Results of a recently completed study found that an experimental cannabinoid-based topical medicine achieved an extraordinary 90% success rate in healing chronic wounds. What are the benefits of CBD on the skin? How can CBD contribute to healing and healthy skin?
Cannabis-Based Medicine: A Breakthrough For Healing Intractable Chronic Wounds
Chronic wounds disproportionately affect older adults, severely impairing their health and quality of life. Aging diminishes our capacity for healing, and conditions such as diabetes, vascular disease, cancer and surgical procedures put elder adults at further risk of developing chronic wounds.
While notoriously difficult to heal, a new, experimental cannabinoid-based treatment promises to vastly improve the prognosis for the millions of older adults who suffer from chronic wounds.
A Multi-Billion Dollar Market
According to the American Professional Wound Care Association, non-healing wounds impact some 15% of Medicare beneficiaries, and the costs associated with treating them can reach $30 Billion.
The anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinoids are driving investigations into potential therapies for an entire spectrum of disease states, and treatment for chronic wound healing is one of them.
Results of a recently completed study found that an experimental cannabinoid-based topical medicine achieved an extraordinary 90% success rate in healing chronic wounds. Dr. Vincent Maida, a palliative medicine specialist at the University of Toronto and principal investigator of the study, recruited thirty patients in an open-label study testing his proprietary Topical Cannabis-Based Medicines (TCBM). Twenty-seven of the participants achieved complete closure of wounds that, in some cases, had resisted healing for over a decade.
Cannabinoids for healing
Dr. Maida has been investigating cannabinoids for treating pain and wounds for over 20 years. During a graduate program on wounds at University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health, he encountered a pre-clinical study showing evidence of the efficacy of cannabinoids for wound healing. He recalls: “My supervisor thought I was off my rocker that I thought that cannabinoids could be effective for treating integumentary (the skin and mucous membrane system) and wound conditions. Since then the basic science has been catching up and validating all of my research.”
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He recalls: “When I started recommending cannabinoid therapies to my patients, I was considered a heretic.” But when Canada broadened the definition of medical cannabis to include extracts as well as dried botanical flower, Dr. Maida developed and patented his own formulations, and started to recruit patients for his study. He now holds what he claims to be the world’s first patents on Topical Cannabis-Based Medicines (TCBM) indicated for Integumentary and Wound Management.
The worst of the worst
Dr. Maida runs a tertiary wound clinic in the Toronto area, where he receives referrals of the most severe wounds in southern Ontario. As he explains, “Everyone else’s failures come to me. I get the worst of the worst.”
Through his recent study, he was able to subject some of those recalcitrant wounds to his innovations and intellectual property. And according to Dr. Maida, “I’m having results that are just absolutely mind-blowing.”
“I’m actually the first on record worldwide to start applying cannabis products to wounds to help with pain management, and now showing that it can heal the unhealable wounds in very elderly and sick patients. I’m literally healing wounds that otherwise people would be dying from or dying with… When I show the before and after pictures, people can’t believe that these results are real – but they are real!”
“So if I’m able to heal the worst of the worst, imagine what my innovations can do for everyday burns and scrapes and so forth.”
Anti-inflammatory, lipophilic agents
Chronic inflammation is at the heart of a non-healing wound. Normally a wound progresses through an orderly cascade of phases from the time of initial trauma until it is fully healed. As Dr. Maida explains, wounds that don’t heal get stuck in the inflammatory stage. “There’s ample pre-clinical information already published that THC and CBD and other elements of cannabis extracts have anti-inflammatory properties. My cannabinoid-based medicines are rebooting the wound out of that chronic inflammatory stage.”
“The other thing that made me realize that wounds and cannabis were going to mix is that intact skin is hydrophilic, but a wound, on the other hand, is lipophilic. That kind of tissue can absorb THC and CBD which are also lipophilic. So it’s a perfect fit. This was one of my epiphany moments: that the very molecules that are anti-inflammatory in the cannabis extract are going to be able to be absorbed rapidly into a wound bed.”
“So everything is lining up. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is present in the integumentary system which is the largest organ of the body. And there’s a huge opportunity to activate the ECS through the integument, and promote things like healing wounds and relieving pain from wounds – because when you heal a wound, the pain goes away.”
A partner for the next stage
At this point, Dr. Maida is looking for a partner to help take his proprietary IP to the next level, and get his products on the market to help millions of people.
According to Dr. Maida, much of the money and effort spent on treating chronic wound is in vain. “One of the areas with the worst outcomes is wounds – in terms of pain relief and healing, the results are dismal. We’re spending billions and spinning our wheels.”
Until now, Dr. Maida has self-funded the R&D of his proprietary therapies. And he believes that, seeing patients with chronic wounds week in and week out, with no prospect of improvement, was what drove him to make the personal and financial sacrifice, to give his patients hope.
The follow-up randomized controlled study is already designed and waiting. At this point, all he needs is a partner with the resources to help launch it. “It’s really what’s driving me – at a time when my colleagues are retiring, I am working on probably the greatest project in my entire career.”
Can CBD accelerate healing?
Hemp has always been used in many fields for its medicinal and therapeutic virtues. Indeed, this natural option can soothe many ailments, whether they are of physical or mental origin. When we think of therapeutic cannabis and in particular CBD (cannabidiol), we think of stress, anxiety and pain reduction. Yet, its use on the skin is just as beneficial.
CBD is said to hold great promise for healing wounds and sores, maintaining healthy skin and accelerating the healing process. When applied topically, cannabinoids help the skin heal faster, limit the growth of bacteria, and significantly soothe pain.
Although its healing properties are still not well known, CBD is a great ally for your skin health. What are the benefits of CBD on your skin? How does it work and how to apply it to enjoy all its positive effects? Everything you need to know about CBD and healing can be found in this article.
The benefits of CBD for the skin
Burns and wounds
In case of first and second degree burns, you can apply a CBD cream to relieve the pain and speed up the healing process. Indeed, cannabis is well known for its anti-inflammatory action. In addition, certain terpenes naturally present in hemp have cooling and analgesic properties that instantly soothe burns.
The use of a CBD based cream or oil also promotes wound healing. Thanks to the cannabinoids present in these products, the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of hemp are increased tenfold. Your skin regenerates faster and your pain disappears in record time.
Insect bites and itching
Insect bites are often responsible for inflammation and itching. Here again, CBD creams or oils can help you relieve those itches that sometimes become unbearable. Whether it’s a simple mosquito bite or a skin infection, CBD has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that automatically calm the itching.
Eczema and psoriasis
Eczema and psoriasis are chronic skin diseases caused by an accumulation of inflammatory cells or excessive angiogenesis of the dermis. In the context of these diseases, scientific studies claim that CBD helps to reduce inflammation. CBD is therefore a natural alternative to drug treatments that are sometimes ineffective against these diseases.
More recently, a Korean study emphasized the fact that CBD can regulate the activation of mast cells and thus, reduce the symptoms of skin diseases such as psoriasis and eczema. As a result, CBD soothes itching, reduces redness and fights the development of inflammatory cells in the skin.
Pimples and blackheads
If you have sensitive skin that is prone to pimples and blackheads, CBD can help you regain a better skin quality. You’ve probably noticed this in recent years, as even the biggest cosmetic brands are getting into hemp-based beauty products. And for good reason, using a CBD-based moisturizer can reduce clogged pores, calm inflammation, and eliminate acne-related scars.
Of course, using CBD on your skin must be accompanied by proper hydration and a healthy lifestyle to see results. That being said, CBD has allowed many people to replace harsh chemical creams with a natural product and thus, regain a healthy skin and free of its small defects.
How does CBD work on the skin?
Finally, whether it is a burn, a wound, a sting or a pimple, researchers are unanimous: CBD contributes to the healing of epidermal tissue. In addition to relieving pain through its analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, CBD is directly involved in the healing process by interacting with the endocannabinoid system.
To understand this, it is important to know that every living being has an endocannabinoid system that regulates metabolism. This system is made up of receptors, present throughout the body. These receptors are therefore present in the dermis and in the epidermis. In this way, CBD activates the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the skin and contributes to their proper functioning.
When your skin suffers from an injury, a burn, or an inflammation, the endocannabinoid system is activated, and CBD rich in cannabinoids reinforces its action. In a first step, CBD-based oils and creams can soothe pain and reduce inflammation. Then, in a second step, they promote the healing process of wounds.
The history of CBD and wound healing
For thousands of years, cannabis has been used to heal wounds in humans and animals. However, our ancestors did not only use CBD, but the whole hemp plant. Thus, consuming cannabis could cause undesirable, psychoactive and harmful effects to health. In the 1st century BC, the Greeks used cannabis to treat wounds and injuries in horses. In some historical medical texts there are also notes about the use of cannabis as an antiseptic to treat burns and cuts. But today, thanks to the democratization of CBD, enjoying the benefits and therapeutic virtues of hemp is much easier, and above all, much healthier.
CBD, a natural alternative to treat your skin
As you can see, using CBD to heal wounds is nothing new. That said, it is important to highlight the fact that today, all products marketed with CBD do not contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Since THC is responsible for the harmful effects of hemp, its use has not always been as beneficial as it may be today. From now on, you have the chance to have access to healthy products, controlled in laboratories and submitted to strict regulations that guarantee the respect of your health. And many times, these CBD-based cosmetic or pharmaceutical products are much better for your health than the chemical-filled creams that promise you miraculous results.
Which CBD product should I choose to treat skin problems?
To treat skin problems, the smartest thing to do is to choose a CBD cream or oil to apply topically. This way, the cannabinoids will be directly absorbed by the different layers of the skin and their action will be faster and more effective. Conversely, consuming CBD through vaporization, herbal tea or sublingual will have almost no effect on the skin.
Can CBD cause side effects on the skin?
No, CBD is not likely to cause any side effects on your skin. Unlike many chemical creams sold in supermarkets, it is a product that does not present any danger to your health. That said, if you have any doubts about the active ingredients in the product, test a small area of your skin before applying a larger amount.