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CBD for Psoriasis: Can It Help?

People with psoriasis will know, the condition can be hard to treat, painful, and limiting. The good news is that one plant shows a lot of potential as a psoriasis treatment option—cannabis. CBD, a major cannabinoid compound found in cannabis, may be able to target the cause and symptoms of psoriasis to help make life a little easier. 

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a naturally occurring chemical compound that can be found in cannabis and hemp plant material. Since the end of cannabis prohibition in many places across the world and US, research into the medicinal qualities of cannabis and its chemical compounds has exploded. 

CBD, in particular, has shown great potential as a treatment for a range of conditions. Research shows us that CBD may be able to:

  • Reduce inflammation (1)
  • Help improve sleep (2)
  • Reduce pain (3)
  • Improve anxiety and depression (4)
  • Protect the brain from neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s (5, 6)

CBD can be present in the flower, leaves, and stems of cannabis and hemp plants. CBD products are manufactured through a variety of extraction techniques. Products you might come across include:

There is also a range of ways that you can consume CBD, such as:

  • Vaping
  • Swallowing
  • Applying to the skin 
  • Sublingually 
  • Nasally 
  • Incorporating into food or drink 

Psoriasis 

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that affects the skin. Essentially, a misfire in the immune system occurs, causing the body to overproduce skin cells, leading to a build-up that eventually causes the tell-tale signs of psoriasis. 

Psoriasis can be a painful and hard-to-manage condition. The typical symptoms of Psoriasis are:

  • Dry, red, and cracked skin that can bleed
  • Itchiness, soreness, and burning
  • Spots of scaly skin 
  • Swollen and stiff joints
  • Thick nails often with ridges or pitting (7)

This condition can occur at any place on your skin, but it tends to be most commonly seen on the scalp, knees, elbows, and torso. Anyone can develop psoriasis, but you have a higher chance of experiencing it if you have a family history, are exposed to a lot of stress, or smoke (7). 

Current treatment options for psoriasis largely focus on reducing inflammation and stopping skin build-up, but some of these treatments can come with serious side effects:

  • Topical corticosteroids
  • Oral or topical retinoids 
  • Immunosuppressant medication 
  • UV light therapy 

What the research shows about CBD and psoriasis

If you’re looking for new psoriasis treatment options, CBD demonstrates a lot of potential in its ability to improve psoriasis symptoms and possibly target the cause of the condition. 

Skin proliferation 

Psoriasis is characterized by the overproduction and build-up of skin cells, and it seems that CBD might be able to help slow down this proliferation. One study found that CBD was able to stop skin cells from overproducing. Researchers in the study tested the effects of various cannabinoids on psoriasis-like cells and found that CBD was able to significantly inhibit the proliferation of the epidermal skin cells and, therefore, shows a lot of promise as a psoriasis treatment (8).

Keratin protein 

Certain types of keratin protein are found in larger amounts in the skin of patients with psoriasis, namely K6 and K16. Importantly, the activation of CBD receptors has been found to reduce the levels of K6 and K16, possibly indicating one way that CBD might be able to help prevent psoriasis development (9). 

Inflammation 

Inflammation is a common side effect of psoriasis, leaving patients with restricted movement, heat, and pain. The good news is that CBD has shown some impressive anti-inflammatory properties, with multiple studies highlighting the ability of the cannabinoid to suppress inflammation and potentially ease one of the major symptoms of psoriasis (10, 11). 

CBD for psoriasis symptoms 

Research also tells us that CBD can have a direct impact on the symptoms of psoriasis. A 2019 study investigated the effects of CBD ointment on severe skin disorders, including psoriasis. The study found that the CBD ointment managed to significantly improve skin health and reduce psoriasis symptoms according to the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) measurement. 

While more studies are needed to properly gauge the effects of CBD ointment on skin disorders like psoriasis, this study highlights the potential of CBD as a viable treatment option for psoriasis patients that could significantly improve quality of life (12).

What CBD product is best for psoriasis?

Most research into CBD involves oral consumption of CBD oil, so to potentially mimic the effects seen in some studies, oral CBD oil is likely going to be your most effective option. 

However, we have also seen significant results from topical CBD ointment application, so this could also be a viable option (12). Incorporating CBD creams or ointments into your routine may help to ease some psoriasis symptoms. 

Side effects

CBD typically causes minimal side effects and is generally thought of to have a high safety profile. When taken alone (i.e., without other cannabinoids), CBD can’t get you high, so you don’t have to worry about any psychotropic effects. THC, another cannabinoid, is the compound that causes those effects. 

Side effects you might come across through CBD use include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced appetite 
  • Drowsiness (13)

The bottom line

CBD offers a lot of potential as a treatment for psoriasis thanks to its ability to reduce skin cell build-up, keratin production, and inflammation. Research into CBD and psoriasis is still in the early stages, but what we know now strongly indicates that CBD products might be able to help ease some of the symptoms of psoriasis and help make life a little bit easier.

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**Standard Disclaimer: CBD is not FDA-approved. We make no such claims that using our products will guarantee relief. Moreover, research regarding CBD is still ongoing and in the early stages.**

 

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