Does CBD for Eczema Really Work?
Lindsay Curtis is a health writer with over 20 years of experience in writing health, science & wellness-focused articles.
Emily Dashiell, ND, is a licensed naturopathic doctor who has worked in group and private practice settings over the last 15 years. She is in private practice in Santa Monica, California.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural compound found in the cannabis plant that can be prepared as oils, creams, and other products for use as a therapeutic remedy for many common ailments and health conditions. Some people use CBD oil for eczema.
Eczema (dermatitis) is a skin condition that causes patches of irritated, itchy, dry, inflamed skin. There are many types of eczema. While the exact cause is unknown, genetics, environmental factors, and the immune system are believed to be potential causes and triggers.
There is no cure for eczema, but there are ways to manage symptoms, including over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription treatments. For people who prefer using natural remedies, CBD oil may help soothe and reduce their eczema symptoms.
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What Is CBD Oil?
Cannabis plants contain unique chemicals called cannabinoids. The two major cannabinoids are:
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): Has psychoactive properties that can make a person feel “high”
- Cannabidiol (CBD): Has no psychoactive effects but may provide therapeutic benefits
Both CBD and THC interact with a communication system in the body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a complex biological system that plays a role in appetite, mood, memory, and sleep.
Research has suggested that the ECS contributes to the function and reproduction of skin cells. A dysregulated ECS is associated with dermatological disorders, including eczema and atopic dermatitis.
When applied topically to the skin, CBD interacts with cannabinoid receptors in the top layer of the skin (epidermis) and may offer therapeutic benefits including moisturizing the skin, reducing itchiness and inflammation, and promoting wound healing.
CBD oil comes in many forms, including creams, salves, balms, lotions, and oils.
Hemp Seed Oil vs. CBD
In your search for plant-based remedies for treating eczema, you may have come across different options that derive from cannabis and hemp plants, including hemp seed oil, hemp oil, and CBD oil.
Understanding the differences can help you know what to look for when you’re shopping for whole hemp plant products for eczema.
: Created by pressing the seeds of hemp plants (Cannabis sativa L.). This oil is rich in fatty acids and other nutrients, and research shows it can be helpful in treating skin conditions, including eczema and dermatitis. Hemp seed oil does not contain cannabinoids—the chemical compounds in the hemp plant that interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. : Made using the flower of the hemp plant, rather than the seed. Hemp oil contains a full spectrum of cannabinoids. CBD is just one of the cannabinoids in hemp oil. : Extracted from the entire hemp plant, including the stalks, flowers, and leaves. CBD oil does not come from the seeds of the cannabis plant (the seeds do not contain cannabinoids).
CBD for Eczema Symptoms
There are many types of eczema, and they can show up in different parts of the body. Eczema of all types can cause itchy, dry, flaky patches of skin. In some cases, it may cause painful sores and blisters, which can leave the skin more susceptible to infection.
Types of eczema that may benefit from topical CBD include:
- Atopic dermatitis (AD): This is the most common type of eczema. It is associated with dryness and itching. The exact cause is unknown, but it is believed to be triggered by an overactive immune system. People with asthma and/or hay fever are more likely to develop AD. : This type of eczema is caused by an allergic reaction from contact with irritants such as fragrances, dyes, metal, some medications, and poison ivy/oak. Symptoms include intense itching, and burning or blistering of the skin. : This type of eczema is triggered by stress, seasonal allergies, and change in humidity. It causes itchy, irritating blisters on the bottom of the feet and palms of the hands. : This type of eczema is associated with pink or brown circular (sometimes oozing) spots on the skin. It is often triggered by dry, sensitive skin, insect bites, injuries to the skin, or chemical burns. : This type of eczema is commonly caused by cold, dry weather, genetics, and stress. It produces scaly, dry patches of skin on the scalp or body which tend to form where the skin is most oily, including around the eyebrows, mid-chest, upper back, and groin area.
What Research Shows
There are limited studies on the effectiveness of topical CBD for people with eczema, psoriasis, and other skin conditions. However, some of the research suggests that CBD oil may have therapeutic potential for treating eczema, healing skin wounds, and soothing skin symptoms.
A study published in 2019 found that CBD ointment helped reduce itchiness, soothed redness and inflammation, and enhanced sleep in people with eczema.
A 2014 study found that hemp seed oil was useful for treating eczema and other skin conditions such as psoriasis, acne rosacea, and seborrheic dermatitis. The study also showed that hemp seed oil strengthens skin and makes it more resistant to bacterial, viral, and fungal infections.
What Causes Eczema Flares?
Though eczema affects everyone differently, a number of common triggers can cause a flare-up of symptoms.
Common causes of eczema flares include:
- Dry skin: Brittle, rough, and tight skin can worsen eczema symptoms.
- Chemical irritants: Fragrances, chemicals found in shampoos and lotions, cigarette smoke, and environmental toxins can worsen or trigger eczema symptoms.
- Stress: Emotional stress can trigger or worsen eczema symptoms. Anecdotally, many people use CBD to help manage stress. Early research has shown that it might be effective at relieving stress, anxiety, and sleeping problems.
Is CBD for Eczema Safe?
CBD is generally considered to be safe for use in treating eczema and other skin conditions. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD oil might help reduce irritation, pain, swelling, and redness from skin conditions like eczema.
As with any topical treatment, it’s best to test CBD oil on a small patch of unaffected skin before applying it to larger areas where you have eczema.
To do a patch test, apply CBD oil to a small area and watch for 24 hours to check for any side effects (e.g., itching, redness, swelling).
Talk to your primary care physician or dermatologist before you try CBD, as they will want to discuss the potential side effects of using CBD products, as well as make sure that it will not interact with any other medications, supplements, or treatments that you are using.
Best CBD for Eczema Flare-Ups
Topical CBD comes in many forms, including creams, lotions, serums, balms, and salves.
One of the best defenses against eczema is keeping your skin well hydrated. Thicker topicals that contain ingredients for both skin protection and moisturization can be especially helpful.
CBD products also come in different preparations. The availability of these products (especially those that contain THC) will vary from state to state.
- Isolate: CBD is the only cannabinoid contained in the product. : Contains multiple naturally occurring cannabis plant extracts, including terpenes and other cannabinoids, including up to 0.3% THC.
- Broad: Contains CBD and other components/cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, but does not contain any THC.
How to Buy CBD
With many CBD and hemp oil options for eczema, it can be challenging to know what products to choose. Here are some key points to consider when you’re picking a product:
- Hemp source: CBD is derived from hemp plants. The quality and cultivation of the plants are important considerations. Look for products that come from organic hemp plants when possible.
- Certificate of Analysis (CoA): Responsible, reputable manufacturers should offer a CoA that details the quantities of a product’s cannabinoids. CoAs are conducted by an independent, accredited lab.
- Read the label: Read the full list of ingredients for CBD topicals. Make sure that any product you are considering does not contain fragrances or other potential irritants that could worsen eczema.
- Type of CBD: To get the best results, look for full-spectrum or broad CBD products, which may offer an “entourage effect” (combining multiple cannabis compounds that work in synergy to offer the most benefits).
A Word From Verywell
While there are many OTC and prescription treatments for eczema, if you are looking for a natural way to manage your symptoms, CBD products might be an option.
Research on how effective CBD is for treating skin conditions like eczema is limited, but has shown that products that contain CBD might help reduce the dry skin, itchiness, and inflammation that is associated with eczema.
It’s important that you talk to your doctor before you try a CBD product, as it can have side effects and might interact with other treatments that you use for eczema.
Before you use CBD on your skin, do a spot test on a place that does not have eczema on it to make sure that you do not have a sensitivity or reaction.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does CBD help with itchy skin from eczema?
CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce irritating eczema symptoms such as itching, pain, and dry skin.
How does the ECS work?
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) helps regulate many physiological processes, including sleep, immune function, and pain.
Research has shown that the endocannabinoid system also plays a role in skin health. A dysregulated ECS is associated with dermatological disorders such as eczema and atopic dermatitis.
When applied topically, CBD’s anti-inflammatory, anti-itch, and pain-reducing properties interact with the ECS, which might make it an effective treatment for many skin conditions.
Is CBD good for skin conditions?
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD is commonly used to treat skin conditions and soothe symptoms—especially the dryness, itching, and pain often associated with eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis.
Is CBD for eczema safe?
CBD is generally considered to be a safe alternative treatment for eczema. However, as with any skincare product, you’ll want to do a patch test first to make sure that you do not have a sensitivity or allergy.
Apply CBD to a small patch of unaffected skin and wait for 24 hours, watching for symptoms of irritation such as itching, redness, and pain. If no symptoms develop, you can safely apply the product liberally to any eczema patches.
An Allergic Reaction to CBD Oil… Is It Possible?
From itchy eyes to respiratory problems, allergies pose serious problems for many people. Unsurprisingly, most people try to avoid substances that cause these symptoms.
Like other plants and plant-based products, anecdotal evidence suggests it is possible to have an allergic reaction to CBD oil. However, this appears to depend largely on oil quality, terpene levels, and various supplementary ingredients that are in a product. Additionally, it’s worth pointing out that little research has been conducted on the topic, making conclusions difficult.
In this article, we’ll explore the possibility of CBD allergies and discuss several methods you can employ to try and avoid them.
The Basics of a CBD Allergy
Allergies are familiar to many people. They result in sneezing, itching, a runny nose, watery eyes, and sometimes difficulty breathing. But what actually causes these symptoms?
In most instances, the immune system is responsible for allergic reactions. Usually, this system can differentiate between harmful and non-harmful compounds. But sometimes it gets “confused.” When you have an allergy, the immune system identifies benign compounds as potential dangers. It creates antibodies to attack these invaders when in fact, antibodies form every time the body encounters the allergen.
Common food allergies include plant-based products like soy, wheat, and peanuts. Since hemp CBD extract is of course plant-based, this makes CBD a prime suspect when it comes to potential for an allergic reaction.
Can You Be Allergic To CBD?
There are a few potential reasons why CBD might cause allergies. Take a look at a few below.
Plant pollen is a common allergen, and as CBD formulations originate from hemp plants, some hypothesize this could cause a reaction.
However, only male hemp plants produce pollen. While industrial hemp fields grow a combination of male and female plants, most CBD oils originate from the female varieties of hemp. This is due to their cannabinoid-rich flowers.
Very little is known about the effect hemp pollen might have on CBD products. However, the combination of female hemp plants and a high-quality manufacturing process might eradicate its content.
Some research has discovered that terpenes may cause allergy symptoms. Specific compounds such as linalool and limonene, for instance, have been known to cause skin rashes. However, this is uncommon.
Since full-spectrum CBD products contain a range of terpenes, some users may find themselves sensitive to those oils in particular.
Hemp Seed Allergies
Many food allergies are caused by high-protein foods, as mentioned above. Hemp seed oil is a common base for CBD products, such as oral oils. When CBD is used in this way, it’s often refined to be 100% fat; lessening the chance of a reaction. However, there is still a risk of experiencing symptoms such as hives. Consumers with severe food allergies should always consult a doctor before considering using CBD.
Often it’s not the hemp itself that causes a reaction, but another ingredient entirely. Some CBD products contain a vast amount of ingredients that may contribute to allergy symptoms.
For example fragrances, parabens, artificial flavors, and alcohols are all examples of potential irritants. That’s why simplicity is often the best, especially if you are sensitive to chemicals and more susceptible to allergies.
This ethos is something we celebrate at Premium Jane. Products like our Natural CBD oil are only made with full-spectrum hemp oil, MCT oil, and natural flavorings.
Tips for Avoiding CBD Allergies
- Always check the ingredient list: Reviewing a product’s ingredients list should always be the priority before purchasing, as this allows you to make sure there’s nothing in the product that you may be allergic to. If you find a brand that doesn’t publish its ingredients, this should be considered a warning sign. At Premium Jane, we publish complete ingredient lists for every product we sell.
- Take a look at lab sheets: The more information you can read about a product, the better. On certified lab reports, you can typically find a full breakdown of cannabinoid and terpene content. Other tests such as heavy metal, pesticide, and solvent content tests should also be accessible.
- Contact the company directly: If, after checking ingredient lists and the lab reports, you still feel uncertain about using a product, contact the company directly. Speaking one-to-one with a company representative will allow you to explain your concerns about a particular ingredient or product.
- Speak with a medical professional: For anyone worried about potential allergy symptoms, a doctor or physician should always be the first point of contact. They’ll be able to advise you on the safest products for you and your needs.
Final Thoughts on CBD Oil and Allergies
CBD allergies are rare, but there is a possibility they will occur. An excellent way to mitigate CBD reactions is to buy from a high-quality brand. In addition, always check the lab reports of a product to verify that there are no allergy-inducing contaminants.
People with pre-existing allergies should be especially careful. If you experience any allergy signs while smelling, touching, or consuming a product, you should immediately seek medical help.
We always recommend consulting a doctor about your allergies before deciding to try a CBD product.
Can You Be Allergic to CBD Oil?
If you have seasonal or food allergies — and even if you don’t — it’s a fair question to ask: Is it possible to have a CBD allergy?
While there isn’t a direct correlation between CBD and allergies, research has linked some allergy symptoms to the cannabis plant, which is where CBD oil comes from.
It’s always wise to exercise caution and know the CBD side effects whenever adding a new component to your wellness routine, but we can help you work through allergy concerns related to CBD oil in this guide.
- What is CBD oil?
- CBD oil and CBD allergies
- Safely introducing CBD to your system
- Identifying possible causes for allergic symptoms
- Building up allergen tolerance: A breakdown
- Possible side effects of CBD oil
- Uses and benefits of CBD oil for people with allergies
What Is CBD Oil?
If you’re worried about an allergic reaction to CBD, it may be helpful to know what CBD is.
While there are no known allergies associated with CBD oil, you can be allergic to the cannabis plant.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a naturally derived chemical compound that comes from a cannabis plant — either marijuana or hemp. The difference between a hemp plant and a marijuana plant is THC, a psychoactive compound that causes the sensations associated with being “high.” Hemp plants have less than 0.3% THC content (by weight), while marijuana plants have 16% or more THC content by weight. It is also important to understand that hemp oil is different from CBD oil, even though they are derived from separate parts of the cannabis plant. Hemp oil is derived from the hemp seeds of the hemp plant, while CBD oil is derived from hemp stalks, leaves and flowers.
CBD Oil and Allergies
While there are no known allergies associated with CBD oil, you can be allergic to the cannabis plant. Any plant that produces pollen, including the cannabis plant, can be an allergen trigger. Symptoms of allergy to the cannabis pollen may include:
- runny nose
- skin problems like inflammation or itchy skin or
- itchy or watery eyes
If you happen to discover you’re allergic to hemp plants, you’re likely allergic to marijuana plants — but you might not be allergic to CBD.
Think of the cannabis plant like an avocado tree and CBD oil as the avocado. If you’re allergic to pollen — which the avocado tree produces — then you might find yourself sneezing when exposed to its pollen, but you can still enjoy avocado toast, avocado eggs benedict and guacamole without having a reaction. In this example, the avocado tree pollen output triggers an allergic reaction, but the avocado itself can be enjoyed worry-free because — while it’s derived from the plant — it’s separate from the allergen, just like the cannabis plant and CBD oil. So you can have a cannabis allergy and be allergic to cannabis pollen but not necessarily have a CBD allergy.
Safely Introducing CBD to Your System
If you have myriad allergies, you may have learned to be cautious when it comes to trying new supplements or foods in order to avoid having an allergic response . The advice for those with allergy concerns and those who are trying CBD for the first time is the same: start low and go slow. It is critical that you gauge your immune response before applying or consuming various CBD products.
Most importantly, if you’re worried about having an allergic reaction to CBD, consult your doctor prior to adding it to your wellness routine.
Here’s how to start taking CBD low and slow:
- Avoid introducing new supplements or vitamins at the same time you start taking CBD.
- Read the CBD product label to find the recommended dose.
- To be extra cautious, start your CBD intake with halfthe recommended dose.
- Wait two hours for the CBD to be completely absorbed into the bloodstream.
- Check in with yourself. How do you feel? Have you noticed any allergy symptoms? Are you enjoying beneficial effects from the CBD, or, do you feel nothing at all?
If you don’t notice any changes, it might mean our dose was too small to feel the effects, and/or you aren’t allergic to CBD. In this case, wait a day to help your body reset from the experiment, then repeat the steps above with a slightly increased dose. The most important thing is to listen to your body to find out whether your CBD dose and your CBD product are a good fit.
Identifying Possible Causes For Allergy Symptoms
If you’ve been experiencing allergy symptoms and you’re worried that your favorite CBD oil might be the problem, you can try the elimination or isolation method. This method involves identifying foods or products that you were exposed to around the time your symptoms started, then slowly eliminating them to identify the culprit.
Even if you don’t have a CBD or cannabis allergy, you still may want to introduce CBD oil into your system slowly.
If you notice consistent allergy symptoms and don’t see an obvious cause, see a doctor as soon as possible.Your doctor can first do an allergy prick test to help eliminate a few suspects from the list.
Here’s how to identify whether or not CBD oil may be causing your allergy symptoms:
- Identify anything new in your diet or daily routine. This might include foods or beverages; cleaning, makeup, haircare or skincare products; clothes or jewelry; and supplements or medications
- Eliminate any new items one at a time for one month. For example, if you think your new lavender-scented laundry detergent is making you sneeze, use your old detergent brand for 30 days. If you think your CBD oil product might be the cause, stop taking it.
- Monitor your symptoms day-by-day and take notes. Are you feeling better? Are you still sneezing?
- After one month, evaluate whether your symptoms are persistent, then repeat with the next potential allergen.
If, after a month without CBD oil, you continue to experience allergy symptoms, then it’s probably good news! Your CBD product is most likely notthe culprit. The bad news is that you still have to figure out what is, but at least you can resume use of your favorite CBD product in the meantime.
Building Up Allergen Tolerance: A Breakdown
Some mild allergies can be eased with tolerance-building. For example, if you move to a new neighborhood in a different part of the country, your body may react to a difference in air quality, a new variety of pollen in the nearby woods or even humidity levels. That could result in mild allergy symptoms. But the human body is an amazing thing. After continued exposure to certain irritants, the body can build up a tolerance. The best way to do this is by:
- exposing yourself to very small amounts of the potential allergen.
- letting your body recover over a few days.
- gradually increasing the amount of the potential allergen exposure over time.
Before trying this method, be sure to talk to your doctor about your symptoms to ensure it applies to your situation.
Possible Side Effects of CBD Oil Use
While having a sensitivity to cannabis doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll develop an allergy to CBD oil, it could trigger physical reactions. Even if you don’t have a CBD or cannabis allergy, you still may want to introduce CBD oil into your system slowly.
There are some potential side effects and considerations when first adding CBD to your wellness routine, including:
- known reactions – Most people will have no issues with CBD, but there are a few known potential reactions, such as:
- appetite change
- uplifted mood – Allergy season can leave you feeling blue, as your usual morning run turns into a sneeze-a-thon. CBD oil can tip the scale in favor of good feelings to help you experience a more relaxed and at-ease mood through allergy season and beyond.
- enhanced energy – All of that wheezing and watery-eye-wiping can deplete your energy supply. CBD can help add a little pep to your step so you can enjoy whatever the day has in store, whether you’re having Thanksgiving with a relative whose pet makes you itch or enduring an outdoor party near some pollen-heavy trees.
- improved sleep – Allergies can sometimes get in the way of life. Worrying about allergies can get in the way of so much more, especially sleep. CBD can help soothe away worried thoughts, so you can melt into a deep, nourishing rest.
Uses and Benefits of CBD Oil For People With Allergies
If you decide to give CBD oil a try, this unique, naturally derived compound offers a host of potential uses and benefits to explore. Consider these examples of how CBD oil can impact your health and vitality:
Zebra CBD: Your Trusted CBD Oil Experts
If you’re considering trying CBD oil, we can help. There’s no need to feel overwhelmed by the selection process! Our products come with a Label Accuracy Guarantee™, meaning they are tested by two different third-party laboratories to ensure our label claims are 100% accurate.
Here at Zebra CBD, we’re all about health and wellness. If you’re worried about allergies, the two best things you can do are to consult with your doctor prior to trying CBD, and — when you get the green light — purchase products whose quality you can trust.
For the second part, you came to the right place if you’re looking to buy CBD online .