Eczema is one of those conditions that appears seemingly without reason, goes without warning and is a constant irritation at all times.
Eczema, a skin condition that gives the sufferer severe itchiness and irritation, is difficult to treat, difficult to prevent and overall just hard to bear.
Unfortunately, as far as we know, the causes of eczema are unclear. We know it can be linked to allergies, but beyond that, the scientific community is at a loss.
There are ways to treat it, but with the rise of CBD oil as a possible treatment for a variety of conditions, especially those prevalent on the skin, is it possible to try and use CBD oil for eczema?
Could we be using CBD oil to help those with eczema? Let’s explore the facts.
What is Eczema?
Eczema is a skin condition that results in varying sizes of red, blotchy irritation on the skin. Some people only suffer a small number of red patches, whereas others suffer huge, swollen patches of red skin that drive them incessantly mad.
Eczema is not a rare condition either – about 1 in 5 children in the UK suffer from atopic eczema alone.
The “atopic” part of eczema comes from the most common form of eczema, wherein the sufferer is generally triggered by allergies. These allergies range from general allergies to food substance allergies, all the way to seasonal allergies caused by the merest trace of pollen in the air.
While the condition can improve or disappear with adulthood, a huge number of people suffer from Eczema all the way through their lives. Due to this, finding some form of long-term, hopefully preventative treatment is vital for the happiness of millions of people around the world.
How is Eczema Commonly Treated?
Eczema is primarily treated only temporarily; as it results in painful, itchy eruptions, the only thing to do is try and abate the itchiness.
Typically, this is done in two ways.
Firstly, we have emollients, which are simply moisturizing treatments. These types of things, like Aloe Vera gel or other soothing liquids, work to sooth the irritation on the skin through rehydration of the affected area.
Yet, as sad as it might be to hear, moisturizers do nothing except rehydrate the skin, making the area feel more smooth and supple. When applied to an affected area, this can help get rid of any painful itching and irritation.
Treatments like this are obviously only good for temporary relief, giving you some small semblance of normality.
The only other real option in contemporary medicine is topical corticosteroids, which are used to reduce swelling, redness and itching during flare-ups. Primarily, these corticosteroids contain – you guessed it – steroids, which work to kickstart the healing system of your body and encourage new, healthier skin cells to be produced. It also works to generally combat inflammation of the skin.
Now, these two treatments obviously have the same problem – they are not preventative whatsoever. You take them when you have a flare up and the only thing they do is to try and treat the symptoms, not the root cause. This leaves sufferers of eczema living in constant fear of their next flare up, desperately clutching their topical steroids or coconut oil in case of the event they have a sudden flare up. Living your life carrying coconut oil, looking left and right for any pollen in the air, is no way to live.
People with eczema need a long-term solution, something that allows them to treat their skin irritations prior to eruptions, as well as being unobtrusive and with fewer side effects.
What is CBD-Oil?
CBD oil is oil made with cannabidiol extract from the Cannabis Sativa plant. Acting as a sort of cousin to THC, and actively countering some of its negative effects, CBD does not at all get you high or allow you to experience any kind of psychoactive reaction.
Instead, CBD can act as a form of treatment, and a very effective one at that. CBD activates the CB1 and CB2 receptors within the endocannabinoid system, the system in your body that is partly responsible for your body’s cell re-growth, reproduction and overall maintenance.
When these two receptors are activated by CBD, the body begins healing. Essentially, CBD tricks your body into making more of everything your body needs to help heal you. Sometimes the human body just isn’t equipped to deal with a variety of afflictions and diseases we can develop, so CBD can help give it a much-needed kick.
Numerous studies have been done towards the healing properties of CBD and its interaction with the central nervous system, leading to a consensus that CBD, when used in the correct dosage, may have the potential to ensure that people heal easier and with fewer side effects when compared to other forms of medicine.
CBD-Oil & Eczema
So, how does CBD Oil work with eczema specifically?
Well, eczema as a condition causes the skin to become inflamed, red and itchy periodically, resulting in a huge quantity of dead skin cells lingering on your skin, forming inflammation and possible infection.
CBD helps with this because it works incredibly well with the endocannabinoid system that exists within the skin. Various studies, such as the Cannabis and Pain: A Clinical Review study conducted by Hill et al.*, have found that CBD interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors within the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) that lies within the skin. Upon interaction with those receptors, the ECS begins modulating the reproduction rate of healthy skin cells, allowing dead or infected skin tissue to more easily be dealt with and replaced.
Additionally, a 2007 study published in the Journal of Dermatological Science* discovered that CBD is able to more specifically treat eczema, as the ECS within the skin works hard to balance the rate of skin growth and death. When affected by eczema, the system is completely disrupted, causing the myriad of rashes and irritations on the skin.
The researchers discovered that the use of CBD resulted in far fewer eruptions of irritable outbursts, and even when outbursts did occur, their severity was greatly lessened.
This means that not only could CBD help mitigate the symptoms of an outburst, it might also actually work to prevent eruptions altogether, thanks to a better balance of the ECS and altogether more healthy skin.
To make it even better, CBD could help with another serious problem caused by eczema: inflammation. The inflammation that plagues sufferers of eczema accompanies the itchiness, and will sometimes persist even after the rash from the allergen has passed.
CBD may have the potential to significantly stop inflammation from spreading or forming in the first place. A study conducted by Carrier et al.* discovered that CBD uniquely targets the main Adenosine receptor, called A2A. When targeted by CBD, the body is essentially tricked into stopping inflammation in affected areas. This is because inflammation is the body’s way of isolating and drawing attention to a damaged area of the body, similar to the fever response when you get sick from an infection.
CBD may possess this ability to trick the body, telling the autoimmune response that actually, everything is fine, don’t worry, there’s no need to go ahead and inflame this large patch of skin and annoy the sufferer. This is remarkably similar to how common painkillers work to stifle the body’s pain response – by tricking the body or otherwise dampening the normal receptors that cause the response, you can make your body stop giving you massive pains and inflammation.
In this way, using CBD to treat eczema is tantamount to taking a painkiller for a headache – you diminish the negative symptoms, such as pain or inflammation, without causing your body any serious damage such as when you take more addictive, heavy duty medication like opioid painkillers.
Eczema is a nasty condition, made worse by the lack of an apparent cure. Sufferers are forced to go through life ever mindful of the fact that they may, almost randomly, erupt in pain, swelling, itchiness and inflammation.
Although many common forms of treatment work in the short term, CBD is now thought by some to have the potential to work to combat eczema, both in treating the immediate symptoms and in dealing with the long-term root cause of the eruptions. Due to the way that CBD works with the body in mitigating pain, controlling skin regeneration and even tricking the body to get rid of inflammation, CBD may be able to help you control and deal with your eczema.
True, it might feel a bit weird to trick your body into stop hurting you, but even the best made machine in the world needs a bit of tinkering now and again. We take painkillers to ward off pain, so why not consider CBD to try and get rid of inflammation and itchiness?
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