Skin conditions and CBD
Skin conditions and CBD
Our skin

The skin is the largest organ of the body and the most substantial part of the integumentary system, along with the hair, nails and exocrine glands. Skin has several layers that serve a number of important functions. The epidermis, basement membrane zone, dermis and the subcutaneous tissue help protect against infection, chemicals, and ultraviolet radiation. In addition to maintaining homeostasis, the skin also regulates a lot of biochemical processes (such as ultraviolet-induced synthesis of vitamin D). 

But things can go wrong. Skin conditions can be the result of infections (bacterial, fungal, viral), trauma, papulosquamous disorders, rashes (eczema, psoriasis, etc), tumors, cutaneous signs of systemic diseases, and others [1], [2]. Treatment depends on the type of skin disorder. Some require nothing more than simple skin hydration, while others need specialized treatments to fight infection, regulate inflammatory response or reduce tumor mass.

CBD and our Skin

ECS receptors are abundant in the skin. Current research theorizes that the main function of the ECS in the skin is to regulate the proliferation, differentiation, survival, and the immune tolerance of skin cells. When this system malfunctions, several pathological conditions arise [3]. Researchers therefore believe that cannabinoids could prove efficacious for skin disorders [4]. CBD in particular possesses anti-microbial properties, useful when it comes to skin infections (for more information about the most common ones, please see Chapter 15). There are no clinical studies that have examined CBD’s effect on wound healing, but there may be promise due to the way that CBD is known to influence parts of the healing process. Some studies show that topical CBD can accelerate the three overlapping processes involved in healing, inflammation, proliferation, and maturation/tissue remodeling [5], [6], [7]. Research also shows that CBD can help with the management of eczema, itching, and acne [4], [8]. Although more research is needed in order to understand how it works, topical CBD applications can be combined with other topical skin therapies without adverse effects.

Recommendations for topical skin therapy

Is CBD safe?

Yes. CBD is considered safe for skin care.

How should I use creams and ointments?

Apply CBD (cream, ointment, wax) to the affected area thinly and evenly. Rub gently. Repeat 3-4 times (as needed).

Are there any known drug interactions?

Some. Read Side effects for more information.


1. Kumar PJ, and Michael L. Clark: Kumar & Clark Clinical Medicine. Edinburgh: Saunders 2002. 

2. D. Shier ea: Hole's Essentials of Human Anatomy and Physiology McGraw-Hill 2012. 

3. Bíró T, Tóth BI, Haskó G, Paus R and Pacher P: The endocannabinoid system of the skin in health and disease: novel perspectives and therapeutic opportunities. Trends Pharmacol Sci 30: 411-420, 2009. 

4. Baswan SM, Klosner AE, Glynn K, et al: Therapeutic Potential of Cannabidiol (CBD) for Skin Health and Disorders. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol 13: 927-942, 2020. 

5. Wang LL, Zhao R, Li JY, et al: Pharmacological activation of cannabinoid 2 receptor attenuates inflammation, fibrogenesis, and promotes re-epithelialization during skin wound healing. Eur J Pharmacol 786: 128-136, 2016. 6. Chelliah MP, Zinn Z, Khuu P and Teng JMC: Self-initiated use of topical cannabidiol oil for epidermolysis bullosa. Pediatric dermatology 35: e224-e227, 2018. 

7. Ramot Y, Oláh A and Paus R: Cover Image: Neuroendocrine treatment of inherited keratin disorders by cannabinoids? British Journal of Dermatology 178: 1469-1469, 2018. 

8. Dobrosi N, Tóth BI, Nagy G, et al: Endocannabinoids enhance lipid synthesis and apoptosis of human sebocytes via cannabinoid receptor-2-mediated signaling. FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology 22: 3685-3695, 2008.