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CBD for Acne: Does Cannabidiol Benefit Acne?

CBD for Acne Skincare: Medical Cannabidiol for Face and Body Health Research

cbd for acne

Acne is one of the most common skin conditions in the world, and affects over 50 million people in the US alone. Every year, consumers in the US spend over $1 billion USD to treat acne via a variety of treatments, not all of which are effective. CBD oil for acne skincare, however, has emerged as a effective treatment method that is able to eliminate the root cause of acne with no unwanted side effects, completely naturally.

At a fundamental level, acne is a relatively simple skin condition. Acne is characterized by a buildup of blackhead and whitehead pimples on the skin in the facial region, but can also commonly affect the upper and lower back and chest.

Acne can be caused by several factors. The most common cause of acne is a combination of two factors. The first factor occurs when the pores or hair follicles of the skin become clogged by dead skin or foreign bodies such as dirt or other particles. These blockages prevent the oil secreted by the sebaceous glands from exiting the body, resulting in blackheads and whiteheads.

In many cases, individuals that experience acne produce higher than normal amount of sebaceous oils. This is the reason acne is often experience by individuals in their teenage years, as growth-induced hormonal changes often increased sebaceous gland activity.

The second factor that contributes to the propagation of acne on the skin is bacterium called propionibacterium acnes. In most acne cases, an overgrowth of propionibacterium acnes exacerbates the growth of acne.

Acne is also exacerbated by inflammation. Mild acne may subside by itself, but the ongoing inflammatory caused by the condition causes further skin infections and can potentially make acne conditions much worse.

Dermatological science typically treats acne through the use of treatments that are applied directly to the skin. These treatments are commonly powerful chemicals such as azelaic acid or benzoyl peroxide which, while effective in minimizing the frequency of blackheads and whiteheads, can further exacerbate inflammation and cause a number of side effects.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, has recently emerged as a powerful skin care solution due to the wide range of antibiotic and anti-inflammatory benefits it offers. CBD for acne skin care is a rapidly growing new therapeutic application of cannabidiol that is proving to be a highly effective and reliable method of eliminating acne without causing any further inflammation or unwanted side effects.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how CBD interacts with the epidermis and immune system in order to assist with acne skin care, as well as examine the science behind CBD oil for acne skincare. We’ll also assess the clinical evidence that supports the use of CBD for acne, and break down the best dosages and CBD products for treating acne.

What is CBD?

CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is a phytocannabinoid compound that is extracted from the cannabis sativa plant. CBD is one of the 60 or so cannabinoid compounds that are found within the cannabis plant, and is able to deliver a wide range of health benefits that has made it a highly popular health treatment over the last decade.

CBD and the other cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant have been demonstrated in a wide range of clinical trials to interact with the human body and provide interesting benefits. This is possible due to the presence of the endocannabinoid system in the human body.

All vertebrate organisms on the planet, including humans, possess an endocannabinoid system. The human endocannabinoid system consists of both cannabinoid receptors and endogenous cannabinoids that are created by the body.

This endocannabinoid system plays an integral role in the function of many different bodily functions, including the regulation of the immune system, the central nervous system, the peripheral nervous system, the digestive system, and the brain.

It’s important to note the difference between CBD and the other compounds found within the cannabis plant, specifically THC. CBD is not a psychoactive compound, as opposed to THC, which is the psychoactive compound responsible for the intoxicating recreational benefits of the cannabis plant.

CBD can be extracted from almost all parts of the hemp plant and has remained the focus of clinical and medical investigations since the early 1990s. In the late 2000s, however, US legislation regarding the control of medical marijuana research opened the door to intensive clinical investigations in the health benefits of cannabinoids, revealing a wide range of health applications for the unique cannabidiol compound.

Cannabidiol has been proven in a wide range of clinical investigations to modulate the immune system functions of the human body, resulting in significantly decreased inflammation. This has a wide range of health benefits that can help to manage the symptoms and causes of many different diseases that stem from systemic inflammation such as irritable bowel syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, and even specific forms of cancer.

The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD, however, has made it a highly effective treatment for acne that can be used as a replacement for traditional chemical solutions. The clinical evidence supporting the use of CBD for acne has made a broad spectrum of CBD acne treatments available, such as CBD acne creams, CBD acne scrubs and face washes, and CBD serums for promoting skin health.

Because CBD is non-psychoactive, these CBD products for acne are completely legal in almost every state of the US, as well as many different countries around the world.

Apart from helping to minimize the rate at which acne conditions progress and worsen through inflammation, CBD has also been demonstrated in highly interesting cutting-edge research to function as a potent antibiotic, which allows it to address the root cause of acne.

Overall, CBD is one of the most effective solutions for treating acne, even in extremely stubborn chronic acne conditions. The effectiveness of CBD in treating skin care conditions has even led to clinical investigations that reveal CBD can be used to treat more serious skin conditions such as dermatitis and eczema.

How Does CBD Work?

The primary way in which CBD assists with the treatment and prevention of acne is by modulating the immune system. The immune system is responsible for the inflammatory reaction that exacerbates acne, so by minimizing inflammation, CBD is able to significantly reduce the severity and frequency of acne breakouts.

CBD achieves this by interacting with the endocannabinoids system. The endocannabinoid system is complex network of cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids spread throughout the entire body, and can be found in the brain, the digestive system, the organs, the skin, and both the peripheral nervous system and the central nervous system.

Cannabidiol is a cannabinoid that is created outside of the body, and is thus referred to as an “exogenous” cannabinoid. Cannabinoids that are created inside the body are called endogenous cannabinoids. Clinical evidence demonstrates that exogenous cannabinoids are highly effective at interacting with the cannabinoid receptors of the human endocannabinoid system.

When CBD enters the bloodstream, it interacts with the cannabinoid receptors of the body and triggers a cascade of chemical messengers between the cells that make up the body. These chemical messages have a profound positive impact on the way the body works.

CBD has been demonstrated in multiple clinical trials to not only modulate the function of inflammation in the body, but also to prevent the production of excess oil by the sebaceous glands. There are many different ways in which CBD can be administered in order to treat acne, but the most popular solution is via topical CBD creams for acne that are able to provide localized anti inflammatory benefits.

A major advantage CBD offers over prescription medications for acne is that it causes no unwanted side effects. Traditional pharmaceutical or chemical solutions designed to treat acne are known to cause a wide range of unwanted deleterious side effects that include dry skin, redness, and even the sensation of prickling skin. Other more powerful medications can even cause cracked and bleeding skin, making acne skin conditions worse.

CBD not only helps to manage the symptoms of acne and prevent it from occurring, but also deliver a wide range of overall health benefits regardless of how it is administered. Clinical trials assessing the benefits of CBD reveal that it is able to minimize depression, improve mood balance, and even protect the body from specific types of cancer.

Another way in which CBD helps to treat acne is the powerful antibiotic properties it possesses. Recent research into the viability of cannabidiol as a novel antibiotic drug reveals that it can be used to destroy a number of common bacteria that cause diseases. The spread of antibiotic-resistant diseases makes this avenue of CBD research extremely important.

Lastly, cutting-edge research indicates that CBD is able to promote healthy skin growth, which could potentially assist with recovery from acne scarring. Overall, CBD for acne is a highly effective natural treatment method that has been proven to deliver a wide range of dermal health benefits.

Can CBD Help With Acne Skincare?

There are few treatments for acne that are as effective or as fast-acting as cannabidiol applied directly to the skin. The unique anti-inflammatory properties of CBD, paired with the speed at which it can destroy bacterial infections, make it ideally suited to the treatment and prevention of acne.

Endocannabinoid receptors are located throughout the human body. When CBD interacts with these receptors, an interesting effect occurs: exogenous cannabinoids such as CBD have been proven to pair with endocannabinoid system receptors more efficiently than endogenous cannabinoids created by the human body itself.

This phenomenon actually makes CBD more effective and powerful than endogenous cannabinoids, and has even been demonstrated to increase the effectiveness of endogenous cannabinoids.

Cannabidiol interacts with the cannabinoid receptors that are associated with immune system, and modulates the rate at which the immune system causes an inflammatory response. Inflammation is known to significantly reduce the speed at which the human body is able to regenerate damaged skin cells — by minimizing inflammation, CBD functions as a powerful and effective acne treatment.

Health Benefits of CBD for Acne Skincare

  • Reduced inflammation
  • Faster skin healing
  • Minimization of acne scars
  • Antibiotic properties that eliminate the root causes of acne

Interestingly, it’s not necessary to use only topical cannabidiol products such as CBD creams or CBD serums for acne in order to treat acne with cannabidiol. CBD delivers its powerful anti-inflammatory properties regardless of how it is administered.

This makes it possible for individuals suffering from acne to use a wide range of different CBD products to manage their skin health, including CBD bath bombs, CBD supplements, CBD oil, CBD edibles, and even unique products such as CBD oil for acne or CBD cooking oil.

In addition to assisting with the prevention and treatment of acne, CBD is able to deliver a wide range of additional health benefits that include improved appetite response, improved mood balance, increased energy levels, and overall mental health improvement.

The Science Behind CBD and Acne Skincare

CBD possesses a number of unique properties that allow it to interact with the human immune system. These properties may sound complex, but are relatively simple at a fundamental level. There is a significant amount of scientific evidence supporting the use of CBD for skin conditions.

When CBD enters the body, it pairs with CBD receptors and causes an effect that reduces the amount of proteins the body manufactures called cytokines. These proteins, which include lymphocytes and monocytes, are the primary cause of inflammation in the human body.

Cytokines are intrinsically linked to the inflammatory response of the human immune system, and are also known to increase the levels of pain associated with inflammatory health conditions.

CBD lowers the total amount of cytokines in the human body by interacting with the CB-1 receptor and the CB-2 receptor of the human endocannabinoid system. By pairing with these receptors, CBD inhibits the production of cytokines.

The cytokine suppressing properties of CBD is backed up by scientific evidence. A 2015 clinical trial investigating the usefulness of cannabidiol in treating asthma found that levels of cytokines in the blood of animal models decreased significantly subsequent to the administration of CBD[1].

Apart from minimizing inflammation, CBD is also potentially able to destroy the bacteria that causes acne. Clinical trials assessing the effectiveness of CBD in treating antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains have discovered that CBD possesses some surprising antibiotic benefits, and is able to selectively destroy pathogenic bacteria.

Put simply, CBD works in two different ways to treat acne — firstly, as an anti-inflammatory agent, and secondly as an antibiotic agent. Overall, the scientific evidence that supports the use of CBD for acne treatment is extensive and highly-cited.

Clinical Evidence

There are several clinical trials that prove the effectiveness of CBD in treating acne and other dermatological conditions.

A highly interesting study published in 2014 investigated the anti-inflammatory and sebostatic properties of cannabidiol. Published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the clinical investigation was performed as an in vivo clinical trial in which specific cells from the human sebaceous system were administered with CBD.

The study found impressive results — cannabidiol was observed to inhibit the proliferation of sebocytes that contribute to acne. The clinical investigation concluded that CBD is a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of acne vulgaris[2].

Another clinical investigation published in 2009 found strong evidence that supports the role of the endocannabinoid system in skin health. Published in the HHS Public Access medical journal, the study found that the disruption of the endocannabinoid system in the skin is a contributing factor to multiple skin conditions that include psoriasis, dermatitis, and acne[3].

CBD is able to promote homeostasis in the endocannabinoid system, and thus helps to prevent acne by eliminating disruption in the dermal endocannabinoid system of the skin

Lastly, proof of the antibacterial properties of CBD can be found in an clinical abstract published back in 1976, which indicates that CBD is able to inhibit the proliferation of several pathogenic bacteria at doses of 1-5mg per ml. This older abstract is supported by a more recent clinical investigation performed in 2008 that demonstrated a powerful antibiotic effect exerted by cannabidiol.

CBD Dosage for Acne Skincare

Dosing CBD is a highly subjective and personal process. There are many factors to consider when determining the right dosage for you, including factors such as body weight, metabolic rate, the aim of the treatment course, the type of delivery method used, and the severity of the health condition addressed.

The most important factor to consider, however, is whether or not CBD is right for you. Before beginning any CBD self-care routine for acne skincare it’s essential to first consult with your doctor or a medical professional.

There are as of yet no specific clinical trials in humans testing the effectiveness of CBD for acne skincare specifically. This means that individuals seeking to improve their skin health are likely best served by pursuing topical CBD solutions for acne, rather than CBD supplements — although both methods are viable ways to improve skin health with CBD.

Should you choose to try CBD for skin care after consulting with a doctor, you may want to consider beginning with a relatively low dose and assessing the long-term health impact over a sustained period. The systemic nature of inflammation and its impact on dermal health means that it may take several days to observe a positive impact on the skin.

Best CBD Products for Acne Skincare

There are many different CBD health products available on the market today. Individuals seeking to improve their health with cannabidiol are able to select from a wide range of CBD solutions that include topical creams, edibles, CBD oils, and even CBD nasal sprays or vape pens.

CBD for acne skincare addresses a localized condition on the outer layer of the epidermis, and is thus likely to be best treated with topical CBD solutions that deliver cannabidiol directly to the affected region.

Best CBD Products for Acne Skincare:

  • CBD creams
  • CBD lotions
  • CBD serums for acne
  • CBD transdermal patches
  • CBD bath bombs
  • CBD face wash
  • CBD oil
  • CBD moisturizer
  • CBD face scrubs

CBD Safety

Cannabidiol is a completely natural plant extract despite the powerful health benefits it offers. For this reason, CBD is considered an extremely safe compound. There have been no recorded negative health consequences of CBD administration in hundreds of clinical investigations, and even extremely high doses of 1500mg have been well tolerated in humans.

There are, however, a number of mild side effects that are associated with CBD administration in some cases. It’s important to check with a medical professional before beginning any CBD dosage routine.

CBD Side Effects

  • Sleepiness
  • Sedation
  • Mild low blood pressure
  • Dry mouth
  • Altered T cell function
  • Low cytokine levels
  • Lower fertility levels

    In addition to causing mild side effects, CBD is known to alter the efficiency of a number of common pharmaceutical drugs. This occurs due to the way that the endocannabinoid system interacts with the liver — CBD is known to inhibit the release of a specific enzyme in the body that is required to metabolize the following drugs:

  • NSAIDs
  • Antibiotics
  • Steroids
  • Antihistamines
  • Antidepressants
  • Anesthetic

    If you are taking any of the above medications, it’s essential to consult with your doctor before beginning a CBD self-care routine.


Q: What is CBD?

A: CBD is a natural compound that is extracted from the hemp plant. CBD causes no negative side effects, and is able to interact with the human endocannabinoid system in order to lower inflammation and help the body heal acne conditions.

Q: Is CBD illegal?

A: CBD is not psychoactive, in contrast to THC, which is the psychoactive element of the cannabis plant. For this reason, CBD oil for acne and other CBD products can be purchased legally in almost every US state.

Q: Is CBD better than other acne skincare treatments?

A: CBD is a potent solution that can be used as an alternative to traditional acne medications in many cases.

Q: Does CBD cure acne?

A: CBD does not cure acne, but has been demonstrated to assist with the treatment and prevention of the condition.

Q: Is CBD safe?

A: CBD causes no negative health impact and is not toxic even in extremely large amounts.

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