In ECHO’s continued effort to raise awareness about psoriasis throughout Psoriasis Awareness Month, today we investigate how cannabidiol (CBD) topicals may be beneficial for treating the immune-mediated skin disease.
CBD is one of the over 85 so far identified natural cannabinoids found in the stalks, seeds, and flowers of cannabis plants like hemp. While additional research on CBD is still needed, evidence from studies so far suggest that the compound may be beneficial for managing and sometimes treating certain conditions and symptoms. Among these findings are that CBD contains properties that make it a promising therapeutic agent for treating psoriasis.
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes raised, red, and scaly patches to appear on the skin. Over activity in the immune system prompts skin cells to multiply up to 10 times faster than normal, causing a large volume of underlying cells to reach the skin’s surface and die.
Mild psoriasis is typically treated with topical treatments, while moderate to severe cases can require a combination of topical strategies with phototherapy or other medications.
What are CBD Topicals?
CBD topicals are creams, salves, oils, and balms that are infused with CBD oil. Rather than being taken by mouth like other CBD products, CBD topicals are applied directly to the skin. This allows the cream’s active compounds to penetrate and be absorbed into the skin for targeted treatment. The active cannabinoids in topicals don’t ever reach the bloodstream, but are able to reach directly where they’re needed most.
CBD topicals can be rubbed onto the area where red, scaly patches appear. You can learn more about the benefits of topical CBD products here.
What Does the Research Say About CBD and Psoriasis?
CBD has demonstrated in studies to possess properties that may be beneficial for treating psoriasis. CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, a signaling network responsible for regulating many of our functions and keeping them in balance. One of the functions the endocannabinoid system is tasked with regulating is our immune system.
By interacting with the endocannabinoid system’s receptors, CBD may stimulate the endocannabinoid system and help it modulate the over activity in the immune system that causes psoriasis. Early clinical trial data found that cannabinoids interact with the cannabinoid 2 receptors (CB2) of the endocannabinoid system, which in turn helped prevent psoriasis flare-ups. In another study, CBD effectively inhibited the rapid keratinocyte proliferation caused by psoriasis. These effects were concentration-dependent, meaning the higher the concentration of CBD, the more effective the compound served as a treatment agent.
Studies have shown that CBD elicits an anti-inflammatory response to reduce the red, flaky patches associated with psoriasis. Earlier this year, a research review found evidence that cannabinoids applied topically are effective against psoriasis and other skin conditions.
The full-spectrum CBD oil found in topicals also contain an array of other essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fatty acids, to encourage skin health. Hemp oil contains vitamins A and D for skin repair, and vitamins C and E to protect the skin against damage.
You can even learn even more about the research investigating the efficacy of cannabinoids for psoriasis here, or by visiting our education page.
Where Can You Get CBD Topicals?
CBD topicals are legal under federal law, with consideration to the CBD’s source. CBD oil derived from imported hemp is legal to purchase, import and consume under federal law, although some states have regulated CBD and/or hemp. CBD hemp oil topicals are available in most major markets.
Federal law does regulate CBD topicals infused with CBD oil that’s been extracted from marijuana, which is listed on the United States Controlled Substances Act. You can learn more about the legal status of CBD here.