Cannabis has an ever-growing list of medical applications. In the 29 states with medical marijuana programs, dermatologists are explaining to patients with skin conditions, such as eczema, that cannabis can be an effective, and all-natural treatment. Here’s a definitive guide on how to treat eczema with cannabis.
Eczema: A Brief Overview
Eczema is the overarching name for a variety of dry skin conditions. Namely, eczema includes redness, itchiness and dry patches. It’s often located on joints, hands and feet, but can occur anywhere including the face, scalp and eyelids. Eczema is common in both children and adults, who generally experience sporadic flare-ups.
There is no longterm cure for eczema. Typically, dermatologists recommend using sensitive skincare soaps and moisturizers. Many cases, however, require prescription ointments and creams that often contain steroids.
People develop eczema for a number of reasons, many of which are difficult to detect. Environmental factors, allergies and stress can cause outbreaks. For many with eczema, dry, cracked skin, itchiness and redness are a lifelong issue. Most eczema care is preventative with moisturizing and avoiding certain soaps and toxins.
How Cannabis Can Treat Eczema
According to the National Eczema Association, cannabis can be an effective treatment for eczema. Research demonstrates that cannabinoids have anti-itch, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties–all of which make it an effective tool for coping with eczema.
Cannabis’ use as an eczema treatment goes as far back as Dr. Henry Granger Piffard, the founder of the world-renowned journal, JAMA Dermatology. Dr. Piffard, who lived from 1842 to 1910 was a leader in the study of dermatology.
He writes in the first textbook ever published on dermatological remedies, “a pill of cannabis indica at bedtime has at my hands sometimes afforded relief to the intolerable itching of eczema.”
Cannabis is effective largely because the skin contains cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are part of the endocannabinoid system, a web of neurotransmitters and receptors that exists throughout the whole body. The body’s endocannabinoid system, which has cannabis receptors that interact with other naturally forming cannabinoids, such as those found in cannabis, make’s marijuana such an effective medicine. Through communication with the skin’s cannabinoid receptors, phytocannabinoids found in cannabis can reduce itching and redness.
Cannabis also treats eczema by controlling a bacteria that commonly causes it. Staphylococcus aureus colonization is a normal bacteria found in humans. Its side effects don’t always require treatment, but can lead to severe cases of eczema. According to the National Eczema Association, the most common cannabinoids can control outbreaks of this type of bacteria.
Another benefit of cannabis when it comes to eczema is that topical THC lotions can reduce inflammation. Not only can cannabis reduce the look and itchiness associated with eczema, but it can control the bacteria responsible for the infection. Cannabis’ effectiveness goes beyond homeopathy.
Why Cannabis Is Better Than Traditional Eczema Medication
For some cases of eczema, dermatologists will prescribe steroid creams. Over time, the body builds up a resistance to this type of cream, which means you have to use larger amounts and up the dosage of your prescription.
Steroid cream can thin your skin, and can even cause rosacea. Worse than that, steroid cream can seep into your bloodstream through the skin. This can increase your blood pressure and blood sugar levels and affect your hormones over time.
Steroid cream is not meant for continued use, though it’s often prescribed as an indefinite cure for eczema. This is why knowing how to treat eczema with cannabis could be better for your health in the long run.
How To Treat Eczema With Cannabis Topicals
Just because cannabis can treat eczema doesn’t mean that any cannabis cream will work. People with eczema typically have sensitive skin, which means that certain terpenes can cause skin irritation.
Look for products that are designed for irritated and inflamed skin. Don’t use cannabis topicals made for joint pain, for instance. Stick with something that is mostly CBD rather than THC.
As always, be wary of where you’re buying your topicals. Cannabis regulation is in its infancy, which means that anything could be in your moisturizer. This could include pesticides, heavy metals or other skin irritants. As with any moisturizer or oil you purchase at a drug store, go for the most organic topical you can find.
To avoid something that will aggravate, rather than soothe, your eczema, go to a dispensary rather than buy something online. States with legal medical or recreational marijuana have better regulations. Remember that the FDA has not approved medical marijuana for anything, including eczema.
Final Hit: How To Treat Eczema With Cannabis
Refrain from using steroid cream by treating eczema with all-natural cannabis topicals. Through the interchange between marijuana’s cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system in the skin, you can reduce inflammation, redness and itchiness. However, take time to research the topicals before trying to remedy any skin condition with cannabis.