Summertime comes with its brightness but not without the painful sunburns from the scorching sun. Yet, you have no option but to go outdoors. Depending on the degree of sunburn, you may have to bear mild to severe pain. You can take painkillers and apply creams to the affected parts to ease sunburn, but that may not relieve the effects. Therefore, most people wonder whether CBD oil may help with sunburns. CBD studies are limited, and no scientific studies can point to CBD oil as a treatment for sunburn. However, some early research claims that CBD oil may help with pain and inflammation accompanying sunburns. Still, the FDA does not regulate CBD production, so you need to consult your doctor before experimenting with CBD oil for sunburns.

Understanding CBD Oil

Although the popularity of CBD oil is increasing, some people do not understand much about this cannabinoid. Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the many active compounds called cannabinoids in the cannabis sativa plant. Unlike THC, it does not have psychoactive effects and will not leave you feeling ‘high.’ As a result, CBD has become popular and is marketed in different formulations, such as gummies, topicals, capsules, edibles, vapes, and smokables. You can have CBD oil in three forms; isolate-based (99.9% pure CBD oil without other cannabinoids), full-spectrum (has multiple cannabinoids, including CBD, CBT, CBN, CBG, and THC), and broad-spectrum CBD (has all other cannabinoids but no THC). The last two options promise a full entourage because of the multiple cannabinoid content.

What are Sunburns, and How Bad Can They Get?

People suffer from burns while cooking, working with acids or concentrated compounds or when burnt by the sun’s rays. There are three degrees of burns;


This is when the burns affect the outer layer of the skin. Such burns heal in a few days without much of a struggle.


This affects the outer and the inner skin layers. These burns leave you feeling itchy and blotchy.

Third-degree Burns

These are the severest and affect the skin badly. They may not go away independently, and you might have to go for grafts to correct them.

Sunburns mostly result in first and second-degree burns, depending on how long you get exposed to the sun’s rays and how strong the rays are. Nonetheless, they are painful and may leave you with scars for some time. The pink hue experienced with sunburns results from the body sending extra blood to the affected area. The pain in the affected area is due to the body responding to the burns through inflammation. These responses, pain, and inflammation are unbearable, so people seek natural treatment like CBD, especially when moisturizers, painkillers, creams, and other conventional management techniques do not work.

Can CBD oil Help with Sunburns?

CBD studies are limited, partly due to the regulatory hindrances that barred CBD research before the cannabinoid was legalized. Therefore, there isn’t enough evidence to have a scientific basis for claiming that CBD oil may help with sunburns. CBD oil is not marketed to treat or heal sunburns, but if someone opts for CBD oil for sunburns, they should consult their doctor before doing so.

Can CBD Oil Help with Inflammation from Sunburn?

The most common reaction of sunburns is inflammation as the body tries to heal itself from the injuries. Inflammation is a harmless immune response. However, spontaneous inflammation in the case of sunburn results in swelling, pain, and itching, making it more harmful. Some limited studies suggest that CBD oil could help with inflammation. For instance, a study by Zurier & Burstein (2016) indicates that CBD oil may protect the body from acute inflammation, like what’s experienced in the case of sunburns. Another research conducted by Philpott et al. (2017) found that administering CBD oil on osteoarthritic rats helped fight inflammation. While these studies are promising, they don’t give enough evidence for scientifically claiming that CBD oil helps with sunburns. Besides, most studies involve animals, and there is no certainty that the positive results noted would be replicated on human beings.

Can CBD Oil Help with Pain?

When one experiences inflammation, it results in pain, and sunburns are no exception. Like in the case of inflammation, CBD oil studies are limited, and no scientific evidence claims that CBD oil may result in pain management. Still, some studies, including one conducted by Vučković et al. (2018), confirm that CBD oil is anti-inflammatory and may help fight inflammation and pain. However, more research is necessary to claim CBD as a remedy for pain.


While some early research suggests that CBD oil may help with pain and inflammation from sunburns, there is not enough scientific evidence for these claims. When using CBD oil for sunburn, it is worth remembering that many uncertainties surround CBD oil studies. Therefore, we do not recommend CBD oil for treating sunburns, and whoever chooses CBD oil must consult his doctor beforehand.


Philpott, H. T., O’Brien, M., & Mcdougall, J. J. (2017). Attenuation Of Early Phase Inflammation By Cannabidiol Prevents Pain And Nerve Damage In Rat Osteoarthritis. Pain, 158(12), 2442.

Vučković, S., Srebro, D., Vujović, K. S., Vučetić, Č., & Prostran, M. (2018). Cannabinoids And Pain: New Insights From Old Molecules. Frontiers In Pharmacology, 1259. Zurier, R. B., & Burstein, S. H. (2016). Cannabinoids, Inflammation, And Fibrosis. The FASEB Journal, 30(11), 3682-3689

Anastasia Filipenko

Anastasia Filipenko is a health and wellness psychologist, dermatolist and a freelance writer. She frequently covers beauty and skincare, food trends and nutrition, health and fitness and relationships. When she's not trying out new skincare products, you'll find her taking a cycling class, doing yoga, reading in the park, or trying a new recipe.

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