Can CBD and Cannabis Help with Sunburn?
Wednesday November 14, 2018
A s a redhead who grew up at an altitude above 4500 feet, I have experienced more than my fair share of sunburns – like the blistering, literal color of lobster kinds – and have reached for the aloe vera gel or lotion, just to have something, anything, to please make my skin stop crawling and emitting what feels like literal radiation. Over the years I have tried many tactics, like the aforementioned aloe gel and lotion, the oatmeal/milk baths, and the wait-it-out-through-gritted-teeth-who-needs-sleep-anyway approach. Aloe, at least, made my skin kind of feel like it was not on fire, and the others hardly worked at all. But, one option that was not around for me then, but is now, is topical CBD.
Cannabis and Sunburn
Our skin is the body’s largest organ, and when it comes under attack from the sun’s rays, burning is the body’s healing response. The body releases inflammatory cells to help repair the damage, but that causes discomfort like swelling, skin pressure, heat and blistering. Studies have shown that CBD works well as an anti-inflammatory and can suppress the body’s inflammatory response. A CBD topical may also help to reduce pain at the site of the burn and help to prevent infections.
Aloe vera is another plant that, like cannabis, has been used for thousands of years because of its healing benefits. More than 75 compounds make up its curative arsenal, like amino acids, salicylic acid, and glycoproteins. These work together to reduce pain and inflammation and form a protective layer over the skin to hold in moisture and keep skin hydrated. When aloe and CBD work together, the synergy can be especially beneficial, by quieting the inflammatory response to speed healing and providing a cooling effect upon application.
Products to Try
Bozeman, Montana-based Lost Remedy created their Burn Formula, made of aloe gel, avocado oil, tea tree oil, and hemp-derived CBD. In the beginning, Burn Formula was intended for cancer patients who had radiation burns. Now, it is also used for sunburn and accidental burn pain relief.
If a lukewarm bath is your preferred post-sunburn go-to, add some of Mary Jane’s Medicinals Heavenly Hash Bath. With ingredients like grape seed oil, cannabis leaves, Epsom salts, and cooling and calming essential oils like lavender, chamomile, and peppermint, it will help soothe and moisturize the skin (Please note that Mary Jane’s Medicinals is only available in California and Colorado).
Another approach to reducing the pain from sunburn may be to go the internal route, by partaking of a high-CBD strain like ACDC, Charlotte’s Web or Hawaiian Dream. The high CBD content in these strains will help to suppress the inflammatory response causing sunburn pain, and has the added benefits of being anti-anxiety and pain relieving. Or, find a relaxing strain with a nice balance of THC to CBD to help you actually sleep through that sunburn pain!
If you would rather just not deal with the redness, peeling, and subsequent farmer tan that comes from a bad sunburn, why not avoid it altogether? Nevada-based Evergreen Organix has an SPF+THC sunscreen. Available in SPF 30, it contains anti-aging ingredients and THC cannabinoids to help hydrate and protect your skin. But remember to reapply every two hours (or more if you’re a freckly pale one like me), especially if you’ve been swimming or doing strenuous activities like running or hiking.
Beating the Burn
Most of the time, sunburns calm down in a few days and can act more like an itchy, peeling, inconvenience. But they can actually be very dangerous to your long term health. Excessive sun exposure can cause premature aging and wrinkling, and can cause skin cancer, including malignant melanoma. Every time you go outside unprotected, you are putting your skin at risk. So take care this summer, and treat your skin well!
Have you tried cannabis topicals for sunburn? Let us know in the comments below!
Erin Hiatt is a New York City-based writer who has been covering the cannabis industry for more than six years. Her work – which has appeared in Hemp Connoisseur Magazine, PotGuide, Civilized, Vice, Freedom Leaf, MERRY JANE, Alternet, and CannaInvestor – covers a broad range of topics, including cannabis policy and law, CBD, hemp law and applications, science and technology, beauty, and psychedelics.
Sunburn can be an irritating condition with not many options for relief. Luckily, cannabis and CBD can help! Learn about the different cannabis products that might help when you experience too much exposure to the sun.
Sunburns & CBD Oil: Fighting Inflammation & Repairing the Skin
Sunburns & CBD Oil: Fighting Inflammation & Repairing the Skin
Too much time in the sun can leave unprotected skin vulnerable to scarring, infection, and cancer caused by UV rays.
Researchers have found CBD oil to have possible anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties. Because of this, CBD oil may be effective in relieving the painful and itchy symptoms of sunburns.
CBD oil has already become a popular addition to topical creams and lotions for its potential to relieve pain. In fact, many people with joint pain and arthritis report success in managing their pain with the CBD oil creams, salves, and gels.
If you’re looking for relief that could be more than skin deep, here’s all you need to know about using CBD oil for sunburns
Benefits of Using CBD Oil for Sunburns
The treatment options for people who have sunburns are fairly limited. While many products exist to help prevent sunburns, few are able to actually treat the burn.
Unfortunately, some of these products, like benzocaine, can irritate the skin or cause a potential allergic reaction. With few side effects, and many reported health benefits, CBD oil may be useful in treating pain and inflammation of the skin without the risk of allergic reaction or irritation.
For a double whammy, try looking for a sunburn product that contains cannabidiol (CBD) and aloe vera, which is widely known to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and provide moisture to sunburned skin without the risk of serious side effects.
Effectiveness of Using CBD Oil for Sunburns
To understand how CBD may be effective as a treatment for sunburn, it is helpful to know what a sunburn is.
After prolonged exposure to infrared or ultraviolet (UV) radiation, the skin becomes damaged. As a result of this damage, or burn, inflammatory cells are released in order to heal and repair the skin. As a result, the skin becomes extra-sensitive to touch, and there may be swelling, blistering, and heat radiating from it. CBD oil may be able to help mitigate some of these inflammatory symptoms.
CBD Oil to Fight Infection
After suffering from a sunburn, the skin becomes increasingly susceptible to infection. As the skin blisters and peels, it becomes extremely vulnerable and if infected, could leave you with permanent scarring or markings.
Recent research has shown CBD to have antibacterial and antioxidant properties that could make it useful in combating infection.
During one study, five cannabinoids, including cannabidiol (CBD), were shown to be effective in fighting methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). All of the cannabinoids showed “potent activity” against the bacterium, pointing to CBD’s potential for fighting bacterial infection.
CBD Oil for Pain and Inflammation
One of the ways CBD oil may best be able to help with sunburns is through its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties.
The anti-inflammatory actions of CBD have been well researched and studies indicate that it is very effective at suppressing the immune responses that cause inflammation without suppressing the entire immune system. Because of this, CBD may help reduce the inflammatory swelling and redness of a sunburn while also protecting against possible infections via the mechanisms mentioned above.
Pain can be one of the most difficult things to deal with when experiencing sunburn. Some people with particularly bad sunburns can experience nerve pain. CBD has been shown to potentiate, or increase the effects of, the inhibitory glycine receptors found in the central nervous system. These receptors play a significant role in the experience of nerve pain. By increasing the effectiveness of these receptors, nerve pain can be decreased.
Scientific research into all of the potential uses of CBD oil is ongoing but given its anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, antibacterial, and antioxidant effects, using CBD oil for sunburns may be an effective option for sunburn treatment.
CBD Oil for Skin Repair
CBD oil may be helpful in repairing dry and damaged skin. Many of the compounds found in CBD are also found in health and beauty products formulated for skin repair.
CBD oil contains Vitamin A and Vitamin E, which are commonly found in anti-aging and anti-scarring skin repair serums.
Vitamin A is a group of vitamins that includes retinol, retinal, and beta-carotene. These substances have been shown to improve skin firmness and help it withstand injury.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant can absorb ultraviolet light, increase photoprotection, and mitigate damage to the skin from free radicals. Damage from the sun’s UV rays causes the production of free radicals and leads to oxidative stress. All of this can lead to DNA damage in your skin cells, and increases the risk for skin cancer. Because CBD contains Vitamin E, it’s a great candidate for protection against free radicals and the potential damage they may cause.
CBD oil also contains essential fatty acids like omega 3 and omega 6. These fatty acids play a role in producing and protecting the skin’s natural oil barrier, helping burned skin stay hydrated during recovery.
When all of these compounds work together, they can help protect and repair sunburned skin, while reducing dryness and peeling by helping the skin retain moisture and stimulate oil production.
How to Take CBD Oil for Sunburns
CBD oil comes in a wide range of products and delivery formats, and some will be more effective than others when it comes to soothing sunburns.
For most sunburns, a CBD oil topical will be best. These CBD creams, gels, and salves can be applied directly to the site of the burn, delivering anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving benefits where it is needed most. But, CBD topicals take time to be absorbed, so it may be a while before you feel their effects. However, once the CBD is absorbed, the effects can last for 5 hours or more.
If waiting for relief is too much, you can also use a CBD vape oil, CBD flower, or CBD oil tinctures for faster relief stemming from the inside out.
CBD vapes and flower go to work almost immediately. The effects do not last long (typically an hour at most) but sometimes, with conditions like a sunburn, speed is more important than duration! CBD oil tinctures or drops also work quickly, within 30 minutes, and the results last much longer than vaping, typically 2 to 4 hours.
Sunburns often require multiple treatment efforts and it isn’t any different with CBD oil. You may find a combination of CBD products provides the most relief, or that using CBD oil in conjunction with aloe vera or some other natural soothing agent is best. CBD oil is considered to be relatively safe, so you can experiment without too much concern.
But, before you begin using CBD oil for sunburns, talk to your doctor. CBD oil can interact with some commonly prescribed medications like antidepressants, and you will want to make sure that it is a safe option for you.
Unfortunately, there is no single standard dose of CBD oil for sunburns. It is best to start with the lowest recommended dose listed on your CBD product. If you’re using a CBD lotion, gel, or salve, remember that a little goes a long way, so start off with just enough to cover the area of the burn.
When it comes to other CBD oil products, we at CBD Oil Review have come up with a standard serving suggestion of 25mg of CBD taken twice daily. If your CBD oil product doesn’t come with a dosage recommendation, this amount should give you a good baseline to work with.
For more dosing recommendations, check out our dosage guide or speak with a naturopathic doctor, who can give you the most personalized advice for your condition.
The best treatment for sunburns is preventing them in the first place! But, if you’ve had a little too much fun in the sun—and suffered the consequences—CBD oil may be the right option. The more we learn about CBD oil, the more realize its full potential. While the research is ongoing, it appears at present that CBD oil may be an effective way to reduce the inflammatory and painful symptoms associated with sunburns.
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