Do you or a loved one suffer from psoriasis?
What if I told you that CBD creams could offer fast-relief from psoriasis symptoms and even help balance out the underlying immune hyperactivity that causes this condition?
Well, they can.
Read on for a detailed look at how CBD can help treat psoriasis.
What is Psoriasis?
To help you understand how CBD can treat psoriasis and it’s symptoms, it helps to first have a solid understanding of the condition itself.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that affects the normal growth of skin cells.
While its causes aren’t fully understood, psoriasis seems to be characterized by 2 things:
- An overproduction of skin cells which form a thick, scaly plaque around the body.
- An overactive immune system that attacks healthy skin cells, causing chronic inflammation.
In healthy adults, the skin tends to renew itself every 30 to 40 days.
In people with psoriasis, however, new skin cells can form in a matter of days.
These cells build up in a thick, scaly layer that can cover the entire body or form in smaller, more localized patches.
These areas tend to get red and itchy, and some severe cases of psoriasis can also cause lesions in the skin and nails.
Psoriasis is also sometimes referred to as a chronic inflammatory disease.
That’s because it causes topical inflammation of the skin and has also been linked to other inflammatory conditions.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease, for example, is up to 7 times more prominent in people with psoriasis than the general population.
Roughly 40% of psoriasis patients will also suffer from psoriatic arthritis.
There is no cure for psoriasis, but the right treatment can help control the severity of the condition and its symptoms.
Psoriasis Triggers and Flare-Ups
Like many other chronic inflammatory and autoimmune conditions, psoriasis patients tend to experience flare-ups of intense symptoms that subside once treated.
There are many different triggers that can cause these flare-ups.
Some common psoriasis triggers include:
- Injury or trauma to the skin
- Smoking or drinking alcohol
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Certain foods
For many psoriasis patients, flare-ups can strike quickly, causing symptoms in as little as 1 hour.
When they strike, psoriasis symptoms can have a severe psychological impact on patients.
According to Dr. Alina Bridges from Mayo Clinic, for example, depression, smoking, and alcohol use are all more common in patients with psoriasis.
How to Effectively Treat Psoriasis:
Psoriasis affects between 2-3% of the global population.
That’s roughly 125 million people around the world.
Unfortunately, despite its prevalence, psoriasis can be difficult to treat.
That’s because each patient’s experience of psoriasis is unique, as is their reaction to treatment.
Luckily, most patients get effective relief from their symptoms using topical creams.
Others, however, may need to turn to oral or injected medications to find relief, many of which produce a variety of side effects.
Light therapy can also help reduce inflammation, scaling, and slow the growth of skin cells.
Unfortunately, there are also those patients that struggle to get relief from standard treatments or need a multi-faceted treatment plan in order to get relief.
Most psoriasis treatments work in one of 3 ways:
- Fighting Inflammation: As I mentioned earlier, psoriasis causes severe inflammation, which is what causes symptoms like redness and itching. Reducing inflammation with drugs like steroids can help reduce these symptoms.
- Regulating Cell Growth: Slowing the abnormal growth of skin cells can help reduce the build-up of the typical psoriasis plaque.
- Suppressing the Immune System: As I mentioned earlier, psoriasis is characterized by an overactive immune system that attacks healthy skin cells. Suppressing the immune system, therefore, can be an effective way to reduce psoriasis symptoms.
Common Psoriasis Treatments
Some common forms of psoriasis treatment include:
- Topical Treatments: Topical creams containing steroids, vitamin D, and anti-inflammatories are usually pretty effective at treating mild and moderate cases of psoriasis. There are a variety of creams out there, but some common types include:
- Corticosteroids, designed to reduce inflammation and itching.
- Vitamin D analogues, designed to help slow skin cell growth.
- Phototherapy: Light therapy uses either natural or artificial light to slow the growth of skin cells and reduce inflammation. The simplest form of phototherapy just involves exposing the skin to natural sunlight in a controlled manner. Other forms of light therapy may use UVB, PUVBA, or laser lights.
- Oral or Injected Medications: These treatments are usually reserved for more severe cases of psoriasis that do not respond to topical creams or light therapy. Some of these medications can have severe side effects, meaning they can only be used systematically. Some common oral/injected psoriasis medications include:
- Retinoids, which help reduce psoriasis symptoms but produce severe side effects like lip inflammation, hair loss, and birth defects.
- Biologics, which are used to suppress the immune system. These drugs should be taken only short-term as they can increase your risk of infection from other pathogens.
- Methotrexate, which is used to suppress skin cell growth and reduce inflammation.
Natural Psoriasis Treatments and Remedies
As I mentioned earlier, many of the medications used to treat psoriasis have serious side effects.
Hence, a lot of patients look for alternative ways to treat their symptoms using natural supplements and remedies.
- Bathing: Regular baths infused with essential plant oils, colloidal oatmeal, or special salts can help calm inflamed skin and remove plaque. Hot water or with harsh soaps, however, may aggravate the skin further.
- Topical Oils and Moisturizers: Moisturizing creams or ointments can help soothe dry, red, and itchy skin.
- Aloe vera. Applying aloe vera to the skin can help soothe itching, inflammation, and irritation.
- Fish Oil: While there is a lot of controversy around fish oil supplements, some psoriasis patients may find they can help relieve inflammation.
- Acupuncture and Acupressure: Some patients find acupuncture/acupressure helps fight stress and reduces the severity and frequency of psoriasis flare-ups.
- Physical Therapy: Physical therapists can use specific exercises to relieve the pain of psoriatic arthritis and improve mobility.
Note: There has been little research into some of these alternative treatments. However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating psoriasis, and you may find that these treatments help relieve your symptoms despite a lack of clinical evidence.
CBD: The #1 Way to Treat Psoriasis
If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve stumbled across the wide variety of skin care products containing CBD.
Well, turns out there’s some pretty solid research to show that CBD can help relieve psoriasis symptoms.
As I’ve mentioned in some of my other posts, the endocannabinoid system (which mediates the effects of cannabinoids like CBD) is present in our skin.
Research has shown us that both CB1 and CB2 receptors are spread all throughout the dermis.
Now, CBD doesn’t actually interact with either of these receptors and instead targets other chemical channels and receptors that end up stimulating the ECS.
Nonetheless, the fact that these receptors exist in the skin proves that the endocannabinoid system plays a key role in skin health.
The researchers found that the endocannabinoid system plays a key role in controlling the growth of skin cells.
The researchers also noted that the ECS is involved in managing immune responses in the skin.
The natural endocannabinoid anandamide, for example, has been shown to inhibit the growth of skin cells.
Seeing that psoriasis is an autoimmune condition characterized by abnormal growth and immune responses in skin cells, this is big news.
The study was conducted by researchers at Nottingham University, UK, and found that CBD had the ability to inhibit the growth of skin cells, just like anandamide.
Unlike anandamide, which can interact directly with cannabinoid receptors in the skin, CBD seems to work through other mechanisms independent of either receptor.
While it’s not exactly clear how CBD works to inhibit the growth of skin cells, the simple fact that it does makes it a promising treatment option for psoriasis.
Plus, CBD’s plethora of other effects can also help promote overall skin health and fight specific symptoms of psoriasis-like itching, inflammation, and more.
Below I’ll take a brief look at some of the other benefits of CBD and how these apply to psoriasis.
CBD Can Regulate Your Immune Response
Remember, psoriasis is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks healthy skin tissue.
When this happens, the tissue gets inflamed, causing pain, itching, dryness, and redness.
CBD can help fight these symptoms at the core by potentially helping regulate your immune system.
Autoimmune conditions like psoriasis are characterized by an overactive immune system.
How it does so is complicated and still not completely understood, but research shows that CBD can inhibit the activity of white blood cells.
For example, CBD has been shown to suppress the production of interleukin-2, a group of proteins made by leukocytes that effects the activity and development of the immune system.
CBD can also affect the production of a wide range of other cytokines, thereby hindering the activity of immune cells.
The fact that CBD can help suppress an overactive immune system makes it an attractive treatment option for all kinds of autoimmune diseases, including psoriasis.
For a more detailed look at CBD and its effects on the immune system, make sure to read the following study:
- The Profile of Immune Modulation by Cannabidiol (CBD) Involves Deregulation of Nuclear Factor of Activated T Cells (NFAT) (Biochemical Pharmacology, 2009)
CBD Can Reduce Psoriatic Inflammation
One of the main effects of an overactive immune system is constant inflammation.
In psoriasis, this inflammation presents itself as burning, itching, and painful skin, usually around plaque and other affected areas.
As I mentioned earlier, it can also affect the joints and cause psoriatic arthritis.
Luckily, thanks to its powerful anti-inflammatory effects, CBD can provide fast relief from these symptoms.
Studies show that CBD delivers its anti-inflammatory benefits in some of the same ways as regular anti-inflammatory drugs.
Most NSAIDs, including OTC and prescription drugs, work by inhibiting COX enzymes which produce specific chemicals needed for inflammation (known as prostaglandins).
By suppressing their activity, CBD stops COX enzymes from producing these prostaglandins, ultimately driving down inflammation.
For people with psoriasis, CBD products can help reduce the topical inflammation around the skin and reduce symptoms like burning, itching, and redness.
However, it can also reduce the internal inflammation caused by psoriatic arthritis.
For more information about the anti-inflammatory benefits of CBD, make sure to read my post on CBD creams for pain and inflammation.
CBD Doesn’t Produce Side-Effects
Another reason CBD is becoming so popular among patients with psoriasis and other autoimmune conditions is this:
It produces hardly any side effects.
In fact, when used topically (in the form of creams or ointments, for example) CBD doesn’t even reach the blood.
Instead, it activates receptors directly in the skin.
But even when taken orally (as an oil or gummy, for example), CBD is usually very well tolerated.
In fact, the few side effects people experience from CBD oils are tiredness and diarrhea, but these can easily be managed with proper dosage.
CBD creams, on the other hand, tend to produce no side effects at all.
How to Use CBD Creams to Treat Psoriasis:
If you or a loved one suffer from psoriasis, I highly recommend you look into CBD.
While no one in my family suffers from this specific condition, I’ve seen CBD work wonders for my Dad, my husband, and even myself.
A few years ago, my Dad was diagnosed with arthritis in his knee.
At first, his symptoms were mild and he was able to get relief using the occasional ibuprofen and some basic OTC creams his doctor recommended.
However, as his condition deteriorated, the pain and swelling in Dad’s knee started getting worse, and his doctor soon recommended we look to stronger prescription meds for relief.
That’s when I started looking for alternatives and found CBD.
Today, my Dad swears by this stuff.
Using a combination of CBD creams, oils, and other products, he is able to get fast relief from the pain and swelling in his knee.
The creams work particularly well as they can be applied directly to the affected area, rather than needing to be absorbed in the mouth or stomach (like oils or edibles, for example).
My husband, Tyler, also uses CBD.
As an amateur athlete, Tyler uses CBD in the form of creams, gummies, and oils to boost his energy levels before a workout and recover faster outside of the gym.
Finally, I also use CBD myself.
Ever since I was young, I’ve dealt with severe acne and sensitive skin.
The fact that I work a very stressful job doesn’t help.
For a long time, the pressure from work would leave me stressed, anxious, and unable to sleep.
Within only a day or two, the effects of this stress would show on my face in the form of zits and other blemishes.
Luckily, CBD has helped me clear up my skin as well as reduce my stress and anxiety.
Like Tyler and my Dad, I now use a combination of different CBD products, including gummies, oils, and more.
For anything skin-related, however, I always turn to CBD creams first, as I can apply them directly to where I need relief.
I recommend you apply the creams after a nice, warm shower or bath.
Make sure your skin is nice and dry, then take roughly a fingertip-full of cream and apply it gently to the affected area.
Rub the cream in gently like you would a normal moisturizer, and wait for roughly 20-30 minutes to gauge your reaction.
From there, you can apply the cream as regularly as needed.
Find the Best CBD Creams Online
As we saw above, CBD offers some really exciting benefits for psoriasis patients.
CBD creams especially can offer fast relief from many of the condition’s main symptoms and may even help treat the underlying immune imbalance that characterizes psoriasis.
Make sure to read through these reviews as well as my other blog articles for more information on CBD creams and their many different benefits.