How CBD Can Treat Eczema

Pruritis refers to itching felt in any body part, which can feel painful at times. There are several temporary conditions that involve pruritis, which can be viral or bacterial and goes away as the infection clears.

Chronic skin conditions that result in pruritis and inflammation include eczema and psoriasis. Eczema a common skin condition (or dermatitis) with itching, swelling rash on the skin that suddenly appears and becomes inflamed, dry and thickened. There may be encrusted scaling lesions or patches of redness

It can be triggered by an allergic reaction to something touched (contact dermatitis) or result from internal allergies to food or something in the environment. 

Research Shows Positive Results for Topical CBD

NOTE FOR FIRST TIME READERS: Cannabinoids – such as THC, CBD – and terpenes are the main medically active components in cannabis (aka marijuana). For more information on these components, and much more about the plant, see our section on the Science of Cannabis.

In 2003 British researchers reported that the peripheral administration of a synthetic cannabinoid significantly reduced itching (induced for the experiment) in 12 subjects.

In 2006 German researchers reported that 22 patients with prurigo, lichen simplex, and pruritus who applied an emollient cream with a cannabinoid (e.g. cream or ointment) reduced symptoms of itching by an average of 86.4%. “Topical cannabinoid agonists represent a new effective and well-tolerated therapy for refractory itching of various origins.

Creams with a higher concentration may be even more effective with broader indications.” One study showed that topical THC helped mice heal faster from skin allergies, while also acted as an anti-inflammatory.

Immune dysfunction plays a major role in pathologies of the skin such as allergic contact dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea. Cannabinoids not only possess anti-inflammatory, immunomodulating, anti-itch qualities, they also are anti-microbial and anti-fungal.

In concert with similar qualities in various terpenes, a cannabis formulation, both internal and topical, provides a potent therapy for many skin conditions. 

The use of topical cannabis for skin disorders ranging from itching to scaling, swelling, and redness has been gaining popularity among medical marijuana patients and often can substitute for steroid creams or other medications. 

CBD Products to Reduce Itching

In general, topical cannabis is the preferred delivery method for skin conditions. Balms and salves that have less water content are preferred for eczema treatment. So, for skin disorders, apply a balm, salve, or cream that is rich in THC, CBD or both. If it has both, you are increasing potency as they act on different receptors. Be wary of the concentration of cannabis in your product.

A typical effective CBD cream has 300 to 500 mg of cannabinoids in a 4-ounce jar. This is for cannabis extracted cannabinoids, which are more potent per mg than CBD isolated from hemp, which requires a higher dose. Topical should be applied 4x/day for 24-hour coverage, but often twice a day is enough, depending on how severe your condition is.


Eberlein B, Eicke C, Reinhardt HW, Ring J. Adjuvant treatment of atopic eczema: assessment of an emollient containing N‐palmitoylethanolamine (ATOPA study). Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. 2008, 22(1): 73-82.

Gaffal E, Cron M, Glodde N, Tüting T. Anti-inflammatory activity of topical THC in DNFB-mediated mouse allergic contact dermatitis independent of CB1 and CB2 receptors. Allergy. 2013, 68(8): 994-1000.

Karsak M, et al. Attenuation of allergic contact dermatitis through the endocannabinoid system. Science. 2007, 316(5830): 1494–1497.

Richardson J, Kilo S, Hargreaves K. Cannabinoids reduce hyperalgesia and inflammation via interaction with peripheral CB1 receptors. Pain. 1998, 75(1): 111-9.

Stander S, Reinhardt HW, Luger TA, Topical application of a cream with N-palmitoyl ethanolamine had a good antipruritic effect in most patients. Hautarzt. 2006, Jul 28.