01/02/2019 / By Russel Davis
Cannabinoids may show potential in the treatment of various skin diseases, according to a recent analysis. Health experts at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus examined current literature on the effects of cannabinoids on skin diseases and confirmed that pharmaceutical products containing the compound may prove effective in treating eczema, psoriasis, and both atopic and contact dermatitis.
According to senior author Dr. Robert Dellavalle, Associate Professor of Dermatology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, the compound’s most promising effect is addressing severe itch. The senior author cited one study where eight out of 21 patients who used a cannabinoid cream twice daily for three weeks were able to completely cure severe itching or pruritus. According to the study, cannabinoids helped relieve dry skin, which triggers itch in patients.
The research team also found that tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana, helped reduce swelling and inflammation in mice. The experts also noted that animal models of melanoma exhibited a significant inhibition of tumor growth following tetrahydrocannabinol injection. According to Dellavalle, the cannabinoid’s anti-inflammatory properties may play a role in the beneficial effects of therapies using the compound. Dellavalle said the treatments used were cannabinoid drugs that spurred little to no psychotropic effects, indicating that they can be used in skin disorders. He also stressed that cannabinoids may be an effective alternative for patients who were non-responsive to other itch and skin disease therapies.
However, the senior author cautioned that the treatments were tested in laboratory models and that large-scale clinical trials have not been conducted.
“These diseases cause a lot of problems for people and have a direct impact on their quality of life. The treatments are currently being bought over the internet and we need to educate dermatologists and patients about the potential uses of them,” the senior author said in Science Daily.
The findings were published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.