Can CBD Help with Skin Disorders?

Most skin disorders are not life-threatening; however, their impact on patients’ quality of life can be detrimental (1)

Skin disorders can profoundly affect how patients see themselves and their social interactions (2). Some patients develop avoidance-coping mechanisms, even when their symptoms are not visible. 

A study also reveals that people who have skin ailments have a more mediocre quality of life and psychosocial functioning compared to those who do not have these conditions. (3) They are also more prone to depression, anxiety, and suicidality.

A study in 2019 (4) reveals that cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant, helps in the maintenance of skin homeostasis, barrier formation, and regeneration.

The research also uncovered that the administration of CBD could help improve atopic dermatitis (eczema), psoriasis, scleroderma (hardening of the skin), acne, hair growth and pigmentation disorders, keratin diseases, various tumors, and even itch. 

CBD can also possibly play a role in treating cancers like Kaposi sarcoma and skin cancer, according to early, non-clinical research. It also alleviates the symptoms of hidradenitis suppurativa, a skin condition characterized by painful bumps under the skin (5)

Another study in 2019 discusses the efficacy of CBD-enriched ointment as a topical treatment that is safe and non-invasive, especially for patients with inflammatory skin conditions (6)

CBD comes in different forms like oils or tinctures, creams, patches, balms, salves, and even face masks. 

CBD for Skin Care

Sebum or oil is a vital substance to the body. Too little oil could lead to itchy, dry, and scaly skin. Too much oil meanwhile could make the skin greasy, shiny, and hard to apply cosmetics on.

Oily skin is also more prone to acne and rosacea (red, pus-filled bumps on the skin). Hence, balance in sebum production is essential, cosmetically and dermatologically. (7)

A study has found that CBD reduces sebum production (8), making it a promising part of one’s skincare routine. The study also dubbed CBD as “a potent universal anti-acne agent” that is cost-effective and well-tolerated by the skin.

Unlike CBD, Isotretinoin, the most effective anti-acne agent, is known to cause adverse side effects. (9)

CBD for Dog Skin Problems

If CBD is effective in humans, it could be useful for dogs, too. All animals

except insects have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that works the same way regardless of species (10)

The ECS is the system that regulates the function of cannabinoids like CBD.

A study on mice (11) revealed that CBD could help in alleviating allergic inflammation. The study also showed the protective role of the ECS in contact allergy in the skin. Research studies specifically on CBD and dog skin issues will need to be done to determine CBD’s efficacy, if any.

Tips on CBD Usage

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved CBD use for humans or dogs; hence there is no standard dosage for CBD. It is recommended that CBD be administered through small amounts initially. If there are no adverse effects, the dosage can be gradually increased.

When choosing CBD oil products, it is recommended to purchase products that have lab analysis from a third party. A study in 2018 (12) found that of the 84 CBD products the researchers analyzed, 26% contained less CBD than labeled, while 43% contained more CBD than what the label declared. 

The study also reported that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of cannabis plants, was found in 21% of the samples. The THC concentrations in the samples were enough to get children high. 

Before using CBD, patients should consult with their dermatologists first. Pet owners are also encouraged to speak with their veterinarian before administering CBD to their dogs. 

Conclusion

Skin disorders have a tremendous impact on the lives of patients who have them. Skin ailments do not just affect how patients see themselves, but also how they see their sociability.

Several studies have shown that CBD can help alleviate these skin disorders sans the adverse effects.

CBD can be safely added to one’s skincare regimen.

Aside from alleviating the symptoms of skin conditions in humans, CBD may theoretically help treat skin ailments in animals like dogs, too. However, more research is needed to determine any clear benefits in dogs and humans.

There is no standard dosage for CBD.

Patients or pet owners who are considering CBD use for themselves or their pets should consult with their doctors or veterinarians first. 


  1.  Tóth, Kinga Fanni et al. “Cannabinoid Signaling in the Skin: Therapeutic Potential of the “C(ut)annabinoid” System.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 24,5 918. 6 Mar. 2019, doi:10.3390/molecules24050918
  2. Tuckman, Ari. “The Potential Psychological Impact of Skin Conditions.” Dermatology and therapy, vol. 7,Suppl 1 (2017): 53-57. doi:10.1007/s13555-016-0169-7
  3. Ibid.
  4. Tóth, K. (2019 Mar. 6). op. cit. 
  5. Eagleston, Lauren R M, et al. “Cannabinoids in Dermatology: a Scoping Review.” Dermatology Online Journal, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 15 June 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30142706.
  6. Palmieri, B, et al. “A Therapeutic Effect of Cbd-Enriched Ointment in Inflammatory Skin Diseases and Cutaneous Scars.” La Clinica Terapeutica, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2019, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30993303.
  7. Abramovits, William, and Aldo Gonzalez-Serva. “Sebum, Cosmetics, And Skin Care.” Dermatologic Clinics, Elsevier, 15 Aug. 2005, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0733863505702126?via%3Dihub.
  8. Oláh, Attila et al. “Cannabidiol exerts sebostatic and antiinflammatory effects on human sebocytes.” The Journal of clinical investigation vol. 124,9 (2014): 3713-24. doi:10.1172/JCI64628
  9. Ibid. 
  10. Silver, Robert J. “The Endocannabinoid System of Animals.” Animals: an open-access journal from MDPI vol. 9,9 686. 16 Sep. 2019, doi:10.3390/ani9090686
  11. Karsak, Meliha, et al. “Attenuation of Allergic Contact Dermatitis Through the Endocannabinoid System.” Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 8 June 2007, science.sciencemag.org/content/316/5830/1494.long.
  12. Freedman, Daniel A, and Anup D Patel. “Inadequate Regulation Contributes to Mislabeled Online Cannabidiol Products.” Pediatric neurology briefs vol. 32 3. 18 Jun. 2018, doi:10.15844/pedneurbriefs-32-3
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