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Does CBD Treat Acne?

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CBDshop Research

Acne is the most common skin condition affecting adolescents and young adults today. It is usually treated with a range of pharmaceutical creams and lotions. However, recent research has indicated that cannabinoids like CBD may also be effective in the treatment of acne, without the side effects associated with other medications.

Acne is a common skin condition that affects millions of people. It can be annoying and it can be relentless. It is estimated that roughly 80%[1] of people between the ages of 11 and 30 will have an acne outbreak at some point.

There are many pharmaceutical options currently available for the treatment of acne. However, many of these can be quite costly and tend to cause a range of serious side effects, some which may leave the skin looking even worse than before. And, while some all-natural acne solutions do exist, their effectiveness is questionable.

Recently, scientists have begun to explore the possibility of treating acne with cannabinoids, and specifically, CBD. Researchers believe that CBD can provide many of the same benefits as traditional acne medications, without the litany of side effects.

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Many factors are responsible for the development of acne. At its most basic level, acne is the clogging of skin pores with oil and dead skin cells. This can happen when sebaceous glands next to the hair follicles produce too much sebum, blocking the pores and hair follicles. Sebum is a natural waxy oil that is produced to make the skin shiny, smooth and water-repellent. However, when too much of it is produced, breakouts happen.

Acne can affect several areas of the body. According to the NHS[2], almost everyone who experiences acne does so on their face. Meanwhile, an estimated 50% of people who experience it do so on their back, and another 15% or so experience it on their chest.

There are 4 main types of acne: whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, and cysts. Whiteheads are blocked follicles near the surface of the skin that bulge outwards, while blackheads are pores that remain congested at skin level. In the same vein, pimples occur when bacteria-induced inflammation occurs at the tip of the follicle, while cysts occur when blockages and inflammation occur deep inside of it.

Types of acne

There are several underlying factors that are believed to cause acne. For teenagers, acne is thought to be triggered by the production of testosterone, which occurs during puberty. Studies have also shown that acne has genetic triggers. If both of your parents had acne growing up, it is likely that you will too. Furthermore, adult acne is more prevalent among women due to contributing factors such as periods and pregnancy.


THC molecules binding to the cannabinoid receptor. The receptor appears mainly in the nervous system and is involved in appetite, pain-sensation, mood and memory.

The endocannabinoid system is a network of cell receptors that interacts with cannabinoids and naturally produced endocannabinoids to regulate a range of human functions including pain, mood, appetite, sleep, among others. And according to recent research, it also works to control cell growth, inflammation, and oil gland production of the skin.

A 2009 study[3] found that the ECS was implicated in maintaining a delicate balance throughout the body (homeostasis). Researchers concluded that disrupting this balance could facilitate the development of numerous pathological diseases and skin conditions, including acne. A study from 2014[4] went further by concluding that the ECS has a direct effect on the proliferation of skin cells and the oil production inside of them.

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Could CBD Treat Acne?

Researchers believe that due to the ECS’ role in maintaining healthy skin cells, skin conditions such as acne may be alleviated with the help of certain cannabinoids such as CBD.

CBD’s potential to treat acne likely depends on what kind of acne a person has, and exactly what may be causing it. Still, CBD’s clinically proven ability to reduce sebum and inflammation means that it could possibly manage some of the most common causes of acne.

The previously cited clinical study from 2014 found CBD to be a “potent ‘universal’ anti-acne agent, possessing a unique ‘triple anti-acne’ profile”. The study found that CBD can work to regulate the amount of oil and inflammation produced inside of skin cells, both primary contributors to acne. CBD appeared to trigger an anti-inflammatory response inside of these cells that prevented inflammatory cytokines from activating. Furthermore, CBD was found to pose little risk of side effects, especially when compared to the most effective anti-acne agent available today, isotretinoin (which has been known to cause serious side effects). Researchers believe that CBD could be a “promising, cost-effective, and, likely, well-tolerated new strategy for treating acne”.

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CBD’s range of other therapeutic benefits may also contribute to its ability to treat acne. A scientific review from 2016[5] found CBD to have significant antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is possible, if not likely, that these effects would apply to the human skin, allowing it to fight off the pathogens that infect skin pores and cause acne.

Furthermore, stress is known to be a significant contributor to adult acne. A scientific review from 2015[6] found CBD to have “considerable potential as a treatment for multiple anxiety disorders”. By helping to manage stress, CBD may actually also help to manage one of the most common underlying triggers of breakouts.

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There are several CBD-based acne products available on the market today. One of our favourites is Aczedol by Cibdol.

Aczedol is an anti-acne cream produced by CBD savants Cibdol. It is made with quality ingredients like colloidal oatmeal, which works to protect the skin from surface-level irritation and inflammation. Meanwhile, Aczedol’s CBD digs deep into the pores to fight bacteria and inflammation inside the skin. These effects get a serious boost from liposomes, which enable the transportation of active ingredients to target cells. Deemed a Class 1 medical device, Aczedol not only provides relief from the itchiness and irritation that acne causes, but also from the bacterial buildup that can trigger breakouts.

Aczedol (Cibdol)View Aczedol CBD CrEAM



If you are suffering from acne, it probably won’t hurt to give CBD a try. Research indicates that not only is it successful in mitigating some of the factors that cause acne, but it is also largely free of side effects and a much safer option than many, if not most, other acne medications.

However, research indicates[7] that CBD’s contributions to skin health don't just stop at acne. Thanks to its ability to penetrate the skin and quickly communicate with the body’s inner endocannabinoid system, CBD may be useful in treating a range of skin conditions, including some that are potentially more serious than acne.

David AB

Written by: David AB
Writer and cannabis enthusiast from Western Canada. When he's not writing, you can probably find him on the slopes of the Rockies or kicking back with a cold one!

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We are not making medical claims. This article has been written for informational purposes only, and is based on research published by other externals sources.

External Resources:
  1. What is Acne? Definition & Types | NIAMS -
  2. Acne - NHS -
  3. The endocannabinoid system of the skin in health and disease: novel perspectives and therapeutic opportunities. - PubMed - NCBI -
  4. Cannabidiol exerts sebostatic and antiinflammatory effects on human sebocytes -
  5. Cannabis sativa: The Plant of the Thousand and One Molecules -
  6. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders -
  7. Cannabinoid Delivery Systems for Pain and Inflammation Treatment -

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