Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that leads to an excessive buildup of skin cells. People who suffer from it will experience inflamed, irritated patches of skin on their bodies, usually around the knees and elbows. Unfortunately, this lifelong condition has no cure. But with topical creams, medications and light therapy, most people can get relief from its symptoms. Today, there are also a few natural treatment options, including CBD. In this article, we go over some of the health benefits of CBD for psoriasis, and how they may be of use to people with psoriasis.
What is psoriasis?
Although most people see it as a skin condition, psoriasis is better understood as an autoimmune condition. Those who suffer from it have an overactive immune system that mistakenly attacks their own body. Their immune system sends messages to their skin cells, causing them to multiply very quickly. Because their body makes skin cells faster than they can normally fall off, these accumulate in the form of scales on the skin’s surface.
The main symptom of psoriasis is the scales, which are easy to recognize. They can develop anywhere in the body, but are more common around joints, on the hands and feet, elbows and knees, scalp and face. The scales can be painful, red and inflamed, creating an unpleasant itching or burning sensation.
Fortunately, these symptoms tend to come and go in cycles. A person with psoriasis may experience a big flare up that lasts for a week, and then nothing for the following couple of weeks.
What causes psoriasis?
We still don’t fully understand what causes psoriasis, but doctors believe it’s a mix of immune system malfunction, genetics and lifestyle factors. In some cases, it can also be caused by medicines, and other substances that impact the immune system.
People with psoriasis have a faulty immune system. Their white blood cells, usually responsible for fighting off bacteria and viruses, attack their skin cells instead. As a result, the skin cells start developing much more quickly.
As with most autoimmune conditions, there is a strong genetic component. People who develop them tend to have parents or ancestors who also have the same condition. In the case of psoriasis, you are more likely to develop the condition if one of your parents has it. However, out of all the people who have a genetic predisposition to psoriasis, only a small percentage eventually develop the condition.
Usually, psoriasis is triggered by something external. For example, high levels of stress can cause a psoriasis flareup. Other possible triggers include lifestyle elements, like drinking alcohol, smoking and certain medications.
This may also explain why psoriasis is associated with other conditions that also have genetic and lifestyle causes. For example, it’s a lot more prevalent in people who have type 2 diabetes, heart disease, anxiety and depression, and inflammatory bowel disease.
How is psoriasis treated?
There is no cure for psoriasis, but certain forms of treatment can help psoriasis patients minimize their skin patches and prevent triggers.
People who frequently suffer from psoriasis flare ups are advised to identify possible triggers. For example, they may find that drinking too much alcohol or getting too stressed can cause an increase in their symptoms. A few lifestyle changes can help with that. For example, meditating can help to reduce stress. Switching to a whole-food, plant-based diet can eliminate a lot of trigger foods such as red meat and dairy products.
But in a lot of cases, those lifestyle changes have to be supplemented with medication. There are two main types of drugs that doctors may prescribe: topical medications, and oral ones.
Topical medications like corticosteroids, retinoids, salicylic acid and moisturizers can be applied directly to the skin, and especially on psoriasis scales. They work to calm down inflammation, reduce skin cell production and lower the response of the immune system.
Oral medications are rarer and only prescribed for moderate to severe forms of psoriasis. Like topical medications, they serve to lower the response of the immune system and reduce the production of new skin cells. However, they aren’t recommended to take in the long term as they come with some dangerous side effects.
What is CBD?
Could CBD be an alternative treatment option for people with psoriasis? Although there have only been a few studies on the topic, we think they are promising. Furthermore, we know that CBD can have a direct effect on the endocannabinoid system, which is implicated in the management of psoriasis.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a molecule found in cannabis. Like other cannabinoid compounds, it can bind to receptors in our bodies and affect the working of the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS is a biological system that helps to regulate essential body functions like appetite, pain management, stress and inflammation. When we ingest CBD, smoke it, or apply it on the skin, it binds to ECS receptors. This transmits information to that system, telling it to work harder. As a result, taking CBD can reduce pain and inflammation in the body, lower the body’s stress response and even prevent seizures.
CBD products that contain trace amounts of THC (less than 0.3%) are now legal on a federal level in the United States. However, they are not FDA-approved, and may still be illegal in certain states. Check your local laws before making a purchase.
CBD and skin conditions
Some of the most interesting properties of CBD are its effects on the skin. For example, we’ve already found that it could help with acne, eczema and atopic dermatitis. Although these conditions have different symptoms and causes, they all benefit from the action of CBD. That’s because CBD for psoriasis helps to regulate skin functions. When the skin is inflamed, CBD for psoriasis can reduce that inflammation. If the skin produces too much sebum, CBD can bring it back to normal levels. If skin cells reproduce too fast, CBD can slow them down. In other words, all these conditions derive from dysregulation of skin functions, and CBD for psoriasis helps to counteract that dysregulation through its effects on the endocannabinoid system.
How can CBD help people with psoriasis?
So what are the mechanisms of CBD for psoriasis? CBD may be able to help relieve symptoms of psoriasis in one of four ways:
- By limiting the growth of new skin cells
- By lowering inflammation
- By reducing itching and pain
- By improving overall health
CBD for psoriasis limits skin cells growth
Scientists are already saying that CBD may be a useful treatment option for people with psoriasis. Part of the reason is that it can regulate the number of skin cells our bodies produce. And as we know, people with psoriasis have overactive skin cell production.
In a 2007 study, a group of researchers found that several cannabinoids, including CBD, could slow down the production of skin cells. Although the experiment wasn’t actually conducted on patients with psoriasis, it showed that cannabinoids could inhibit keratinocyte proliferation.
CBD for psoriasis lowers skin inflammation
Psoriasis is an inflammatory condition characterized by skin scales that are often red and create a burning sensation.
CBD is well-known as an anti-inflammatory. It’s been used for its anti-inflammatory properties for conditions as diverse as Crohn’s disease, arthritis, and acne.
Applying CBD for psoriasis onto the skin could reduce one of the most painful symptoms of psoriasis by lowering levels of inflammation in the epidermis. This is something that a 2019 study also confirms. As part of an experiment, scientists gave patients with psoriasis or atopic dermatitis an ointment to apply on affected areas of skin twice a day for three months.
After that time, they found the patients’ skin significantly improved. Their skin was better hydrated, less inflamed, and more elastic. They concluded that topical CBD online was a safe and effective treatment against inflammatory skin conditions.
CBD for psoriasis relieves pain and itching
By far one of the most frustrating symptoms of psoriasis is the pain and itchiness it can create.
Thankfully, CBD has been studied for its effects on pain. We know that it can help with chronic pain, neuropathic pain and, useful in the case of psoriasis, inflammatory pain. People who apply CBD on joints affected by arthritis can get instant relief from their pain. This is something patients with psoriasis may also be able to experience.
We also know that cannabinoids can reduce itching, although CBD in particular hasn’t been isolated in these studies.
CBD could help prevent triggers by improving mental health
Finally, psoriasis flare ups can be caused by lifestyle factors such as a poor diet or excessive stress. In fact, doctors who treat people with psoriasis often ask them to change their outlook on the way they live, not just on their skin, to understand what causes their condition.
One of the most important factors is mental health. We know that excessive stress, anxiety and depression can increase your odds of having a psoriasis flareup.
As a substance that has benefits against a number of mental illnesses, including but not limited to:
CBD could help to prevent mental health-related triggers in people with psoriasis.
How to take CBD for psoriasis: practical tips
Are you inspired by the way CBD could address the most common symptoms and triggers of psoriasis? Do you want to try it out for yourself?
Luckily, there are a lot of CBD products to buy online and to choose from these days. But that also means it can be hard to make a decision!
When it comes to skin conditions like psoriasis, your most efficient option will probably be CBD topicals. CBD topicals are lotions, creams or salves that you apply directly on the skin. They’re known to provide very fast relief and will target endocannabinoid receptors located in the skin, which is what you want. For more information, you can check out our guide to CBD topicals here.
If you think that stress is a major trigger behind your flare ups, taking CBD orally may also be a good option. Whether you take a daily CBD capsule, place drops of CBD oil under your tongue, or eat CBD gummies, you need to take CBD every day to get relief from stress and anxiety. It may be best to start with a low dose (5 to 10 mg) to see how your body responds to it. Then, you should very slowly raise the dose until you find the relief you need. For more accurate dosage information, we recommend you consult a health specialist.
Psoriasis is a difficult condition to live with and sadly doesn’t have a cure yet. However, advancements in the world of cannabis research show us that CBD could be an effective treatment option, providing relief from at least a few of the symptoms of psoriasis. Depending on the severity of your skin condition, CBD may or may not be enough to relieve you completely. But as a complementary treatment option, it’s well worth a try.
CBD for skin conditions
2014 study on the effects of CBD oil for acneic skin
2019 study on the effects of CBD oil for scarred skin
2019 study on the role of cannabinoids for skin
CBD for psoriasis
2019 study on the use of topical CBD for psoriasis and atopic dermatitis
2016 study on the use of cannabis-based medicine against psoriasis
2007 study on the effects of CBD on overactive skin cell production
CBD for pain, itching, and irritation
2018 review of research on cannabinoids and pain
2012 study on the effects of CBD for pain management (inflammatory and neuropathic)
2017 review of the effects of cannabis on pain
2017 review of studies on the role of cannabinoids for skin disorders (notably itching)
CBD for mental health
2018 study on the effects of CBD against depression on mice
2014 study on the antidepressant effects of CBD
2019 study on CBD for anxiety and sleep
2018 review of the effects of CBD on physical and mental health conditions
2017 review of the effects of CBD on panic attacks and panic disorder
CBDfx are well-known for their topical products, which are gentle, natural, and very pleasantly scented. This particular balm is rich in essential oils and other plant extracts: lavender, chamomile, geranium, vetiver, rosemary, and even tea tree oil. These ingredients give it a calming scent which is instantly soothing, perfect if you are a fan of aromatherapy!
As well as smelling good, this product is well dosed, with 750mg of CBD in a whole stick. This is a relatively high potency which means it could relieve strong pain and inflammation. Because it’s a relatively thick, lipbalm-like formula, a little goes a long way.
So if you’re looking to buy CBD topical online you can keep on hand to relieve sore muscles, aching joints, or any other kind of pain, we think it’s ideal. And because its stick format is remarkably compact, it’s the perfect product to slip in your purse of backpack before you leave the house.
- Broad spectrum CBD extract
- All-natural formulation
- Practical stick format
- Great value for money
- Relatively dense texture which could be hard to spread
- Comes in plastic packaging
If you’re looking for a topical CBD product that has a high potency while feeling very indulgent, this Endoca CBD is a perfect option. Made with whipped cocoa, shea, and coconut butter, this cream has a lovely smooth consistency that applies like a dream. The moisturizing ingredients it contains also makes it perfect for anyone with dry skin, as it’s sure to make it smoother and softer.
Aside from the texture, we like the fact that this cream is made with organic, GMO-free, third-party tested CBD extract. And with 1,500mg in the whole tub, it’s definitely a strong product that will be enough to relieve severe pain, inflammation, cramps, or irritation. Considering its strength and the quality of the ingredients used, it’s also very affordable to buy CBD product online.
Its price per milligram of CBD is just over 5 cents per milligram, which is actually unusual for such a high quality product. Overall, we highly recommend this whipped body butter to anyone needing a stronger product.
- High-quality, broad spectrum CBD extract
- Very high potency
- Very moisturizing
- All-natural list of ingredients
- Comes in a dark glass container
- Not a very portable format
- Relatively sweet scent of vanilla and cocoa butter
If you’re looking for a small topical CBD product for first time use, we think this Elixinol hemp balm is a great option. Although it’s a small product (roughly the size of a bottle of hand cream), it showcases the benefits of Elixinol’s tropical products.
For one, it’s made with a very high quality full spectrum CBD extract that’s particularly high in cannabinoids and terpenes. Other ingredients in this product are also completely natural, and include interesting botanical extracts like ucuuba butter, blue malllee eucalyptus, and soothing calendula flower extract.
The texture of this balm is one the creamier side, making it easy to apply even on larger patches of skin. Made with grapeseed oil and organic sunflower seed oil, it’s a moisturizing product that will also keep your skin soft and supple.
So whether you’re looking for a portable CBD product online to keep in your purse to relieve pain, or just a very affordable trial size CBD product, it’s a wonderful option. Keep in mind that this product is also available in higher potencies of 250 or 500mg of CBD if you’d like a stronger option.
- Full spectrum CBD extract
- All-natural ingredients
- Pleasant creamy texture
- Full of essential oils
- Different potencies available
- Shipping times could be relatively slow
If you’re looking for a topical CBD product that targets pain specifically, this MedTerra cream is a great option. It contains 500mg of CBD, a relatively high dose which is ideal for those with joint pain, muscle cramps, and other moderate to severe pain conditions.
As well as being high in CBD, this cream also contains arnica and menthol extracts, both of which have been shown to have instant pain-relieving properties when applied to the skin.
In terms of ingredients, this cream has a gentle formulation that’s well-suited for most skin types. Because its main ingredients is aloe vera, it has more of a gel-like consistency and absorbs very rapidly into the skin. This cream doesn’t leave a greasy or oily residue on the skin, making it ideal for those who need to reapply multiple times throughout the day.
Finally, its metal pump bottle format makes it very long lasting and hygienic—it’s a CBD product online that can easily last you over a year!
- THC-free CBD extract
- All-natural ingredients
- Contains pain-relieving arnica and menthol
- Contains alcohol
- Doesn’ther cannabinoids or terpenes
Fabuleaf is a CBD company that’s well known for making very simple yet effective products. They don’t have a ton of products on offer, and those they have tend to be very basic. This is the case with this CBD cream, which only contains hydrating ingredients (shea butter, coconut oil), pain-relieving ingredients (arnica, CBD, menthol), and a few essential oils (lavender and rosemary).
Though it’s simple, we’re big fans of this product because it offers fast pain relief (mainly due to the cooling effect of menthol) and because it’s completely natural.
In terms of texture, expect a relatively dense cream that feels thick at first, but becomes more fluid when you warm it up between your hands. Because it contains 500mg of CBD in a relatively small tub (1oz), it’s a strong product that’s well suited for relieving various kinds of pain.
And considering the quality of CBD used (organic, GMO-free, flower-only), we think its price tag is also very reasonable. All in all, it’s a great product we highly recommend to those who believe less is more.
- Full spectrum CBD extract
- Very simple formulation
- Cooling effect thanks to menthol
- Vegan and cruelty free
- Essential oils could be sensitizing for some skins
- Coms in a clear container (keep away from direct sunlight)