Is CBD Oil Antifungal? [We Look at the Science]
The cannabis plant and its constituents, like CBD, are becoming increasingly popular for their medicinal value. Many know CBD as being the most medicinal part of the cannabis plant.
It’s touted for its variety of potential health benefits, including the anxiolytic (anti-anxiety), anti-pain, neuroprotective, and antioxidant effects. It is also famous for its ability to help in the treatment of seizures, depression, insomnia and more. But one potential health benefit we don’t seem to hear much about is the antifungal effects of CBD.
A fungus is a microorganism that can be almost anywhere; in the water we drink, the air we breathe, our homes, and even in our bodies. The most common fungi include mildew, mold, and mushrooms.
Fungal infections aren’t something that most people want to talk about, but when they occur, they can be very uncomfortable. They are a major health challenge and can range from annoying to deadly. While most people opt for pharmaceuticals to treat fungal infections, others have found that CBD oil has helped relieve the itchiness and discomfort associated with the condition.
Research suggests that CBD has antifungal properties, which backs up these claims. Fungal infections are an embarrassing topic and don’t get discussed as often as they should. So today, we are going to discuss whether CBD oil is antifungal.
What Are Fungal Infections?
A fungal infection is a skin disease caused by a fungus. Like many microbes, there are harmful fungi and helpful fungi. When harmful fungi invade the body, they’re often difficult to kill because they can easily survive in the environment and re-infect the person trying to get better.
If you’ve ever suffered from athlete’s foot or a yeast infection, fungus is to blame. Jock itch and ringworm are other common types of fungal infections. They aren’t deadly, but are very uncomfortable and can be difficult to treat. Fungal meningitis and other fungal infections that affect the bloodstream aren’t as common but can be fatal without proper treatment.
The symptoms of fungal infections depend on the type. The most common symptoms include:
- Skin changes
- Red and possibly cracking or peeling skin
Unlike bacteria that are prokaryotes and have no nuclei, fungi are eukaryotes. They have a DNA-containing nucleus, like all plants and animals. Unlike bacteria, which are easy to treat, it’s difficult to treat fungi without harming or killing human cells. It’s also worth noting that a compound known as ergosterol is necessary for maintaining the structure of the cell membrane of fungi.
This explains why many pharmaceutical antifungal drugs work by hindering the production of ergosterol, which microbes need. The aim is to stop the cell membranes of fungi from forming properly, thereby destroying the fungal infection without harming the human host.
Is CBD Oil Antifungal?
There are indications that CBD has some antifungal properties which are enhanced by caryophyllene oxide – an extremely potent antifungal.
A 2011 study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology reported that certain cannabinoids, such as CBD, CBG, and CBC, have some antifungal effects. The study noted that these cannabinoids may have the ability to boost the effects of caryophyllene oxide.
Caryophyllene oxide is the oxidized form of beta-caryophyllene – a primary terpene found in cannabis, pepper, basil, rosemary, and hops. Terpenes are similar to essential oils and give cannabis plants their distinctive flavors and aromas. According to a 2018 study published in the Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research Journal, many terpenes have been found to possess antifungal properties in vitro.
In one study, researchers reported that essential oils that contain alpha-pinene as well as delta 3 carene (also present in cannabis), have powerful antifungal properties.
Another study reported that beta-caryophyllene has potent antifungal properties. While these studies aren’t specific to CBD, the results indicate that many of the compounds found in cannabis have a variety of therapeutic benefits, including as a potential fungicide.
Moreover, CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, which may help with some of the symptoms of fungal infections, like swelling, heat, and redness.
Currently, the effectiveness of CBD in treating fungi is not fully understood because very little research has been done on the subject. Nonetheless, scientists have observed similarities between pharmaceutical agents and CBD with antifungal properties.
How CBD Oil Works as an Antifungal
To understand how CBD and other cannabinoids act as an antifungal, we need to understand how antifungals work.
Fungi cells are eukaryotic cells and have membranes that protect the nuclei. Antifungals destroy fungal cells by demolishing the cell membrane through hindering the production of ergosterol – active lipids that feed fungi cells. With no ergosterol, fungi cells die off and don’t cause any harm to surrounding cells.
The core of a cannabinoid is composed of one hydrogen atom and one oxygen atom. These types of compounds attract other compounds that contain oxygen molecules. Once this happens, a chemical reaction known as oxidation occurs, and the compounds bind. When CBD oxidizes fungal cells they can no longer multiply or grow.
This is because fungal cells aren’t able to produce ergosterol, which is essential for growth and survival. The process of CBD oxidizing and destroying the fungal cells is how it displays antifungal properties.
How CBD Oil Compares to Alternative Treatments for Fungus
Conventional antifungal medications are known to have some side effects, especially when taken orally or internally. Some of these include abdominal pain, rashes, diarrhea, flatulence, and indigestion. Typically, these side effects are mild and only last for a short time.
In some cases, antifungal medicines may cause severe side effects. They include:
- Swelling of the neck, face, and tongue
- Peeling or blistering skin
- Difficulty breathing
- Liver damage (characterized by loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea, and jaundice)
For those who are after a more natural and safer remedy, CBD may provide relief without the side effects that we typically associate with conventional antifungals.
According to a 2017 study published in the Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research journal, CBD may have a better side effect profile in comparison to other drugs. Therefore, most people consider CBD generally safe to use.
Final Thoughts on CBD as an Antifungal
Many scientists agree that CBD is not only an effective way to treat fungi, but it’s also a safer option. This is since it doesn’t have adverse side effects like the traditional medications used to treat fungi.
If you do a quick internet search, you will find numerous anecdotal reports of people who have successfully used CBD to treat fungal infections. That said, more research should be done on the subject. There is currently very little scientific evidence to back up claims that CBD oil is antifungal.
If you are interested in using CBD oil as an antifungal medication, choose a full-spectrum CBD product that contains all the beneficial terpenes and other cannabinoids. The findings we’ve discussed are largely related to cannabinoids and terpenes as a whole, and not the use of CBD on its own (as an isolate).
We know that CBD has numerous benefits for health, but is it antifungal too? We take a look at the current research on the subject.
CBD Oil for Candida: Natural Alternative Treatment For Common Yeast Infection
The discovery of the endocannabinoid system and its receptors in humans in the late 80s was a huge breakthrough for the world of contemporary medicine.
Since then, we have witnessed a massive amount of research popping in almost every branch of medicine, and cannabinoids have been highlighted as therapeutic agents of the future.
Current evidence has helped us understand how CBD and other cannabinoids from hemp can have so much positive influence on our well-being.
Cannabinoid receptors are found everywhere throughout the body, including the gut microbiome and the cells of the immune systems.
The endocannabinoid system plays an important role in the regulation of different processes in the digestive system. More people than ever are turning to CBD as a means of taking care of their gut health and dealing with conditions like candida overgrowth.
In today’s article, we’ll focus on the scientific research on the potential benefits of CBD oil for candida — and cover the best CBD products for skin problems in 2021.
CBD Oil for Candida: Best Products in 2021
1. Royal CBD (Best Overall)
Why We Recommend Royal CBD Oil for Candida
Royal CBD is a California-based company that offers premium hemp CBD oils on top of other products such as softgel capsules, THC-free gummies, and broad-spectrum topicals. The CBD in Royal CBD oil is sourced from organic hemp plants and gently extracted using supercritical CO2. The oil features the full-spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes, increasing the efficacy of CBD. If you’re looking for the best CBD products for candida, we recommend Royal CBD Oil 2500 mg and one of their topicals to target the problem directly. All of Royal CBD’s products are tested in an independent laboratory for potency and purity.
2. Gold Bee (Best Value)
Why We Recommend Gold Bee CBD Oil for Candida
Gold Bee makes the best CBD oils for beginners and those whose daily dose doesn’t exceed 40 mg CBD daily. This company offers full-spectrum CBD oil in three flavors: natural, honey, and kiwi, with potencies up to 1200 mg CBD. These products come from organic, pesticide-free hemp and extracted with carbon dioxide to avoid adding additional solvents or heat during the process. You can also choose from CBD edible gummies and capsules. Gold Bee is a great company if you want to use CBD oil for candidiasis that derives from inflammation.
3. CBDistillery (Best Broad Spectrum)
CBDistillery is one of the trailblazers in the hemp industry. This manufacturer offers the broadest selection of CBD products among all companies listed in our ranking. The company sells CBD oil in two versions — full-spectrum and broad-spectrum — but they also have gummies, capsules, topicals, and CBD powders. If you’re shopping for high-quality CBD on a budget, this company will be your best bet. Prices start at $20 per bottle (250 mg CBD). However, CBDistillery’s hemp isn’t certified organic.
4. CBD Pure (Runner Up)
About CBD Pure
CBD Pure offers three types of CBD products: full-spectrum CBD oil, high-potency CBD capsules, and CBD-infused cream. All products can be used for candida and other infections. However, keep in mind that CBD Pure doesn’t have high-strength oils in its collection, so if you’re looking for something more potent, we recommend the company’s capsules or cream. The capsules contain 25 mg per piece, and the cream has been infused with 750 mg of full-spectrum CBD. CBD Pure has Certificates of Analysis for all its products. The brand also offers a 90-day money-back guarantee program.
5. Charlotte’s Web (Good Value)
Charlotte’s Web is one of the most recognized names in the CBD business. The guys behind Charlotte’s Web are the ones responsible for the CBD rush. The creators of Charlotte’s Web cannabis strain have introduced the anti-seizure properties of CBD oil to a broader public when they helped a young girl named Charlotte Figi reduce their epilepsy attacks from several times a day to one mild case a week. Charlotte’s Web offers olive oil-extracted full-spectrum CBD oil, CBD isolate, capsules, gummies, hemp-infused cooling gel, and CBD cream. You can combine their CBD oil with topicals to get the best results from using CBD for candidiasis.
What is Candida?
Candida is a fungus that can trigger a fungal infection called Candidiasis. This infection may lead to discomfort, although it’s typically mild.
Human bodies host many types of fungi; minimum amounts of candida are found in the oral cavity, digestive tract, gut microbiome, and vaginal tract without posing any threat to your health.
However, having candida overgrowth in your gut may lead to frustrating health problems.
Here’s what candida overgrowth may lead to.
Different Types of Candida
Candida overgrowth can have unpleasant consequences. For instance, when Candidiasis affects the skin, it leaves a painful red rash that has a white or yellowish discharge around it. The infection typically shows up as a fungus in the armpits and between the fingers.
Neglecting the candida infection can lead to a systemic Candidiasis, which can spread to different parts of the body and usually involves a poorly functioning immune system.
Another type of candida infection is invasive candidiasis. In order for this to happen, candida species must enter the bloodstream or attach to internal organs, such as kidneys, the heart, or the brain. According to a 2016 study published in the Clinical Infectious Disease Journal, invasive candidiasis can be treated with antifungal medications (1).
Symptoms of Candida Overgrowth
- Lack of energy
- Stiffness and tenderness in muscles and joints
- Chronic pain
- Digestive issues (e.g. bloating, constipation, and gases
- Sugar cravings
- Skin problems such as dandruff, hives, rashes, rosacea, and eczema
- Sinus infections and seasonal allergies
- Autoimmune disorders
- Vaginal infections or urinary tract infections
7 Questions: How Doctors Diagnose Candida
There are several methods to diagnose candida. One of them includes a set of 7 questions doctors ask their patients. These questions have been highlighted in the book Reset the Yeast Connection by Carolyn F.A. Dean MD ND (2).
Dean has come up with the term Yeast Overgrowth Syndrome (YOS) to define yeast allergies, candidiasis, Candida hypersensitivity, and Candida-related complex.
Below you’ll find the seven questions from the book:
- Have you, at any time of your life, taken broad-spectrum antibiotics
- Have you taken tetracycline or other broad-spectrum antibiotics for one month or longer?
- Are your symptoms worse on damp, muggy days or in moldy places?
- Do you have sugar cravings?
- Do you have a feeling of being “drained?”
- Are you bothered with vaginal (or penile) burning itching or discharge?
- Are you bothered by burning, itching, or tearing of eyes?
In the next section, we’ll cover different treatments for candida.
Conventional Treatments for Candida: Which One Is the Best?
In a 2014 study published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dentistry, the research team analyzed the efficacy of different pharmaceutical treatments for oral candidiasis (3).
The following drugs proved to provide the best results:
- Amphotericin B
- Fluconazole oral suspension
For cutaneous (skin) candidiasis, the study highlighted different antifungal powders and creams as potentially effective treatments. The research team also stressed the importance of keeping the skin surrounding the affected area dry and clean throughout the treatment.
Vaginal yeast infections, in turn, could be treated with antifungal medications by reducing their frequency and intensity. More studies are needed to determine if any alternative therapies can relieve vaginal yeast infections in the long run.
The study recommended using complementary therapies in addition to the above medications under a doctor’s supervision.
Does CBD Help with Fungal Overgrowth?
Scientists have pointed to certain cannabinoids, including CBD, as potential antifungal agents that may help relieve Candidiasis on top of other fungal diseases.
CBD, CBC, and CBD have been highlighted in a 2011 study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology as “having moderate antifungal properties.” (4) However, CBD wasn’t the main target of the said study, as it mostly focused on the health benefits of THC.
Still, the research team discovered that the above cannabinoids might boost the effects of a strong antifungal, caryophyllene oxide. This compound is the result of the oxidation of beta-caryophyllene, one of the most common terpenes in cannabis, rosemary, basil, hops, and pepper.
Terpenes are like essential oils that give cannabis and other plants their unique aromas and flavors. They also have many positive effects on our health alone and can interact with cannabinoids to produce synergy known as “the entourage effect.” This concept assumes that cannabinoids and terpenes work more effectively together than alone.
Some terpenes found in CBD oil have antifungal properties, while others can lower inflammation or alleviate anxiety, which is also one of the most sought after effects of CBD.
CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties have been mentioned in dozens of scientific publications. Some of the studies on CBD and inflammation concluded that cannabinoids are novel anti-inflammatory compounds (5).
CBD Oil for Candida: Does It Work?
To understand the effects of CBD on Candida, we need to focus on CBD’s interaction with the CB2 receptors in the human endocannabinoid system — and what role CBD plays in regulating the immune function.
The more pro-inflammatory compounds are released by the body, and the longer they last, the more severe damage to the nerve cells. These molecules, known as cytokines, worsen the pain caused by nerve damage and also deteriorate the pain experience in oral and vaginal Candidiasis.
When CBD interacts with the CB2 receptors on the sites of the hyperactive immune cells, it activates an anti-inflammatory protein known as caspase.
Caspase causes cell death of the immune cell through special signaling, and then inflammation gets reduced as fewer cytokines circulate in the bloodstream. Recent research has associated lower levels of cytokines in the body with better regeneration of a compromised immune system.
Finally, CBD can reduce skin irritation and itchiness caused by candidiasis due to its antipruritic and anti-inflammatory properties.
The Pros & Cons of Using CBD Oil for Candida
- Several studies have highlighted CBD as a potent anti-inflammatory. CBD also has antifungal and antipruritic properties, which can be helpful in easing the symptoms of Candidiasis.
- CBD doesn’t carry a risk for addiction or abuse. It is as addictive as a placebo.
- According to international health agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO), CBD is well-tolerated by humans and has a good safety profile.
- CBD is available without a prescription. You can buy it in specialty stores, pharmacies, dispensaries, vape shops, and online.
- There isn’t enough research regarding the direct effects of CBD on fungal infections such as Candidiasis. The FDA has only approved one drug containing CBD for intractable cases of epilepsy. Hemp-derived CBD oil is still classified as a health supplement.
- CBD has a few mild side effects, such as dry mouth, changes in appetite, dizziness, or diarrhea.
- CBD can interact with certain medications, including conventional antifungals for candida overgrowth.
- The CBD industry is largely unregulated, so there’s a risk of buying a fake and dangerous product. Those seeking high-quality CBD oil should look for a trustworthy online store. Research is paramount when it comes to buying CBD products.
How Does CBD Compare to Alternative Forms of Candida Treatment
Healthy individuals experiencing skin candidiasis, thrush, or vaginal yeast infections can deal with the problem using a short treatment or even a single dose of antifungal medication.
Unfortunately, many people with compromised immune systems find it more difficult to treat Candida, struggling with recurrent Candidiasis.
Most autoimmune diseases result from chronic inflammation, and CBD seems to help in strengthening the immune system as well as lowering its hyperactivity. With a properly functioning immune system, Candida infections may be easier to cure.
Most candida cases can be prevented by eating nutritious food, following a healthy lifestyle, and keeping the skin clean and dry.
Should you catch a Candida infection, you may ask your doctor to prescribe antibiotics.
One risky side effect of using antibiotics is that they can actually stimulate yeast infection according to some studies. The problem begins when a person has to copes with the unwanted symptoms of a yeast infection while taking some antibiotics for an ailment.
If you catch a yeast infection due to taking antibiotics, CBD can help by producing antibiotic effects without causing excessive growth of Candida.
A study conducted by the American Society of Microbiology (ASM) has shown that CBD is active against Gram-positive bacteria, resulting in similar results to antibiotics such as vancomycin or daptomycin.
CBD can also reduce biofilms, a type of bacteria growth that leads to treatment-resistant infections. Finally, CBD isn’t known for causing resistance, unlike the existing antibiotics.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Right CBD Oil for Candida
For the most effective Candida treatment with CBD, we recommend full-spectrum extracts.
Full-spectrum CBD oil contains all beneficial compounds naturally found in hemp, including non-psychoactive cannabinoids, terpenes, and trace amounts of THC (less than 0.3%). As mentioned, these compounds work together to produce synergy known as the entourage effect.
Those allergic to other hemp compounds or afraid of taking any amounts of THC may opt for broad-spectrum CBD oil, which is much like the full-spectrum one — but without any traces of the intoxicating cannabinoid.
The third type of CBD products includes CBD isolates. These products contain just pure, isolated CBD. Isolate is usually derived from hemp, not marijuana because hemp plants have naturally lower levels of THC per dry mass. As a result, the purging process takes less time.
There are also features that can help you distinguish between high-quality and low-quality CBD oil regardless of the cannabinoid spectrum.
Here’s what you can do to make a well-informed decision about your product:
- Make sure to check the legal status of CBD in your state/country.
- Only buy from reputable brands that grow their own hemp or source it from local small-scale farmers.
- Read user reviews before placing an order online. When shopping for CBD somewhere near you, check if the store has a good reputation and has the government’s permission to sell CBD products.
- Check if the product has been tested in a third-party laboratory. Independent laboratories will analyze the potency of CBD in the product’s sample; it will also look for common contaminants or any unwanted additives, such as solvents, pesticides, or heavy metals.
- Consult a doctor who knows a lot about CBD and cannabis in general before buying CBD oil for candida.
What’s the Best CBD Dosage for Candida?
It’s impossible to give out universal dosage recommendations when it comes to using CBD oil for candida.
There’s still not enough high-quality evidence from human studies until scientists can set out any guidelines regarding this condition. Since the CBD market is currently unregulated, it’s difficult to know if you’re getting the advertised amounts of CBD in your product.
As always, we encourage you to visit a doctor to make sure CBD oil is appropriate for you. A consultation with a qualified physician will help you establish the right dosage strategy and avoid potential drug interactions.
The good news is that CBD doesn’t cause toxicity, even at doses as high as 1,500 mg daily, according to this 2017 study.
How to Take CBD Oil for Candida
Different forms of candidiasis may require different forms of CBD administration depending on the root of the problem and the area of the body affected by this fungal infection.
One of the most effective methods to benefit from using CBD oil for candida is to apply it directly where it’s needed. Once you know the location of the CBD’s target, you can reduce the severity and frequency of the condition.
Your doctor should be able to determine what type of candidiasis you have, and those details may point you in the right direction when it comes to choosing the right form of CBD.
Topicals are best for rashes that are close to the skin. They can also help with vaginal infections, delivering the highest dose of CBD to the target area.
You can choose from products like CBD creams, patches, gels, lotions, and suppositories.
When the problem derives from inflammation, you may need to ingest CBD oil orally or sublingually (under the tongue). Sublingual absorption is one of the most efficient methods of CBD administration.
CBD levels reach their peak in 15 to 20 minutes when consumed this way, which is faster than the same compound taken orally.
If you’re not a fan of the taste of CBD oil, you can try CBD capsules or edible gummies, which are two popular oral products.
Will CBD Show Up On a Drug Test?
Some people worry about the risk of CBD causing them to fail a drug screening. The good news is that drug tests look for THC in your urine, not CBD.
In theory, it’s possible to score a “false positive” result for THC when you take extremely large doses of CBD oil daily. However, you would need to ingest around 2000 mg CBD a day to get such a result. If something like this happens, you have the right to request another test from your employer after informing them about the situation.
Summary: Is CBD an Effective Treatment for Candida?
Multiple studies have shown that CBD is a promising natural anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial agent that may help with Candidiasis and other forms of candida overgrowth.
There are different types of candidiasis, depending on the spot of the body that was affected by the infection. The type of CBD product, as well as other types of treatment, will vary on your individual situation.
As of today, no study has looked into CBD dosage specifically for Candida. We encourage you to consult with a trusted doctor knowledgeable about CBD and cannabis as a means of determining the right type of CBD and the dose that will help you with Candidiasis.
When looking for the best CBD oils for candida, make sure to do meticulous research on any company that sells CBD out there. The market is largely unregulated, so it’s your responsibility to learn about the company’s farming practices, extraction methods, and lab-testing standards.
CBD oil may ease many symptoms associated with candida overgrowth and yeast infections. This article covers recent scientific findings and highlights the best CBD products for candida.