So if you’re anything like me (and my sympathies if you are. Seriously, that would suck and I’m so sorry), you suffer from eczema.
And nearly 10% of all Americans have some form of eczema.
What is eczema?
No, even though it sounds like it, eczema is NOT some new, extreme energy drink (NEW Eczema Nuclear! With Real Cherry Bomb flavor)!
Eczema is also (more boringly) known as atopic dermatitis. It causes your skin to get irritated and inflamed and makes it itchy and red. It’s a chronic condition that can have periodical and extended flare-ups.
There is no cure for eczema, but there are treatments that can hopefully help to relieve the pain and discomfort.
Now one of the main prescribed treatments for eczema is a corticosteroid cream. It can be quite effective to tame down a flare up or to at least keep a flare-up from getting worse.
But for those of you that can read (for those that can’t, hopefully, some of the pictures are pretty), you may have noticed the word “steroid” bringing up the rear of “corticosteroid”.
Aye, there’s the rub (rubbing things can also make eczema worse).
There are NUMEROUS side effects of prolonged use of steroid cream. And because, as I mentioned above, there is no cure for eczema, it’s safe to say that throughout your life, any treatment will be prolonged.
Steroid cream can (and more than likely most definitely will) cause “Skin Atrophy”, which means it will cause the skin to thin. And if you haven’t noticed, our skin is basically EVERYWHERE!
Thinning of the skin can cause the epidermal (skin) barrier to be damaged and weakened, which would then allow the non-consensual penetration by allergens and bacteria. This can lead to infections! Around 16-43% of steroid cream users are estimated to have infections – bacterial, fungus, or yeast (and nobody wants bread rising on their skin).
Also, steroid creams can eventually cause a delay in wound healing. Now yes, “Delayed Wound Healing” would make a great band name, but it makes for a horrible side effect. Steroids can interfere with and inhibit the healing process of any skin wounds – which are plentiful with most people. This sluggish healing aspect can ALSO lead to even more infections.
To find out more about these side effects and almost a dozen more, check out this informative page:
There’s also another medication that is usually prescribed for some eczema called Protopic. Unfortunately, there are worries that it could increase your chances of getting cancer. And we don’t need to do things to increase our chances of cancer. Life itself does that enough.
So how does all of this tie into marijuana?
Well, there are marijuana based topical creams and oils.
Basically, our skin contains immune cells. They’re there to help our skin heal and protect us from harm. Cannabis can interact with these cells.
When applied topically, cannabis’ compounds can bind to the cell receptors in the immune cells. And this will help immensely when a rash flares up.
When a rash flares up, an inflammatory response is triggered by the skin’s immune cells. These inflammatory responses can cause a lot of issues and sensitivity.
Cannabinoids are immuno-suppressant. That means they can dampen your immune system. And that means they can help to decrease the severe inflammation.
So if you apply the marijuana cream or oil to your affected areas, it will cut down on the painful inflammation, and then allow your skin to heal properly.
It does similar things that the steroid and whatnot creams do, but there’s that whole lack of side effects thing that comes along with the marijuana cream.
Also, there have been some studies that have shown marijuana cream to actually reverse some skin inflammation damage (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4805070/).
Along with the main itchiness, pain, and discomfort that eczema brings to the party, it can also cause sleep disturbance and mental & emotional stress.
And I’ve discussed in detail how other aspects of marijuana can help out with sleep issues and numerous forms of stress.
This link discusses in detail how marijuana can help alleviate all those above mentioned eczema-related issues (https://www.marijuanadoctors.com/conditions/eczema/).
You can get marijuana-infused oils, balms, and creams. Depends what works best for your condition and usage level.
If, like me (once again, condolences) you’re interested in moving away from the topical cream prison that corticosteroids lock your skin in and are trying to expand your health possibilities with marijuana-related help, talk to your doctor as well as some local dispensaries. Both should be able to give you honest and informative advice.