Studies are beginning to demonstrate that cannabidiol (CBD) may hold potential for treating various skin conditions, yet clinicians should use caution, as the products remain unregulated by the FDA and robust clinical data are lacking, according to a study published in Clinics in Dermatology.
“CBD has become a trendy ingredient that has led many brands to incorporate it into their products, which are often marketed for purported benefits of being anti-inflammatory, analgesic, hydrating, moisturizing and wrinkle-reducing,” Jordan V. Wang, MD, MBE, MBA, of the department of dermatology and cutaneous biology at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, and colleagues write.
“Some even claim to offer anti-aging benefits, whereas others offer a cure for acne, eczema, psoriasis and pruritus. Paired with celebrity endorsements, these products have made waves in the global skin care market, which is estimated to be worth between $135 [billion] to $155 billion by 2021,” they add, per Healio Dermatology.
Wang and colleagues noted that many products containing CBD are available in stores and online; however, their regulation and legality are controversial. Conflicts between state and federal regulations, they wrote, have created confusion for patients, consumers and clinicians.
“Skin care companies have taken advantage of this by continuing to offer products to consumers until the situation can be clarified,” the researchers continue. “Legislation at both levels will be ongoing; however, these products have not been tested for safety or efficacy by the Food and Drug Administration and therefore lack regulatory approval.”
Limited medical literature has demonstrated a role for CBD in the management of acne, the researchers state, noting that CBD use was associated with suppressed sebocyte proliferation and lipogenesis, as well as anti-inflammatory properties.
CBD also may be promising for treating pruritus, the researchers suggest, with prior studies demonstrating that cannabinoid-1 receptor and cannabinoid-2 receptor agonists can suppress itching by acting on cutaneous nerve fibers, mast cells and keratinocytes. Additionally, products containing cannabinoids may help treat allergic contact dermatitis, atopic dermatitis and psoriasis, the researchers wrote.
The researchers note that caution regarding such findings is warranted; available studies have not examined the wide range of different cannabinoids.
“The cannabinoid family is diverse and complex, and molecules have different influences that are currently poorly understood and under-researched,” the researchers comment.
“Despite its exciting potential, there remain a number of unknowns about CBD administration,” the researchers conclude. “Although skin care products that include CBD are being marketed to consumers for several purported benefits, there are minimal data to support these claims. As with many cases in the world of aesthetics, the marketing has outpaced our current understanding.”