been claimed by some to relieve the symptoms of eczema, but does it really work?

Mum hospitalised with agonising eczema finds ‘miracle’ cure using cannabis oil

Cheryl’s skin was often left red raw, cracked and weeping, leaving her so self-conscious she wouldn’t leave the house

  • Andrea Downey
  • 22 Aug 2018, 11:15
  • Updated : 22 Aug 2018, 13:14

A MUM whose eczema was so severe she was hospitalised in agonising pain claims she found a “miracle cure” using cannabis oil.

Cheryl Halliburton began suffering with eczema flare-ups on her face and neck after getting pregnant with her daughter, Alexis, four years ago.

The 27-year-old’s skin was often left red raw, cracked and weeping, leaving her so self-conscious she wouldn’t leave the house.

At her wit’s end Cheryl decided to try CBD oil, a naturally occurring cannabinoid found in cannabis, and found it had a remarkable effect on her skin after inhaling the natural remedy through a vape pen.

Cheryl, a careworker from Elgin, Scotland, said: “It really began when I fell pregnant with Alexis when I was around 23 years old.

“It started on my back and cleared up after a course of steroids but straight away it flared up on my face and neck and has been constant ever since.

“It would flare up every couple of days depending on what I was eating and it would be an uncontrollable itch and no cream I put on it would soothe it, in fact, it would often make it worse.

“I would feel like I wanted to rip my skin off. I felt like I couldn’t go on anymore as I was just not getting any answers from the doctors.

“On bad days I wasn’t even able to take my daughter to nursery or would be unable to work or leave the house and a combination of antihistamine and painkillers would make me drowsy.”

Cheryl suffered with eczema as a child, but quickly grew out of it and believes that the hormone imbalance in her body from her pregnancy kicked started the sore and itchy skin condition again.

Struggling to find the ongoing cause of her eczema, Cheryl saw several GPs, where she was continuously given courses of steroids tablets, light treatment and blood tests.

She was left unable to wear make-up or go on nights out with friends because she feared eating the wrong thing, or drinking alcohol could cause her skin to react.

FIND OUT MORE What are eczema and dermatitis, what are the signs and causes and how can you treat the painful skin condition?

Then, in August 2 this year, Cheryl’s flare-ups got out of control and she was rushed to Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin by her husband, Craig, 32, who told his wife he could no longer see her suffer.

“I couldn’t move my face and neck and there were open wounds on my chest that were weeping,” Cheryl said.

“I was cold and shaky and felt like I wanted to be sick, and was placed on a drip overnight to treat the infection that had gotten into my skin.

“All my tests came back normal and doctors wanted to discharge me so I could be treated at home but I broke down to a nurse as I felt like I couldn’t go on.

“It seemed there was never going to be an answer.”

When Cheryl’s dad suggested that she tried CBD oil after researching the medicine she decided to trying vaping it to see if it helped.

Cheryl was stunned when her skin cleared up in just two weeks and she no longer suffered flare-ups.

“At first I tried the liquid form but found I hated the taste, but I discovered the vape shop was selling it when I walked past one day,” she said.

“I’ve not looked back since. I’ve been able to go shopping with my little girl, even go back to work.

“Alexis has noticed the difference as she always had to stay in the house with me.

“I have been able to eat bread and other things I haven’t eaten in a long time without flare-ups – and even had a glass of wine.”

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the main ingredients in medical marijuana.

It is also used in cannabis oil to treat a range of issues including mental health, sleep problems, low appetite, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and palliative care.

CBD is also said to help prevent the signs of ageing and protect against eczema and psoriasis.

MORE ON ECZEMA

RAW DEAL

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FEEL THE HEAT

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‘SCARED AND HOPELESS’

‘MIRACLE CURE’

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According to the British Association of Dermatologists: “Complete emollient therapy is the mainstay of treatment for all patients with eczema – this means regular application of a moisturiser [also known as an emollient] and washing with a moisturiser instead of soap.

“These should be applied several times every day to help the outer layer of your skin function better as a barrier to your environment.

“The drier your skin, the more frequently you should apply a moisturiser. Many different ones are available, varying in their degree of greasiness, and it is important that you choose one you like to use.

“Moisturisers containing an antiseptic may be useful if repeated infections are a problem.”

Cheryl's skin was often left red raw, cracked and weeping, leaving her so self-conscious she wouldn’t leave the house