Cannabinoids May Soothe Certain Skin Diseases

The anti-inflammatory properties contained in cannabinoids may make them useful in the treatment of a wide range of skin diseases.

A new study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology summarizes the current literature on the subject and concludes that pharmaceuticals containing cannabinoids may be effective against eczema and psoriasis as well as atopic and contact dermatitis.

Robert Dellavalle, MD, was the study’s senior author. Dellavalle believes the primary driver in these cannabinoid treatments could be their anti–inflammatory properties. In the studies he and his fellow researchers reviewed, they found that THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the active ingredient in marijuana, reduced swelling and inflammation in mice. At the same time, mice with melanoma saw significant inhibition of tumor growth when injected with THC.

“These are topical cannabinoid drugs with little or no psychotropic effect that can be used for skin disease,” Dellavalle says.

Dellavalle says for those who have used other medications for itch and skin disease without success, trying a cannabinoid is a viable option especially if it has no psychotropic effect. He did not recommend such medications for cancer based on current evidence.

“These diseases cause a lot of problems for people and have a direct impact on their quality of life,” he said. “The treatments are currently being bought over the internet and we need to educate dermatologists and patients about the potential uses of them.”

For more information on the use of cannabis oils in massage therapy, read “Cannabis-Infused Lotions & Oils” by Ruth Werner in the September/October 2015 issue of Massage & Bodywork.

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