Cannabinoids may be critical to skin health. 


Cannabinoids with their diverse action on the cells receptors have been implicated by scientists in:

  • proliferation of skin cells, in the differentiation processes that give rise to the multicellular complexity of skin

  • hormone and mediator secretion that maintain skin tone

  • the activity of hair follicle cells and the sebaceous glands


While cannabinoids from marijuana are commonly used medically and recreationally by millions of Americans, few realize precisely, that cannabinoids actually evolved specifically to defend cells from toxins, and microorganisms in the cannabis plant. It turns out that cannabinoids work much the same for mammalian cells, including human skin cells.


Examples of Cannabinoids: THC psychoactive and medicinal, CBD, non-psychoactive and medicinal.


thc working with stalk cells

The Medical Marvel of Cannabis Cosmetics



Definition of Cannabinoid: A class of diverse chemical compounds that act on receptors in cells that modulate neurotransmitters that stimulate function of several areas of the brain. There are three main types of cannabinoids; endocannabinoids (produced naturally in animals) and phytocannabinoids (found in cannabis and some other plants), and synthetic cannabinoids (manufactured artificially).


The most common cannabinoid in marijuana today is the phytocannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive compound in cannabis.  The second most common and particularly medicinal component of certain strains of cannabis is Cannabidiol (CBD).  There are at least 113 different cannabinoids isolated from cannabis, exhibiting varied effects.  Through selective breeding, more or less of a certain cannabinoid can be produced.   


real scientists study real medicine

The unexplored properties of many of these little known natural cannabinoids has caused great excitement among elite researchers, and created panic among the financiers and beneficiaries in the pharmaceutical industry.



As the largest organ in the body, the skin acts as a barrier and performs sensory functions.  A healthy skin is essential to overall health.  The return to health after damage can be reflected in the skin, and attributed to the proper functioning of the body's own endo-cannabinoid system.

The skin is rich in cannabinoid receptors, in both structural and immune cells, and sensory nerve endings. Support of cannabinoid receptors lends to therapeutic application of exogenous (external) cannabinoids in the regulation and preservation of  the skin and its functionality. Biochemical studies suggest that cannabinoids in plants  are ancient protectants that provide  anti-microbial, anti-desiccation (moisture loss) and anti-UVB properties.

The Medical Marijuana Patch


The body's own endo-cannabinoid system presents a new option for cannabinoid enhancement of skin health by leveraging (applying topically) these evolutionarily preserved functions combined with contemporary understanding of the skin.



It is exciting to know that researchers are beginning to really understand, with some precision, how cannabinoids can protect the skin from cellular damage.  For the majority of us vain individuals, it;s great news that we can actually benefit from skin products that will give us, not only a healthier appearance, but actually healthier skin.  

The diagram below shows a THC molecule which interacts with the secretory cells in the skin.  Secretory cell's job is to produce substances to lubricate and protect the skin from dehydration and intertwine with tissue to form a barrier that protects from microorganisms.


how the skin works with cannabinoid therapy



Keratinocytes are cells in the outer layer of the skin (epidermis) that forms a barrier against bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses, heat, UV radiation and water loss. Keratinocytes react when placed under stress and produce proinflammatory substances called chemokines white blood cells to the site.  This results in an eruption, redness, acne, etc.  


These days, most food comes via large corporate interests.  Even the larger health food companies have been bought out and comply with FDA protocols that allow the use of rancid oils, GMO, preservatives, chemical additives, BPA, plasticizers and artificial what not, all of which, can be eliminated via the skin, and cause a myriad of inflammatory reactions in the skin.  


So to acquire the best skin, you'll have to eliminate factory food, cheap cosmetics, soaps, virtually every man made chemical from your diet.  This is quite a challenge, and in practice, we're all going to absorb a heap of chemical garbage from our diet, and it's going to be excreted through our skin, in the majority of cases.

Rather than put cheap creams and cosmetics to cover up serious problem, let's examine how cannabinoids can help soothe the poor skins under continual bombardment from garbage collecting in the skin;  a process that causes the skin to age prematurely and look like crap in the short term.  

The outermost layer is constantly being shed.  By dressing up the outer layer, exfoliating and hydrating, we can appear to have healthier skin.  But, this kind of beauty is only skin deep.  The health of the cells underneath is the key to the future and long lasting beauty.  In other words, putting on some cream today that does not address the underlying health of the skin won't help in the long term - and - using the wrong products can actually damage your body and skin - not a little - but a lot.


skin disorders and cannabinoid treatments



The main cannabinoids THC and CBD have been shown have anti-cancer properties in many clinical trials in vitro, in animal trials.  In semi-clinical settings, thousands of patients claim that THC and CBD actually cured them of their cancer.  To learn more about marijuana can cancer click.

The myriad of skin conditions treatable with topical cannabinoids is incredible; skin tumors, psoriasis, unwanted hair growth, balding, alopecia, acne, dry skin, irritation, sclerosis, pain, itching....  Topical cannabinoids have been shown to normalize the production of lipids (oils), while acting as an inflammatory, which is obviously good for a great variety of skin conditions.   


skin conditions and treatment with cannabis



Don't worry if you're baffled by these graphs.  Suffice it to say, the electrical nature of cannabinoids is studied by scientists in an effort to find out how they work on a cellular level.


rocket science and marijuana

Cannabinoids Biochemical Protecting Properties

 • Physical insult and injury
 • Temperature fluctuations
 • UV
 • Desiccation - dehydration
 • Chemical threats
 • Environmental pollutants and toxins
 • Biological threats
 • Pathogenic micro-organisms, bacteria, fungi, viruses, mold
 • Insects and animal predators


Trichomes in a cannabis plant are localized to the epidermal barrier, the interface between organism and environment.. Trichomes are multicellular and have a resin-secreting gland within a sheath of proteins and complex sugars. Resin builds up within the sheath, and ruptures and cannabinoids, terpenes and other compounds extruded out and crystalize.    

The distribution of trichomes and glands are strain-specific, tissue-specific with anthers and stamens enriched, and is influenced by environmental factors such as nutrients, light, wind, atmosphere, CO2, moisture, O2, at various growth cycle stages.   The art of the Cannabis Alchemist is to deeply understand the interrelationships of the above parameters and combine it with intuition to produce a new, or an optimal crop of herb.


"The viscous, oily nature of extruded cannabis oils (as well as the terpenes and alkanes that accompany them) provides a hydrophobic layer that reduces surface evaporation and may somewhat insulate from temperature increases. "


Cannabinoids have been shown to be antibacterial, and antifungal, by blocking micro-organism proliferation as demonstrated in multiple studies with in vitro assays.

Anti-biotic properties for isolated and synthetic cannabinoids, as well as lits complex oils have been demonstrated. Plant fungal pathogens appear to have evolved the ability to catabolize cannabinoids, to perhaps counteract or balance antifungal measures deployed by the plant.

The role of the highly aromatic terpenes may be to chemically repel predators and attract pollinators. Highly volatile limonene, pinene and other terpenes are major constituents of the immediate air barrier around the plant which contributes to its odor). These compounds also act as insect repellents with preliminary studies suggesting that cannabis exudate is actively toxic to some insects.  Furthermore, one need only dig into the literature to find out things like, the turpenes contained in peppermint are strong insect repellents, and that some of the same terpenes are found in various strains of marijuana.

Wound healing. When a cannabis plant is damaged, resin production increases to form a sticky layer to protect from moisture loss and reform the barrier from a potentially hostile environment (germs).  



Environmental stress happens at the  molecular level where cells have to deal with toxic conditions caused by radicalized molecules and oxidizing conditions. Proteins and DNA, messenger molecules cannot function optimally  under these bastard conditions, leading to ongoing degeneration of the tissue   The cell membranes, composed of fatty material (lipids) are key.  The membrane oxidizes and is damaged or forms holes, which obviously causes mutant or dysfunctional service to you and your body.

Degeneration of the cell walls in neurons, muscle tissue, skin, you name it means catastrophe.  Anything that can shore up and normalize the cell walls is an absolute key to recovering health, as the membranes that act in the way a good bouncer in a bar works; he lets in fun people, kicks out scum.   The ability of cannabinoids to assist in bouncing bad-ass molecules lie at the basis of many clinical trials under way.



THC is a strong absorber of UV-B in the 280 -315 nm range, which means it is an effective sun blocker.  Not only that, it shows the potential to protect against mutant pigmentation..


"CB1 ligands have been shown to protect directly against UV-B induced melanogenesis (darkening) of the skin. UV levels affect plant production of THC and cannabidiol, suggesting that in response to UV threat the plant defends itself by overproducing the protective compounds."  

"The medical dermatology and cosmeceutical communities have overlapping priorities for the promotion of human skin health. The constant assailing of skin by environmental threats, coupled with preventive measures for melanoma and the effects of aging, leads to an increasing trend for everyday skin treatments to be supplemented with bioactive ingredients. "



Humans have about 20 square ft.of skin.

"The skins endocannabinoid system  maintains skin homeostasis, and loss of this homeostasis leads to disorders such as acne, dermatitis, itch, pain, psoriasis, sclerosis and excessive or unwanted hair growth."



MMJDOCTORONLINE notes:  We provide medical marijuana patients fast and affordable 420 recommendations, Cannabis ID, Grow Permits, and renewals in California and Nevada.  Documents are used at dispensaries, cannabis clinics, marijuana compassion clubs, online delivery services and other legal vendors of cannabis based medicines.  Our Telemedicine process takes only a few minutes to complete and patients don't pay unless they are approved.  





Much of the base material in this article was inspired by the white papers.


Budding Beauty: Is Cannabis Good for the Skin?

Throughout my life I have tended to subscribe to the view that everything “bad” could somehow be good for you. I was thoroughly vindicated in this with the discovery that red wine prevents cancer, heart disease, and wrinkles. Now it seems that cannabis is good for the skin and Medical Marijuana Inc, a publicly-quoted company, launched an anti-aging beauty products line starring super-concentrated, cannabis-enriched hemp oil....


Cannabinoids Heal Skin Disorders

Contact dermatitis is of two types:  allergic (resulting from a delayed reaction to some allergen, such as poison ivy ), and irritant (resulting from direct reaction to a detergent, such as sodium lauryl sulfate). Some substances act both as allergen and irritant (wet cement).  Other substances cause a problem after sunlight exposure, bringing on phototoxic dermatitis.  About three quarters of cases of contact eczema are of the irritant type, which is the most common occupational skin disease.  Contact eczema is curable, provided the offending substance can be avoided and its traces removed from one’s environment......



Now new research shows that cannabinoids themselves are good for the skin, too. According to a study published in a scientific journal, smoked or ingested cannabinoids can play a significant role in lipid production, and could potentially be used to treat dry skin and acne. The same effect can also be achieved when the cannabinoids are applied topically in the form of a cream. The research suggests that it is the endocannabinoid system (the system in our bodies that responds to cannabis) that is responsible for this effect. Another study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology found that cannabinoids could be harnessed to help treat skin disease such as psoriasis.


Cannabinoids as Therapeutics for Non-Melanoma and Melanoma Skin Cancer

Endocannabinoids, synthetic cannabinoids and phytocannabinoids decrease NMSC and melanoma growth in vitro and in vivo through CB receptor dependent and independent
pathways (Table 1). This suggests that molecules which make up the ECS are potential targets for development of novel skin cancer therapeutics. Because NMSC and melanoma rates are rapidly increasing, new therapeutic options are needed. The studies cited herein indicate that a more detailed assessment of the effect of cannabinoids on skin cancer is warranted....


research reports on the skin and cannabis



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