Topical Cannabidiol Recommended as Adjunct Treatment for Acne, Eczema, and Psoriasis

Petar Petrov
Written by Petar Petrov

When it comes to skin conditions, “inflammation is the root of all evil,” as New York City dermatologist Dendy Engelman puts it. And what soothes inflammation more efficiently and seamlessly than CBD? The anti-inflammatory effects are among perhaps CBD’s most well-documented properties.

Inflammation is indeed one of the main fuels of acne, eczema, and psoriasis, which is why CBD topicals are inherently effective in treating them. However, beyond easing inflammation, CBD can help diffuse those skin conditions in other, more specific ways.


One of the main factors contributing to acne is sebum, the skin’s main, oily protector from the world. Sebum can mingle with things like dirt and dead skin cells and become stuck in pores, causing them to clog, and subsequently develop into acne. This is particularly true for people who struggle with excessive sebum production.

Here comes CBD, which has been found to regulate sebum. [1] Furthermore, CBD has also demonstrated antifungal and antibacterial properties, meaning it can mitigate the pollution of the skin by dirt and other contaminants. [2]


The American Academy of Dermatology defines psoriasis as “a condition that causes the body to make new skin cells in days rather than weeks,” resulting in dead skin piling up before the body can get rid of it.

Psoriasis is considered an autoimmune disease, a malfunction of our inner system if you will, which is precisely why CBD is inherently effective against it; what the cannabinoid does best is bring our inner environment back to balance—homeostasis—to the way it’s meant to be.

Furthermore, a study published in the Journal of Dermatological Science dating back to 2007 found that CBD actually reduces the growth rate of new skin cells, thus providing the opportunity for our bodies to shed the dead skin before it builds up. [3]


Eczema is not a single disease but a category of similar skin conditions, characterized by severe irritation of the skin, making it itchy, red, and inflamed. With its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, this clearly is CBD’s domain.

In fact, the National Eczema Association did a sweeping review of research from various medical experts. In it, they cite the CBD experience of Dr. Henry Piffard, MD—considered one of the founding fathers of American dermatology—as one of the earliest signs of the cannabinoid’s potential:

“a pill of cannabis indica at bedtime has at my hands sometimes afforded relief to the intolerable itching of eczema.”

It should be noted that Piffard here is talking about a pill and not a topical, and is far from the optimal way to consume CBD for skin conditions.

With its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, CBD is effective against skin conditions like acne, psoriasis, and eczema by default; however, the body of reputable research into its condition-specific effects speaks for itself as well.

Fortunately, the dermatological community is taking notice, as the American Academy of Dermatology reviewed the matter at length during its 2018 meeting.


  1. Oláh et al, Cannabidiol exerts sebostatic and antiinflammatory effects on human sebocytes, J Clin Invest. 2014 Sep 2; 124(9): 3713–3724. Journal Impact Factor = 12.282; Times Cited = 94
  2. Andre et al, Cannabis sativa: The Plant of the Thousand and One Molecules, Front Plant Sci. 2016; 7: 19. Journal Impact Factor = 4.298; Times Cited = 227
  3. Wilkinson and Williamson, Cannabinoids inhibit human keratinocyte proliferation through a non-CB1/CB2 mechanism and have a potential therapeutic value in the treatment of psoriasis, Journal of Dermatological Science, February 2007, Volume 45, Issue 2, Pages 87-92; Journal Impact Factor = -; Times Cited = 116

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Petar Petrov

Petar Petrov


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