What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an immune-mediated inflammatory skin disease, and it is a chronic condition that ranges in severity. It can appear as scattered red, scaly plaques to large patches that cover entire regions of the body, including the scalp. Psoriasis involves the rapid proliferation of skin cells – meaning the skin cells are producing at a much faster rate forming scales and red patches that are itchy and sometimes painful.
The degree of severity depends on inheritance and environmental factors. Its exact cause is unknown, but the interaction of the immune system and the nervous system have been hypothesized and investigated as the underlying mechanism.
Causes of Psoriasis
The causes of psoriasis are not fully understood, but several risk factors are recognized. Family history, viral and bacterial infections, stress, obesity, and smoking are just some of the risk factors. Psoriasis can be triggered by several factors such as:
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Vitamin D deficiency
- And certain medications
Who Does Psoriasis Affect?
Psoriasis is estimated to affect about 2-4% of the population in western countries. The occurrence of psoriasis varies according to age and geographic region, being more frequent in countries furthest from the equator.
Certain populations are at risk for developing psoriasis, and at least 10 percent of people inherit one or more genes that could eventually lead to the disorder. However, only 2 to 3 percent of the population will develop psoriasis due to exposure to certain “triggers.” It can affect anywhere in the body – ears, on the eyelids, mouth and lips, skin folds, hands and feet, nails, and scalp.
Treatment of Psoriasis
There is currently no cure for psoriasis. It is a chronic condition that comes and goes. While it cannot be cured, certain treatments can slow skin proliferation and offer relief. Topical treatments can help manage inflammation, reduce scaling, and encourage the dead skin cells to slough off.
Topical psoriasis treatments include:
- Topical corticosteroids
- Vitamin D analogues
- Topical retinoids
- Calcineurin inhibitors
- Salicylic Acid
- Coal Tar
Aside from these topical treatments, light therapy and oral or injected medications are also prescribed if they prove to be resistant to other types of treatment.
American Academy of Dermatology on CBD Treatment for Psoriasis
Recently, more people are turning towards CBD oil as an alternative treatment. It is gaining popularity because of how CBD works in the body. In early 2018, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) released a statement expressing interest in further research on using CBD as a treatment method for chronic skin conditions like psoriasis.
Since CBD has inherent anti-inflammatory properties, there is potential to improve some skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema by reducing the inflammation associated with these diseases. CBD oil treatment for psoriasis has become popular because unlike THC, CBD does not cause any intoxicating effects.
Furthermore, the National Psoriasis Foundation published an article that suggested CBD oil as a way to complement other treatment methods. It showed that there is a benefit in the usage of CBD oil in reducing new skin cell growth and the potential for treating the symptoms of arthritis.
Additional Research of CBD Oil for Psoriasis
Studies have shown CBD can also help manage psoriasis through their interaction with the endocannabinoid system by regulating the proper function of the immune system. CBD helps prevent psoriasis flare-ups by activating the cannabinoid 2 (CB2) receptors of the endocannabinoid system by modulating the immune system functions.
Research suggests that cannabinoids, including CBD, help treat psoriasis symptoms by managing the overactivity of T cells since psoriasis is an immune-mediated skin inflammatory disease. CBD also reduces the levels of tumour necrosis factor-alpha, which is an indicator of inflammation and found to be un-regulated in psoriasis patients.
Research has also shown that CBD has inhibitory effects on the proliferation of many tumorigenic cell lines, some of which are mediated via cannabinoid receptors. It was found that cannabinoids, including CBD, slowed down the growth and division of skin cells involved in psoriatic skin rashes.
How Can Medical CBD Help with Psoriasis?
CBD oil can be effective at decreasing the flare-ups and irritation of psoriasis. However, while there is anecdotal evidence that CBD oil can help treat psoriasis, studies are still ongoing. The main feature of CBD is its anti-inflammatory properties and its support of the immune system. It modulates the immune response by binding to cannabinoid receptors, in which the skin has an abundance.
Pruritis, or itching, is one of the main symptoms of psoriasis. CBD oil can also reduce pruritus when applied to the skin. A previous study considered topical applications of CBD for treating pruritus and found that CBD reduced itchiness by roughly 86 percent.
How to Use CBD Oil for Psoriasis
CBD oil can be taken by mouth or applied to the skin depending on the symptoms. It can be applied topically for localized relief of pain or discomfort of the rashes on the skin. It can be taken orally to help with the modulation of the immune system to reduce the symptoms. Once CBD oil is applied to the skin, it creates a protective film where its components play a significant role in treating psoriasis.
The benefits of CBD oil in the treatment of psoriasis are highly dependent on the quality of the extract. A high-quality CBD oil can be effective in relieving the symptoms of psoriasis. In many cases, some of the treatment regimens did not show any effect because the CBD concentration used was too low.
The Future of CBD Oil for Psoriasis
CBD oil is safe to use and has a good side effect profile. Ongoing studies are still being conducted to better understand its effect on the inflammation, immune system, and skin proliferation. Although psoriasis has no cure, the use of CBD to manage the symptoms in combination with other treatments shows a lot of promise.
There are many ways to incorporate CBD in the treatment regimen and with a consultation with a medical professional, CBD oil for psoriasis can be very effective if the correct dosage is used. CBD oil as a treatment for psoriasis is complementary to a more comprehensive treatment plan. As with any new treatment, it is important to discuss treatment plans with your doctor.
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