CBD for Psoriasis: What the Science Says + A Mother’s Success Story Using Topical CBD (with Before/After pics)

It’s bad enough to suffer from a physical malady that is uncomfortable, visual, and persistent. It’s quite another when your children also suffer the same fate. 

Shortly after her son was born, Lindsay and her son began to suffer from ever-worsening psoriasis — which has been described as causing bleeding and causing sufferers to “feel sore and itchy . . .the more you scratch, the thicker they can get.” 

The strength of prescription medications increased, but the psoriasis worsened. 

Lindsay was experiencing patches and terrible burning pains in her arms and legs, her son suffered from the same on his face. 

I felt helpless.”

Then, she tried CBD.

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At Remedy Journey, we’re keenly aware of the fact that much of the science on CBD is still up in the air. Some of CBD’s applications (like for pain or joint inflammation) are better-supported by the evidence than others. CBD for psoriasis is one of the “still very much up in the air” ones. 

To provide a balanced overview of how CBD does (or doesn’t) aid psoriasis, we:

  • Looked at the research on CBD and skin cells 
  • Reviewed the one study we could find on how CBD directly impacts psoriasis
  • Got Lindsay’s story in harrowing detail

At the end, we provide a blow-by-blow account of a real psoriasis story that is quite literally hard to believe. 

CBD for Psoriasis: What Does the Science Say?

So to explain how/why CBD might work for psoriasis, first we have to establish what psoriasis is. 

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease that results in dry, reddened skin and elevated itchy scales in areas like the elbows, scalp, and legs. When afflicted with psoriasis, your body overproduces skin cells, which leads them to rapidly buildup on the surface of the skin. 

How might CBD alleviate psoriasis symptoms? Well, psoriasis is an inflammatory condition, and CBD is well-known as a potent anti-inflammatory. 

CBD Can Potentially Slow the Growth of Skin Cells

Three recent studies have found that cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors play a critical role in regulating the production of skin cells:

Each of these studies explores the effect of cannabinoids on keratinocytes (which are human skin cells), and each found that cannabinoids have the potential to slow down skin cell growth (keeping in mind that overproduction of skin cells is the main symptom of psoriasis). 

The results of these studies are promising but far from definitive. These studies explored the effect of cannabinoids on keratin cells, but none of them actually applied CBD as a treatment to see if it could alleviate symptoms of real-life sufferers. So are there any studies that do?

Yes, there’s one (admittedly small) study. 

Study: CBD can alleviate symptoms of psoriasis

In this 2019 study, 20 patients with psoriasis and dermatitis used a CBD-rich topical ointment twice a day for three months as a treatment for scarred skin. After examining the skin of the patients, clinicians found that the ointment had “significantly improved skin parameters” and alleviated the symptoms associated with the two skin common skin diseases.

This study is NOT a clinical double-blind study (the gold standard for such studies), and the methodology is described in the paper as “anecdotal” and “retrospective” (meaning there was no control/placebo group). So while the results are very encouraging, we’ll have to wait for double-blind studies to be conducted before the science is clearer.

Topical CBD Is the ONE Psoriasis Treatment that Finally Worked For Me and My Son: A Story From the Remedy Journey Community

We don’t want to draw too much from the 2019 study, but we were intrigued by stories of CBD topicals alleviating psoriasis symptoms and asked members of the RJ community if anyone had their own story to share. 

Lucky for us someone reached out (thanks Lindsay!) with a fascinating tale complete with before/after pics. Here’s her story:

How Psoriasis Haunted Me and My Son Since His Birth

I started my psoriasis journey with my son when he was born in 2012. Psoriasis appeared on both of us one month after he was born, and I figured it was just sensitive skin. But it got worse (to the point that my son had patches on his face!!) so we went to the dermatologist. He said we had psoriasis.

I used to wake up in the middle of the night with my arms,legs and chest just burning, like they were on fire! I would cry because I was so tired and in so much pain that I couldn’t sleep! What people don’t realize is psoriasis burns and aches more than anything: it was literally like my flesh was being burned off.

I was terrified that my son would have to go through that, and he had it on his face! I never got it on my face, but I knew how awful it felt everywhere else. He took it pretty well and I had to constantly tell him not to scratch it because it would bleed. I felt helpless. As a mother that is the hardest thing to do, watch your child suffer and you can’t help him enough.  I used to cry for him because he had gotten it at such a young age.

We Tried the Usual Pharmaceuticals (and Other Solutions)

For years we did the topical medications. I tried oral medications as well but didn’t like the side effects one bit because they were awful! Results were so-so for all of them. 

About 6 years ago I stopped washing my son’s hair with shampoo because it started on his scalp, and going no-shampoo helped his psoriasis clear up a little, but it did not go away. I tried the no-shampoo idea on me but no dice.

I had nearly given up on ever finding a real solution when about one month ago I found a website for CBD oil. Being a major skeptic I was convinced it wouldn’t work on us.

How CBD Alleviated Our Psoriasis Symptoms

You guys, it works!!!

I bought Lazarus Naturals’ full spectrum CBD-infused coconut oil. From there, I stopped applying all topical treatments, and ever since we have started using these products from Lazarus our psoriasis isn’t just looking and feeling better, but it’s almost gone! 

My legs are being stubborn but the rest of my psoriasis covered body is feeling amazing! I am positive my legs will follow suit shortly. I put the coconut oil with cbd oil in my son’s hair (and mine because why not?!) and let it sit for a while and wash it, and his scalp is beautiful with thick shiny hair again! It works so great on our skin!

Before and After
Before
After
My son’s psoriasis as an infant
My son now

I Told My Dermatologist: Here’s What He Said

I finally saw my dermatologist and told him what we were taking and he was so impressed! He wanted the product names and the website info so he could suggest it for his other patients! 

He said my son’s skin looks amazing! No scars or redness. And he said to keep on doing what we’re doing with the CBD coconut oil! My son’s hair is thick now with no bald patches and mine as well! We use it as a hair treatment because we both had psoriasis on our scalp. Not anymore! 

It has been a very long and crazy process but I am finally feeling relief because of CBD. We no longer take any prescription medication for our psoriasis!

If you’re a skeptic like I am just try it, and if it doesn’t work for you then don’t use it anymore.

So glad I could share and help!

3 CBD Products That Might Help with Psoriasis

1. Topicals

A lotion or balm infused with CBD applied directly to the skin is the best CBD treatment for psoriasis: the CBD is absorbed directly into the affected skin, where it can act directly to slow skin cell growth. The product that Lindsay used as a topical, Lazarus Naturals CBD-infused coconut oil, isn’t a specially formulated lotion or balm; it’s just coconut oil + CBD.

Here are a few other well-known, high-quality CBD lotions that might help:

2. Oils and Tinctures

Topical application is how you get the CBD to where it’s needed most, but it’s not the only form of CBD that can potentially help. Psoriasis is often a result of systemic inflammation, and CBD can decrease inflammation. CBD is also well-established as an effective painkiller, so it can potentially help with the discomfort and itchiness associated with psoriasis.

3. Vaping/smoking

Vaping CBD or smoking CBD flower is a bit less common than consuming oils or tinctures, but it’s actually the most efficient and best-absorbed method of CBD consumption. Like oils/topicals it isn’t the most direct treatment for psoriasis symptoms, but it may help alleviate discomfort.

Conclusion

Now since each person’s psoriasis probably has a unique nexus of causes it’s unrealistic to expect that CBD topicals will work for everyone. We may not understand exactly how CBD works for psoriasis, but we shouldn’t dismiss stories like Lindsay’s just because everyone won’t get the same results. 

As she says, CBD is plant-based and totally harmless, so there’s no harm in trying. In the meantime, we’ll keep this page updated any time new studies are released! 

Sources

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17157480
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21248768
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23638377
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30993303/