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Psoriasis and CBD Oil: Relief That’s More Than Skin Deep

Psoriasis is a chronic disease stemming from a dysregulated immune system and it impacts over 8 million Americans. Treating skin conditions can be complicated, which is why an increasing number of people are using CBD oil for psoriasis treatment.

Tending to develop between the ages of 15-25, psoriasis can manifest in many different forms, making it not only a difficult condition to live with but a difficult one to diagnose and treat effectively.

And the worst part? Those with psoriasis are at a greater risk of developing conditions like diabetes, heart disease, lymphoma, and psoriatic arthritis. People with psoriasis are also twice as likely to experience depression due to the emotional—and physical—toll of dealing with the disease (chronic inflammation has been linked to depression).

Luckily, CBD oil may prove to be a profoundly effective solution for psoriasis sufferers.

Benefits of Using CBD Oil for Psoriasis

Treating any condition that impacts the skin can be difficult, as not only does skin respond differently from person to person, but topical applications affect only the external manifestations of the condition and do not necessarily provide a long term solution.

Treating psoriasis at the source by tackling underlying immune issues can be an expensive and complicated process, with courses of biologicals and other treatments potentially costing tens of thousands of dollars a year. Fortunately, CBD oil does not have the same incredibly high cost.

Furthermore, many of the current psoriasis treatments have unwelcome side effects. Even the fairly non-invasive phototherapy treatment can result in dryness, itching, blistering, and increased sun sensitivity. Cannabidiol (CBD) does not cause any of these same side effects.

Psoriasis Medication Possible Side Effects of Psoriasis Medication Benefits of Using CBD Oil for Psoriasis Possible Side Effects of Combining CBD Oil w/ Psoriasis Meds
Vitamin D Analogues (Dovonex) Skin irritation; redness; itchiness; dry or peeling skin; an increase in psoriasis symptoms CBD oil may be able to reduce dysregulated immune response to reduce inflammation and psoriasis symptoms CBD oil could slow the breakdown of Vitamin D; potentially leading to toxicity. Vit D and CBD should be used together with extreme caution.
Anthralin Skin irritation; temporary skin and nail discoloration; hair coloring; increase in photosensitivity CBD oil may be able to reduce a dysregulated immune response to reduce inflammation and psoriasis symptoms Currently there are no known interactions between CBD oil and Anthralin
Calcineurin inhibitors(Prograf & Elidel) Skin irritation; itching; burning CBD oil may be able to reduce a dysregulated immune response to reduce inflammation and psoriasis symptoms Currently there are no known interactions between CBD oil and Prograf
Retinoids (Soriatane) Lip inflammation; hair loss; birth defects (women are to avoid pregnancy for at least 3 months after taking) CBD oil may be able to reduce a dysregulated immune response to reduce inflammation and psoriasis symptoms Using CBD oil with retinoids could increase the risk for liver damage. Do not use this combination without talking to a physician first
Methotrexate (Rheumatrex) Upset stomach; loss of appetite; fatigue; liver damage; decreased production of red and white blood cells and platelets CBD oil may be able to reduce a dysregulated immune response to reduce inflammation and psoriasis symptoms Using CBD oil with methotrexate could increase the risk for liver damage and so this combination should not be used without talking to a physician
Cyclosporine (Gengraf & Neoral) Suppresses immune system leading to an increased risk of infection and certain cancers. May cause kidney problems and high blood pressure CBD oil can suppress an immune response without wiping out the entire system and producing the same potential side effects Using CBD oil with cyclosporine could increase the risk for liver damage and so this combination should not be used without talking to a physician
Biologics (Enbrel; Remicade; Humira; Stelara; Simponi; Otezla; Cosentyx; Taltz) Effects on the immune system lead to increased risk of serious infection. Patients taking these meds must be screened for tuberculosis CBD oil can suppress an immune response without wiping out the entire system and producing the same potential side effects Using CBD oil and Remicade can increase the risk of liver damage. Consult your physician before combining.  There are currently no known interactions between CBD oil and the other biologics listed

The side effects of traditional psoriasis medications can range from unpleasant to downright dangerous and given these factors, it is no wonder that so many people with psoriasis are looking for treatment alternatives.

Effectiveness of CBD Oil for Psoriasis

The human body contains natural compounds called endocannabinoids, which activate your endocannabinoid system (ECS). The endocannabinoid system impacts a range of bodily functions through activation of cannabinoid receptors located primarily in the brain and central nervous system. The main cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, are responsible for a variety of physiological processes including immune and inflammatory responses, mood regulation, and pain.

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Phytocannabinoids are plant-based cannabinoids but they are able to act on your body’s ECS in a similar way to your own endocannabinoids. Two of the most recognized cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), found in the cannabis plant.

While THC has its own potential benefits, it causes intoxication, making it less than ideal for regular therapeutic uses. CBD, on the other hand, can offer potential benefits and does not cause intoxication—in other words, CBD oil will not get you high.

Because cannabidiol works seamlessly with your endocannabinoid system, CBD oil has many potential uses in the treatment of psoriasis symptoms.

CBD Oil for Skin Inflammation and Psoriatic Arthritis

Not only does CBD oil help psoriatic conditions by reducing the visual signs of inflammation, it actually addresses the cause of inflammation.

CBD reduces the appearance of skin inflammation by influencing the CB1 and CB2 receptors which are located throughout the body and skin. The CB2 receptor in particular, which is targeted by CBD, has been shown to control inflammation by regulating the immune system.

Furthermore, CBD is able to combat inflammation by increasing the availability of the neurotransmitter adenosine. CBD oil affects the equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 (ENT1) which in turn slows the reuptake of adenosine, leading to higher levels of adenosine in the brain. The increased levels of adenosine then impact the adenosine receptors, particularly the A2A receptor, which further provides anti-inflammatory effects within the body.

For those suffering from psoriatic arthritis, CBD oil’s anti-inflammatory properties and impact on pain make it a treatment well worth considering. It’s also worth noting that CBD oil has been successful in helping people with rheumatoid arthritis, reducing chronic pain and inflammation by inhibiting the body’s autoimmune responses.

CBD Oil for Psoriasis Plaque

The skin plaque associated with psoriasis is caused by the high production of epidermal keratinocyte cells. Keratinocyte cells are usually replaced every 30 days, but in psoriasis sufferers the replacement cycle is every 3-5 days, leading to a layering of dead skin cells.

A study examining the effect of cannabinoids on keratinocyte production in psoriasis found that cannabinoids like CBD inhibited the production of keratinocytes, reducing the buildup of skin plaque. While research is still early, this promising result points to CBD oil’s ability to stop the flaky skin-related symptoms of psoriasis before they begin.

CBD Oil for Boosting the Immune System

When the immune system is not functioning well, it can result in chronic inflammation. In the case of psoriasis, a dysregulated immune system is linked to not only the inflammation of cells, but also to an overproduction of keratinocyte.

Cannabinoids are immunomodulators, meaning they help regulate and influence the way that the immune system functions. For this reason, research studies have shown that CBD may be a potentially effective treatment for a large number of autoimmune conditions, including psoriasis.

Chronic inflammation is the result of unchecked immune responses that cause the body to attack healthy cells and tissues. Cytokines, which are small proteins involved in the initiation of inflammation, are some of the main drivers of chronic inflammation. CBD can disrupt the production of cytokines released by the immune cells, ultimately calming an overactive immune system. By disrupting the immune response, CBD can prevent inflammation before it starts, potentially targeting the causes of autoimmune conditions like psoriasis at their true source.

CBD Oil for Depression

Psoriasis can take a real emotional toll and it is not unusual for psoriasis sufferers to experience depression.

Commonly prescribed depression treatment options typically include antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), including Lexapro, Prozac, and Zoloft. These pharmaceutical SSRIs work by reducing the amount of serotonin reabsorbed by the nerve cells, thus leaving more of it available in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of wellbeing, so having adequate amounts of it circulating in your system aids in managing depression.

CBD works in a similar way to SSRIs, activating the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor to increase serotonin levels. It also inhibits the reuptake of adenosine and anandamide neurotransmitters, both known to elevate mood.

Additionally, CBD oil does not carry the same side effects and withdrawal symptoms of traditional antidepressant medications. If psoriasis has you feeling depressed, and you’re not happy with the medications you’re currently using to manage your depression, CBD oil could be a gentler and still highly effective treatment alternative.

How to Use CBD Oil for Psoriasis

Before undertaking any new form of psoriasis treatment, speak to your doctor or dermatologist. While CBD oil poses very few risks, it can interact with some medications, so include your physician in the conversation to ensure you’re using CBD oil as safely and effectively as possible.

Once you have been cleared to use CBD oil, there are few decisions you’ll have to make. For starters, which CBD oil delivery format should you use to treat your psoriasis? Ultimately, the choice will come down to your needs and preferences, but for this particular condition, some products may be more effective than others.

To target specific areas of psoriasis on the body, use a CBD oil cream, gel, or salve. These CBD topicals can be applied directly to problem areas to reduce inflammation, moisturize, and calm dry or irritated skin. While it could take 30 minutes to an hour for effects to set in, the effects of a CBD oil lotion, gel, or salve typically last for hours, meaning you may only have to apply the topical once a day. The direct and long-lasting benefits of CBD topicals make them the preferred treatment option for many psoriasis sufferers.

Other options for treatment include capsules, liquid drops, tinctures, and edibles, all of which are easily ingested or worked into a daily routine. It is worth noting, however, that capsules and edibles must pass through the digestive system before the CBD will be absorbed into the bloodstream. This means that the experience of their effects can be delayed up to an hour depending on metabolism and how much food is already in your stomach. However, CBD capsules and edibles typically provide some of the longest lasting relief, yielding effects for around 4 to 6 hours.

CBD oil drops and tinctures are absorbed directly through the skin under the tongue, which means they work much faster than CBD edibles or capsules, typically within 30 minutes. What’s more, CBD oil drops and tinctures allow for better dosage control as you can easily take more or less as needed. The benefits of CBD oil drops and tinctures typically last 2 to 4 hours.

CBD vape oils are another option. Vaping CBD allows for it to be absorbed immediately through the lungs meaning it can be felt right away. But, these effects do not last long and are typically spent within an hour. Many people choose this option for quick relief of difficult symptoms. If you have psoriatic arthritis, for example, this may be an effective way to relieve the onset of sudden pain.

With so many CBD oil products available, it may be necessary to try a few before you find the right fit. You may also find that a combination of products is what works for you. CBD oil carries such a low-risk profile that there is no need to be afraid of getting creative. Again, when figuring out these solutions, keep your doctor informed so you can properly track any experiences you may be having.

Dosage of CBD Oil for Psoriasis

Psoriasis symptoms and severity will differ between individuals, so finding the right dosage may take some fine-tuning. There is no one dose that will work for everyone so finding a starting point can feel complicated.

It is recommended though, that you begin with the lowest serving suggested by your CBD oil product. From there, you can adjust up or down as needed.

If you can’t find a starting dosage, we at CBD Oil Review have analyzed hundreds of CBD products and come up with the following recommendation:

The CBD Oil Review Serving Standard is 25mg of CBD, taken twice daily

If you are not getting results from this amount, we recommend increasing the serving size by 25mg every 3-4 weeks until you find relief.

For more information on dosages and some useful tips for getting it right, check out our dosage guide here.

Best CBD Oil for Psoriasis

The best CBD oil products for your psoriasis will be the one that you feel comfortable using and the one that provides you with the best results. It will ultimately come down to your own personal preferences and needs.

For the best results, you’ll want to start by purchasing high-quality CBD oil; here are some tips to help you find the best CBD products for psoriasis:

  • Read the ingredients.  A quality CBD oil shouldn’t contain a whole lot of artificial ingredients and chemical additives. Try to find a product that contains CBD, a carrier oil like MCT oil or hemp seed oil, and terpenes or natural flavors like orange oil, mint oil, or cinnamon.
  • Check the THC content.  The CBD oil industry is not yet regulated. As such, some CBD oil products may contain more than what’s federally allowed in terms of THC content: 0.3% or less. This may be okay if you want THC and live in a state with legal access to recreational and medicinal cannabis; if you don’t, it’s a problem. Because of the lack of regulation in the space, it’s especially important for you to do your research before buying any CBD product.
  • Read the Certificates of Analysis (COAs).  Certificates of Analysis break down the contents of any given batch of a CBD product, telling you what exactly is in your CBD oil, and at what concentration. Reading the COA will also help you determine whether the product contains THC, or harmful additives like pesticides, heavy metals, or chemicals. If you come across a CBD company that doesn’t provide Certificates of Analysis, it’s time to shop elsewhere.
  • Shop organic.  Whenever possible, buy CBD oil that has been sourced from organically grown hemp. This will help eliminate some of the potential toxins that could make its way into the final product.

Finding the best CBD oil for treating psoriasis will take some experimentation and patience on your part. When you find relief from your symptoms though, you’ll be glad you took the time to research—and try—CBD for psoriasis.

+ 11 sources


  1. Giovanni Amodeo et al. Depression and Inflammation: Disentangling a Clear Yet Complex and Multifaceted Link - Neuropsychiatry Journal https://www.jneuropsychiatry.org/peer-review/depression-and-inflammation-disentangling-a-clear-yet-complex-and-multifaceted-link.html
  2. Sreemanti Basu et al. (2015) Unraveling the Complexities of Cannabinoid Receptor 2 (CB2) Immune Regulation in Health and Disease - National Center for Biotechnology Information https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4624216/
  3. M Mecha et al. (2013) Cannabidiol provides long-lasting protection against the deleterious effects of inflammation in a viral model of multiple sclerosis: a role for A2A receptors - National Library of Medicine https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23851307/
  4. Cristina Albanesi et al. (2018) The Interplay Between Keratinocytes and Immune Cells in the Pathogenesis of Psoriasis - National Center for Biotechnology Information https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6043636/
  5. Jonathan D. Wilkinson et al. (2007) Cannabinoids inhibit human keratinocyte proliferation through a non-CB1/CB2 mechanism and have a potential therapeutic value in the treatment of psoriasis - Elsevier Inc. https://www.jdsjournal.com/article/S0923-1811(06)00315-X/fulltext
  6. Farida Benhadou et al. (2018) Psoriasis: Keratinocytes or Immune Cells - Which Is the Trigger? - National Library of Medicine https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30566935/
  7. Slava Rom et al. (2014) Cannabinoid receptor 2: Potential role in immunomodulation and neuroinflammation Review - National Center for Biotechnology Information https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3663904/
  8. Prakash Nagarkatti et al. (2010) Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs - National Center for Biotechnology Information https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2828614/
  9. Raquel Linge et al. (2015) Cannabidiol induces rapid-acting antidepressant-like effects and enhances cortical 5-HT/glutamate neurotransmission: role of 5-HT1A receptors - National Library of Medicine https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26711860/
  10. M.Mecha et al. (2013) Cannabidiol provides long-lasting protection against the deleterious effects of inflammation in a viral model of multiple sclerosis: A role for A2A receptors - Elsevier B.V. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0969996113001939
  11. Dale G Deutsch A Personal Retrospective: Elevating Anandamide (AEA) by Targeting Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase (FAAH) and the Fatty Acid Binding Proteins (FABPs) - National Library of Medicine https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27790143/

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