CBD Cheat-sheet: Cannabis and Acne

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Cannabis Oil, A Clear Topical Path to Clear Skin

In 2016, UK dermatology saw a 200% increase in adults seeking treatment for acne. Some of the most frequently used products for the treatment of acne are benzoyl, salicylic acid, and vitamin A derivatives (such as prescription Accutane). While some people see noticeable results with these treatments, others may see no change, and still more may suffer some side effects.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural compound found in the cannabis plant. Unlike the compound THC, it does not produce any psychoactive effects, making it safe, as well as legal to use in many areas. Witnessing positive results on a variety of health aspects when cannabis is used, many have broken down the chemical structure of the plant to see what, exactly, the “magic” ingredient may be. This marks the rise of the use of CBD oil.

From anti-inflammatory disorders to epilepsy, many people state the efficacy of CBD oil. To understand if it truly works, delving into the science behind it can provide the necessary proof.

One clinical study performed involved the application of a 3% cannabis seed cream to the skin of healthy men, with just one cheek of their face treated. During a 12 week program, measurements were taken at 2-week intervals. Sebum and erythema content on the treated cheek were significantly decreased when compared to the skin on the opposite side. This is due to discovering the effect of CBD on lipid production. Acne forms when the skin has accelerated and excessive lipid (also known as sebum, an oily substance) production; this is where cannabidiol comes in.

Studies show that when introduced to CBD, the sebaceous glands (responsible for the production of sebum) slow or halt sebum production. Sebum is a necessary component for the skin as a type of protective layer, but in the presence of too much sebum, pores become clogged and can result in acne. It is now known that the sebaceous gland contains endocannabinoid receptors, which when in the presence of endocannabinoids increases sebum production.

When these receptors are in contact with phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids that occur naturally in the cannabis plant), it has the opposite effect, decreasing lipid production. Compared to conventional treatment that often focuses on cleansing the skin’s surface, the use of CBD balm and its ability to inhibit excess lipid production on a deeper level could be a more effective solution for acne suffers. CBD oil is not a strong chemical that strips the skin of sebum, but rather stops the production when it’s too much and becomes problematic.

In addition to stopping excess oil production, cannabidiol used for acne treatment does not affect the viability of surrounding cells. That means that while it helps reduce the root cause of acne, it does not affect the surrounding tissue, leaving it healthy.

Stopping acne at the source without unwanted side effects is a major evolution for dermatology, and the continued growth of knowledge surrounding cannabis is certainly a paradigm shift. This revolutionary treatment is changing more than the faces of people- it’s changing the face of science and health.


  1. The safety and efficacy of 3% Cannabis seeds extract cream for reduction of human cheek skin sebum and erythema content
  2. CBD as a Treatment for Acne?
  3. CBD exerts sebostatic and antiinflammatory effects on human sebocytes
  4. The endocannabinoid system of the skin in health and disease
  5. Endocannabinoids enhance lipid synthesis and apoptosis of human sebocytes via cannabinoid receptor-2-mediated signaling
  6. Endocannabinoid signaling and epidermal differentiation
  7. Differential effectiveness of selected non-psychotropic phytocannabinoids on human sebocyte functions

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