Is CBD legal?The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3% THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them federally illegal but legal under some state laws. Be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.

Psoriasis causes skin and sometimes nail changes. The affected areas may be flaky, itchy, and sore. Applying certain lotions can help alleviate the symptoms.

A quick look at the best CBD oils for psoriasis

Many manufacturers now include cannabidiol (CBD) in creams and lotions. CBD and other ingredients in these products may benefit people with psoriasis.

Read on to learn more about how CBD may help with psoriasis, the products above, and alternative treatments. 

What is CBD?

Hemp and cannabis are types of Cannabis sativa plants. They both contain CBD and many other cannabinoids, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The hemp plant generally contains more CBD, and the cannabis plant contains more THC.

THC produces the “high” that people typically associate with cannabis, so CBD alone does not cause a high.
Some CBD products contain small amounts of THC. Others contain CBD isolate, so they contain no THC.

Learn more about the differences between hemp CBD and cannabis CBD.

The following table looks at some common CBD terminology that may help someone new to CBD products navigate different options.

TermMeaning
CBDA compound within the C. sativa plant that does not create the high sensation individuals commonly associate with cannabis use.
THCA compound in the C. sativa plant. It is the psychoactive compound that creates the high sensation from cannabis use.
Full-spectrumA full-spectrum product will contain all of the natural compounds in the cannabis plant, including THC. However, THC levels must be no more than 0.3% to comply with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation on full-spectrum CBD products.
Broad-spectrumBroad-spectrum products contain natural compounds of the cannabis plant. However, while manufacturers remove all or most of the THC in broad-spectrum CBD, it may still be present in trace amounts.
CBD isolateThis is the purest form of CBD and should contain 0% THC.
CannabinoidsThe compounds within the cannabis plant, of which there are over 120. CBD is the second richest compound in the plant after THC.
TerpenesAnother compound of the C. sativa plant, terpenes typically give plants their specific aromas. Some terpenes, such as limonene, may have specific health benefits.
Certificate of analysis (COA)Reputable manufacturers of CBD products should ensure a COA is available for inspection. A COA provides information on the third-party testing that independent labs conduct on a particular product. Sometimes, products have a scannable smartphone code directing people to the COA online.

Read more about terminology and other important CBD information here.

How can CBD help with psoriasis?

Some research indicates that CBD may benefit people with psoriasis due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

A 2020 review suggests CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties may help treat skin conditions, including psoriasis. However, the authors recommend caution when using CBD for psoriasis, as they need to conduct further research.

In a 2019 study looking at the effects of THC-free, CBD-enriched ointment for people with skin conditions, including psoriasis, the researchers found that the product led to improvement in skin symptoms.

Additionally, a 2019 review found that CBD may have therapeutic potential for people with this condition.

How to use CBD oil for treating psoriasis

People with psoriasis may find that topical treatments, such as lotions, serums, and ointments, can relieve some symptoms. Whichever product an individual chooses, they always need to follow the manufacturer’s dosage instructions.

How we chose

Medical News Today’s methodology

Medical News Today chooses products that meet the following criteria:

  • Ingredients: MNT chooses products containing safe and high quality, clearly labeled ingredients. They should also confirm they are free from pesticides, heavy metals, and mold.
  • Dosage: MNT chooses products that must clearly state the CBD dosage and THC content.
  • Serving size: MNT selects products in which manufacturers recommend a dosage and how to take it.
  • Third-party labs: MNT chooses products that undergo third-party testing for contaminants by an ISO 17025-compliant laboratory.
  • Available certificate of analysis: MNT chooses companies that demonstrate transparency and share a product’s certificate of analysis (COA) after receiving its third-party lab results.
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Best CBD oils for psoriasis

Below are some high quality options that may help alleviate symptoms of psoriasis.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more.

Best for calming the skin: +PlusCBD Extra Strength Balm

  • Price: $34.99
  • Key ingredients: sweet almond oil, beeswax, willow bark extract, green tea extract, peppermint oil
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • CBD amount: 100 mg per 1.3 ounces (oz)
  • Dosage: the manufacturer recommends using this product liberally on the skin as necessary

This product contains no fragrances, dyes, polyethylene glycols, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, or pesticides, minimizing the risk of skin irritation. Additionally, it also reportedly contains a range of botanical ingredients to soothe the skin — an important factor that people with psoriasis may wish to prioritize.

The company claims the willow bark extract can soothe irritated skin and deliver skin-refreshing minerals. Its beeswax is a triple-action moisturizer, which works as a humectant to draw moisture from the air to the skin. It also works as an emollient to moisturize the skin directly and as an occlusive, meaning it creates a barrier to seal moisture in.

According to +PlusCBD, the safflower seed oil may also reduce the occurrence of dry skin, and the balm’s jojoba oil esters help with absorption. Research shows they also have anti-inflammatory properties.

However, it contains beeswax, making it unsuitable for those following a vegan lifestyle.

Pros

  • no dyes, fragrances, parabens, or sulfates
  • contains a wide range of natural ingredients
  • may soothe the skin
  • provides a range of moisturizing ingredients to improve dry skin

Cons

  • unsuitable for vegans
  • difficult to measure the CBD dose
  • the product’s soothing effects may mainly come from its botanical ingredients over its CBD
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Best for stress-related flare-ups: Absolute Nature CBD Full-Spectrum CBD Oil Drops

  • Price: $59.99
  • Key ingredients: MCT oil
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • CBD amount: 500 mg per 30 mL
  • Dosage: 1 mL per day

Psoriasis flare-ups can develop due to stress, and the National Psoriasis Foundation states that stress management is an important factor in managing the condition. This CBD oil aims to promote relaxation and a sense of calm. These may help people manage stress levels to reduce the occurrence or severity of flare-ups and itching.

Absolute Nature recommends this product to people requiring lower but more regular CBD doses, as it contains a moderate dose of 19 mg of CBD per mL.

The Department of Agriculture certifies the oil as organic, and its makers say that it is free from heavy metals, pesticides, solvents, and genetically modified ingredients. It is also vegan-friendly.

Pros

  • suitable for vegans
  • may help manage stress and reduce stress-related flare-ups
  • suitable potency for regular doses
  • contains just CBD and coconut MCT oil

Cons

  • some people may not want to ingest CBD
  • unsuitable for people with a coconut allergy
  • full-spectrum CBD can produce positive drug test results
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Best for dry and itchy skin: Calm by Wellness Hemp CBD Lavender Lotion

  • Price: $35.99
  • Key ingredients: organic aloe leaf juice, coconut oil, jojoba seed oil, and lavender flower water and oil
  • CBD type: broad-spectrum
  • CBD amount: 200 mg per 118 mL bottle
  • Dosage: dime-sized amount

Calm by Wellness recommends this lavender lotion for soothing dry and itchy skin. Among its wide range of natural ingredients, broad-spectrum CBD, organic aloe leaf juice, coconut oil, jojoba seed oil, and lavender flower water and oil work to soothe dry and itchy skin.

Its formula aims to seal in moisture, reduce the risk of infections, and deliver vitamins B, C, and E.

It is reportedly THC- and GMO-free. Calm by Wellness recommends a person speaks with a healthcare professional before using this product to improve skin conditions.

Pros

  • recommended for dry and itchy skin
  • contains a wide range of natural and organic ingredients
  • easy to use
  • people can apply it directly to problem areas

Cons

  • unsuitable for people with a coconut or sunflower allergy
  • difficult to measure CBD dose
  • low number of reviews online
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How to choose CBD oil

People need to carefully research the CBD products they want to buy, as the FDA does not regulate them before they go on sale. The agency has not approved any CBD oil for medical use besides Epidiolex, which treats rare and severe forms of epilepsy.

The following are important factors to consider:

  • Potency: Some CBD products are very potent and are typically unsuitable for people trying CBD for the first time. Stronger products may also act faster and have more noticeable effects and side effects.
  • Dose: People buying CBD need to stick to the recommended dosage a company recommends. They can start with the lowest dose possible and work up to test their tolerance for the product. If side effects occur, they need to reduce their dose or stop using the product.
  • Ingredients: Some CBD brands use very simple formulas to make CBD products. In some cases, they will only contain CBD and MCT oil. However, others will have additional ingredients to make the product taste or smell pleasant. Buyers should check their chosen CBD product does not contain any ingredients they are allergic or sensitive to.
  • THC content: THC can show up on drug tests, so people who need to take regular tests may wish to avoid products containing THC. Companies cannot sell products containing over 0.3% THC, and people generally need to avoid products that contain more than this amount.
  • Health claims: Buyers need to avoid products from brands making unsupported health claims or advertising their products as cures for health conditions.
  • Third-party testing: People should only buy products that have gone through third-party testing to verify that they only include the ingredients on the labeling.
  • Reviews: Reading customer reviews can be helpful in determining whether a product is as effective as a company claims.

Read our complete guide to buying CBD.

Comparing CBD oils for psoriasis

The table below provides a snapshot of how the best CBD products for psoriasis compare.

ProductCBD typeFormKey ingredientsCBD amountPrice
+PlusCBDfull-spectrumbalm• sweet almond oil
• willow bark extract
• beeswax
• green tea extract
• peppermint oil
100 mg per 1.3 oz$34.99
Absolute Naturefull-spectrumoilMCT oil500 mg per 30 mL$59.99
Calm by Wellnessbroad-spectrumlotion• aloe leaf juice
• coconut oil
• lavender flower water
• lavender flower oil
• jojoba seed oil
200 mg per 118 mL$35.99

CBD safety and side effects

People need to consult a healthcare professional before using CBD. The FDA warns of several health risks, some of which a person may not notice.

These “silent” risks include liver injury and interactions with various medications. Also, the FDA notes that experts are unsure about the cumulative effects of using several CBD products at once.

More noticeable CBD side effects can include:

In rare cases, a person may experience an allergic reaction to a topical CBD product. Anyone who notices unusual symptoms, such as swelling, should stop using the CBD product and seek emergency medical help.

Alternatives

Anyone looking for a natural alternative to CBD for psoriasis might consider a product that contains:

  • Aloe vera: 2019 review suggests that this may relieve symptoms of psoriasis.
  • Turmeric: Turmeric contains curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. This means that it might help with psoriasis.
  • Lavender oil:2018 review highlights many benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
  • Arnica flower: An older review from 2017 suggests that this has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

A 2022 study writes that people with psoriasis may benefit from replacing saturated fatty acids in their diet with polyunsaturated fatty acids from the omega-3 family. The authors write this is due to their anti-inflammatory benefits. That said, 2021 research states that while clinical studies have demonstrated the benefits of nutritional omega-3 on psoriasis, scientists do not yet understand how it works.

Additionally, though fish oils contain omega-3 fatty acids, a 2019 review found no evidence to support using fish oil for psoriasis.

Learn more about home remedies for psoriasis.

People can speak with a doctor if home remedies for psoriasis are not working.

When to consult a doctor

Anyone with severe psoriasis should seek advice from a dermatologist. They may prescribe corticosteroid medication to suppress the immune system and reduce inflammation.

Additionally, anyone who experiences heightened skin irritation following the use of any home remedy should seek professional medical advice as soon as possible.

Frequently asked questions about CBD for psoriasis

Below, we answer some common questions about using CBD for psoriasis.

Will CBD oil help with psoriasis?

While some research suggests CBD may help psoriasis, more scientific studies are necessary.

Does the skin absorb CBD?

While the skin absorbs much of a product, it may not absorb all of the CBD content. CBD combines readily with fats, plenty of which are in the skin’s top layer. Some CBD may stay in the top layer only.

Topical CBD products often have ingredients that help the skin absorb CBD.

Do doctors recommend CBD oil for psoriasis?

Currently, most doctors will not recommend CBD oil for treating psoriasis. Though initial research and anecdotal evidence suggest that it may help alleviate psoriasis symptoms, further studies are necessary and will help confirm this.

Can CBD oil worsen psoriasis?

There is currently no research that suggests CBD oil can aggravate psoriasis. However, people need to read ingredient lists carefully and ensure they do not use products containing ingredients that can irritate their skin.

Summary

To alleviate the symptoms of psoriasis, such as itchiness or soreness, a person may consider a CBD product because CBD has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Other natural ingredients, such as aloe vera gel, may also help, and some products contain a range of these ingredients.