Can cannabis help treat psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a skin condition that leads to a buildup of cells on the surface of the skin. These form red patches with a covering of silvery scales. Some researchers believe that cannabis, or marijuana, may be an effective treatment for this itchy and painful condition.
Many people think of cannabis as a recreational drug, but, in recent years, many scientists have looked into how it might benefit people’s health.
The active elements in cannabis, which are known as cannabinoids, are responsible for its possible health benefits.
Cannabis contains over 120 active ingredients, and they all have different properties. This poses a challenge for researchers interested in the health benefits of cannabis, as they need to understand how each substance will affect the body.
The cannabinoid that scientists know the most about is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is a psychoactive substance that affects the way that people think. Research suggests that harnessing its properties could lead to treatments for a range of health conditions.
Three medications containing synthetic THC, which has a similar structure to the natural ingredient in cannabis, already have approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Marinol and Syndros can help people with anorexia that results from certain causes. Cesamet can help relieve the vomiting and nausea that can occur with cancer chemotherapy.
In June 2018, the FDA also approved cannabidiol (CBD), another ingredient of cannabis, as a therapy for treating seizures that result from two types of epilepsy. CBD appears to hold promise as a treatment for a range of conditions.
This article discusses the scientific evidence on the health benefits of cannabis for psoriasis. It also looks at the possible risks of using cannabis to treat this condition.
The active cannabinoids in cannabis may be an effective treatment for psoriasis. Research shows that they offer potential health benefits that could relieve the symptoms of psoriasis. They may be able to reduce inflammation and itching, control pain, and even heal wounds. Learn more about cannabis for psoriasis here.
Is Cannabis an Effective Treatment for Psoriasis?
Cannabis, or marijuana, is now being used to treat pain and conditions such as Crohn’s disease, glaucoma, and nausea from chemotherapy. The evidence is mounting that cannabis may also be effective in treating everything from multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease to schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder. But can cannabis be used to treat psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disorder that causes the rapid build-up of skin cells. The new skin cells are produced so quickly that they reach the surface of the skin before they’re mature. This immature buildup on the surface of the skin forms itchy, raised patches of silvery scales. Parts of your body may also become inflamed, and you may have redness, swelling, and discomfort.
About 15 percent of people who have psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis. This condition causes painful swelling and stiffness of the joints. If left untreated, it can also lead to permanent joint damage.
Pain, fatigue, and sleeplessness often occur with psoriasis. Psoriasis can also take a profound toll on your mental health.
The National Psoriasis Foundation notes that people with psoriasis are at an increased risk for depression, anxiety, and suicide. A 2010 study published in the Archives of Dermatology found that people living with psoriasis have a 39 percent higher risk of being diagnosed with depression than those without the disease. They also have a 31 percent higher risk of being diagnosed with anxiety.
Psoriasis isn’t curable and can be difficult to control. Although there are a variety of medications and light therapies for treating the disease, some have serious side effects and others lose their effectiveness when your body builds up a resistance to them.
Given the physical and emotional burden of psoriasis, new treatment options are needed. Cannabis is one of the treatment possibilities being explored. Research into the effectiveness of cannabis addresses different aspects of the disease.
Slowing cell growth
Some studies suggest cannabis may be useful in slowing the rapid growth of keratinocytes. These are the immature skin cells found in people with psoriasis. One study suggests that cannabinoids and their receptors may help control and limit the production of immature skin cells. Researchers add that cannabis may be useful in treating several conditions involving keratinocytes, including psoriasis and wound healing.
Many people use marijuana to control pain. Cannabis may be more effective than opioids in controlling acute and neuropathic pain. It may also be useful in reducing chronic pain, according to an article in Current Rheumatology . An article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association also suggests that marijuana may be effective in treating pain.
Regulating the immune system
Although more research is needed, some studies indicate that cannabis reduces the severity of inflammation associated with some conditions, including autoimmune disorders like psoriasis. An article published in the journal Pharmacology indicates that cannabis can suppress the immune system.
Most research has focused on forms of cannabis that are taken by mouth. Cannabis is also available as oil. Some people use this oil topically to treat psoriasis, claiming that it controls the speed of skin cell production and reduces inflammation. More research is needed to support these claims.
Treatment of stress
Psoriasis and stress go hand in hand, and THC has been shown to relieve stress. However, researchers note that while low doses of THC can produce stress-relieving effects, higher doses may actually have a negative effect on mood.
Cannabinoids hold the key
Cannabinoids are active chemicals found in marijuana plants. Your body makes cannabinoids, too. These chemical messengers are called “endocannabinoids.” They play a role in some functions in your body, including:
- the pressure in your eye
Cannabis holds promise for treating the symptoms of psoriasis. It’s well-established that cannabis can be useful in controlling pain. More research is needed to determine if it’s safe and effective, though. The manner in which cannabis is used also needs more testing. Cannabis can be used in a variety of forms, including:
Cannabis hasn’t been better studied because it’s a Schedule I substance under the United States Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I substances are considered to have a high potential for abuse, have no accepted medical use, and may not be safe for use under medical supervision.
These restrictions have posed a significant obstacle to cannabis research. Still, state laws allowing the use of medical marijuana have encouraged more research and efforts to deregulate the drug.
Cannabis is being increasingly used to treat a number of conditions and their symptoms. But how does it shape up as a potential treatment for psoriasis?