By Denise Mann HealthDay reporter

(health day)

MONDAY, January 17, 2022 (HealthDay News) — More people are turning to CBD or cannabis products to treat skin conditions like acne or rosacea, but researchers warn that the science hasn’t kept up on their safety and efficacy requirement .

When more than 500 adults were surveyed about their use of CBD (cannabidiol) or marijuana, a full 17.6% said they had bought an over-the-counter cannabis product to treat skin conditions like acne, psoriasis, rosacea, or eczema without a recommendation from a dermatologist, and even more people were interested in trying these products.

CBD is derived from hemp, a cousin of the marijuana plant, but unlike THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the active ingredient in marijuana, CBD does not get you high.

“People use these products without a doctor’s direction, and even those who haven’t used them are interested in learning more,” said study author Dr. Adam Friedman, Chair of Dermatology at the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, DC

It’s time for science to catch up, he said.

There is some promising early animal data suggesting how these products may help treat inflammatory skin conditions. “We know that cannabinoids activate the body’s resolvin pathway, which triggers inflammation,” Friedman said. “Cannabinoids set the stage for resolution of inflammation and recruit the actors essential to repairing inflammatory damage.”

About 89% of respondents indicated that marijuana or other cannabis products play a role in treating skin conditions, and the majority said they would be willing to try any of these products if their dermatologist gave them the green light.

Of the two-thirds of people who saw a dermatologist, 20% were advised to try a CBD product, primarily for acne and psoriasis. Just under 8% of these people used medical cannabis, which requires an approved card from a dermatologist.

However, buyers are cautious when it comes to CBD because these products aren’t regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the same way as drugs, Friedman said. Medical marijuana requires a doctor-issued prescription card and can only be purchased at state-run dispensaries, so there’s better quality control, he added.

So how can you find out if the product you have chosen is good?

Always check the Certificate of Analysis (COA) of the CBD product. This document contains results of all testing of the dietary supplements, and companies can voluntarily release it, Friedman said. “If it’s not online, contact the company and if they don’t share it, that’s a red flag,” he noted.

Check out the other ingredients, too, he said, because “if you’re sensitive to other active ingredients, you could be sensitive.”

And never use these products in place of prescribed treatments for your skin condition, Friedman stressed.

Other experts not involved in the study point out that there is still much to learn about the role of CBD and medical marijuana in skin and other diseases.

“Everything from the right CBD or THC component, the right dose, and the right formulation really needs to be worked out,” said Dr. Peter Lio, clinical assistant professor of dermatology and pediatrics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

“There is evidence that topical CBD products may have anti-itch, anti-inflammatory, and even wound-healing properties in skin conditions,” he said. “These also appear to be very safe and don’t have the same issues as products containing THC, which is the psychoactive component of the marijuana plant.”

Always do a patch test, Lio pointed out: “Any new product could potentially cause problems, especially for those with more sensitive skin.”

It makes sense that people are turning to these products, said Dr. Mark Moyad. He is the Jenkins/Pokempner Director of Preventive and Alternative Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor.

“Unmet, unmet, or unmet needs and expectations of some of the conventional options may lead people to try CBD or medical marijuana for skin conditions,” Moyad explained.

Unfortunately, drug interactions and risks are learned on the fly, he noted.

“These products are here to stay and people need answers, which means more funding should be given to objective research because we need to figure out where these products could really help,” Moyad said.

SOURCES: Adam Friedman, MD, Professor and Chair, Dermatology, George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, DC; Peter Lio, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor, Dermatology and Pediatrics, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago; Mark Moyad, MD, MPH, Jenkins/Pokempner Director of Preventive and Alternative Medicine, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor; Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, January 2022

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