You may know about or even be part of the 40 million people worldwide who suffer from rosacea. This dermatological condition that typically affects the face is a nuisance for those who suffer from it. Although no cure has been found, medicinal cannabis has great potential to control and reduce its symptoms.
Rosacea is a common but often misdiagnosed (as adult acne) disorder of the facial skin. Rosacea appears to be quite common, with some estimates suggesting up to over 16 million Americans affected and yet most of them don’t know it.
This condition causes redness in a patient’s face and is capable of producing small, red, pus-filled bumps or pustules. If left untreated, rosacea tends to be a very progressive condition that eventually will become worse over time.
It most commonly affects people with fair skin, but can also occur in people of Asian and African origin. Rosacea occurs in both men and women, but tends to be more common in women.
Most cases are first diagnosed in people aged 30 to 50 years. Because of its red-faced, acne-like effects on personal appearance, it can cause significant psychological, social and occupational problems if left untreated. More than 90% of rosacea patients said their condition had lowered their self-confidence and self-esteem, and 41% reported that it had caused them to avoid public contact or cancel social engagements.
The redness can slowly spread beyond the nose and cheeks to the forehead and chin. Even the ears, chest, and back can be red all the time. With time, people who have rosacea often see permanent redness in the center of their face.
Symptoms of Rosacea
The first signs of rosacea may be redness or blushing that comes and goes initially. Rosacea symptoms can vary from one person to another, and there is no predicting severity. Others may include:
Transient or persistent erythema (facial reddening) in the central area of the face, in parts such as the cheeks, chin, nose and forehead;
Small dilated blood vessels (telangiectasias) may also become visible in the nose and cheeks. The redness can slowly spread, reaching even the ears, chest and back.
In addition, small red swollen pimples and papules may appear, sometimes containing pus. The patient’s skin may likely become very sensitive and produce a burning sensation.
In about half of the cases of rosacea, patients also experience eye problems such as dryness, irritation and swollenness and / or reddened eyelids. In some more serious cases, rosacea can even put eye health at risk. In addition, some people may develop ocular symptoms earlier than those of the skin.
Swelling of the nose. On rare occasions, rosacea manifests as a thickening of the facial tissue of the nose, resulting in a thick, red, bulbous nose (rhinophyma).
Most cases of rosacea are clinical, which means that the patient’s condition will worsen or improve usually during a period of weeks or months. Without proper treatment and follow-up, rosacea could be a progressive illness, that only worsens with time.
Causes of Rosacea
Experts are not certain about what specifically causes rosacea but they believe that it is due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. There are several theories about a potential cause:
A family history, chronic sum exposure is a known risk factor for rosacea. A bacterium associated with gastrointestinal ulcers, called Helicobacter pylori, may play a role. Although they are not thought to be direct causes of the condition, several triggers have been identified that may make rosacea worse. These include: exposure to sunlight. Stress, strenuous exercise, hot or cold weather, hot drinks, alcohol and caffeine, and certain foods, such as spicy foods.
Traditional Treatments for Rosacea
Rosacea has no known cure, so treatments are prescribed to help bring the condition under control. Oral or topical antibiotics are the most common course of treatment for rosacea. The antibiotic metronidazole is typically applied as a cream or gel. That said, topical antibiotics have been linked to skin problems such as hives, inflammation and itchiness—while oral antibiotic can cause certain stomach conditions such as nausea.
Steroid creams are also often used to treat rosacea, though long-term use can and does worsen symptoms. Meanwhile, laser and intense pulsed light treatments are sometimes used to shrink blood vessels and help decrease the redness that rosacea causes.
Cannabis Can Help Rosacea Sufferers
Medicinal cannabis has great potential to help in the treatment of the aforementioned symptoms thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties beneficial to the skin, and health in general. This is demonstrated by the relevant anecdotal evidence from many patients who use it to treat rosacea.
And although there are not many studies about the use of cannabis in the treatment of this illness, there is evidence of the promising role of cannabinoids in dermatology.
Whether its topical (applied directly to the skin), or systemic (oral), the therapeutic effect of cannabis can be a welcome treatment for rosacea.
Its turns out, marijuana’s medicinal ingredients are not only useful in treating certain skin conditions, but also offer the potential to make skin look younger. Cannabinoids, are powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.
Vaporizers, which heat marijuana to a lower temperature than joints or bongs, are probably the best way of consuming it. However, bongs are believed to filter at least some of the harmful by-products of smoke, and so may be a better choice for those without a vaporizer.
In addition, marijuana’s ability to make you feel better can actually have a positive impact on skin health too. Those THC receptors actually can lead to increased production of neurotransmitters that make us feel better, like serotonin. Just being able to reduce stress can help with certain skin conditions. According to research, people who use marijuana are by and large a mellower group of patients.
One of the effects of rosacea is the mental aspects of lowering the sufferer’s self-esteem. This type of behavior can translate into depression and anxiety. This may be one of the most compelling reasons to try cannabis, while it can help alleviate the symptoms of skin conditions; it is also known to be effective with depression and anxiety.