Epidermal Endocannabinoid System (EES) and its Cosmetic Application

Recently, cannabis, or its major constituent cannabidiol (CBD), has emerged as an attractive cosmetic ingredient. Initiated as a basic investigation of the physiological roles of cannabinoid receptors and their endogenous ligands, endocannabinoids’ diverse potential benefits have been proposed for using cannabinoid receptor modulating compounds in skin health. Improvement in skin barrier functions, alleviating inflammatory responses, and the relief of itching sensations are some commonly expected therapeutic benefits, which have been supported by many in vitro, in vivo, and clinical studies. While hemp seed oils or hemp extracts might be used for the cosmetic formulation, the potential for contamination with a psychoactive cannabinoid, such as 9-THC, should be carefully checked. Instead of using hemp-derived ingredients, the use of cannabinomimetics, synthetic ligands on cannabinoid receptors, or entourage compounds (which modulate intracellular synthesis and the degradation of endocannabinoids), have been tried. In this review, a brief introduction of the epidermal endocannabinoid system (EES) and its physiological roles will be followed by a review of the cosmetic and dermatologic application of cannabinomimetics and entourage compounds. The practical application of newly developed endocannabinomimetics will be discussed as well.

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