CBD for Psoriasis: A Comprehensive Guide

CBD for Psoriasis: A Comprehensive Guide

Studies suggest that CBD could be advantageous for individuals suffering from psoriasis, owing to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant characteristics. A 2020 analysis indicates that the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD could be useful in addressing skin disorders like psoriasis.

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin condition characterised by the rapid build up of skin cells, leading to the formation of thick, red, and scaly patches. This condition affects millions of people worldwide, and while there is no known cure, various treatment options aim to manage its symptoms and improve patients' quality of life. In recent years, there has been growing interest in the use of cannabidiol (CBD) as a potential therapeutic agent for psoriasis. This article delves into the science behind CBD, its mechanisms of action, and its potential benefits in the management of psoriasis.

Understanding Psoriasis

Before we delve into the potential benefits of CBD for psoriasis, let's first understand the basics of this skin condition.

Psoriasis Overview

  1. Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the skin and sometimes the joints. It occurs when the immune system mistakenly targets healthy skin cells, causing them to multiply rapidly. This rapid turnover of skin cells results in the formation of raised, red, and scaly patches, often accompanied by itching and discomfort.

Types of Psoriasis

  1. There are several types of psoriasis, including plaque psoriasis (the most common form), guttate psoriasis, pustular psoriasis, and erythrodermic psoriasis. Each type has its unique characteristics and severity levels.

Triggers and Risk Factors

  1. While the exact cause of psoriasis remains unknown, various genetic and environmental factors contribute to its development. Common triggers include stress, infections, injuries to the skin, and certain medications.

Conventional Treatments

  1. Current treatments for psoriasis aim to manage symptoms, reduce inflammation, and slow down skin cell turnover. These treatments may include topical creams, phototherapy, oral medications, and biologic drugs. However, they often come with side effects and varying degrees of effectiveness.


CBD for Psoriasis: An Overview

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring compound found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another prominent cannabinoid, CBD does not produce the psychoactive effects associated with marijuana use. CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex network of receptors and neurotransmitters that play a crucial role in regulating various physiological processes.

The Endocannabinoid System

  1. The ECS is involved in maintaining homeostasis within the body, including functions like pain perception, immune response, mood regulation, and skin health. It consists of three main components: endocannabinoids, receptors (CB1 and CB2), and enzymes responsible for synthesising and breaking down endocannabinoids.
  2. CBD and the ECS
  3. CBD interacts with the ECS by indirectly influencing CB1 and CB2 receptors. It does not bind directly to these receptors but modulates their activity, leading to a wide range of potential therapeutic effects.
  4. Non-Psychoactive Nature
  5. One of CBD's significant advantages is its non-psychoactive nature. This means it does not produce the "high" associated with THC, making it a safe and attractive option for various medical applications.


CBD and Inflammation

Psoriasis is primarily characterised by chronic inflammation in the skin. CBD has garnered attention for its potential anti-inflammatory properties, which may hold promise for managing psoriasis symptoms.

  1. Anti-Inflammatory Mechanisms
  2. CBD's anti-inflammatory effects are believed to result from its ability to interact with various receptors and signalling pathways in the body. It can modulate the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and inhibit the activation of immune cells, reducing inflammation.
  3. Studies on CBD and Inflammation
  4. While more research is needed, some studies have explored CBD's potential as an anti-inflammatory agent. In animal models, CBD has shown promise in reducing inflammation in conditions like arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.


CBD and Psoriasis: Potential Benefits

Consuming CBD has a number of advantages for the health of the skin. It works well for disorders including acne, eczema, and psoriasis because of its anti-inflammatory qualities, which help reduce redness, inflammation, and irritation. Additionally, CBD possesses anti-oxidant qualities that fight free radicals and shield the skin from environmental harm including pollution and UV rays.

Furthermore, CBD works with the skin's endocannabinoid receptors to control oil production and support a healthy complexion. By bolstering the skin barrier and halting moisture loss, it can also aid in bettering skin hydration. Finally, CBD use supports general skin health by calming and nourishing the skin, giving it a fresh, radiant, and rejuvenated appearance.

The use of CBD for psoriasis is still in its early stages of investigation. However, several potential benefits and mechanisms of action have been proposed.

  1. Reducing Inflammation
  2. As mentioned earlier, CBD's anti-inflammatory properties may help mitigate the chronic inflammation associated with psoriasis. By modulating the immune response and cytokine production, CBD may help alleviate redness, swelling, and discomfort.
  3. Pain Relief
  4. Many individuals with psoriasis experience pain and discomfort due to inflamed and itchy skin. CBD's ability to interact with pain receptors in the ECS suggests it may offer relief from these symptoms.
  5. Skin Cell Proliferation
  6. CBD may influence the abnormal skin cell proliferation seen in psoriasis. Some studies suggest that CBD could slow down the growth of skin cells, helping to prevent the formation of thick patches.
  7. Managing Stress and Anxiety
  8. Stress is a known trigger for psoriasis flare-ups, and anxiety can worsen the condition's symptoms. CBD has shown promise in reducing stress and anxiety levels, which may indirectly benefit psoriasis management.
  9. Enhancing Skin Health
  10. CBD's potential antioxidant properties could help protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals. Additionally, its moisturising properties may promote overall skin health.
  11. Potential Immune Modulation
  12. While not fully understood, CBD's interaction with the ECS may influence the immune system's response, which plays a critical role in psoriasis development.

CBD Benefits Psoriasis


Research on CBD and Psoriasis

It's important to note that while some preclinical and anecdotal evidence suggests potential benefits of CBD for psoriasis, more rigorous scientific research is needed to confirm these effects.

  1. Preclinical Studies
  2. Several preclinical studies involving animal models and in vitro experiments have provided insights into CBD's potential anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects. These findings form the basis for further investigation.
  3. Clinical Trials
  4. Clinical trials are essential to determine the safety and efficacy of CBD for psoriasis in humans. As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, there were limited clinical trials specifically focused on CBD for psoriasis. However, ongoing research may have produced new findings.
  5. Patient Experiences
  6. Many individuals with psoriasis have reported using CBD products, such as creams, oils, or tinctures, to manage their symptoms. While these anecdotal accounts are valuable, they do not substitute for controlled clinical studies.

Using CBD for Psoriasis: Practical Considerations

If you or someone you know is considering using CBD for psoriasis, it's essential to approach it with caution and under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Here are some practical considerations:

  1. Consult Your Doctor
  2. Before incorporating CBD into your psoriasis management plan, consult with a healthcare provider, preferably one familiar with cannabis-based therapies. They can provide personalised guidance based on your specific condition and medical history.
  3. Choose Quality Products
  4. The CBD market is saturated with products of varying quality. Look for reputable brands that provide third-party lab testing results to ensure the product's potency and purity.
  5. Start with Low Doses
  6. If your healthcare provider recommends trying CBD, start with a low dose and monitor how your body responds. Gradually increase the dosage if necessary.
  7. Monitor for Side Effects
  8. While CBD is generally well-tolerated, some individuals may experience side effects, such as dry mouth, dizziness, or changes in appetite. Be vigilant and report any adverse effects to your healthcare provider.
  9. Be Patient
  10. CBD's effects may not be immediate, and it may take time to notice improvements. Consistency in use is often key to experiencing the potential benefits.



The potential therapeutic use of CBD for psoriasis is an exciting area of research that holds promise for individuals living with this chronic skin condition. While preliminary findings and anecdotal reports suggest that CBD may help manage psoriasis symptoms by reducing inflammation, pain, and stress, further clinical research is needed to confirm these effects and determine optimal dosages and administration methods.

As our understanding of CBD and its interactions with the endocannabinoid system continues to evolve, it is essential to approach its use for psoriasis under the guidance of healthcare professionals. Psoriasis is a complex condition with various triggers and manifestations, and treatment approaches should be tailored to each individual's unique needs.

In the future, as more rigorous clinical trials are conducted and the scientific community gains a deeper understanding of CBD's potential in psoriasis management, we may see more targeted and effective treatments emerge, offering hope to those affected by this challenging skin condition. Until then, individuals considering CBD for psoriasis should approach it with a cautious and informed mindset, always prioritising their overall health and well-being.


Does CBD calm skin?

CBD is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help soothe irritated skin. However, its effectiveness can vary between individuals, and scientific research is still ongoing. Always consult a healthcare provider for personalised advice.

How to use CBD oil for psoriasis

CBD oil can typically be applied topically on affected areas, or taken orally. Topical application directly targets skin inflammation, while oral ingestion could potentially address systemic factors contributing to psoriasis.

  1. Topical Use: Apply a CBD-infused cream or oil onto the psoriasis-affected areas after cleaning them. Use as directed by the product or your healthcare provider.

  2. Oral Use: Place a few drops of CBD oil under your tongue, or add it to food or beverages. The dosage will depend on various factors like weight, metabolism, and severity of the condition.

  3. Dosage: Start with a low dose and monitor the effects. Gradually adjust based on your body's response.

  4. Safety: Choose a high-quality, third-party lab-tested CBD product to ensure purity and potency.

Always keep your healthcare provider informed about your usage and any changes in symptoms.

Bea Lyus

Bea Lyus is an experienced Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist. She is a member of the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT), the regulatory body for Nutritional Therapists and is registered by the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC).