An Introduction To Cannabinoid Signaling On The Skin

This article was originally published on CBD-Rubs. To view the original article, click here.

Scientific studies in the last few years have revealed the importance of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in regulating homeostasis. Also, the popular CBD health and wellness products are known to impart their therapeutic and medical effects by influencing the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 of the ECS. Not only that, but research has also shown that this is the reason CBD topical products like ointments and creams are useful for treating the symptoms of chronic diseases like psoriasis and eczema. The purpose of this article is to investigate cannabinoid signaling in the skin; read on to know more about this.

The Skin

The skin is the largest organ in the body that serves multiple roles. First and foremost, it acts as a physical barrier that protects our bodies from pathogens, harmful substances, and various other environmental factors. Our skin is an important component of the immune system. One important function of the skin is thermoregulation. Due to the skin’s various roles in protecting our body, it plays a key role in homeostasis and therefore, it has cannabinoid receptors of the ECS. Furthermore, these cannabinoid receptors respond to cannabinoid (CBD) when you apply it topically in the form of ointments and creams.

The Endocannabinoid Signaling

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a signaling network made of different endogenous biochemicals that play a key role in regulating homeostasis. Due to this reason, these molecules are present throughout our bodies. This includes the skin, and it has a higher concentration of ECS receptors because it is the largest organ in the body. Some of the endogenous ligands that are part of the ECS are the following:

  • Endocannabinoids
  • Endocannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2
  • Anandamide
  • Complex enzyme and transporter apparatus

Studies have shown that cannabinoids like CBD and THC affect the behavior of cannabinoid receptors. CBD is an antagonist of CB1 receptors of the ECS, whereas THC is an agonist of this receptor. So, when these cannabinoids are administered together, CBD prevents the onset of THC’s psychotropic effects.

Cutaneous Cannabinoid Signaling And CBD Topical Therapeutic Uses

Skin Disorders Related To Sebaceous Glands

The sebaceous glands produce lipid-rich sebum that plays an important role in protecting the skin and maintaining its health. Its inadequate secretion causes skin dryness, but its excessive secretion is one of the primary causes of acne. Research has shown that CB1 and CB2 receptors are expressed in the sebocytes. CB2 receptors are involved in the homeostatic sebaceous lipogenesis (SLG).

Related: What are the skincare benefits of using a CBD salve? Click here to learn more.

CBD topical is useful in treating skin dryness and acne because of cannabidiol’s affinity towards the CB2 receptors of the ECS. Because of this, it normalizes excessive SLG through its anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative actions. You must also know that this is achieved without influencing the homeostatic SLG. Apart from these, CBD has potent antibacterial effects making it an effective anti-acne agent.

Hair Growth Disorders

Hair follicles (HF) are bonafide mini-organs that have immune privileges. They have three phases: anagen or growth, catagen or regression, and telogen or quasi-quiescent; they are collectively called the hair cycle. Most hair growth disorders are due to the dysregulation of this cycle. Research has shown that CB1 receptors of ECS are expressed in the hair follicles. Apart from this, TRPV channels like TRPV1, TRPV3, and TRPV4, which are cannabinoid responsive are also expressed in the HF. Due to CBD’s positive influence on these receptors, it may promote or suppress the elongation of the hair shaft; this depends on its concentration.

Pigmentation Disorders

Research has shown that cannabidiol (CBD) improves the activity of tyrosinase and melanogenesis in melanocytes in the epidermis. This is achieved by activating the CB1 coupled signaling pathway of the ECS. It is believed that CB1 agonism can be an effective tool for treating hypopigmentation. Also, another research has shown that this effect reduced UVB induced and spontaneous melanogenesis.

Cutaneous Inflammation

The cannabinoid signaling plays a significant role in controlling the local immune response on the skin. It has been found from research that endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids modulated immune fluctuations. The homeostatic signaling of the ECS through its receptors CB1 and CB2 helps keep the production and release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines under control.

Cannabidiol (CBD) positively influences the endocannabinoid system (ECS) through its receptors CB1 and CB2. Due to this, it produces an anti-inflammatory effect when applied topically for cutaneous inflammation. Apart from this, other cannabinoids found in the hemp plant like cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), CBGV, CBDV, And THCV are also known to produce anti-inflammatory effects when applied to the skin.

Apart from the above-mentioned skincare effects, the high lipid content of cannabidiol products like CBD oil helps to soothe the skin when applied topically. Also, the antioxidants contained in it helps with skin regeneration and protects it from the harmful effects of free radicals. These are some of the things that you must know about using CBD topical products.

Latest posts