What is Rosacea?
Rosacea is a condition that causes redness in the face that can progress into puss-filled bumps and visible red blood vessels. Rosacea effects roughly 16 million Americans and often gets worse over time. It most commonly occurs in people with paler skin, though it does effect people of all skin tones.
Rosacea is often diagnosed between the ages of 30 and 50, but it is commonly misdiagnosed as adult acne at first. Rosacea can lead to other problems, primarily social anxieties due to appearance. 90% of people with Rosacea surveyed said that it lowered their confidence and self esteem, while 41% said it led to them avoiding public contact or social engagements.
Rosacea is also associated with irritated eyes, dry skin, and burning or itching of the skin. The cause of Rosacea is not exactly known, but it is believed to be a combination of genetics and environment. Many factors, however, are known to make Rosacea worse, including sun exposure, extreme weather, stress, alcohol, and caffeine.
Rosacea is most commonly treated through the use of oral or topical antibiotics. One of the most common antibiotics used it metronidazole, in either a cream or gel form. Oral antibiotic use can cause a variety of stomach conditions like nausea, while topical antibiotics are linked to skin problems like hives, skin inflammation, and itchiness. Steroid creams are often used as well, though they are known to make it worse after long term use. Laser and intense pulsed light are sometimes also used for their ability to shrink blood vessels, decreasing the appearance of Rosacea on the skin. Rosacea, however, has no known cure, only treatments that can help control the condition.
Can Cannabis Help?
Cannabis has been found to help patients with Rosacea find relief from both their physical and mental symptoms. The high level of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties in cannabis have been found to be helpful at reducing the physical redness and facial inflammation caused by Rosacea. Marijuana can also help with stress and anxiety reduction that can help reduce the mental side effects that can be associated with Rosacea as well as preventing flare ups due to increased stress.
A 2013 study from the University of Bonn in Germany found that THC has been found to help decrease allergy related inflammation symptoms. The study found that cannabis has “important implications for the future development of strategies to harness cannabinoids for the treatment of inflammatory skin diseases.” Though the the application of cannabis on Rosacea has not been studied specifically, there is anecdotal evidence that medical marijuana could greatly help people who suffer from Rosacea.
A California based cannabis topical company, Sweet ReLeaf, has had some anecdotal success with patients who suffer from rosacea. According to the Founder of Sweet ReLeaf, "we have patients who reported that Sweet Releaf does help their roseacea but they have also chosen the unscented version of the product after trying the original. I’m told this is because the unscented version does not have essential oils (for fragrance) which can tend to be too much for folks with sensitive skin." Topicals are often a very common choice for those who wish to try cannabis for their skin condition as smoking may further irritate the skin.