CBD Oil For Psoriasis: Does It Work?
Psoriasis can be one of the most difficult diseases to live with. Symptoms range in severity from mild to increasingly painful, but the visible signs of the disease are sometimes the most difficult to manage. Unlike many other illnesses that are entirely internal, psoriasis makes itself known loud and clear through very visible skin irritations.
According to those who live with this autoimmune disease, it can have long-lasting effects on self-confidence; extroverts suddenly become introverts as they grapple with it. In attempting to hide the signs, many people dress differently, showing less skin, and may even avoid some social interactions.
The physical symptoms of psoriasis may appear on any part of the body, although most commonly it is seen on the extremities and on the scalp. Skin irritations are itchy, red and dry. Often, these patches are extremely sensitive and sore to the touch. They may crack, bleed and trigger swelling of the nearby joints (psoriatic arthritis).
Psoriasis takes a toll mentally and physically. It affects roughly 7.5 million people in America, typically first showing up between the ages of 15 and 35. The standard treatment options for psoriasis include topicals, phototherapy, and medicines to target the overactive immune system - why CBD oil for psoriasis is making waves.
What is Psoriasis?
Before we jump into the novel cannabinoid therapy for psoriasis, we need to know exactly what psoriasis is. Technically, there are five kinds of psoriasis, each with slightly different signs and symptoms.
The most common is Plaque psoriasis (psoriasis vulgaris), which affects almost 80 percent of people with psoriasis. It develops on the hands, scalp, nails, and extremities (elbows and knees) and usually is triggered by environmental factors such as weather, stress, some infections and even drinking alcohol.
Once triggered, the immune system goes on autopilot, promoting skin cells to reproduce much more quickly than under normal conditions. The usual lifecycle of a skin cell is roughly a month, by which point it flakes off naturally. With psoriasis, skin cells don’t have enough time to mature before they become the surface of the skin, usually about four days. These additional skin cells form rough scaly patches that become irritated, cracked and in some severe cases will bleed.
More on how CBD balances your immune system here.
How Does CBD Fit into the Picture?
Cannabidiol (CBD), is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid obtained from cannabis. It’s already making waves in several other areas such as for treating mood disorders, pain and inflammation, and gastrointestinal problems. Now, patients are discovering what it does for psoriasis.
The research on CBD for psoriasis, like much of the cannabinoid field of study, is in the preliminary stages. However, scientists are pursuing a few theories, including CBD’s support of a healthy and functional immune system. There also are a few notable small-scale practical studies that demonstrate results for using cannabinoids for treating skin conditions such as psoriasis.
How Does CBD Work for Treating Psoriasis?
There seem to be three main ideas as to why CBD and other cannabinoids are effective all-natural psoriasis treatments. First, it supports a fully balanced endocannabinoid system. Second, it has shown potential as an anti-itch or antipruritic substance, and finally, it suppresses the immune response.
1. Endocannabinoid System Support
The main theory behind CBD working so well for treating skin conditions such as psoriasis is the newly found link between skin health and the endocannabinoid system. It’s well-documented that plant-based cannabinoids such as CBD help to re-balance an unbalanced endocannabinoid system. But now, new evidence suggests the cannabinoid therapy could play an important role in treating immune-triggered skin conditions.
Researchers believe the endocannabinoid system “controls the proper and well-balanced proliferation, differentiation and survival, as well as immune competence and/or tolerance, of skin cells.” They theorize that by using CBD oil or CBD lotion for psoriasis, patients could see significant relief. Cannabidiol is a powerful tool for endocannabinoid system balance.
The endocannabinoid system is a relatively new discovery.
Antipruritics are a type of medication that reduces itch and irritation. Pruritus is a common symptom of psoriasis. In a study conducted on topical applications of cannabinoids for treating pruritus, researchers studied 22 patients with skin irritations. By the end of the study, 14 of the 22 demonstrated an average reduction of itchiness by roughly 86 percent. The study concluded, “Topical cannabinoid agonists represent a new effective and well-tolerated therapy for refractory itching of various origins. Creams with a higher concentration may be even more effective with broader indications.”
SOLCBD now carries a cbd-infused balm, perfect for soothing dry, itchy psoriasis flare-ups. It may also help reduce joint pain and swelling in cases of psoriatic arthritis.
3. Immune Suppression
Psoriasis almost accidentally was connected to the immune system in 1979 when researchers discovered that an immune-suppressant drug also reduced the signs and symptoms of the disease. Cannabidiol has also shown significant potential as a natural alternative to conventional immunosuppressive drugs.
Considering that inflammation is a tool the immune system uses to fight disease and infection, chronic inflammation goes hand in hand with autoimmune diseases, and therefore psoriasis. By applying CBD’s strong anti-inflammatory properties and its immune-suppressing qualities, researchers are hopeful that it could eventually prove itself to be a potent psoriasis therapy option.
Cannabidiol is safe to use either internally or externally, allowing it to target some of the root causes of psoriasis and soothe the problem symptoms. Patients have the option of using CBD oil-infused balms to reduce itchiness and inflammation or taking a daily CBD oil supplement to target the autoimmune aspect of the disease.
With a little more research, CBD oil could just be the novel new therapy prescribed by dermatologists around the world. Until then, patients suffering from psoriasis must rely on word of mouth, a little research, and self-experimentation to determine if CBD oil works for them.