CBD Oil for Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis


The surging popularity of CBD has been making waves in the skincare industry, with more and more people interested in trying CBD for conditions such as psoriasis.

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is an immune-related, chronic skin condition that causes red, flaky patches of skin covered with silvery scales known as ‘plaques’.  These are formed as when a person has psoriasis, their skin replacement process speeds up, taking just a few days to replace skin cells that usually take 21-28 days.  Commonly affected areas include the elbows, knees, scalp and lower back, but can appear anywhere on your body and they may be sore and itchy.  It is thought that psoriasis affects around 2% of people in the UK, of all ages but most often develops in adults under 35 years old, affecting men and women equally.


The severity of psoriasis can vary, for some it's just a minor irritation, but for others it can majorly affect their quality of life.  Whether you have psoriasis yourself, or are looking for the best CBD oil products for psoriasis for a loved one, read on below to find out more how CBD (cannabidiol, an active chemical found in the Cannabis Sativa plant) can benefit this skin condition.


Are There Different Types of Psoriasis?

There are several different types of psoriasis, which include:

  • Plaque psoriasis (psoriasis vulgaris) - the most common type that occurs in around 80-90% of cases

  • Scalp psoriasis- red patches of skin covered in silvery scales on parts of the scalp, or the whole scalp

  • Guttate psoriasis – which causes small sores on the chest, arms, legs and scalp and is more common in children and teenagers

  • Inverse psoriasis- found in creases of the skin, such as the armpits, groin, between the buttocks and under the breasts

  • Pustular psoriasis- which causes pus-filled blisters on the skin

  • Erythrodermic psoriasis – a rare type of psoriasis which can affect skin all over the body and cause intense itching


People with psoriasis may initially only develop one type of psoriasis, but can develop another type at a later point in time.


What is Psoriatic Arthritis?

 Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that affects some people who suffer from psoriasis.  It can cause joints to become swollen, stiff and painful, and it is a long-term condition that can get progressively worse, with a risk of the joints becoming permanently damaged in severe cases.  If treated early, its progression and any joint damage can be minimised.


Can CBD Be Used for Psoriasis?

 Whilst there is no known cure for psoriasis, there are treatments available which can help to manage and ease the symptoms.  More and more research is suggesting that cannabinoids such as CBD can help with psoriasis due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. 


When CBD enters the body, it binds with receptors called endocannabinoids which affect pain, itching and inflammation.  There are two types of receptors in the endocannabinoid system, CB1 and CB2, and it is the latter which CBD binds with, which then has an effect on the body’s immune system.  This activates signals in the body which tells the cells that cause inflammation to subside, and when it comes to psoriasis, CBD is reported to stimulate the secretion of cells which remove dead skin cell debris and allow skin to heal properly.


In a 2019 study, 20 participants with psoriasis were asked to apply a CBD ointment on the affected areas of their skin twice a day for three months.  The CBD ointment improved both skin hydration and elasticity, and also the quality of life of the participants based on the Psoriasis Area Severity Index.


In another recent study in 2020, 50 participants suffering from scalp psoriasis were asked to use a CBD based shampoo for just two weeks.  The participants showed reduced itching, burning and inflammation on the scalp.  More research is required into this area.


What do Skincare Experts Think About Using CBD for Psoriasis?

 Although they agree that more studies are required in this field, many dermatologists are now seeing the benefits of CBD for psoriasis.  Robert Dellavalle MD, a dermatologist from Colorado says  “These [traditional steroid creams] are very safe for most people, and they’re effective, but some people don’t want to use steroids in any way. CBD could be a nonsteroidal therapy to fill that gap.”


A fellow dermatologist from Connecticut and professor of dermatology at the prestigious Yale University, Mona Gohara MD uses CBD for inflammatory skin conditions ‘as they’re fizzling out.’  She says “I recommend generally using a medication to put out the fire and then using CBD to clean up the carnage.”


What Types of CBD Work Best for Psoriasis?

When it comes to psoriasis of the skin, topical forms of CBD such as creams, balms and oils are recommended as they are better absorbed into the affected area and can work quickly to soothe it.  Another benefit of a CBD balm for psoriasis is that it will contain other deeply hydrating emollients which help to reduce the dryness, itching and scaling that psoriasis brings.  Depending on the severity of the condition, a topical CBD or a combination of a cream and systemic treatments (formulations that are absorbed into the bloodstream, such as CBD oil drops that go under the tongue) can be used for optimal efficacy.


What are the Best CBD Products for Psoriasis?


Does CBD Oil Help for Psoriatic Arthritis?

As a relatively new area of study, there is little research specifically looking at the effect of CBD on psoriatic arthritis but there are promising outcomes in studies examining the effect of CBD on inflammation, which is a key process of this condition. Taking CBD has also been shown to reduce certain triggers of psoriatic arthritis such as stress.


Stress can cause psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis to flare up. People with psoriatic arthritis may find CBD helps reduce anxiety and prevent flare-ups in addition to decreasing pain and inflammation in the joints. Whilst there is no official dosage guide for CBD oil for psoriatic arthritis, many people with the condition report taking around 20–40 milligrams per day, or higher doses during a flare-up. 


What are the Best CBD Products for Psoriatic Arthritis?


How to Use CBD Products for Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis

It’s worth bearing in mind when using CBD oil for psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, or other CBD products, that they come in a variety of strengths.  It is recommended to start with the lowest dosage at first, then gradually increase the amount if necessary.  Whilst you should follow the instructions provided on your product of choice, applying a topical product twice or three times daily on the affected area should suffice.  For scalp psoriasis, you will find a range of CBD infused shampoos and conditioners.


Whilst a recent review deems it as safe for use, if you are taking any over-the-counter dietary supplements or prescribed medication, you may wish to speak to your health practitioner first to avoid any possible interactions.