The skin we wear is much more than a decorative layer to cover our muscles and bones. It provides an essential physiochemical barrier from the potential dangers of the outside environment. For this study and making sense of the results, it is useful to understand the basics of the three main parts or layers that make up what we know as skin.
The Epidermis: The first of these layers is the one that can be seen from the outside, known as the epidermis. The epidermis provides waterproofing and a barrier against infection, receptors for the sensations of touch and pressure, melanocytes which determine skin color, and the very tops of the sensory nerve endings.
The dermis: is comprised of thick connective tissue made up of collagen, elastic and reticular fibers, lymphatic and blood vessels, and millions of nerve roadways. It also includes sweat glands, sebaceous glands, and hair follicles.
The Hypodermis: The final layer is known as the hypodermis or subcutis. The hypodermis is comprised of adipocytes, macrophages, and fibroblasts, all essential parts of the skins immune system. It is worth mentioning that the hypodermis also contains numerous vessels and nerve fibers.
This is all vital information, but none of it is new. The recent discoveries are where things start to get exciting. For some time, scientists have known that there are cannabinoid receptors in the brain that are activated by ingesting cannabis in its various forms.
Though their precise function remains somewhat mysterious, the evidence seems to indicate that the receptors have a significant role to play in self-healing and regeneration. Thanks to the proliferation of CBD, (cannabidiol, a nonpsychoactive derivative of cannabis) cannabis is getting more attention from science and the public alike.
Recent studies have determined that there are cannabinoid receptors within individual organs including the skin itself entwined within each of the skin layers. These receptors, their parts, and pathways are collectively known as the ECS (or the endocannabinoid system).
This research highlights the regulatory function of the ECS within the various cell types of the skin and its involvement in pathological skin disorders. Future studies will explore the possibility of targeting these disorders through the ECS using cannabinoid products and creating homeostasis in the skin.
There is still a lot of research to be done, but the potential for cosmetics and topical medicines to fight pervasive issues like eczema and acne seems clear. If this line of research is followed the possibilities are endless. One obvious example would be cosmetics that fight skin disorders while beautifying. It will be fascinating to see where this critical study leads.