Medical Research

Can CBD Help a Sunburn?

Written by Asia Mayfield

Anyone who’s experienced a severe sunburn knows that the healing process can be complicated and unpleasant. In fact, depending on the severity of your sunburn, you could even end up in the hospital. Knowing how to treat sunburns can save you a lot of discomfort and pain.

That’s why people are turning to CBD (cannabidiol). Getting sunburned isn’t quite the same as simply burning yourself with something hot. The sun emits rays that harm the skin and trigger an immune response. CBD might be useful because research shows that it can modulate the immune system  (1). Your skin is full of cannabinoid receptors, which may help explain how CBD lotion could help treat sunburns.

“Because the ECS plays an important regulatory function in the skin, it is plausible that treatment with topical cannabinoids could be efficacious for certain disorders or skin health in general,” wrote a team of researchers involved in a 2020 study (2).

“There is evidence to suggest applying cannabinoids, and specifically CBD, topically may be a viable route of administration for certain conditions.”

It’s not certain that sunburns are among the conditions treated by CBD. But the evidence is promising, and many in the industry believe that CBD-based skin treatments will become common.

In a separate 2020 study, a team of researchers published in Molecules wrote that although government regulations continue to interfere with cannabinoid studies, “the interest in this field is rising as more evidence of the effectiveness of these substances becomes available, and the use of cannabinoids in the treatment of skin disorders may become conventional in the future. (3).”

If you’re interested in try CBD after a sunburn, make sure that invest in a quality lotion or oil. Because its medical benefits are still being ascertained, CBD isn’t a well-regulated product yet. This means that customers need to take extra steps to make sure that they’re buying well-made CBD.

Image source: Wikipedia



1- Tanasescu, Radu, and Cris S Constantinescu. “Cannabinoids and the immune system: an overview.” Immunobiology vol. 215,8 (2010): 588-97. doi:10.1016/j.imbio.2009.12.005

2- Baswan, Sudhir M et al. “Therapeutic Potential of Cannabidiol (CBD) for Skin Health and Disorders.” Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology vol. 13 927-942. 8 Dec. 2020, doi:10.2147/CCID.S286411

3- Scheau, Cristian et al. “Cannabinoids in the Pathophysiology of Skin Inflammation.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 25,3 652. 4 Feb. 2020, doi:10.3390/molecules25030652

About the author

Asia Mayfield

Asia Mayfield is a freelance writer who focuses on the cannabis industry. She can be reached at