With cannabidiol (CBD) becoming increasingly available, many are wondering about its utility in treating various conditions. Psoriasis is one such condition. But does it really work?
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes inflammation in the body. It occurs when an overactive immune system accelerates skin cell growth and can present as raised plaques and scales on the skin.
Whereas normal skin cells take a month to grow and shed, with psoriasis, this happens in just three to four days. Over time, inflammation caused by psoriasis can impact other organs and tissues too.
Symptoms of psoriasis usually begin from adolescence to early adulthood. While its exact cause is unknown, stress is known as one of the most common triggers for the condition.
Around 30% of patients with psoriasis also have psoriatic arthritis, including symptoms such as morning stiffness, fatigue, swollen fingers and toes, and joint pain. Those with psoriasis are also at a higher risk of conditions including heart disease, stroke, depression, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Currently, there have been no controlled clinical studies examining how CBD affects psoriasis. However, some early studies suggest that CBD, or other cannabinoids, may have some utility in treating the condition.
A study from 2016, for example, found that an endocannabinoid known as anandamide may prevent the production of inflammatory signals linked to psoriasis in skin and immune cells. Another study from 2020 found that a shampoo containing CBD could reduce scalp inflammation, itching, and burning in patients with scalp psoriasis.
However, other studies have found that CBD and other cannabinoid products are related to worsening heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and fatty liver disease. This complicates the potentially ‘curative' potential of CBD on psoriasis and means that more research is needed to ascertain its utility against the condition before it can be recommended as a treatment option.