Dermatitis is a common problem with a wide range of causes; it involves excessive pro-inflammatory compounds in the skin, often resulting in an itchy rash or red swollen skin. Allergic Contact Dermatitis (ACD) involves the immune system overreacting to certain substances, sometimes even in very small amounts, that normally shouldn’t cause a reaction. Some of the most common examples are:
- Dander from dogs, cats and other animals
- Plant oils and compounds such as poison ivy and latex
- Certain metals such as nickel and gold, often found in jewelry
- Fragrances found in body and home products such as perfumes, deodorants, shampoos and cleaning products
- Topical antibiotics common in first aid creams and ointments
- Preservatives such as Quaternium 15, frequently found in cosmetic and industrial products
In June of 2018, research scientists created an in-vitro (meaning it was performed outside of a living organism, such as in a test tube or culture dish) model of ACD and measured the release of pro-inflammatory compounds in the presence of CBD and other phytocannabinoids. Based on their findings, CBD was shown to elevate levels of anandamide, an endogenous cannabinoid that activates CB2 receptors (such as along immune cells in the blood), resulting in anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic properties. It was also shown to have no cytotoxic effect.
This study is very promising and warrants deeper investigation of topical CBD on humans and animals for relieving the symptoms of ACD. You can learn more about the study, found in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, at: http://jpet.aspetjournals.org/content/365/3/652.