Surprising Findings Of the ECS and Our Skin
Updated: Nov 1, 2018
Your skin is your largest organ, and the endocannabinoid system ECS in skin health regulates hundreds of processes
Weighing in at approximately 25 pounds in the average adult human, the skin is the largest organ in the human body. Fundamentally, it serves as the primary boundary of our immune system and is a wall that keeps water, debris, bacteria, and even radiation from the sun out of our finely tuned biological system. Over millions of years it has evolved to be durable but flexible, absorbent but not porous, and most importantly strong enough to withstand a century of wear and tear. Your skin is separated into three distinct layers that each perform a specific role.
1. Epidermis -The external part of the skin
it’s your first line of defense. It’s made up of waterproofing cells that serve as a physical barrier to infection, pressure-sensing nerves, melanin-producing cells that determine the pigmentation of your skin, and immune cells which copy bacteria on your skin that will never enter your body to help you prepare defenses just in case they enter through a cut or a mucous membrane.
2. Dermis - The thickest layer of skin
The dermis is home to your hair follicles, sweat glands, sebaceous glands, and most of the nerve cells that provide us with a physical map of the world around us. It is comprised mostly of collagen, reticular fibers, and elastic tissue that gives it its flexible strength. In addition to sensory nerves, there are also efferent (control rather than sense) neurons that govern capillary dilation and lymph networks that help to protect our body from any infection that may occur in the skin. Sebum, the oil that covers our skin, is produced by sebaceous glands in this layer of the skin as well.
3. Hypodermis (subcutis) - The deepest layer of the skin
This is what gets exposed when you have a blister. It is home to yet more immune system tissue, sensory receptors, and fat cells (adipocytes) that provide insulation from external temperatures, padding from physical injury, and storage of our biological fuel. In fact, the skin contains roughly half of body fat.
But does the ECS play a role in the skin health?
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is the sum of all of the cannabinoid receptors, endogenous ligands (like Anandamide) that bind to them, their biosynthetic pathways, and degrading enzymes. The effects of this system, both acute and long term however, are much deeper than just some ligand binding with a receptor. Its discovery and research since the early 1990s have provided much insight into previously misunderstood mechanisms in the body, namely homeostasis. To that end, the overwhelming majority of conditions described in anecdotal evidence as responding positively to phytocannabinoid treatment (plant cannabinoids such as CBD) are homeostasis-related, and they usually have no known cause or cure. For that reason, endocannabinoid modulation has proven to be a highly effective method of treatment for many diverse conditions.
We know the ECS plays a very intricate and sophisticated role in the immune system. However, the precise mechanisms of its various roles are not well documented. It's known that it regulates (up and down) the overall level of cellular activity in immune cells, and it also regulates the rate at which APOPTOSIS, or programmed cell death, occurs. This is a vital function of the skin.
Because it is often the first to come in contact with foreign substances, the skin can be prone to inflammation and allergic reactions. The ECS plays a very robust role in the down-regulation of the substances (chemokines and cytokines) that produce inflammation and the pain associated with it. Indeed, putting CBD on hives as a treatment of allergy-induced inflammatory responses weakened the symptoms of inflammation immediately, in a CB1 dependent manner, proving that cannabinoid receptors are involved in the negative feedback of painful inflammatory responses.
Because it is often the first to come in contact with foreign substances, the skin can be prone to inflammation and allergic reactions. In a 2010 study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology we see that the ECS plays a very robust role in the down-regulation of chemokines and cytokines, the substances that produce inflammation and the pain associated with it. Indeed, putting CBD on hives as a treatment of allergy-induced inflammatory responses weakened the symptoms of inflammation immediately, proving that cannabinoid receptors are involved in the negative feedback of painful inflammatory responses.
CBD as an antioxidant is even more powerful than Vitamin C, E, A, or omega 3 fatty acids, which are all also present in hemp oil, making CBD hemp oil a good source for antioxidants. Protecting the skin from free radicals, like UV rays, smoke, and environmental pollutants, is critical in having younger looking skin. Free radicals in the atmosphere cause fine lines and wrinkles; antioxidants protect our bodies from the damage of these free radicals, including fighting the effects of aging.
Overall, I was highly impressed with everything I read, learned and experienced on my skin when using CBD. In fact, my personal experience with CBD is one of the main reasons I started this company. I was approaching mid-life and my skin started to change quite dramatically: red patches like rosacea on my cheeks, bumps and spots where I had never had acne before, and I started to burn in the sun. I put it down to Peri-menopause, but when I met Dr. Jenny Wilkins, she suggested it might just be an imbalance in my ECS, that could be easily fixed with CBD. I tried her full spectrum hemp tincture, and she was right! Today, my skin has never looked better, so I was inspired to bring this to everyone and I set about finding a source of amazing products. I fund Pia Giovanazzo, an esthetician with a proven, amazing, organic skincare line and we added Dr. Jenny's CBD.
Today we believe we have created the best possible all naturally nourishing and balancing skin care products on the market. Try them. We think you'll agree.
By Kate Rolston.