Cannabis for Psoriasis?

September_2017Think of it what you will, it can’t be denied that medical marijuana has been the treatment du jour for any number of conditions lately, including the alleviation of nausea, chronic pain, and even anorexia. So should it come as any surprise that cannabis is also showing promise in the treatment of psoriasis?

It’s admittedly ironic that such a hot-button subject may itself be an anti-inflammatory, but recent studies have indicated exactly that. In its May 2017 article, Cannabinoids Have Potential to Treat Skin Conditions Like Psoriasis, Review Shows, Psoriasis News Today discussed the results of studies recently published by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (JAAD). The article gives an excellent explanation of how topical creams containing cannabis-derived tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) have demonstrated strong anti-inflammatory properties, while also reducing the proliferation of excess skin cells. For psoriasis patients this could mean a reduction of itching and scaling. In fact, eight of the 21 patients tested with twice-a-day treatment for three weeks found themselves completely itch-free.

Of course, in any discussion of cannabis or medical marijuana treatments, there’s always the concern of potential psychotropic side effects. Will psoriasis patients using a cannabis cream risk “getting high?” Happily (or not, depending on your perspective) the effects appear to be negligible.

Studies up to this point have been small and experimental, so large-scale clinical trials are still needed before we can be certain if cannabis truly has the potential to treat psoriasis. Meantime, the JAAD’s full report can be read at The Role of Cannabinoids in Dermatology.