CBD for Psoriasis | NEW Info + Studies

Combating this skin condition with nature
MarijuanaBreak Staff MarijuanaBreak Staff / Updated on March 17, 2019

cbd for psoriasis

According to research doctors J.D. Wilkinson and E.M. Williamson in an article published for the Journal of Dermatological Science, cannabinoids like CBD can inhibit keratinocyte proliferation, which is a central contributing factor to chronic skin conditions like psoriasis.

| “Research has shown that cannabinoids like CBD can inhibit skin keratinocyte proliferation – one of the key factors contributing to psoriasis.”

Clinical investigations thus far have been limited (and there are yet to be any adopted protocols for treating psoriasis with CBD), but some individuals are already using cannabis-infused topicals in an effort to reduce symptomatic flare-ups, many of which have experienced positive results.

In this article, we take an in-depth look at what psoriasis is, how it works, and how the functions of CBD (and other cannabis-based compounds) may work to inhibit the hyperactive skin proliferation that leads to psoriatic flare-ups.

CBD, Psoriasis, and What you Need to Know

From a clinical perspective, psoriasis remains one of the trickier non-communicable autoimmune diseases to try and define. This is due in part to the number of different ways it can manifest itself in the individual, and also to the fact that there’s no known autoantigen that triggers it.

However, research has pointed to several different key factors in regard to the disease’s onset, manifestation, and subsequent medical complications:

  • It is an autoimmune response of T-cells in the epidermal layer wherein healthy skin cells are attacked and replenished at a faster rate than normal
  • It causes inflammation in epidermal blood vessels which result in pain, swelling, and localized skin irritation
  • It has a strong genetic component
  • It is triggered by specific environmental stimuli

While there are plenty of conventional treatment methods out there ranging from topical creams to prescription medications, patients have historically been wary of these options due to their ineffectiveness, their prohibitive costs, and/or their potentially dangerous side effects.

Thus, CBD oil for psoriasis has been emerging as a potentially viable treatment option based on its anti-inflammatory properties, its role as an autoimmune regulator, and its influence on whole-body homeostasis. And additionally, while specific research on CBD for psoriasis has been limited, results of several studies that have been done have been more than promising, with one, in particular, showcasing a definitive role of the endocannabinoid system in regulating cutaneous (skin) cell growth and differentiation.

| “Can CBD help treat psoriasis? Initial scientific data is promising, to say the least…”

So while CBD oil for psoriasis likely won’t be first on your physician’s list of treatment options, it is (and has been for some time) proving to be more than worthy of serious consideration for suffering individuals.

Psoriasis: What is it, What causes it, and Who’s at risk

As we mentioned in the intro, psoriasis is a non-communicable (non-contagious) disease of the immune system wherein T-cells attack healthy skin cells at an abnormal rate. Instead of the normal 28-30 days, new cells are produced every 2-4 days, resulting in a buildup of dead skin tissue due to the epidermis’ inability to shed old skin cells faster than new ones are produced. And though genetics have shown to play an important role in the onset of psoriasis, the exact autoantigen that triggers the T-cell attack on healthy tissue remains unknown.

What’s certain is that, depending on the severity of the condition, the physiological pathways of psoriasis can cause an array of other medical conditions, including psoriatic arthritis (which affects upwards of 40% of victims and can result in the permanent disfiguring of joints), and severe localized pain due to inflammation of the epidermal blood vessels. Not to mention, clinical depression has been shown to be more than 50% more prevalent among those suffering from psoriasis.

| “The effects of psoriasis can lead to a range of conditions including pain, inflammation, and depression … CBD may act as a natural therapy to reduce the onset of [these] symptoms.”

Regarding those at risk, we’ve already mentioned that genetics has been shown to play a key factor in the onset of the disease. One study, in particular, managed to isolate symptomatic psoriasis to seven specific gene locations, though the exact association of gene activity with the onset of the disease remains complicated due to heterogeneity among the individuals studied.

And lastly, certain environmental factors have also shown to increase the onset and severity of psoriasis, including obesity, smoking, cold weather, and stress.

Psoriasis Treatment

Conventional Psoriasis Treatment Methods (Not Related to CBD)

Generally speaking, conventional psoriasis treatment methods are limited to three different approaches:

  • Topical creams and ointments
  • Phototherapy (exposure to light)
  • Prescription medications

Topical creams are generally the first-choice recommendations in cases of mild psoriasis. These include products like corticosteroids, retinoids, and Vitamin D replicators. While moderately effective, they are typically designed to alleviate sporadic flare-ups and localized symptoms of itching, burning, and general skin irritation.

DID YOU KNOW: Factors such as stress, obesity, smoking, and even cold weather can lead to psoriasis flare-ups?

Phototherapy has also been a proven treatment method, with exposure to either natural or artificial UV light having been shown to “slow skin cell turnover” and reduce scaling (which is the accumulation of dead tissue buildup).

Lastly, prescription medications are the only form of conventional treatment designed to specifically target the underlying physiological pathways of psoriasis, though success has been largely hit or miss with these drugs. Some of the most routinely prescribed medications include drugs like:

  • Methotrexate (a common chemotherapy drug)
  • Cyclosporin
  • Adalimumab (Humira)

Not only can these medications be extremely cost prohibitive, they’ve also been documented to pose increased risks of infections (including cancer), as well as increased instances of kidney problems and high blood pressure.

Likewise, biologics such as Humira (and other drugs that alter the immune system), are particularly dangerous as they work by decreasing immune activity, thereby exposing the patient to potentially life-threatening infections.

CBD for Psoriasis: General Medical Implications and Patient Evidence

Given the condition of psoriasis as an autoimmune and inflammation-inducing disease, it would make sense that CBD would act as a “rubber-and-road” treatment option considering its well-documented roles as both an anti-inflammatory drug and an immune-modulator.

One study, in particular, has shown the role of cannabinoids (CBD) in suppressing both inflammatory cytokines and angiogenic growth factors (two of the key constituents involved in the symptomatic onset of psoriasis) within epithelial layers.

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) has also described the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a 100% innate network of cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors inside the human body, as perhaps “the most important physiologic system involved in establishing and maintaining human health” due to its role as a regulator of homeostasis. (Homeostasis of course being the body’s ability to respond to harmful stimuli).

Intriguingly enough, publications have also pointed to the existence of a functional ECS within the skin layers responsible for onset psoriasis, identifying the ability of cannabinoid receptors within these layers to “control the proper and well-balanced proliferation, differentiation, [and] immune competence and/or tolerance of skin cells.”

Pretty compelling stuff, to say the least.

| “Conventional psoriasis drugs like Humira boast a long list of severe side effects – could CBD be the safe, all-natural therapy that millions of sufferers are looking for?”

And of course, all of this is supplemental to the fact that many psoriasis sufferers (however anecdotal their cases may be) are already finding reliable, effective relief in the form of CBD oil, and have been for years.

CBD for Psoriasis: What the studies have shown

We’ve already briefly gone over two of the key publications pointing to CBD as a potential treatment option for psoriasis, with one showcasing the presence of a functional endocannabinoid system within skin cell layers, and another pinpointing the role of cannabinoids as anti-inflammatory agents within the specific psoriatic pathway.

Another recent study has pointed CBD’s inhibitory effects on the proliferation of “epidermal keratinocyte differentiation” – in other words, the inhibition of uncontrolled skin cell reproduction.

As did the previously mentioned study, this publication has verified the presence of cannabinoid receptors within human skin layers, and also has verified the presence of anandamide in the skin, which is a cannabinoid receptor ligand that has been shown to inhibit epidermal (skin) cell differentiation.

Studies like this one (and the other two previously mentioned) have effectively showcased CBD’s potential to influence, manipulate, and ultimately correct both the underlying conditions of psoriasis and the onslaught of symptoms and medical side effects brought on by its characteristic pathways.

Lastly, one more thing of note, we mentioned earlier about the dangerous prevalence of clinical depression among victims of psoriasis; compared to the average population, they’re over 50% more likely to display characteristics of the mental illness. In light of that overwhelming statistic, it’s important to mention the well-documented therapeutic benefits of cannabis – in particular CBD – on emotional and psychological conditions such as depression.

| “Research has shown CBD’s potential to influence the underlying conditions of psoriasis — as well as the onslaught of symptoms brought on by its characteristic pathways.”

Finally, it’s imperative to mention that unlike THC, CBD will not get you high. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, meaning it’s the ingredient responsible for disrupting people’s mental and motor processes. CBD, on the other hand, contains zero of these psychoactive properties; it displays all of the medicinal benefits of cannabis, without the mind-altering side effects.

The Bottom Line: CBD Oil for Psoriasis

In light of the research discussed, it’s clear that the speculation for CBD to be a viable medical treatment option for psoriasis has more than distinguishable merits. On the condition of its underlying medical bases, the cannabinoid compound works to suppress both the inflammation-inducing agents and the skin cell proliferation pathways consistent with the disease. Moreover, it acts as a more than capable therapeutic factor in the treatment of onset symptoms, specifically with regard to its roles in pain and depression management.

If you’ve been considering CBD oil for psoriasis as a treatment for your own condition, it certainly is an option worth considering. As is always the case, though, it’s important to do your own research and if possible, to speak with a medical professional about some specific tinctures and application methods that can be suited to your unique condition.

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123 comments
  1. Ashley
    Have noticed substantial benefit

    I’ll have to admit I had low expectations for this but it’s worked surprisingly well. Using a good 600mg cream and have noticed an obvious benefit

  2. Natasha Matthews
    Brand or concentration?

    I was using CBD from Elixinol for some rashes on my shoulder, and it was working. But now the efficacy seems to be reduced. Do I need to increase the concentration of the layer I apply, or should I change the brand?

  3. Sarah
    I'd recommend the premium Jane topical

    I have tried now I think four different creams and lotions. The only one that did anything at all was a premium Jane moisturizer but I occluded with this and another moisturizer so it is hard to say which one was actually being the most effective. I will continue to use though because the results really were incredible. I would recommend

  4. Arlene
    Psoriasis of the scalp

    Newbie….what’s the difference between oil and oil tincture? And which is better? My daughter has psoriasis on the scalp. For this condition would you ingest it or put it on your scalp?

  5. Olivia
    Helped me a lot!

    Really helped me to read this, looking forward to using it!

    1. Eva
      Get a balm or topical

      I think the balms are good for skin irritation. The topicals are good for local pain. Am I wrong?

  6. Jenny Hankinson
    Going to use this!

    Going to use this and get some next week!

  7. Ruth Seal
    How much to take?

    Shy don’t these article on studies done, ever show the dose that the people took?
    That is sooooo important for anyone who wants to try it.
    Typically they would buy the lowest price product and it would not work at all.
    We have to Know the dose.
    As I understand it the MG. on the label indicates the total amount in that bottle.
    Therefore we need to know which bottle to buy & how much in the dropper should we take.
    Explain – please.

    1. Jeffrey
      A good kinesiologist can help

      I have a kinesiologist muscle test for me and then she can tell me what dosage and what level.

    2. Janice B.
      Dosing?

      Ruth Seal – Indeed!! We NEED to have more information regarding DOSAGE. I’ve tried a couple of CBD oil brands for my psoriasis, and the recommended dose for each of them was a full dropper under the tongue, between 1 – 3 times per day. A full dropper is 1millileter. So far, those are the best dosing instructions I’ve seen.

    3. Reysi T
      It's alternative

      I don’t think you are going to find many studies on this stuff as it is not FDA approved. It’s a matter of trial and error. Normally for skin problems a topical or balm would be best

  8. Mary K Jones
    Didn't work for me

    I’ve tried using a few different creams but unfortunately I haven’t yet found one that works. I must say thought that these CBD creams do help with sore hands. Helped me get through the winter

    1. Jack Riley
      Be realistic

      People always think that CBD is the miracle cure. It won’t cure many conditions but it does help with different symptoms, which in most cases is good enough.

      1. Alma K
        Pain and Anxiety

        I use it for pain and anxiety. Works well

  9. Francis
    Good information

    Really awesome informative article here, thank you guys for taking the time and putting some thought into this

    1. Nancy O
      Agree

      !

  10. Glen
    Amazing...

    I was not aware that CBD oil was prescribed anywhere but wow that is so incredible to hear that it has cleared up psoriasis outbreaks for some folks. I am a full believer in its healing properties having been using it for the past year for sleep and stress, but I do believe that its potential goes well beyond that. Very great to hear it and stay healthy all 🙂

  11. Denyse S
    Cleared my hand psoriasis!

    I’ve had had psoriasis on my hands for the past 5 years. I was prescribed CBD oil (ingest under the tongue) by my Internist in early Dec. 2018 for pain in my leg but surprisingly, I noticed my hands starting clearing and by New Years day they were totally clear. It’s been 5 weeks now and my hands are still clear without using my medicated cream. I would highly recommend trying CBD oil. The only draw back is the cost and it’s not covered by medical insurance.

    1. tj
      CBD tincture

      Please share what brand you used! My hands are completely covered and I can’t do anything with them . Ty! 🌱

    2. Megan
      Dosage

      How much are you taking?

      1. Katrin Fruehauf
        2 Drops

        I also had the almost same situation, and I am using Purekana full spectrum Hemp balm, I rub on my entire hands every night.

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