Medical Cannabis and Anti-Aging Skin Care

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Signs of Aging and Its Causes

Like other signs of aging, the formation of wrinkles and saggy skin is a natural biological process triggered by a number of factors, some of which we cannot control. For instance, as we get older our skin becomes less elastic and more delicate. The fatty tissue also diminishes, and the surface of the skin becomes increasingly loose and saggy. Our natural oil production also declines, causing the skin to grow more wrinkled in the process.

Environmental influences such as pollution or sun (UV) exposure may contribute to aging as well. This is due to the breaking down of connective tissue that work to maintain the skin’s surface. Other risk factors include hormones (i.e. menopause), smoking, and alcohol consumption.

Closeup of male eye and pipette with a moisturizing oil

 

CBD and the Anti-Aging Market

The anti-aging skin care market is a multi-billion dollar market. In 2020 alone, the North American market was worth close to $17 billion USD. It is expected to grow to $22 billion by 2026. Worldwide, it is worth approximately $200 billion USD.

An equally dynamic and evolving business is the cannabis market, which in 2020 was valued at approximately $21 billion USD, and which is expected to expand to $128 billion by 2028.

The anti-aging skin care and cannabis markets are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, from PTSD to chronic pain, more cannabis is being used to treat a wide variety of medical conditions, and dermatologists have taken note. Combine this with the fact that CBD is now legal in Canada, and it’s no wonder that the range of CBD-infused skincare products is on the rise!

Skin care health, CBD, and the Endocannabinoid System

So, exactly how does CBD work to prevent signs of aging, and keep the skin looking so supple and young?

It all comes down to the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Named after the cannabis plant that led to its discovery, this is the massive network of chemical signals and cellular receptors responsible for maintaining many of our body’s functions, such as our cardiovascular and digestive health. The ECS also controls our sleep, memory, and immune responses. Furthermore, cannabinoid receptors have been found in our skin, and other sources, such as hair follicles.

Though the discovery of the endocannabinoid system is rather new (early 1990s), practitioners advise we cannot underestimate its value, as it is the literal link between the body and mind; it’s how the body maintains homeostasis (its internal thermostat), a process key to our long-term health.

In terms of development, the ECS begins to grow at birth, when it starts to mature slowly. However, after the body enters into adolescence (when the ECS hits its peak) it starts to decline. As a result, skin starts to age.

While this process is inevitable, there is one way to stall it and continue to maintain the skin/endocannabinoid system’s optimal health, and that is through phytocannabinoids. Housed by the cannabis plant, these are chemical compounds that act on the system’s receptors. The most popular cannabinoids are CBD and THC. However, unlike THC, CBD has no psychoactive effects and a diverse range of medical benefits.

Open can of cream and hemp leaves on a light background. View from above.

Indeed, there are a number of ways CBD works with the ECS to help ease the effect of dermatological conditions and diseases, such as signs of aging:

[1] CBD acts as an anti-inflammatory

Chronic low-level inflammation caused by the sun and other dermatological conditions, like aging, can cause the body to release free radicals, unpaired atoms that damage the proteins, membranes, and lipids forming the skin. This inflammation causes skin to age.

Though limited, studies suggest that by interacting with the way the endocannabinoid system acts on the skin’s pathways, CBD lessens these effects, and is a novel treatment in this regard.

[2] CBD is an anti-oxidant

Antioxidant production declines with age. After the skin’s molecules (proteins or DNA) experience this loss (oxidation) they are altered and do not work properly. Abnormalities such as these then lead to varying medical complications, such as autoimmune diseases, cancers, and the aging of the skin.

Studies have shown CBD is a powerful anti-oxidant. In fact, that it might be more powerful than Vitamin C or E, two leading topical solutions in anti-aging skincare. Like these trusted treatments, CBD works to combat oxidative stress by working with the endocannabinoid system to balance the levels of oxidants and anti-oxidants and reduce the amount of free radicals in the body.

[3] CBD promotes healthy oil production and improves cell growth

One of the key causes of wrinkles is that the skin’s natural oils decline, which then hinders its ability to stay moisturized. However, a 2021 study (Ikarashi et al.) found that by increasing the protein aquaporin-3 (which plays an important role in water retention) CBD promotes oil production, and thus, healthy, supple skin. Researchers predict that CBD will be developed as a unique product in this regard.

CBD may also improve the skins’ elasticity. As we age, our cells do not regenerate as quickly. However, scientists have found (particularly, in relation to psoriasis) that CBD works with the endocannabinoid system to renew skin cells at a faster pace. For instance, in one study (Norooznezhad, 2016) it was found that after applying CBD, psoriasis cells regenerated at a significantly quicker rate than is the norm (3 – 5 days versus 30).

[4] CBD reduces stress

Studies indicate that a hallmark of CBD is its ability to reduce anxiety. Indeed, after ingesting CBD, most participants found their stress had decreased, or they felt significantly less anxious.

Skin cream infused with cannabis extract CBD oil for all natural skin care treatments for topical health conditions and joint pain. Holistic and alternative medicine concept, overhead flat lay with cannabis leaf.

In regards to the skin, according to a study (Dunn, 2013) chronic, psychological stress “stimulates the automatic nervous system, the renin-angiotensin system, and the hypothalamic system.” This leads to “chronic immune dysfunction, creased production of reactive oxygen species, and DNA damage, which are known to contribute to the aging of skin and other tissues.”

By working as an anti-oxidant, not only does CBD help reverse some of these effects, researchers said, but also that it delays the effects of aging in general. Further, CBD users reported having a better sleeps, which aids in the skin’s overall appearance.

Treating the Skin with CBD:

There are number of ways to treat the skin with medical cannabis, and therefore, reduce the signs of aging, such as through ingestion or sublingual consumption. Though doctors do advise against vaping, as much like smoking, it might cause more harm than good.

In terms of their benefits, oils offer similar results as edibles, while topical applications, like lotions or ointments, present a more of a targeted skin care approach.

Check out Cannalogue’s CBD Face Cream offer here: Rejuve CBD Face Cream.

 

Final Thoughts

The aging of the skin is a natural process that occurs slowly over time. And while, more and more, cannabis is being recognized as a proven treatment for pain, anxiety, and other medical ailments, it’s only over the last few years that specialists have recognized its therapeutic value as an alternative skin care treatment. Its potential is linked to the ECS, which phytocannabinoids can work with to elevate the effects of—not just aging—but a wide variety of skin conditions, such as acne, dermatitis, and psoriasis.

Consult a practitioner for more information.

 

Sources

Atalay, S., Jarocka-Karpowicz, I., & Skrzydlewska, E. (2019). Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland)9(1), 21. https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9010021

Casares L, García V, Garrido-Rodríguez M, Millán E, Collado JA, García-Martín A, Peñarando J, Calzado MA, de la Vega L, Muñoz E. Cannabidiol induces antioxidant pathways in keratinocytes by targeting BACH1. Redox Biol. 2020 Jan;28:101321. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2019.101321. Epub 2019 Sep 5. PMID: 31518892; PMCID: PMC6742916.

Dunn JH, Koo J. Psychological Stress and skin aging: a review of possible mechanisms and potential therapies. Dermatol Online J. 2013 Jun 15;19(6):18561. PMID: 24011311

Ikarashi N, Shiseki M, Yoshida R, Tabata K, Kimura R, Watanabe T, Kon R, Sakai H, Kamei J. Cannabidiol Application Increases Cutaneous Aquaporin-3 and Exerts a Skin Moisturizing Effect. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2021 Aug 30;14(9):879. doi: 10.3390/ph14090879. PMID: 34577578; PMCID: PMC8469387.

Norooznezhad AH, Norooznezhad F. Cannabinoids: Possible agents for treatment of psoriasis via suppression of angiogenesis and inflammation. Med Hypotheses. 2017 Feb;99:15-18. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2016.12.003. Epub 2016 Dec 14. PMID: 28110689.

Oláh A, Tóth BI, Borbíró I, et al. Cannabidiol exerts sebostatic and antiinflammatory effects on human sebocytes. J Clin Invest. 2014;124(9):3713-3724. doi:10.1172/JCI64628

Martinelli G, Magnavacca A, Fumagalli M, DellʼAgli M, Piazza S, Sangiovanni E. Cannabis sativa and Skin Health: Dissecting the Role of Phytocannabinoids. Planta Med. 2021 Apr 13. doi: 10.1055/a-1420-5780. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33851375.

Pilkington SM, Bulfone-Paus S, Griffiths CEM, Watson REB. Inflammaging and the Skin. J Invest Dermatol. 2021 Apr;141(4S):1087-1095. doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2020.11.006. Epub 2021 Jan 7. PMID: 33358020.