Can CBD Relieve Psoriasis Symptoms? Here’s What Doctors Are Saying
There’s a lot more to learn about the potential health benefits of CBD oil, so make sure to consult your dermatologist.
With all of the headlines pointing to the healing powers of cannabidiol (CBD)—one of more than 80 chemical compounds in the cannabis plant—it’s natural to wonder: Can using CBD oil help relieve psoriasis symptoms?
The reviews are mixed. While there’s anecdotal evidence that CBD oil, with its far-ranging anti-inflammatory properties, can help treat this autoimmune disease affecting some 7.5 million Americans, studies to date remain inconclusive.
This isn’t to say that CBD oil shouldn’t be considered as an additional treatment option for psoriasis patients who experience plaque psoriasis—which causes dry, raised, and red skin lesions (or plaques) covered with silvery scales on body areas such as the back of the elbows, over the kneecaps, and on the lower back.
In fact, the preliminary science investigating the ways that CBD, the non-psychoactive part of the marijuana plant, can help treat eczema and psoriasis shows some promise, says Jordan Tishler, MD, a physician and cannabis expert in Boston.
“However, while these studies are generally encouraging, they’re nowhere near conclusive,” Dr. Tishler tells Health.
What we need to learn about how CBD might work
Although clinical research connecting the health benefits of CBD oil to cannabis is slow to materialize, there’s still a lot of patient-driven interest in whether CBD, which can be used as an oil, balm, cream, or salve, can help treat psoriasis.
Some studies have been encouraging, including one study conducted in 2007, which found that cannabinoids, including CBD, slowed down the growth and division of skin cells involved in psoriatic skin rashes.
“We know that cannabinoids like CBD can reduce inflammation and pain,” David Casarett, MD, chief of palliative care at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, tells Health. “Again, what we’re seeing right now is that most of the evidence is circumstantial but promising.”
Another very small study of psoriasis patients conducted in 2019 is equally compelling. The study was led by researchers in Italy and showed that applying topical CBD-enriched ointment on psoriatic skin did help to reduce psoriasis symptoms.
In the study, five psoriasis patients applied CBD ointment to those areas of their skin affected by psoriasis twice a day for three months. After that time, researchers concluded that the ointment was not only safe and effective but it improved the quality of life for psoriasis patients.
How CBD might improve daily life
In addition to helping to treat skin itching and irritation, CBD may also help psoriasis patients control pain and reduce inflammation.
That’s why Hervé Damas, MD, a physician at Grassroots Medicine and Wellness, a cannabis medical practice in Miami, says he uses CBD—which has few side effects and is considered safe overall—as a part of the psoriasis treatment plans he recommends for his patients.
“For dermatological issues such as psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema, I’ve found CBD to be very effective at decreasing the flare-ups, irritation, and discomfort my patients experience,” he tells Health. “Depending on the severity of the disease, I will use either topical creams or a combination of topical and systemic treatments.”
However, other experts aren’t convinced that CBD oil is as effective as current therapies, which include topical steroid creams and ointments, topical vitamin D creams, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory creams, and ultraviolet light therapy. In addition, psoriasis patients may also take immunosuppressant medications, like cyclosporine and methotrexate, and newer biologic medications to treat their symptoms.
“The effects of cannabis are relatively weak compared to topical steroids like hydrocortisone,” says Dr. Tishler. “In short, at this time I would not recommend any topical cannabis or CBD products to treat a serious illness like psoriasis.”
In the end, since the exact nature of how CBD works to help treat psoriasis remains unknown and psoriasis is a serious skin condition, consider this our best advice: Until more studies are done on CBD and psoriasis, be sure to speak with your dermatologist to plan a treatment course that’s right for you.
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People are using cannabidiol, aka CBD or CBD oil, for psoriasis pain, inflammation, and more. Here’s what doctors are saying about this treatment.
I hid my psoriasis under make-up for six years – but CBD cannabis oil cured it in weeks
- 12 Jun 2019, 14:02
- Updated : 12 Jun 2019, 16:38
A SALES manager claims CBD oil has cleared her psoriasis in just a few weeks – and has shared incredible before and after pictures to prove it.
Sarah Kerr, 23, from Littleborough, near Rochdale, has been battling the skin condition – which causes red, itchy patches of skin to flake away – for six years.
Sarah hated her skin, which people would mistake for burns, and would slap on foundation to hide the red marks. But make-up only made it worse.
She told Fabulous Digital: “It doesn’t look nice, I was always worried about wearing short sleeved tops because people always say ‘oh have you burned yours arms?’
“It gets worse with stress and I have a stressful job, so I’d have bad flare-ups.
“At its worst, it covered about 15 per cent of my body. I had it down both sides of my nose, marks down the side of my face, my neck and my ears as well.
- Pure Hemp CBD Oil, 1 CBD.uk, from £9.99 – buy here
“I would always wear make-up to cover it, but that just made it worse.
“It just kept spreading. I tried creams prescribed by doctors and natural remedies like coconut oil – but nothing ever worked.
“That was when I literally felt like I would try anything.”
Sarah started using cannabis oil by 1CBD in December and was amazed by the effect it had on her skin.
She said: “I noticed a difference within a month. I just pop one drop on my tongue and rinse it down with water.
“It took about four months to clear completely because it was bad at the time. But it’s properly healed now, especially on my elbows.
“I’ve never had normal elbows and now I can see normal skin coming through – so it really works.”
Sarah also credits the CBD oil with curing her anxiety, which was once so bad doctors banned her from using her car.
What are the benefits of CBD oil?
- Cannabidiol is one of hundreds of cannabinoids that are extracted from hemp plants, mixed with oil.
- It has no psychoactive properties and some forms of it recently became legal here in Britain.
- Reported benefits include pain relief, relieving anxiety and depression, and anti-inflammatory properties – which could help combat skin problems like acne.
- In Sarah’s case, her psoriasis is stress-related, meaning the calming effect she’s felt has probably contributed to clearing her skin.
- Dr Nick Knight said: “There are many reported benefits of CBD oil. These include reducing anxiety, alleviating pain, reducing nausea, improving quality of life in those with chronic fatigue syndrome and helping to control rarer forms of childhood epilepsy.
- “The fly in the ointment to all these is that they are all yet to accrue enough rigorous clinical evidence.”
- So more tests are needed before these benefits become facts in the eyes of the NHS.
She said: “Last year I started getting stress induced seizures, the doctors stopped me from driving and everything.
“I had panic attacks, paranoia, I was constantly crying, it was all stress induced.
“After two weeks of using CBD oil, I could notice a difference in myself. I now have no anxiety whatsoever, it’s literally been a Godsend.
“I take one drop every other day now and I really notice a difference when I forget to take it.
“I’ve finally got my confidence back. I do worry about my anxiety coming back, but it’s been amazing.
“It’s had a really positive effect on my life in general.”
Sarah’s boyfriend Chris Fielding, a personal trainer, also uses the oil to aid recovery after the gym.
I hid my psoriasis under make-up for six years – but CBD cannabis oil cured it in weeks 12 Jun 2019, 14:02 Updated : 12 Jun 2019, 16:38 A SALES manager claims CBD oil has cleared