Rosacea You may know about or even be part of the 40 million people worldwide who suffer from rosacea. This dermatological condition that typically affects the face is a nuisance for those who suffer from it. Although no cure has been found, medicinal cannabis has great potential to control and reduce its symptoms.
Rosacea is a common skin disorder that causes a redness most commonly on the central parts of the face. These areas can sometimes be seen as small blood vessels, swollen red bumps, thickened red skin and can sometimes enlarge the nose.
There are quite a few possible causes that stimulate this condition and most are environmental. These include:
- Temperature changes
- Spicy foods and alcohol
- Emotional wellbeing or stress
The symptoms of this common condition can vary from one person to another, and the most frequent include:
- Transient or persistent erythema (facial reddening) in the central area of the face, in parts such as the cheeks, chin, nose and forehead;
- Small dilated blood vessels (telangiectasias) may also become visible in the nose and cheeks. The redness can slowly spread, reaching even the ears, chest and back.
- In addition, small red swollen pimples and papules may appear, sometimes containing pus. The patient’s skin may likely become very sensitive and produce a burning sensation.
- In about half of the cases of rosacea, patients also experience eye problems such as dryness, irritation and swollenness and / or reddened eyelids. In some more serious cases, rosacea can even put eye health at risk. In addition, some people may develop ocular symptoms earlier than those of the skin.
- Swelling of the nose. On rare occasions, rosacea manifests as a thickening of the facial tissue of the nose, resulting in a thick, red, bulbous nose (rhinophyma).
These factors can make the areas of the face feel flushed, swollen and uncomfortable, especially when they occur in younger children who have very sensitive skin.
The cannabis compounds able to help with rosacea include cannabinoids THC, CBD, and others found in the flowers, but also the oleic acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids found in hemp seeds. CBD and THC can be effective with rosacea because they modulate the activity of the endocannabinoid system and other biochemical receptors, which in turn regulate multiple physiological processes. These receptors are located in the body and all throughout the skin. The chemical activity between messengers and receptors can affect growth, functionality, and balance of the skin cells. Research has proven that cannabinoids can positively modify the skin receptor response, often resulting in anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, sebostatic, and even antitumoral behaviour.
As a consequence of a few recent discoveries, a variety of cannabis and hemp derivative products are available today and widely used as treatments for different inflammatory skin diseases with symptoms comparable to rosacea. There is still limited research on cannabinoids for the treatment of this condition, thus we have to rely on positive anecdotal evidence collated from patients. Cannabis’ ability to decrease sebum production and reduce inflammation are confirmed by both lab and clinical studies, where the anti-inflammatory action of CBD and THC has proven to be useful in reducing redness and irritation, while the topical application of THC helps minimise the symptoms of inflammation caused by allergies.
CBD oil is a non-toxic, not intoxicating phyto-chemical found in the cannabis plant. Its effects are currently being explored and is leading scientists in the direction that it modulates non cannabinoid receptors and intracellular channels. Recently, it has been found that CBD binds with the TRPV1 receptors found in the skin. The effects of this binding is a reduction of inflammation, pain and skin temperature. The combination of these could result in the reduced inflammation.
Finally, we must bear in mind that the experience with cannabis is very subjective on a physical and mental level; the reaction we each have to the same variety or dose can be very different. The endocannabinoid system and the genetics of each individual determine his or her particular response to cannabis. Not everything feels the same to everyone. For this reason, before starting a cannabis treatment, it is always advisable to consult with a medical professional who is knowledgeable about the therapeutic benefits of this plant, and who can recommend which is the best option for each patient, taking into account one’s medical history.