Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder that results in the development of red, scaly patches on the skin. These symptoms most often present on the elbows, knees, and scalp, but it is possible to develop scales and patches on other areas of the skin. Now people have been asking if CBD is an option to treat the disorder?
Since Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder, it is actually caused by an immune system that overreacts to triggers in the environment. Triggers of psoriasis can include certain medications, stress, a skin injury, or an infection. While research is still in process, many people believe that food allergies or sensitivities can also trigger psoriasis.
Certain populations are more at risk of developing psoriasis than others. We know that there is a genetic component to this disorder and an estimated 10 percent of the population has a gene associated with psoriasis. Ultimately, only 2 to 3 percent of the population will actually develop the disorder because they were exposed to the triggers that “turn on” those genes.
Treating psoriasis can be a process of trial and error, taking to time to find the right medications for a specific individual. Topical medications, including corticosteroids, Vitamin D analogues, topical retinoids, moisturizers, and more, are most commonly used with mild psoriasis. Oral medications used to treat psoriasis are associated with severe side effects and may be avoided or only used for a short time in people with more intense symptoms. Light therapy is another popular treatment method, including increased exposure to natural light and control doses of UVB phototherapy.
The possibility of CBD as an alternative treatment for Psoriasis has risen in popularity over the last several years. Proponents of this therapy believe that CBD can be used to reduce inflammation and pain as well as suppress the overactive immune functions associated with this disorder.
CBD, or Cannabidiol, is and oil derived from marijuana or hemp. It is an attractive natural treatment for many hard-to-treat disorders because it comes with few side effects and is generally considered to be safe, as reported by the World Health Organization. Additionally, CBD oil is typically free of THC or has low levels of THC, which is the component of marijuana that results in a high. This means that, even in states where medical marijuana has not been legalized, you can find legally sold CBD.
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As with many uses of CBD, using this marijuana-derived oil for psoriasis is still being researched. That being said, there are a few things that might make it an option worth discussing with your doctor.
Earlier in 2018, the American Academy of Dermatology expressed their interest in further research on using CBD as a treatment method for chronic skin conditions like psoriasis. Specifically, the belief is that CBD has promise because it has anti-inflammation properties. We’ve known for some time now, as indication in this 2010 study published in the journal Future Medical Chemistry, that CBD works well as an anti-inflammatory, mitigating some of the symptoms of certain diseases associated with inflammation.
Since individuals with psoriasis often experience discomfort associated with the patches on their skin, pain relief is an important component of treating psoriasis well. CBD has been explored as a pain relief option with fewer side effects for many chronic health conditions and may be an option worth exploring for individuals with psoriasis. Many people have begun using personal care items, like moisturizers, that include CBD as an ingredient, to manage pain topically.
As reported in a study published in Biochemical Pharmacology, CBD has been found to suppress certain functions of the immune system. For individuals experiencing the negative effects of an overactive immune system, this could be promising news.
One characteristic of psoriasis is that the individual’s skin cells rapidly reproduce, playing a big role in the development of the problematic plaques or scales associated with the disorder. In 2007, a study published in the Journal of Dermatological Science established cannabinoids as an effective method for slowing down hyper-proliferation of skin cells, which could improve the symptoms psoriasis.
The National Psoriasis Foundation is the go-to source of information on psoriasis, including treatment options for this troubling disorder. CBD is not included among the treatment recommendations for psoriasis on their website. It is very likely this could change as more research is done and attitudes about marijuana derived medications evolve.
That being said, in 2017 the foundation did publish one article on their blog that included an expert quote suggesting CBD oil as a way to complement other treatment methods, suggesting its benefits for reducing new skin cell growth and the potential of treating arthritis symptoms using CBD.
CBD oil is taken orally and used topically for treatment of the symptoms of psoriasis. If you choose to use CBD in your treatment plan, deciding how to take the oil depends on your purpose for the alternative treatment.
For instance, if you are looking for localized relief of pain or discomfort associated with psoriasis, topical application makes sense. However, if you are hoping to address underlying problems associated with psoriasis, like the overactivity of the immune system, taking it orally might be a more suitable option. This alternative treatment method could provide the relief you need if you have very mild psoriasis, but may also work best in combination with other, more conventional treatment methods.
Ultimately, CBD dosages should be determined with the help of a medical professionals. If you are considering this alternative treatment for yourself, it is important to talk to your doctor about any potential side effects of CBD, if any of the medications you are already taking could negatively interact with CBD, and if they have any specific recommendations for finding a high quality, THC-free CBD over-the-counter.