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Is CBD legal?The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3 percent THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3 percent THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them federally illegal but legal under some state laws. Be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.

A few small studies suggest that cannabidiol (CBD) creams may help alleviate eczema symptoms, such as dry and itchy skin. However, as with all topicals, a person should ensure to check the ingredients and test the product on a small area of the skin before applying it liberally.

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This article explores whether CBD cream can treat eczema. It also discusses the benefits and risks, what products are available, and alternative options to CBD.

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a common skin condition, affecting 15–20% of children and 1–3% of adults.

Symptoms involve the skin becoming:

  • dry
  • flaky
  • itchy
  • painful

CBD is a chemical compound present in the Cannabis sativa plant. Unlike delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another chemical present in this plant, CBD does not have psychoactive properties. This means that products containing CBD do not trigger the “high” feeling that people often associate with smoking or consuming cannabis products.

Learn more about CBD and THC here.

There is a complex system of cannabinoid receptors throughout the body, including the skin. CBD can bind to these receptors, which may provide some health benefits. This has led to the belief that the topical use of CBD may relieve certain skin conditions.

An older study suggests that introducing substances that can bind to the cannabinoid receptors — for example, CBD — can decrease itching.

A cream is a topical product that usually contains:

  • butters
  • waxes
  • oils

CBD creams combine extracts of CBD, usually with ingredients such as:

  • shea butter
  • beeswax
  • coconut oil

If CBD cream is effective for a person’s eczema, they might not need prescription treatments, such as steroids or oral antihistamines.

However, individuals should always consult a doctor before stopping or changing any medications.

Research suggests that CBD is antimicrobial and can kill Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium that commonly leads to people contracting infections with eczema, causing flare-ups.

Cannabinoids also show many anti-inflammatory properties, including suppressing allergic skin reactions in mice by activating cannabinoid receptors.

With regard to itching, researchers studying endocannabinoid cream found that it decreased the severity of itching by an average of 60% among human participants. In addition, around 33.6% no longer needed their topical steroid treatments to manage eczema.

Cannabinoids may also help relieve pain, with one study indicating they are safe and can ease joint discomfort.

In addition, a 2019 study following 20 patients with various common skin conditions, including eczema, found that a topical CBD cream was safe and effective for treating inflammatory skin conditions. The product helped reduce itching, improved skin, and made sleeping easier.

However, further research is necessary to determine how effective CBD cream is for treating eczema.

A 2019 study shows CBD can damage the liver, although it is not likely that applying it to the skin will cause this.

However, some CBD creams contain terpenes, which can cause increased itching. A person should choose a cream without this substance if they have concerns.

Individuals with tree or nut allergies should also exercise caution and carefully read the labels on creams to avoid ingredients that may trigger an allergic reaction.

A 2020 review found that while preclinical research suggests topical CBD may help some skin conditions, further research would establish this.

Learn about the side effects of CBD oil here.

Before purchasing a CBD cream for eczema, a person may wish to consider the following:

  • Potency: CBD dosages are typically measured in milligrams (mg), and product packaging should clearly state them. There are no official recommended dosages of CBD, as currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate it. A person can start with a low dosage cream and gradually increase the dose if needed.
  • Soothing ingredients: A person can opt for CBD creams that contain ingredients known for soothing and hydrating irritated skin.
  • Irritants: Individuals should check the product’s composition for terpenes, fragrances, and other ingredients, such as nuts and nut oils, that can cause allergic reactions or make eczema worse. A person should consider performing a patch test before applying the cream to large areas of the skin. A patch test involves applying a small amount of cream to the inside of the wrist and checking for a reaction in the next 24 hours.
  • Health claims: The FDA has only approved one CBD prescription drug product. Also, it cautions people to avoid CBD products that claim to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure serious conditions, such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and mental health conditions.
  • Quality control: It is important to make sure that a product contains the quantities of CBD that the manufacturer has advertised or listed on the product. A person can check that the product they are considering has received a certificate of analysis (COA) from a trusted third-party laboratory, preferably one that follows the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) guidelines. Learn more about COAs here.
  • Legality: CBD products with less than 0.3% dry weight THC are federally legal, but they may be illegal under certain state laws. A person should check their individual state laws before committing to a purchase.
  • Hemp source: A person can also consider buying CBD products that are made from responsibly sourced plants.

To use CBD creams for eczema, individuals should apply the cream as with any topical ointment by:

  • massaging a small amount onto the affected area until it absorbs
  • reapplying as needed
  • ensuring they do not apply the product to broken skin

However, they should always read the label of a CBD product for specific instructions and warnings.

It is advisable for first-time CBD users to start with a low dosage product. Patch testing a small amount can also help determine whether a person may experience adverse reactions.

If individuals tolerate CBD cream well, they can gradually increase the dosage.

Below, we look at some topical CBD products that a person may wish to consider.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Read about shopping for CBD products here for more in-depth guidance.

Joy Organics CBD Salve

Best salve

Joy Organics claims this organic salve can benefit the skin while soothing aches and pains.

The product consists of:

  • beeswax
  • essential oils
  • phytocannabinoid-rich hemp oil

The company claims this salve has more than 80.7% CBD and is a broad-spectrum product, meaning it contains no THC.

Joy Organics provides its COA laboratory report online. All its products undergo testing with the company, in addition to third-party testing. This helps assure its products are safe for use and contain no contaminants.

Joy Organics CBD Salve is available to purchase online for around $55 for a 500-mg tub.

Lazarus Naturals Unscented CBD Lotion

Best fragrance-free

Unscented lotions may best suit people with eczema, as fragranced products can irritate sensitive skin.

This topical lotion contains:

  • mango seed butter
  • almond oil
  • 50 mg of CBD per teaspoon

This is also a full-spectrum CBD product, meaning it contains THC, which may not be suitable for everyone.

Lazarus Naturals also sends its products through third-party laboratory testing, which helps ensure they are free from pesticides, heavy metals, and other contaminants.

Lazarus Naturals Unscented CBD Lotion is available to purchase online starting from around $12.

CBDistillery CBDol Topical Balm

Best balm

This full-spectrum balm contains moisturizing ingredients, including:

  • shea butter
  • cocoa butter
  • beeswax

CBDistillery advertises this as a relieving balm for sore muscles, although it may also soothe sore skin.

It has also undergone third-party testing and contains 500 mg of CBD per 1-ounce tub.

The company sources non-GMO hemp within the United States from suppliers who use natural farming methods.

CBDistillery CBDol Topical Balm is available to purchase online for around $50.

Here, we look at some pros and cons of CBD creams for eczema:

Pros

  • They may provide immediate relief from soreness.
  • They may help reduce inflammation and itching.
  • They may help decrease the risk of infection.
  • They are available without a prescription.
  • A wide range of manufacturers and products are available on the market.

Cons

  • Some CBD creams may contain ingredients that can irritate eczema further.
  • Some CBD products may cause side effects.
  • CBD creams are not currently FDA regulated.
  • No large-scale studies on the effects of CBD for eczema are available.
  • CBD products may interact with certain medications.
  • They may not be safe for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Not all CBD products undergo third-party testing to ensure ingredient safety and transparency.
  • They can be expensive.

As well as CBD, many creams and lotions can help with eczema, including:

Different types of products are available alongside creams, such as:

  • lotions
  • balms
  • ointments

Learn about the best lotions for eczema here.

For mild eczema, some natural treatments may help. Home remedies include:

Learn about other home remedies for eczema here.

If a doctor believes a prescription is necessary, they may recommend a topical:

  • steroid to reduce inflammation
  • calcineurin inhibitor to prevent redness, itching, and inflammation
  • PDE4 inhibitor that helps block the production of proteins involved in eczema

If a person’s eczema gets worse quickly, they should consult a doctor. In addition, a person should contact a dermatologist if they:

  • experience itchiness or symptoms that interrupt sleep or daily activities most days of the week
  • have new symptoms associated with eczema
  • experience shorter time periods between flare-ups
  • have eczema that spreads to new locations
  • experience eczema that does not respond to treatment in 1 week
  • develop yellowish to light brown crust or pus-filled blisters over patches of eczema
  • develop small blisters filled with fluid
  • have come into contact with anyone with a viral skin condition, such as cold sores or genital herpes

Children commonly experience eczema. An appropriate routine of bathing and moisturizing can treat most cases. However, if it is persistent or painful, it is necessary to seek medical advice from a doctor.

Learn about creams to use for eczema in babies here.

The following are common questions and answers relating to CBD cream for eczema:

How do you use CBD cream for eczema?

A person should apply a small amount of CBD cream onto the affected area of the skin and massage it into the skin until absorbed.

Individuals should not use CBD cream on broken skin.

Does CBD cream heal eczema?

More research is necessary to determine how effective CBD creams are for eczema. However, existing studies have reported they are generally safe to use and may improve the quality of life for people living with inflammatory skin conditions.

If CBD creams do not help improve a person’s eczema, the person may wish to work with a healthcare professional to find an alternative treatment.

Can CBD cream stop eczema from itching?

Researchers have found that CBD creams can reduce the itch resulting from eczema by an average of 60%, with some study participants no longer needing to use topical steroid creams to manage their eczema.

Is CBD good for skin rashes?

A 2019 study notes that CBD may benefit dry and itchy skin. Additionally, the authors of a 2020 study found that CBD worked as anti-inflammatory therapy.

However, rashes have a wide number of causes and will look and feel different depending on the cause and the type of rash. CBD may not be the best treatment for every type of rash, so it is important that a person consult a doctor before trying any new topical treatments.

If an individual develops other symptoms alongside a rash, such as painful joints, a sore throat, tenderness, difficulty breathing, or quick changes in skin tone, they should seek urgent medical advice.

Learn more about skin rashes here.

Can CBD make eczema worse?

Some CBD creams may contain ingredients that can irritate the skin, such as terpenes or fragrances. A person should read product labels carefully to ensure the product does not contain potential allergens or ingredients they know to make their eczema worse.

Can using CBD for eczema make you feel “high”?

CBD creams do not produce the “high” feeling associated with cannabis use. This is because, under federal law, CBD products cannot contain more than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis, which is not enough to produce psychoactive effects.

If a person wishes to avoid THC completely, products marked as CBE isolate are typically free from THC.

Is CBD safe to use while pregnant or breastfeeding?

The FDA advises that people avoid using CBD creams when they are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Overall, CBD creams may benefit people with eczema. However, it is important to read the ingredients to check for potentially irritating terpenes or fragrances. People should also buy CBD cream from a reputable vendor.

If the CBD cream triggers adverse effects, one should stop using it. If a person’s eczema becomes persistently worse, they should contact a dermatologist.

In addition, do not replace or stop using prescription medication unless a doctor advises it is safe.

For more information and resources on CBD and CBD products, please visit our dedicated hub.