Can CBD help with warts, and if so, how?

Common warts are small, coarse skin growths that occur most often on fingers or hands. Grainy to the touch, common warts also often feature a pattern of tiny black dots, which are clotted blood vessels.

Common warts are caused by HPV (human papillomavirus). Some strains of HPV are acquired through sexual contact. 

However, most forms are spread by casual skin contact or through shared objects, such as towels or washcloths. They can also spread to different parts of the body by nail-biting or shaving.

It can take a wart two to six months to develop after the skin has been exposed to the virus. 

An individual’s immune system responds to the HPV virus differently, so not everyone who comes in contact with HPV develops warts. 

Common warts are typically harmless and eventually disappear on their own. Still, most people choose to have them removed because they find them bothersome or embarrassing.

People at higher risk of developing common warts include children and young adults, as their bodies may not have built up a robust immunity to the virus.

Also, at risk are individuals with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS, or people who have had organ transplants (1). 

Why Some People Are Turning to CBD for Warts

No study indicates that CBD directly treats warts. Still, CBD may help those dealing with the symptoms or effects of some types of warts.

CBD for HPV Vaccine Side Effects

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends two doses of HPV vaccine for children aged 11 or 12 to protect them against cancers caused by HPV infections (2). 

Recent changes to the vaccine recommendations mean preventing cancer is easier now than ever before, said Nancy Messonnier, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (3). 

Meanwhile, researchers have found that the vaccine may also result in adverse effects for some young adults. They also found that CBD hemp oil can help alleviate those side effects.

Results of a small 2017 study published in the Israel Medical Association Journal suggest that CBD can help relieve symptoms and improve life quality in those with adverse effects following HPV vaccination (4). 

Researchers found CBD-rich hemp oil to be a promising treatment for severe somatoform and dysautonomic syndrome following HPV vaccination.

Somatic symptom disorder is often characterized by an extreme focus on physical symptoms, such as pain or fatigue, that causes significant emotional distress and problems functioning (5). 

Dysautonomia is a disorder that involves the autonomic nervous system, which controls involuntary actions, like the heart beating and the widening or narrowing of blood vessels (6). 

The authors of the study hypothesized that supplementing the endocannabinoid system, a complex signaling network in the body, with plant-derived cannabinoids like CBD, could stimulate the system and bring it back to balance.

Still, the researchers urged for randomized controlled trials to fully characterize the safety profile and efficacy of CBD oil for HPV vaccination side effects.

CBD for Cervical Cancer

Of the over a hundred types of HPV, two types cause 70% of cervical cancers and pre-cancerous cervical lesions, says the World Health Organization (WHO) (7).  

Meanwhile, a 2016 study published in BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies showed that CBD rather than Cannabis sativa crude extracts prevented cell growth at a significant rate and induced apoptosis (cell death) in laboratory-grown, cervical cancer cell lines (8).

The results prove promising for individuals who do not want to use medical cannabis that contains THC and may change the way experts have been treating cervical cancer.

CBD for the Immune System

Individuals with a weakened immune system are most at risk of developing warts (9). 

Meanwhile, CBD may help boost the immune system. Studies have shown that cannabis is immune-modulating, which means it can bring an over- or under-reacting immune system back into balance (10). 

In other studies, CBD was found to play an integral role in managing autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS), HIV/AIDS, and Parkinson’s disease (11). 

Autoimmune diseases are characterized by an immune system overreacting to non-threatening internal events, leading it to attack healthy cells in the body (12).  

CBD for Skin Care

Warts manifest as a skin problem, caused by a virus that usually spreads through breaks in the skin, such as a scrape or a hangnail (13). 

A study published in the journal Trends in Pharmacological Sciences has suggested the existence of a functional endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the skin and implicated it in various biological processes that might form the basis for future clinical studies on skin disorders (14).  

In the said study, the authors noted that the primary physiological function of the ECS in the skin seemed to be the regulation of the well-balanced proliferation, survival, and tolerance of skin cells. 

They said that the disruption of this delicate balance might facilitate the development of multiple skin problems, such as acne, seborrhea (red, itchy rash and white scales), allergic dermatitis, psoriasis (painful, dry, raised, and red skin lesions), and cancer.

CBD also impacts the TRPV-1 and GPR55 receptors (15). Both receptors are found in the skin and play a role in pain signaling and inflammation.

Conclusion

No study indicates that CBD directly treats warts. Still, CBD may help those dealing with the symptoms or effects of some types of warts.

CBD oil from hemp may help with HPV vaccine side effects, destroy cervical cancer cells in the lab, boost the body’s immunity, and remedy common skin conditions caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).

However, CBD may interact with other pharmaceuticals. Moreover, its long-term side effects are still unknown. 

Thus, before using CBD for wart symptoms or HPV side effects, or before using CBD as an adjunct therapy, consult with a dermatologist experienced in cannabis use for advice.


  1. Mayo Clinic. (2018, May 19). Common Warts. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-warts/symptoms-causes/syc-20371125.
  2. CDC. (2019, April 29). HPV Diseases and Cancers. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/hpv/parents/cancer.html.
  3. CDC. (2017, Aug 24). Most U.S. teens are getting cancer-preventing vaccine. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p0824-cancer-preventing-vaccines.html.
  4. Palmieri B, Laurino C, Vadalà M. Short-Term Efficacy of CBD-Enriched Hemp Oil in Girls with Dysautonomic Syndrome after Human Papillomavirus Vaccination. Isr Med Assoc J. 2017;19(2):79–84.
  5. Mayo Clinic. (2018, May 8). Somatic symptom disorder. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/somatic-symptom-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20377776.
  6. MedlinePlus. (2016, Feb 2). Autonomic Nervous System Disorders. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/autonomicnervoussystemdisorders.html.
  7. WHO. (2019, Jan 24). Human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/human-papillomavirus-(hpv)-and-cervical-cancer
  8. Lukhele ST, Motadi LR. Cannabidiol rather than Cannabis sativa extracts inhibit cell growth and induce apoptosis in cervical cancer cells. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2016;16(1):335. Published 2016 Sep 1. doi:10.1186/s12906-016-1280-0.
  9. Mayo Clinic. (2018, May 19). Common Warts. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-warts/symptoms-causes/syc-20371125.
  10. Russo S. Molecular Mimicry: The Role of Cannabis in Healing Autoimmune Disease. Retrieved from https://www.fundacion-canna.es/en/molecular-mimicry-role-cannabis-healing-autoimmune-disease
  11. Hammell DC, Zhang LP, Ma F, et al. Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis. Eur J Pain. 2016;20(6):936–948. DOI:10.1002/ejp.818; Rudroff T, Sosnoff J. Cannabidiol to Improve Mobility in People with Multiple Sclerosis. Front Neurol. 2018;9:183. Published 2018 Mar 22. DOI:10.3389/fneur.2018.00183; Hanson R. (2019, June 4). CBD: A Promising Aid for HIV Patients? Retrieved from https://hivatis.org/cbd-a-promising-aid-for-hiv-patients/; Peres FF, Lima AC, Hallak JEC, Crippa JA, Silva RH, Abílio VC. Cannabidiol as a Promising Strategy to Treat and Prevent Movement Disorders?. Front Pharmacol. 2018;9:482. Published 2018 May 11. DOI:10.3389/fphar.2018.00482.
  12. MedlinePlus. (2020, March 12). Autoimmune Diseases. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/autoimmunediseases.html.
  13. Mayo Clinic. (2018, May 19). Common Warts. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-warts/symptoms-causes/syc-20371125.
  14. Bíró T, Tóth BI, Haskó G, Paus R, Pacher P. The endocannabinoid system of the skin in health and disease: novel perspectives and therapeutic opportunities. Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2009;30(8):411–420. doi:10.1016/j.tips.2009.05.004.
  15. Sharir H, Abood ME. Pharmacological characterization of GPR55, a putative cannabinoid receptor. Pharmacol Ther. 2010;126(3):301–313. DOI:10.1016/j.pharmthera.2010.02.004; Costa B, Giagnoni G, Franke C, Trovato AE, Colleoni M. Vanilloid TRPV1 receptor mediates the antihyperalgesic effect of the nonpsychoactive cannabinoid, cannabidiol, in a rat model of acute inflammation. Br J Pharmacol. 2004;143(2):247–250. DOI:10.1038/sj.bjp.0705920.
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