We’ve all heard of the therapeutic uses of CBD—how it can treat certain forms of epilepsy, and potentially numerous other conditions like anxiety, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer's, and depression. But can CBD also be useful for treating sunburns?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is the second most common cannabinoid, and is celebrated for its wide variety of medicinal uses. Unlike its more popular companion THC, CBD is non-psychoactive. CBD is usually sold in oral form, but topical CBD also exists and is especially relevant to skin issues. Before we dive into the medicinal benefits of CBD on sunburns, we’ll begin with a brief overview of what a sunburn is.


A sunburn is the skin’s reaction to ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV rays cause damage to the skin; a sunburn occurs when the body sends inflammatory cells to the site of the damage in an attempt to heal, guard the skin against further damage, and motivate the human to get out of the sun. Sunburns are a delayed response, and will appear sometime after the sun exposure that caused them. Peak redness will appear 12–24 hours after exposure. Sunburn symptoms are generally limited to redness, peeling skin, and pain, but can include nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills in some cases. Following a sunburn, if you find yourself fainting, experiencing low blood pressure, or becoming very weak, go to a hospital.

There are two types of UV rays that reach earth from the sun: UVA and UVB. UVA rays have a longer wavelength and penetrate the skin more deeply, while UVB rays have a shorter wavelength and only penetrate the skin superficially. UVB rays are what cause sunburns, though UVA rays contribute to skin ageing and cancer risk. When choosing a sunscreen, make sure to choose one with broad-spectrum protection that guards against both.

Sunburn CBD Skin


CBD has several effects that could be of use in treating a sunburn: anti-inflammatory, which targets the main mechanism of sunburn-related pain; antibacterial, which is useful since burned skin is especially susceptible to infection; antioxidant, which is useful in fighting free radicals. It also contains essential fatty acids that help emolliate dry skin. CBD also elevates anandamide, an endogenous cannabinoid that helps reduce pain.

There hasn’t been much research on using CBD to treat sunburns, but the anecdotal evidence is promising. Those who’ve tried smearing topical CBD on sunburns report a cooling sensation and easing of pain. Some even report accelerated healing of the burn. There may be a lack of empirical studies, but anecdotes and theory line up: CBD is likely effective at treating sunburns!


The simplest approach to treating a sunburn with CBD would be to use topical CBD. Topical CBD is any lotion, balm, salve or cream infused with the cannabinoid. CBD oil can also be used topically. Before application, wash your skin gently with a washcloth. Apply the topical generously, in several layers. Then, sit back and enjoy the soothing effects.

For extra effectiveness, you may want to consider a CBD topical that also includes aloe vera. CBD enthusiasts have speculated that the combination of these two ingredients could be a miracle brew for treating sunburns.

If for whatever reason you’d rather not use a topical, smoking a high-CBD cannabis strain could also provide relief. Painkiller XL would be an excellent choice; it contains 9% CBD and is sativa-dominant, so it won’t slow down your summer fun. If you’d like even more CBD, go for Royal Medic; at 12% CBD, you can’t go wrong! If you’d rather not get high at all, try CBD oil for some non-psychoactive relief.

If you’re looking for an all-natural yet cutting-edge method for treating your sunburns, CBD is a great option to experiment with. Try a combination of oral and topical use for maximum benefit!

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