CBD oil is an oil made from cannabidiol, which is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. Cannabidiol is non-psychoactive, unlike tetrahydrocannabinol – or THC – which is another compound of the cannabis plant. THC is the psychoactive compound that is responsible for the ‘high’ people feel when taking cannabis. CBD, meanwhile, has no psychoactive properties and is thought to be responsible for the medicinal benefits associated with cannabis.
One medicinal benefit which CBD oil may have is helping to treat acne. But how does it help and what evidence is there to support this claim?
According to experts, there are two main ways in which CBD oil may help to treat acne: by reducing production of sebum and preventing inflammation.
Sebum is an oil produced by the sebaceous glands in the skin – it’s what causes the skin to have a shiny appearance and can cause spots to form.
According to health store Holland & Barrett, research at the University of Debrecen in Hungary in 2014 discovered CBD oil could stop excess sebum from being produced.
Studies also showed CBD oil prevented ‘pro-acne’ agents, such as inflammatory proteins, from being activated.
A later study by the same team concluded that CBD oil could be a “highly efficient, novel anti-acne agent”.
Medical website Healthline also noted recent scientific studies have shown CBD oil may help to treat acne due to its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to reduce sebum production.
According to Healthline, one test-tube study found CBD oil prevented sebaceous gland cells from secreting excessive sebum.
The same study also found CBD oil “exerted anti-inflammatory actions” and prevented the activation of ‘pro-acne’ agents like inflammatory cytokines.
Another study had similar findings, concluding that CBD may be an “efficient and safe way to treat acne, thanks in part to its remarkable anti-inflammatory qualities”.
Healthline did warn, however, that although study results are promising, human studies exploring the effects of CBD on acne are needed.
The NHS warns against buying CBD oil online, as products sold and bought over the internet from unreputable sources may be illegal to possess or supply.
Products bought from unreputable companies may also not necessarily be safe to use and may contain THC.
The health body also advises that CBD oils sold in health stores are not guaranteed to be of good quality and tend to only contain very small amounts of CBD – making their effects unclear.