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

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

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

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 percent THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3 percent 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.

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

THC produces the “high” that people typically associate with cannabis. CBD alone does not cause a high.

Some CBD products contain small amounts of THC. Others contain CBD isolate, and so they contain no THC.

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

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

A 2020 review suggests that CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties may help treat skin conditions, including psoriasis. However, the authors recommend caution when using CBD for psoriasis, as more research is needed.

A 2019 study looked at the effects of CBD-enriched ointment, which did not contain THC, for people with skin conditions, including psoriasis. The researchers found that the product led to improvement in skin symptoms.

A 2019 review also found that CBD may have therapeutic potential for people with this condition.

Consult a healthcare professional before using CBD. The Food and Drug Administration (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:

  • changes in alertness, such as drowsiness
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • changes in mood, such as irritability and agitation

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.

People with psoriasis may find that topical treatments, such as lotions, serums, and ointments, can relieve certain symptoms.

Always follow the instructions on packaging about how often to use the product, how to apply it, and how much to use.

Due to the wide variety of products available, choosing one can be difficult. Always opt for products that have undergone third-party testing. Also, choose products from established, reputable sources.

In addition, it is a good idea to choose a product that describes the type of CBD it contains. These types include:

Full-spectrum CBD: This contains all the cannabinoids in the C. sativa plant, including THC.

Broad-spectrum CBD: This typically contains all the cannabinoids except THC, though some products may contain trace quantities of THC.

CBD isolate: This only contains CBD — no other cannabinoids.

Learn more about buying CBD products.

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

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried any of these products and that all the information is research-based.

Saint Jane Luxury Beauty Serum

Best for moisturizing

This contains full-spectrum hemp extract.

In a blind study of 100 consumers, all reported an improvement in dry skin, and 99% reported reduced irritation, the manufacturers of this serum say.

The product also contains jojoba oil, which helps with absorption and has anti-inflammatory properties.

It is vegan and gluten-free.

Green Roads Full Spectrum CBD Oil – 750 mg

Best for varying strengths

This is available in broad- or full-spectrum varieties. It also comes in varying strengths. The strongest contains 750 mg of CBD per container and 25 mg of CBD per milliliter (ml). The clearly marked measuring tool helps a person use a precise amount.

Green Roads states that this product is vegan-friendly and gluten-free, and a person can view the company’s lab results on its website.

Absolute Nature CBD Full-Spectrum CBD Oil Drops – 500 mg

Best for soothing

One ml of this oil contains 19 mg of cannabinoids. The company says that it has formulated this product to promote calm and relaxation, but the aloe vera in it may relieve symptoms of psoriasis.

The Department of Agriculture has certified 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 and ecologically sound.

A person can view the lab results for this product on the company’s website.

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

  • Aloe vera: A 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: A 2018 review highlights many benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
  • Arnica flower: A 2017 review suggests that this has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

A 2015 review concludes that omega-3s may help prevent psoriasis flare-ups. However, though fish oils contain these fatty acids, a 2019 review finds no evidence to support the use of fish oil for psoriasis.

Learn more about home remedies for psoriasis.

If home remedies are not working, a doctor may recommend corticosteroids. These drugs help suppress the immune system and reduce inflammation.

Below, find answers to some common questions about using CBD for psoriasis.

How much CBD should I use?

Scientific studies have not established a minimum dosage that helps relieve symptoms of psoriasis.

Start with the lowest dosage at first, then gradually increase the amount if necessary. Many manufacturers include a recommended maximum dosage.

Does the skin absorb CBD?

The skin may not absorb all the CBD in a product. CBD combines readily with fats, and there are plenty of these in the top layer of skin. Some CBD may stay in that top layer.

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

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.