Potential of cannabidiol as acne and acne scar treatment: novel insights into molecular pathways of pathophysiological factors

Arch Dermatol Res. 2024 Jun 21;316(7):428. doi: 10.1007/s00403-024-03131-9.


Cannabidiol (CBD), which is derived from hemp, is gaining recognition because of its anti-inflammatory and lipid-modulating properties that could be utilized to treat acne. We conducted experiments to quantitatively assess the effects of CBD on acne-related cellular pathways. SEB-1 sebocytes and HaCaT keratinocytes were exposed to various CBD concentrations. CBD exhibited a concentration-dependent impact on cell viability and notably reduced SEB-1 viability; furthermore, it induced apoptosis and a significant increase in the apoptotic area at higher concentrations. Additionally, CBD remarkably reduced pro-inflammatory cytokines, including CXCL8, IL-1α, and IL-1β. Additionally, it inhibited lipid synthesis by modulating the AMPK-SREBP-1 pathway and effectively reduced hyperkeratinization-related protein keratin 16. Simultaneously, CBD stimulated the synthesis of elastin, collagen 1, and collagen 3. These findings emphasize the potential of CBD for the management of acne because of its anti-inflammatory, apoptotic, and lipid-inhibitory effects. Notably, the modulation of the Akt/AMPK-SREBP-1 pathway revealed a novel and promising mechanism that could address the pathogenesis of acne.

Keywords: Acne; Cannabidiol; Inflammation; Keratinocytes; Lipid modulation; Sebocytes.

MeSH terms

  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Acne Vulgaris* / drug therapy
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Apoptosis* / drug effects
  • Cannabidiol* / pharmacology
  • Cannabidiol* / therapeutic use
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Survival* / drug effects
  • Cicatrix / drug therapy
  • Cicatrix / pathology
  • Collagen Type I / genetics
  • Collagen Type I / metabolism
  • Collagen Type III / metabolism
  • Elastin / metabolism
  • HaCaT Cells
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1alpha / metabolism
  • Interleukin-1beta / metabolism
  • Interleukin-8 / metabolism
  • Keratinocytes* / drug effects
  • Keratinocytes* / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Sebaceous Glands / drug effects
  • Sebaceous Glands / metabolism
  • Sebaceous Glands / pathology
  • Signal Transduction* / drug effects
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1 / metabolism


  • Cannabidiol
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Collagen Type I
  • Collagen Type III
  • Elastin
  • CXCL8 protein, human
  • Interleukin-1alpha
  • IL1B protein, human
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • Interleukin-8
  • IL1A protein, human