CBD for Psoriasis: How CBD Oil and Topicals Can Help Psoriasis
More than 8 million Americans live with psoriasis—a chronic autoimmune condition. People with psoriasis experience an overactive immune system that makes their skin cells grow too quickly, and this in turn causes red, scaly, painful patches of skin cells to build up. These plaques are ugly, itchy, and disruptive.
Psoriasis is incurable, so the only option is to treat the symptoms and find ways to cope. For those millions of people who are searching for options to help control their symptoms, CBD for psoriasis is a new source of hope.
In this post, we’ll explore an overview of Psoriasis and why it’s so tough to cope with. We’ll talk about the challenges of treating psoriasis, including with topicals. We’ll also discuss treating psoriasis with CBD, and why CBD has so much potential in this area. Finally, we’ll recommend the best CBD cream for psoriasis that we’ve tried so far.
Overview of Psoriasis
For people with psoriasis, a lifetime of itching is in store—I’m here to tell you. Right now as I sit here typing this, my skin is itching so much, I almost can’t stand it, but for me, that’s pretty normal.
Most patients with psoriasis will have it for life because it’s an incurable, chronic autoimmune disease, although there will be times when it’s better or flare-ups when it is worse. Medications are available, many of them topical and designed to soothe irritation and reduce inflammation. They are sometimes kind of helpful, but ask anyone with psoriasis: they don’t stop the problem. Nothing does.
Women have a worse problem with psoriasis overall because fluctuations in hormones can and do cause shifts in psoriasis symptoms, and this often causes women to experience flare-ups during and after pregnancy. In fact, many women experience a psoriasis flare-up just after delivery.
Psoriatic arthritis is caused by inflammation and affects about 30 percent of psoriasis patients. Elevated levels of inflammation can also cause complications such as typical arthritis, heart disease, thyroid issues, diabetes, and kidney problems in people with psoriasis. For all of these reasons, it’s important for people with psoriasis to watch cholesterol levels and maintain their weight.
There are even numerous food triggers for psoriasis patients; many people with the disorder cannot eat things like processed or junk foods, eggs, citrus, red meat, tomatoes, dairy, or alcohol without flare-ups. (This article is being written by an involuntary vegan.) In other words, psoriasis truly affects every aspect of your life.
Foods that are high in antioxidants such as fruits and vegetables may help fight oxidative stress and inflammation, so these are recommended for patients with psoriasis and other autoimmune conditions. Some patients benefit from eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids such as fatty fish like sardines and salmon which may reduce inflammation in the body. Anti-inflammatory spices such as turmeric and oils like coconut or olive are another natural option to try—but either way, you’ll be altering your diet.
The worst part about something like psoriasis, from someone who deals with it, is the mental health impact and social consequences. It can be embarrassing and stressful. Yes, I’m used to the staring and questions—and still they stress me out. And guess what? Stress makes it worse.
So, all of this should point to a few factors for you:
- Living with psoriasis isn’t easy. In fact, it sucks. It touches every part of your day, and causes tremendous quality of life issues.
- There’s no cure for psoriasis but every reason to try things that might work and won’t hurt.
- Everyone with psoriasis dreams of that day they walk outside in shorts or whatever and never have to worry about it again.
So, this is why CBD for psoriasis is now a trend: necessity.
Symptoms of Psoriasis
Symptoms and signs of psoriasis vary from person to person, but typically they include:
- Red skin patches covered with scales that are thick and silvery
- Smaller, scaly spots of skin
- Cracked, dry skin that may itch or bleed
- Burning, itching, or soreness
- Pitted, thickened, or ridged nails
- Stiff and swollen joints
Patches of psoriasis can vary from a few small spots of scaly skin that resemble dandruff to serious eruptions that cover major portions of the body. The ankles, elbows, face, knees (front and back), legs, lower back, palms, scalp, and soles of the feet are the most commonly affected areas of the body.
Most kinds of psoriasis flare up for a few weeks or months in cycles and then subside or even go into remission.
Types of Psoriasis
There are multiple kinds of psoriasis, including:
Plaque psoriasis. Plaque psoriasis is the most common type, causing dry, red, raised patches of skin covered with silvery scales called lesions. The plaques might be few or numerous; tender, itchy or both; and they typically appear on the knees, elbows, scalp, and lower back.
Erythrodermic psoriasis. Although it is the least common type of psoriasis, because it can cover the entire body with a peeling, red rash that can burn or itch intensely, erythrodermic psoriasis is one of the more serious varieties.
Guttate psoriasis. Guttate psoriasis is characterized by small, scaling lesions shaped like drops on the arms, legs, or trunk. Typically triggered by strep throat or some other bacterial infection, this variety of psoriasis primarily affects children and young adults.
Inverse psoriasis. Inverse psoriasis mainly affects skin folds near the breasts, groin, and buttocks, and it causes smooth patches of red skin that sweating and friction make worse. This kind of psoriasis can be triggered by fungal infections.
Nail psoriasis. Nail psoriasis can cause abnormal growth, pitting, and discoloration in fingernails and toenails. Psoriatic nails can result in onycholysis, where the nails loosen and separate from the nail bed. In severe cases of psoriasis, the nail can crumble.
Psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis causes painful swelling in any joint, ranging from mild to severe, just like typical arthritis. Symptoms vary, and joint symptoms or nail changes may be the only signs of psoriasis. Psoriatic arthritis can progressively damage the joints—in the most serious cases, permanently.
Pustular psoriasis. Pustular psoriasis is a rare variety occurring either in widespread patches as generalized pustular psoriasis or in smaller patches on the soles of the feet or the palms of the hands. The patches themselves consist of pus-filled lesions that are clearly defined, similar to blisters.
Causes and Triggers of Psoriasis
Psoriasis, like similar skin disorders, is considered to be an immune system disorder. It triggers the skin to regenerate too quickly, and in plaque psoriasis, which is the most common type, this too-rapid cell turnover causes red, scaly patches of skin.
What causes the immune system to react this way remains unclear, although psoriasis is definitely not contagious or dangerous to others. Right now, scientists think that both environmental and genetic factors may play a role.
Triggers are an issue for people with psoriasis. In fact, many people who may be predisposed to psoriasis experience wellness and have no symptoms for years until some environmental factor triggers the disease.
Some common psoriasis triggers are:
- Skin injury, including a bug bite, a scrape or cut, a burn, or a severe sunburn
- Infections, either of the skin, or systemic such as strep throat
- Weather, particularly dry, cold conditions
- Heavy consumption of alcohol
- Rapid withdrawal of corticosteroids
- Exposure to smoke, from smoking, secondhand smoke, and wildfire
- Certain medications, including antimalarial drugs, lithium, and high blood pressure medications
Risk factors for Psoriasis
Although anyone can develop psoriasis, there are several risk factors according to the NIH. Some you can control more than others:
- Family history. Having one or more parents with psoriasis increases your risk of getting the disease because it runs in families.
- Smoking. Smoking may play a part in the development and onset of psoriasis, so your initial risk, and it may also increase the severity of psoriasis once you get it.
- Stress. High levels of stress, which can affect the immune system, can increase your risk of psoriasis.
Beyond psoriatic arthritis, complications from psoriasis include:
- Other autoimmune diseases such as sclerosis, celiac disease, and the inflammatory bowel disease called Crohn’s disease
- Eye conditions, such as blepharitis, conjunctivitis, and uveitis
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
- Depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions
Challenges of Treating Psoriasis
Basically, this is an ongoing war—a series of battles you fight your whole life. You look for the weapons that work best against psoriasis for your body, and you add them to your arsenal. You avoid the triggers that make it worse and hope they’re not everywhere.
Here are some of the treatment options and how they work.
Non-medicated moisturizing products for the skin and bath, such as mineral oil, body creams, moisturizers, bath bombs, and petroleum jelly may reduce the dryness and soothe affected skin from psoriatic plaques.
Medicated topicals are also available in a wide variety, and applying them directly to plaques of psoriatic skin can help reduce skin turn over and inflammation, remove built-up scale, and clear affected skin of plaques. Some common active ingredients for creams and ointments intended for psoriasis include coal tar, corticosteroids like desoximetasone (Topicort), dithranol (anthralin), vitamin D3analogues (for example, calcipotriol), fluocinonide, and retinoids. Each works a bit differently, but they all reduce inflammation and help to normalize skin cell production.
Approaches to UV light therapy such as psoralen plus ultraviolet A (PUVA) and UVB phototherapy can reduce psoriasis symptoms effectively for some people. However, you need several sessions per week, which takes time, effort, and money. Also, long-term light therapy can increase your risk of skin cancer.
You might try a systemic agent against psoriasis that resists both topical treatment and phototherapy—that’s a medication you take as a pill or injection. Only people with regular blood and liver function can handle this kind of medication, and if you might become pregnant, you should avoid it. If you ever stop taking your systemic treatment, your psoriasis will probably come back.
There are three primary systemic medications usually used to treat psoriasis: cyclosporine, methotrexate, and retinoids. Cyclosporine and methotrexate are immunosuppressant drugs that work by suppressing and regulating the unhealthy overactive immune system action. However, ulcerations are a risk for patients taking methotrexate.
Retinoids are synthetic forms of vitamin A that can help speed up the skin cell shedding and growth cycle so plaques don’t build up as much. However, retinoids can also make your skin more sensitive and can decrease in effectiveness over time.
For those that have insurance, access to a doctor to inject them, and don’t mind continuing a new therapy for the rest of their lives, biologics are a promising option. These manufactured proteins interrupt the immune overreactions that characterize psoriasis, but in a very specific way. These are very new drugs, so their long-term impact on immune function is unknown, and they must be given by a doctor in-office.
There are also newer laser systems approved to treat psoriasis on the scalp. Obviously, these are an in-office option only, too.
Alternative Therapies for Psoriasis
So, you’ve tried everything and you’re in the same boat as most people with psoriasis: you can either try systemic therapy forever—with varying levels of success and cost, by the way—or you can try something else and hope it works to improve your quality of life.
Fortunately, some research does suggest that changes in diet, skincare routine, and lifestyle can at least help relieve psoriasis symptoms.
Various research studies have found benefits in diets supplemented with fish oils, low energy diets, fasting periods, and vegetarian diets. Fish oils in particular contain Vitamin E and are rich in the two omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Some fish oils also contain vitamin A and vitamin D.
Lifestyle habits also definitely impact psoriasis—at least how severe it is. It may not cure your psoriasis to stop smoking, limit your alcohol consumption, maintain a normal weight, get regular exercise and a good night’s sleep, and manage your stress, but it will probably lessen the severity of your symptoms. (If you figure out how to do all that, please let us know how in the comments.)
Furthermore, hypnotherapy may be an effective treatment for psoriasis if you have access to it where you are and can afford it.
There are a few other alternative therapies out there that get a little less…accessible. For example, researchers have found that the Indigo naturalis plant used in traditional Chinese medicine, also called Qing dai, may be effective in treating psoriasis.
And some spas in Croatia, Hungary, Ireland, Serbia, and Turkey offer ichthyotherapy, in which you sit in a pool full of “doctor fish” that eat your icky psoriatic skin. Apparently the outdoor thermal springs these doctor fish live in also have their own beneficial effect, and that’s good because you have to keep going back to the skin-eating spa. (Sorry, this one has an ick factor for us—but then so does psoriasis, so whatever works!)
Our point is this: treatments are tough, expensive, and only somewhat effective. There is plenty of room for a natural remedy that provides more relief.
Can CBD Reduce Symptoms of Psoriasis?
Given that CBD is a proven immune-modulator and anti-inflammatory, it makes sense that it would be a workable treatment option against psoriasis, an autoimmune disease that induces inflammation.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the human body is a naturally-occurring network of cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors that regulates homeostasis. Since homeostasis is a balancing act in the body and psoriasis is evidence of certain physiological processes that are out of control, achieving and maintaining homeostasis is of interest here.
One particular study highlights the role of cutaneous cannabinoids in suppressing inflammation and excess growth in the skin’s epithelial layers. Another study connects these skin layers to onset psoriasis and the functional ECS system, describing the way the skin’s cannabinoid receptors help control and balance how the skin cells proliferate.
In other words, research indicates that the layers of human skin contain a functional endocannabinoid system, and cannabinoids act to reduce inflammation along the specific psoriatic pathway in the skin. The science does support CBD as a possible treatment option for psoriasis.
Furthermore, CBD has been proven to effectively treat depression, anxiety, and related mental health issues. These are often connected to psoriasis, so CBD could have additional benefits for these users.
How CBD Oil Works to Alleviate Symptoms of Psoriasis
CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) to regulate stasis in skin cells, including their immune competence, reproduction, and survival. Pathological skin diseases and conditions such as allergic dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis arise when this balance is disrupted.
The CB1 and CB2 receptors are the two primary receptors in the ECS, with CB1 receptors found all over the body and CB2 receptors found mostly in immune system cells. Both endocannabinoids naturally-occurring in the body and phytocannabinoids, which are created by the Cannabis sativa plant, bind with the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD are the most notable phytocannabinoids. THC is the intoxicating ingredient of the cannabis plant which may get its users high.
Cannabinoids such as CBD are anti-inflammatories, and are therefore a potential treatment for a range of skin diseases. Cannabinoids, especially THC, are also immunosuppressive and reduce cytokines. Cytokines cause inflammation and rapid skin cell development, and psoriasis itself is an immunosuppressive disorder, making cannabinoids and THC of particular interest to psoriasis sufferers.
Another study found that cannabinoids inhibit psoriasis lesions, also called keratinocytes, from growing as rapidly. In addition, research indicates that the way the ECS moderates interactions between the CNS and the immune system suggests cannabinoids as a psoriasis treatment. In fact, a range of science suggests that cannabinoid products might be used to treat various skin diseases such as eczema, acne, and even skin cancer, along with psoriasis.
The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for Psoriasis
Studies have found that CBD has health benefits for those with psoriasis.
Topical steroids are among the primary traditional medications for psoriasis, and long-term use of them can and often does result in changes in pigmentation, thinning of the skin, easy bruising, stretch marks, dilated blood vessels, and redness. You might switch to oral steroids to avoid those issues, but using them long-term can cause acne, bone fractures, cataracts, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, increased risk of infections, liver damage, obesity, osteoporosis, and poor wound healing.
CBD, on the other hand, has minimal side effects, including tiredness, diarrhea, and changes in appetite or weight. According to the World Health Organization, CBD is also non-addictive. Across the United States, where state laws permit it, the 2018 Farm Bill has made CBD legal at the federal level, and you can buy CBD products without a prescription.
There is more than one kind of psoriasis, and the less common varieties have been studied less—especially in the context of CBD.
The United States (US) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved CBD for treating epilepsy. For this reason, there is no standard dosage of CBD for treating psoriasis.
CBD may inhibit Cytochrome P450 enzymes which metabolize steroids. This could make it less effective to use CBD and steroid medications together.
Again, related to the lack of regulation of CBD products, some are not adequately or accurately labeled. This alone can present a trigger danger for someone with psoriasis.
CBD vs Other Alternative Psoriasis Treatments
There are other potential natural remedies for psoriasis, which may be more or less effective depending on the patient and the situation:
- Some have used dead sea bath salts to treat psoriasis.
- Turmeric has proven anti-inflammatory properties, although they are limited.
Compared to steroids, CBD has no adverse reactions and minimal side effects. And in contrast to turmeric and dead sea salt or even light therapy, CBD produces a suite of benefits to relieve related ailments such as depression and psoriatic arthritis.
Is it better to use a CBD topical cream vs a CBD oil for psoriasis?
Since flare-ups of psoriasis can be triggered by many things, like illness, stress, and external factors like allergies, it’s not always easy to know which form of CBD might provide the most relief during an episode. Here are some things to consider.
The skin on the face is delicate and sensitive, not to mention prone to acne. If you’re experiencing psoriasis on the face and want to treat it topically, consider a CBD product specifically formulated for the face. Or, this might be a time to try CBD oil.
The same type of question arises when the issue is psoriasis of the scalp, which can be itchy and uncomfortable like dandruff, even though those products are often not right for the problem. You need to care for your hair, but the pain and burning are the more immediate problem. You want either CBD products that will soothe the scalp, or at least not irritate it, or a CBD oil to take orally.
When stress is triggering psoriasis flare-ups, aim for the right kind of CBD for managing your relaxation. Many users find CBD oil helps as a preventative and then use a CBD vape for acute issues. For psoriasis patients triggered by immune issues, CBD oil or CBD edibles are often similarly the best preventative strategy.
CBD comes in many forms, including:
- capsules and softgels
- edibles, such as beverages, candy, gummies, snacks, and other foods
- oils and tinctures
- topicals, such as balms, creams, lotions, and more (What is CBD lotion and cream? Learn more in our full post)
Which type of CBD is best for psoriasis? There is no one answer—find what works for you personally.
Remember, before you start anything new for psoriasis (or any health condition), you should talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider. Although CBD is widely understood to be safe, the industry is poorly regulated. Look for third-party testing results, and remember that if you substitute CBD for some other medication, that may have an impact on your health.
How to Choose the Right CBD for Psoriasis
Beyond everything else that we’ve said, there are a few more things to consider. First, there are three basic types of CBD oils:
Full-spectrum CBD oil uses all the natural components found in cannabis plants including hemp plants. This means natural essential oils, terpenes, flavonoids, and fatty acids as well as cannabinoids will all be in that CBD product, including trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Together, the active phytonutrients produce the entourage effect, a synergistic suite of therapeutic benefits.
Broad-spectrum CBD oil is a version of full-spectrum CBD oil with all traces of THC removed.
CBD isolates contain only isolated cannabidiol and are extracted down from the rest. You can be sure nothing is in there except the CBD and whatever it is suspended in (along with whatever they’ve added intentionally, of course—just no extra cannabinoids or terpenes).
Which is best for you depends on preference and on a few other factors:
- Is CBD legal where you are? If so, does it matter if there are trace amounts of THC in it?
- Is it a high-quality product? Is it derived from organic hemp and non-GMO?
- Does the brand get good online reviews? Do they use CO2 extraction?
- Can you easily access third-party lab analyses and batch testing reports which certify the quality of the CBD product?
- Have you talked to a doctor, dermatologist, or, if you have psoriatic arthritis, a rheumatologist about using CBD?
Psoriasis is tough to cope with. Learn more about how CBD products can help alleviate symptoms and our favorite products.
Can CBD Help With Symptoms of Psoriasis?
Psoriasis affects over 125 million people across the globe. Characterised by severe inflammation and autoimmune issues, it has been the subject of numerous studies examining the efficacy of cannabis in dermatology. So, can CBD help with psoriasis symptoms? Or should you turn to other options? Read on to find out.
A few years ago, the idea of using CBD as a potential treatment was one met with a lot of scrutiny. Today, however, there’s a growing body of research proving its efficacy in soothing all kinds of conditions and symptoms, including dermatological ailments like psoriasis.
In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at what psoriasis is, and how CBD-rich cannabis therapies could revolutionise the treatment of this condition.
What Is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a skin condition that affects roughly 125 million people across the globe; that’s roughly 2–3% of the world population. It causes patches of red, itchy, and scaly skin, mainly on the elbows, knees, trunk, and scalp.
Psoriasis is a chronic condition with no cure, and it tends to cause “flare-ups” before residing or going into remission for some time. Luckily, psoriasis patients can use a combination of natural remedies, prescription medicine, and lifestyle changes to manage and control their symptoms.
Psoriasis is categorised depending on the location it affects and the symptoms it produces. The most common form of psoriasis is plaque psoriasis, which causes dry, red lesions typically on the elbows, knees, lower back, and scalp. Inverse psoriasis, on the other hand, affects skin folds in the groin, under the breasts and buttocks, and causes smooth patches of red skin.
Other types of psoriasis include:
- Nail psoriasis, which causes pitted, discolored nails with abnormal growth.
- Guttate psoriasis, which typically affects children/young adults and is often triggered by a viral infection like strep throat.
- Erythrodermic psoriasis, which can cover the entire body in a red, peeling rash.
- Psoriatic arthritis, which causes inflamed and painful joints (arthritis can sometimes be the only symptom a psoriasis patient experiences).
Symptoms of Psoriasis: At a Glance
- Red patches of skin with silver scales
- Dry, cracked, and itchy skin that may bleed
- Burning or soreness in the affected areas
- Swollen and sore joints
- Pus-filled lesions on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet
- Deformed, discoloured nails
What Causes Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is categorised as an autoimmune disease and is believed to be caused by the abnormal growth of skin cells. People with psoriasis have skin that regenerates a lot faster than normal, and it’s this rapid build-up/turnover of skin cells that causes the inflamed patches of skin that characterise this disease.
What, exactly, causes the abnormal growth of skin in psoriasis, however, isn’t clear. So far, researchers suggest it could come down to genetics. Some patients, on the other hand, may suddenly develop psoriasis as a response to a trigger, such as an injury, viral infection, or environmental change. Some possible triggers of psoriasis include:
- Strep throat (especially in children and adolescents).
- Weather changes: Cold and dry weather, for example, may trigger psoriasis in some people.
- Damaged skin: Insect bites, cuts, scrapes, or sunburn can also trigger psoriasis or a flare-up.
- Stress: Psoriasis patients often experience flare-ups as a response to stress from work, school, social situations, and more.
- Smoking and alcohol abuse: Some people may also experience a psoriasis flare-up after being exposed to second-hand smoke.
- Medications: Some prescription drugs can trigger psoriasis, including lithium, antimalarial drugs, and blood-pressure medications. A sudden withdrawal from corticosteroids can also trigger psoriasis in some people.
Besides these triggers, doctors have identified a family history of psoriasis as the main risk factor for the condition.
Importance of the Endocannabinoid System of the Skin
The endocannabinoid system, or ECS, is a complex network of receptors, endogenous cannabinoids, and enzymes that has proven to be one of the main mediatory systems in our body. In fact, a growing legion of researchers and scientists believe that the ECS’ main role is to promote homeostasis; a state that allows our body to function at its best and prevent illness.
Recent studies into the endocannabinoid system show that it is present throughout the skin. Hence, there’s growing interest in using cannabis-based therapies in the treatment of all kinds of skin conditions, including psoriasis.
To start, research published in 2009  demonstrates that the skin produces its own endocannabinoids (anandamide and 2-AG) as needed. Several cell types in the epidermis, dermis, hair follicles, sebaceous glands, and sweat glands are capable of synthesising these cannabinoids, which then act on a wide variety of receptors, including the primary cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, and secondary receptors .
Cannabinoids from cannabis are also capable of stimulating these receptors, often to a greater degree than endocannabinoids.
Many of the compounds found in the cannabis plant, including cannabinoids like THC and CBD but also terpenes, have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties  . Therefore, compounds like CBD, THC, linalool, pinene, and caryophyllene (to name a few) may help in reducing the severe inflammation caused by psoriasis lesions, as well as the arthritic pain and inflammation that often accompanies this disease.
Furthermore, research  has looked into the effects of cannabis compounds in the treatment of different kinds of skin inflammation, demonstrating that the ECS is a crucial mediator of the inflammatory response in the skin. In fact, since the 1990s, researchers have learned that the endocannabinoid system is one of the key players  responsible for keeping our immune system working properly.
Both CB1 and CB2 receptors can be found inside immune cells, and cannabinoids (endo, phyto, and synthetic) are capable of interacting with and modulating the activity of these cells via these receptors.
Can CBD Help With Psoriasis?
Since psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, compounds like CBD may go beyond just addressing the symptoms of this disease and actually help target some of its more complex underlying causes.
Even though we still don’t completely understand its mechanism of action, we do know that CBD is a powerful modulator of the ECS, and, thanks to its immunomodulatory properties, may play an extremely important role in the future treatment of autoimmune conditions.
The use of cannabis-based therapies in dermatology is an ever-evolving field. With more research and clinical trials, we’ll hopefully soon have a much deeper understanding of how the cannabis plant may help us manage a whole variety of skin conditions.
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For now, let’s take a closer look at four different studies on CBD and psoriasis:
Cannabis for Refractory Psoriasis
In 2016, the journal of Current Clinical Pharmacology published a research review  exploring the anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects of cannabis therapies. By acting through cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathways and the endocannabinoid system, cannabinoids and other cannabis compounds could prove effective in treating some of the underlying causes of psoriasis.
Therapeutic Effect of CBD-Enriched Ointment in Inflammatory Skin Diseases
In 2019, the Italian journal La Clinica Terapeutica published a trial  on CBD-rich ointment for psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and the resulting scars. The trial included 10 patients who were instructed to administer CBD ointment to the affected areas twice daily for three months. Based on skin evaluations as well as clinical questionnaires, the treatment improved all parameters of the patients’ symptoms, skin elasticity, and hydration of the affected areas, all without producing any irritation or negative side effects.
Cannabinoids Inhibit Human Keratinocyte Proliferation
First published in 2007 in the Journal of Dermatological Science, a study  investigated delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol, cannabinol, and cannabigerol for their ability to inhibit the proliferation of hyper-proliferating skin cells. The study found that all the cannabinoids used were able to hinder skin cell proliferation, and therefore could play an important role in the treatment of psoriasis, a condition characterised by abnormal skin cell growth.
Cannabinoids: Possible Agents for Treatment of Psoriasis
In 2016, the journal Medical Hypotheses published a paper  examining the potential of cannabinoid therapies in psoriasis treatment. The paper found that JWH-133, a synthetic cannabinoid and strong agonist of CB2 receptors, had strong anti-inflammatory properties and was able to inhibit many of the inflammatory processes and angiogenesis involved in psoriasis.
Which Type of CBD Works Best for Treating Psoriasis?
Full-spectrum CBD topicals are by far the best option for addressing psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions. Unlike oral CBD oil or CBD capsules (which need to pass through the digestive tract and liver before taking effect), topicals like ointments and creams can deliver cannabinoids and terpenes directly to the area they are needed most.
We suggest sourcing full-spectrum CBD topicals, as they contain an array of cannabinoids and terpenes in addition to CBD. As suggested in the above studies, CBD isn’t the only cannabis constituent that appears to be potentially beneficial for the skin.
If you’re lucky, you’ll have access to a wide variety of commercial full-spectrum CBD topicals. If not, or if you just want to know exactly what’s in your topical, consider making your own using one of our CBD oils.
How Much CBD Should You Apply?
How much CBD you need to apply in order to relieve a particular symptom or ailment is very personal. Some people may find relief from applying their topical once a day, while others might need multiple applications. Others still may not experience sufficient relief at all.
For best results, we always recommend testing your full-spectrum CBD topical on a small patch of skin first and waiting a few minutes to gauge how your body reacts to it. Then, feel free to apply the product more liberally to all the areas of your skin that need it. Remember, CBD topicals are very targeted, so they need to be applied directly to the area where you desire relief.
Depending on your symptoms, you may need to apply the topical multiple times a day.
CBD for Psoriasis — An Intriguing Relationship
Psoriasis, as we saw in this article, is a skin condition that affects a large number of people, and ranges from mild to severe. And, while its symptoms are fairly obvious, the underlying causes of this chronic disease still aren’t clearly understood.
Although more research is needed to clearly understand how CBD and other cannabis compounds could work to treat/relieve the symptoms of psoriasis, luckily, there’s a solid body of research supporting the use of CBD, other cannabinoids, and terpenes in the treatment of dermatological conditions.
Cannabis therapies are revolutionising dermatology. Click here for an in-depth look at how CBD and other cannabis compounds could help treat psoriasis symptoms.