There are an estimated 125 million people suffering from psoriasis. For the majority of them, this is an unsightly skin condition that starts by forming scaly, red patches on the skin. These symptoms most often appear on the knees, elbow, and scalp, although it is possible to develop patches on other areas of the skin.
However, the symptoms of psoriasis lie a lot deeper than just patches on the skin. In severe cases, this condition develops into an autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack itself. People have been attempting to find a cure for psoriasis for many years, but the results haven’t been as expected. Psoriasis creates a cycle of chronic problems, and a number of people who suffer from this condition also suffer from mental issues. Psoriasis affects metabolism and could lead to other serious problems like depression and arthritis.
In order to find a cure, scientists have looked into many different treatment options, from pharmaceuticals to natural alternatives, such as CBD. CBD can reportedly treat the skin issue caused by psoriasis, as well as regulate the immune response to prevent psoriasis attacks. In this article, we will take a closer look at what psoriasis is, how CBD can help with treatment, and what medical studies have found.
Overview of Psoriasis
Believe it or not, psoriasis is quite a common autoimmune skin disorder that causes the cells to build upon the surface of the skin. This leads to thick, red skin with silvery scales to appear on the body. Since it is an autoimmune disorder, psoriasis is caused by an immune system that tends to overreact to triggers in the environment. Some of the triggers of the condition include stress, skin injury, cold weather, certain medications, or an infection. Many people believe that food allergies or sensitivities may also trigger psoriasis, but research is still in process to prove this.
The overactive immune system is what causes the rapid production of skin cells, as well as skin inflammation. The body normally produces new skin cells every month. However, when you suffer from psoriasis, new skin cells grow and get pushed up to the skin’s surface every 3-4 days. Because the body isn’t able to shed dead skin cells quickly enough in order to keep up with the abnormally fast production, the old, dead skin cells pile up on each other, and this is what causes the formation of flaky, red, itchy patches of skin.
Psoriasis is believed to be a genetic disorder and is thought to be triggered by environmental factors, such as the ones that we mentioned above. Certain populations have a greater risk of developing psoriasis than others. Since we know that there is a genetic component to this disease, we found that there are an estimated 10% of the population that have a gene that is associated with psoriasis. But, ultimately, only between 2% to 3% of the population is at risk of developing this disorder due to exposure to the elements that “trigger” those genes.
Psoriasis is not contagious. Treating this disorder can be a process of trial and error, taking the time to find the medication that is right for specific individuals. Topical medicines – which include Vitamin D analogues, moisturizers, corticosteroids, and topical retinoids – are commonly used to treat mild psoriasis. Oral medications that are used to treat the condition are typically associated with severe side effects. The good news is that studies have found that cannabinoids, particularly CBD, can help in the treatment efforts of psoriasis.
How and Why CBD Could Help in the Treatment of Psoriasis
The link between psoriasis and CBD is the ability CBD has to heal the condition. While there are plenty of over-the-counter and prescription options, CBD is a natural and powerful alternative with few side effects. CBD can seemingly target the skin irritation that is caused by this condition. Ultimately, it can treat the red, scaly skin problem, and settle the pain and irritation. Furthermore, CBD can target the immune system by strengthening it and preventing other severe ailments.
CBD is an attractive natural treatment option for many conditions that are considered hard-to-treat because it is thought to be safe and comes with minimal side effects, as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO). Another major plus when it comes to CBD is that it’s typically free of THC, which is the compound of cannabis that makes users high. So essentially, patients can enjoy the medical benefits of cannabis without getting “high.”
Ultimately, CBD helps to relieve psoriasis by balancing immune system responses. CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids are anti-psoriasis agents. While the body produces its cannabinoids naturally, when it comes to psoriasis, it’s not enough. Research and patient experience are proving that CBD can slow down skin cell growth and reduce inflammation. The underlying mechanism of psoriasis is the immune system. Research has recently found that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) constantly binds with a few of the messaging molecules found in the immune system, therefore regulating several primary physiological functions. The most relevant of these functions appear to be regulating the growth of cells, including their differentiation, proliferation, and life span. This includes skin cells.
Cannabinoids act as anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive agents in skin disease. Both THC and CBD suppress the body’s immune response, which is very important for treating any condition that occurs because of an overactive immune system. Cannabinoid receptors can be found throughout the skin cells, and this makes it possible to treat dermatological conditions using both ingested and topical methods.
Studies have found that CBD has anti-inflammatory effects on human skin cells. This makes CBD effective for not only psoriasis but also acne, since it slows down the abnormal production of lipids found under the skin. But the benefits of CBD go far beyond the suppression of inflammation. Introducing CBD to the body can restore endocannabinoid balance. This balancing effect can help in the body’s natural healing mechanisms and enable cell production to normalize.
Furthermore, researchers have found that cannabinoids can help to prevent the buildup of dead skin cells by inhibiting the proliferation of living cells. This means that cannabinoids can help to slow down the rapid production of skin cells.
Medical Findings: Effects of Cannabinoids and CBD on Psoriasis
In different studies, there are several different answers as to how CBD treats psoriasis. But all of them correspond to similar reason – CBD treats the condition by affecting T cells in the body. The overactivity of T cells is the main cause of psoriasis, and this is where the power of CBD comes to life. Once used, the components of CBD react with the T cells and make them less active. This results in a decline in the production of cells on the skin. Psoriasis relies on cell growth, and once CBD is in the cells, overproduction is much lower.
When it comes to psoriasis, the inflammatory state in the dermis is what causes the premature maturation of the skin cells, and this leads to skin tissue breakage and pain. Research over the years has widely proven that cannabis is a potent anti-inflammatory. One particular 2010 review of several studies suggested that any substances that target the ECS’ CB2 receptor might provide effective treatment for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. This finding strongly confirms the potential of CBD to treat psoriasis, since it binds with the CB2 receptor to apply its biochemical action on the immune system’s signalling network.
One of the clearest scientific findings of the action CBD has on skin inflammation is titled “Cannabidiol exerts sebostatic and anti-inflammatory effects on human sebocytes.” The evidence proves that CBD has a strong anti-acne action since it slows down the abnormal lipidic production that happens under the skin by helping to suppress cell proliferation and preventing the “pro-acne” agents from increasing cytokine levels, which causes inflammation.
Most studies indicate that CBD can help to treat psoriasis through its interaction with the ECS. When the ECS is disrupted, it can lead to the development of autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis. However, when cannabinoids interact with cannabinoid receptors within the ECS, they help to regulate the proper function of the immune system. Early clinical trial data discovered that cannabinoids can help to prevent psoriasis flare-ups by activating the CB2 receptors found in the ECS. More recently, a literature review found that the anti-inflammatory effects and regulating affects of cannabinoids on the immune system, make them a great potential treatment agent for psoriasis.
Medical Benefits of Using CBD to Treat Psoriasis
Cannabinoids have proven to act both as anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive agents in skin diseases, just as much as in immune-mediated pathologies like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, allergic asthma, and multiple sclerosis. The complete absence of unfavorable side effects from CBD makes it the perfect phytotherapic substance. CBD has a significant amount of anti-proliferative and anti-inflammatory characteristics that help to treat the symptoms of psoriasis.
How to Take CBD for Psoriasis
Since cannabinoid receptors are found in cells throughout the body, it’s possible to address dermatological conditions with both topical and systematic remedies. However, the best way to treat autoimmune conditions like psoriasis is to ingest or inhale CBD. The CBD will be absorbed into your bloodstream and be carried through into your immune system. It’s important to note that smoking cannabis can irritate conditions like psoriasis, and therefore the best choice for inhaling is by using a vaporizer. Alternatively, you can ingest CBD by using CBD edibles, tinctures, or pills.
Ingestion is the most popular method of CBD administration. People of any health ailment can swallow CBD with any of the methods that we’ve mentioned above.
- Tinctures: This is the most widely available option. You can use either a spray or droplet and apply the CBD behind the tongue. You simply hold the CBD in your mouth for about a minute and then swallow.
- Edibles: Edibles are a fun choice, especially for kids. These usually include gummy bears, cakes, brownies, candy, and cookies. You can eat as much as you need, but each container typically has dosing recommendations and instructions.
- Capsules: If you don’t like the taste of CBD and aren’t a fan of edibles, then capsules are a great option. You can simply swallow the pill as you would any other pill. Capsules are one of the easiest methods to consume CBD, especially when it comes to dosing – since each capsule will contain a specific amount of CBD. You usually take one capsule in the morning and one in the evening, but this will vary, depending on how severe your condition is.
If your lungs can handle it, you should try vaping CBD. It’s easy, and the effects are immediate. Since you will be inhaling a CBD concentrate you inhale vapor instead of smoke which is easier on the lungs. You will need a specialized vape pen and CBD vape juice. Simply follow the instructions and place the CBD on the coil. Switch on the vape pen and inhale; it really is that simple! It is best to hold the vapor in for a couple of seconds before you exhale – this way your lungs will absorb more CBD.
Aside from the above methods, CBD can also be used topically for the treatment of psoriasis symptoms. But keep in mind that deciding on how you want to consume CBD depends on your purpose for alternative treatment. For example, if you are looking for localized pain relief or relief from the discomfort that is associated with psoriasis, then a topical application will make sense. However, if you want to address the underlying problems that come with the condition, such as overactivity of the immune system, using CBD orally might be a better option. Also, remember that CBD dosages should be determined by consulting with a medical professional.
Final Thoughts on CBD for Psoriasis
Based on the research that we’ve discussed, it’s clear that we can consider CBD to be a viable medical treatment option for Psoriasis. The positive effects of CBD on the pain receptors and immune system prove that CBD could be just what’s needed to treat the debilitating conditions of this condition.
However, as always, when it comes to any new treatment, people who are thinking of using CBD to treat their condition of psoriasis should discuss these plans with their doctor.