Cannabinoids in Dermatology: Hope or Hype?

Melissa A. Nickles, Peter A. Lio*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Cannabinoids (CBDs) represent a diverse class of chemicals that may be beneficial in the treatment of various skin diseases due to antipruritic, anti-inflammatory, and antinociceptive properties. Although the legal history of these compounds has previously restricted their use and study, it seems likely that CBDs will gain popularity as they become increasingly available. We examined the mechanisms in which CBDs may have potential in the field of dermatology and reviewed the existing literature. We suggest that dermatologists review the existing evidence for CBD use and be ready to discuss it with their patients. The current literature indicates that CBDs may be beneficial in skin disease, particularly in the treatment of acne, chronic pruritus, and atopic dermatitis. Although there is preliminary evidence to suggest that CBDs are beneficial in these conditions, existing studies tend to be small and lacking rigorous design. There is a clear need for high-quality randomized controlled trials to fully evaluate the efficacy and safety of these compounds before their use can be promoted in the treatment of dermatological diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-282
Number of pages4
JournalCannabis and Cannabinoid Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • acne
  • atopic dermatitis
  • cannabinoids
  • endocannabinoids
  • pruritus
  • skin disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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