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skin conditions

  • Cannabis has been a popular topic recently, with a clear consensus that there are wide health benefits to the plant, and evolving laws that are increasing its availability. Recognized commonly for its use in chronic pain and inflammation, its benefits in treating a variety of skin conditions is a less familiar topic. This article will focus on cannabidiol (CBD) only, i.e. the part of the plant not containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive part that gets you high.

    CBD's effect on skin goes beyond its anti-inflammatory effects, and is not only helpful in treatment but prevention as well.

    Dr. Phillip Blair, MD, Ret. COL spoke on this topic at the recent Cannabis World Conference and Business Exposition in Los Angeles. An international consultant on medical uses of CBD, Dr. Blair geared this presentation to the effects CBD can have on such conditions as acne, psoriasis, and even skin cancer. This was the inspiration for this article.

    How Does It Work?
    Benefits of CBD for the skin include the following mechanisms:
    • Neuro-regulation
    • Immune modulation—includes decreasing pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF, IL1 and IL6 and increasing anti-inflammatory cytokines IL4 and IL10
    • Effects on hunger, stress, and sex hormones
    • Ability to restore balance to the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

    What is Cannabidiol?
    Cannabidiol (pronounced Can’na-bi-die’-ol) is a derivative of the cannabis or hemp plant that contains a number of beneficial natural chemicals such as cannabinoids and terpenes, providing a synergistic or "entourage effect." This means that when added together, the effects are not simply additive, but create a more potent effect overall.

    Over-the-counter cannabidiol, legal in all 50 states, contains less than .3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In states where licensed, plants and their derivatives that contain more than .3 percent THC require a medical license and are purchased at a dispensary. That is a changing requirement, though, beyond the scope of this article. THC is the chemical in the plant that has direct mind- and mood-altering effects; i.e., it gets you high. Non-THC CBD also can have positive effects on mind and mood, but without the "high" effect.

    Cannabidiol and the Skin
    Cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown to have positive effects on a variety of skin conditions, its mechanism of action going beyond the commonly accepted anti-inflammatory properties of CBD. The most common modes of administration for skin care are orally and topically. Conditions treated include acne, eczema, psoriasis, skin cancer, wound healing, and aging skin.

    The Endocannabinoid System and Acne
    Acne is generally a result of overactive sebaceous glands. The body's endocannabinoid system (ECS) which plays a key role in the regulation of sebum production1 responds to both endocannabinoids (made naturally in our body) and phytocannabinoids (found in the cannabis plant). Balancing the ECS is key here.

    CBD works three different ways to regulate a sebaceous cell:

    • Stops inflammatory lipids like arachidonic acid
    • Stops the extra production of the cell types in sebaceous cells that lead to overproduction of sebaceous material
    • Provides an anti-inflammatory effect2

    There are other factors, too, which facilitate acne beyond the sebocyte factor. One is the over-production of testosterone which induces lipid synthesis, with excessive secretion and cell growth. CBD was shown to inhibit this lipid syntheses.2 Another factor is the overgrowth of bacteria called Propionibacterium. CBD has been shown to exhibit antibacterial properties and potentially inhibit its growth.2,3

    Eczema
    Eczema is a common skin condition characterized by a red, itchy rash, most commonly appearing on the face, back of the knees, wrists, hands, or feet, but may affect other areas as well. Eczema affects about 10 percent to 20 percent of infants and about 3 percent of adults and children in the US.

    Newer research indicates that that skin conditions like eczema and acne develop when there is an imbalance in the ECS,4 and suggests that the cannabinoids can help repair this imbalance by interacting with cannabinoid receptors. One study of 2500 patients with eczema experienced significant reductions in redness, scaling, itching, chafing, and thickening after regular topical use of a cannabinoid-containing cream. This study also resulted in 38.3 percent of the patients experiencing a complete resolution of itching symptoms.5

    Psoriasis
    Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder which includes pathological overproduction of skin cells. The cytokine, Interleukin-17 (IL-17) is known to be largely responsible for psoriasis. CBD reduces the production of inflammatory cytokines IL-17 and IL-6 and increases the production of an anti-inflammatory cytokine, IL-10.6 This is a great boon to psoriasis sufferers, who have had to cover up with clothing, or take strong and expensive medications. They can now use a product that not only treats their unsightly rash, but has side benefits instead of side effects.

    Skin Cancer
    Many studies show promising results of cannabis on cancer cells. One study found that activating the cannabinoid receptors induced cell death in tumorigenic epidermal cells, while the non-cancerous epidermal cells remained unaffected.7 Dr. Blair discussed his experience with a 50-year-old man with recurring basal cell cancer. He had the cancer removed and covered the area with CBD under a band-aid. The patient experienced complete healing at two months with no signs of recurrence.

    Wound Healing
    There is considerable anecdotal evidence related to cannabis and wound healing. A few studies suggest that activation of the endocannabinoid system plays a role in this process.8 Dr. Blair showed some before and after photos of a patient with a wound on his arm, showing significant healing within 12 weeks.

    Anti-aging Skin Care
    There are an increasing number of CBD-containing skin care products, owing largely to its anti-inflammatory effects, which can counter the effects of aging.

    Dosing and Application
    For skin conditions, CBD can be taken orally, in capsules, gel caps or tinctures, or topically, as a cream or oil. Dosing should start at 15 mg of CBD twice a day orally, adjusting the dose upward as needed. It not unusual to go up to 60 mg. For a location-specific condition like eczema or skin cancer, you can apply the topical cannabis directly on the affected area. For nonspecific topical application, CBD oil can be applied to the back and covered with a band-aid as protection. Any improvements are typically seen in about two weeks after the first dose.

    A number of troublesome and heretofore difficult to treat skin conditions have been resolved successfully with its use. And this is just one of a growing wave of uses of CBD.

    We thank Dr. Phillip Blair for supplying both the inspiration and a portion of the material for this article.

    References:

    1. Dobrosi N, et al. Endocannabinoids enhance lipid synthesis and apoptosis of human sebocytes via cannabinoid receptor-2-mediated signaling. FASEB J. 2008;22(10):3685¡V95.
    2. Olah A, et al. Cannabidiol exerts sebostatic and anti-inflammatory effects on human sebocytes. The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2014;124(9): 3713¡V24
    3. Kozela E, et al. Cannabinoids Decrease the Th17 Inflammatory Autoimmune Phenotype. Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology. 2013;8(5): 1265¡V76
    4. Appendino G, et al. Antibacterial cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa: a structure-activity study. J Nat Prod. 2008;71(8):1427¡V30.
    5. Eberlein, B., Eicke, C., Reinhardt, H.W., and Ring, J. (2008, January). Adjuvant treatment of atopic eczema: assessment of an emollient containing Npalmitoylethanolamine (ATOPA study). Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology: JEADV, 22(1), 73¡V82.
    6. Biro, T., Toth, B.I., Hasko, G., Paus, R., and Pacher, P. (2009). The endocannabinoid system of the skin in health and disease: novel perspectives and therapeutic opportunities. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, 30(8), 411¡V20.
    7. M. Llanos Casanova, et al. Inhibition of Skin Tumor Growth and Angiogenesis in Vivo by Activation of Cannabinoid receptors. JCI. 2003;111(1): 43¡V50.
    8. Ramot Y, Sugawara K, Zakany N, Toth BI, Biro T, Paus R. (2013) A novel control of human keratin expression: cannabinoid receptor 1-mediated signaling down-regulates the expression of keratins K6 and K16 in human keratinocytes in vitro and in situ. PeerJ 1:e40 https://peerj.com/articles/40/
  • Since the onset of our love affair with Omega-3, a tried and true essential fatty source for a clear, dewy complexion has sadly fallen by the wayside.

    That would be gamma linolenic acid (GLA)the essentially "good" Omega-6 fatty acid that I've been recommending to my clients since the early 1980s after I began witnessing firsthand the remarkable healing and beautifying effects it produces. GLA increases cell resilience and moistens the fatty layer beneath the skin making it an extraordinary internal moisturizer.

    Over the years, I've received an untold number of testimonials reporting substantial improvement in a wide variety of common skin conditions, ranging from garden variety dry skin patches to eczema to psoriasis. For those wanting to give acne the boot once and for all, GLA is a fantastic Rx for that, too. It inhibits the androgens (or male steroid hormones) thought to cause skin disorders, like acne, as well as common baldness, and seborrhea.

    Plus, as a natural anti-inflammatory, it has also been shown to restore energy, and improve allergies, asthma, and other inflammatory conditions.

    The trouble is, you're very likely deficient in it. Among my clients who have taken a blood test that measures overall Omega status, I've found that on average a startling nine out of ten have very inadequate levels of GLA in their bodies. Biologically, the skin requires a steady supply to retain moisture and stay supple and smooth. Without sufficient GLA cellular membranes cannot retain moisture, leaving the skin with a dry rough appearance.

    So, why are so many of us deficient in GLA? It is a matter of conversion. The richest natural precursor of GLA is safflower oil. This type of oil contains cis-linoleic acidwhich in optimally healthy metabolism within the bodycan be transformed into GLA.

    But sadly, the overconsumption of conventionally raised dairy and meat and under-consumption of Omega-3 sources (think oily fish, flax and chia seeds, nuts and leafy greens) is a stumbling block to this healthy conversion. Our typical American diet has left us with an abundance of inflammation-producing prostaglandins (PGE1s) which inhibits GLA production.

    The late Dr. David Horrobin at the Institute for Innovative Medicine in Montreal explained the importance of GLA and its healing anti-inflammatory prostaglandins: "The level of PGE1 is of crucial importance to the body. A fall in the level of PGEs will lead to a potentially catastrophic series of untoward consequences including increased vascular reactivity, enhanced risk of autoimmune disease..."

    Even if your diet offers high amounts of unprocessed, unheated and non-GMO safflower, corn, and sunflower seed oils, you may not be getting your daily fix of GLA. The process of converting linoleic acid in these oils to GLA can also be thwarted in numerous ways due to "lazy" or impaired enzyme activity of the D6D enzyme which biochemically converts linoleic acid into the biologically potent GLA.

    The synthesis of GLA in the body can also be interfered with by a variety of lifestyle factors, including excessive intake of saturated fats, alcohol and/or caffeine consumption, smoking cigarettes, high cholesterol, and deficiencies in zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6. These common factors make the production of GLA in the body unreliableas well as simply getting older.

    GLA can be a life-saver and tremendous confidence booster for those who are impacted by psoriasis and eczema. A number of clinical studies have proven GLA as an effective treatment for the nearly 20 percent of all Americans with these frustrating conditions.

    Whether you're striving to soothe a serious skin condition or simply want to sport a healthy, glowing look, you can begin the beautifying benefits of GLA using internal or external methods.

    Internally, I have found that black currant seed oil offers the most balanced form of GLA for long-term use. The reason being that black currant also contains a hefty dose of the Omega-3s, preventing inflammatory prostaglandin production that can occur with an abundance of Omega-6s in the diet.

    For red itchy skin and other inflammatory problems, I recommend that adults take a minimum of 360 mg of GLA dailypreferably from the more balanced softgel form of black currant seed daily, with meals. Some individuals need to increase to at least 3 grams per day to experience benefits.

    Topical application of the "good" Omega-6 essential fatty acids like those in GLA results in more luminous, smoother and firmer skin day in and day out. Besides giving you a dewy complexion, essential fats from black currant seed oil or borage can provide sheen for your hair and softness to your skin. Without them you can experience thinning hair, splitting nails, scaly or dry skin. GLA has a tremendous impact on your skin by increasing your body's energy production and creating more cell resilience and a strong moisture barrier.

    It's also important to note that GLA is terrific for people of all agesincluding infants!

    Plus, you can yield GLA's benefits all year long with the changing conditions. In the winter, it's especially helpful to fight against the dehydrating and irritating effects on the skin during this cold, bitter time. In the summer, it offers protection against damaging UVA and UVB rays and can be used to treat the swelling, pain, and redness caused by an accidental sunburn.

    Besides its stellar benefits on skin, GLA offers a number of healing virtues for many chronic and degenerative diseases:

    • Immune booster. GLA production decreases with viral infection or illness. Supplementing with GLA helps safeguard immune defenses. In fact, when GLA (with EPA) was given to chronic fatigue sufferers, their symptoms improved dramatically.
    • Cholesterol reducer. A reduction in PGE1 wreaks havoc on cholesterol levels. Taking 250 to 1,000 milligrams of GLA daily has been shown to increase PGE1 levels while reducing cholesterol.
    • Cancer fighter. In one study, terminally ill patients suffering from pancreatic cancer tripled their life expectancy after taking extensive doses of GLA. It is also believed that tumor growth and metastasis can be quelled with GLAespecially in melanoma and colon or breast cancer.
    • Arthritis reliever. Mobility, morning stiffness, and inflammation have all been eased by GLA supplementation, which helps suppress T-cell proliferation. One study also found that patients were able to reduce their usage of potentially harmful NSAIDS while they were taking GLA supplementation.
    • MS halter. Of the patients responding to GLA supplementation, around 40 percent experience the disease either retarding or stopping. It took higher doses or 500 to 1,000 milligrams of GLA to achieve the benefit.
    • Diabetic support. GLA has been shown in conclusive studies to stop the progression of nerve disease and help with nerve functions. Additional studies suggest that GLA may even be a catalyst in hindering nerve deterioration at the start.

    For any age and stageand for conditions ranging from the cosmetic to more serious in natureGLA is an essential element for skin that you will love to live in!

  • Dear Readers,

    Welcome to the November 2017 issue of TotalHealth Magazine Online.

    Dallas Clouatre's, PhD, article, "Nutrient Combining," discusses the French Paradox with the large percentage of the French diet in fats and the French having fewer cases of coronary heart disease and, in actuality, remain ambulatory longer than us Americans. Comparing the diets of both French and Americans in several instances of food/nutrient combinations leaving us with food for thought.

    Elson Haas, MD, in, "The 5 Keys to Staying Healthy," gives us a rare view of what makes the doctor tick. "Encourage and teach ways of health, and not just treat disease are part of my medical practice and teaching." The Five Keys are Nutrition, Exercise, Stress, Sleep and Attitude —Haas shows us how to use this simple and practical guide for taking our health care into our own hands on a day-to-day basis.

    Hyla Cass, MD, and Mikayla Kemp, BS, contribute an overview "Cannabis and Its Effects on Skin Conditions" of Dr. Phillip Blair, MD, Ret. COL, presentation at the recent Cannabis World Conference and Business Exposition in Los Angeles. An international consultant on medical uses of CBD, Dr. Blair geared this presentation to the effects CBD can have on such conditions as acne, psoriasis, and even skin cancer.

    Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, RH(AHG), in "Treating the Common Cold And Sore Throat," is aiding readers who have suffered stuffy nose, watery eyes, low fever, aching, and possibly a sore throat and those having escaped the symptoms. Suggestions include supplementation with vitamin C, zinc lozenges, Echinacea, vitamin A, and a homeopathic remedy for colds.

    If you are looking for a change in a pudding desert for this holiday season try Gloria Gilbère's, "Tembleque (Coconut Pudding)—A Dairy-Free South American Delight." Accompanying the recipe is a description of each of the healthy ingredients along with festive photos.

    Shawn Messonnier, DVM, consults this month on, "Colloidal Silver For Infections In Pets." Reminding us to always consult with our veterinarian before supplementing our pets' diet.

    In "Hemp Extract and Women's Health, How the Medicinal Discoveries of The Hemp Plant Are Transforming Women's Health," Sherrill Sellman, ND, explains why women are more challenged when it comes to their hormonal and over all health than men. Presenting a primer on the Endocannbindoid System for us—the immense healing potential of the non-psychoactive component of the hemp plant.

    "Treating Infertility—Information For Couples" Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, gives good news there are many natural ways to improve all steps of the reproductive process. With this advice you may save the $30,000 plus fees charged by infertility clinics.

    Best in health,

    TWIP The Wellness Imperative People

    Click here to read the full October issue.

    Click here to read the full October issue.

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