We made this blog post to answer a recent question from one of our readers, Frances. Hope this helps! Please leave any questions in the comments area, and we’ll try to find an answer.
I am a senior, 77 yr. I have psoriasis very bad on feet,lots of days the pain is too bad to stand on feet. I also have psoriasis on arms, legs and my back. Will cannabis help east this terrible disease? Can I make cannabis oil and salve, if so, how to make and how to use the oil and salve? I don’t have any other medical problems, only this terrible itch and pain when feet crack, peel and bleed.
See also: Topical Cannabis Healing Salve
Researchers have barely studied medical marijuana as a treatment for psoriatic disease. One study, published in 2007, showed that cannabis — the chemical compound in marijuana considered responsible for the pain-relieving effects — can inhibit the rapid growth of skin cells that leads to psoriasis lesions.
Scientists have researched marijuana as a treatment more for arthritis pain — though, not necessarily psoriatic arthritis pain. In 2013, a Chinese research team showed that cannabis was an effective treatment for the inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis.
I have had psoriasis for 20 years until I tried using a topical cannabis extract this week, and it is almost fully healed within 3 days. I am truly so shocked and elated to see how well this has worked. I stopped treating it years ago when I found out how bad the steroid creams were, and I was never willing to try the self injected medication that is the leading treatment on the market now, because of the side effects like tuberculosis and lymphoma that are actually quite common with them. source
Yes, cannabis work for psoriasis, ended my suffering with it (had it on hand and feet).No more itching,no more scales. Can walk now and use my hands again. Hail Cannabis !!! found in comments here
I make a tincture using the whole plant and grain alcohol. I put a tiny drop on the lesions I have on my skin (not psoriasis but similar to skin tags and warts, but not really either) and they can be peeled off in a few days, longer time for bigger bumps. (from comments to this article, below)
Cannabinoids inhibit keratinocyte proliferation, and therefore support a potential role for cannabinoids in the treatment of psoriasis. Cannabis might treat psoriasis, due to the anti-inflammatory properties of its cannabinoids, and the regulatory effects of THC on the immune system. The adverse effects of cannabis might be overcome by use of more specific cannabinoid receptor medications, to inhibit keratinocyte proliferation. Moreover, they observe that cannabinoids are readily absorbed through the skin. This is the ideal method of treating psoriasis, as it avoids some of the toxicity associated with systemic therapies. The researchers tested the effects of four plant cannabinoids – Δ-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol, cannabinol and cannabigerol – on rapidly proliferating, cultured human keratinocytes. All four cannabinoids inhibited keratinocyte growth in a dose-dependent manner, they report. Despite varying degrees of affinity for cannabinoid receptors (CBs) among the substances tested, the extent of growth inhibition was similar with all four cannabinoids, implying a non-specific effect. In confirmation of this, the investigators found that selective CB2 agonists only partially inhibited keratinocyte growth, while a non-selective CB agonist had a concentration-dependent effect. Neither CB1 nor CB2 antagonists attenuated the effects of the CB agonists or the cannabinoids, however. Furthermore, these antagonists actually exhibited direct dose-dependent inhibition of keratinocyte growth. Via MedicalMarijuana.com
There are a couple of different ways cannabis may be able to help ease psoriasis pain, discomfort, and even clear flare-ups. Recent research has shown that THC dampens the body’s immune response. This is good news for those suffering from conditions related to an overactive immune system. Psoriasis just might be one of them.
THC interacts with two primary cell receptors in the body. The cannabinoid 1 receptor (CB-1) and the cannabinoid 2 receptor (CB-2). The CB-2 receptor is found on immune cells, indicating that it plays a role in immune response. One research review published in 2010 suggested that drugs which target the CB-2 receptor may provide new, effective ways to treat autoimmune diseases and “malignancies of the immune system.”
Since THC binds to the CB-2 receptor and mediates immune response, evidence suggests that it may be extremely helpful in those with autoimmune diseases. This idea goes hand-in-hand with the wealth of research which has proven that cannabis is a potent anti-inflammatory.
Inflammation is what leads to the pain and deteriorated tissue associated with psoriatic arthritis. It’s also partly responsible for the pain and irritation associated with skin lesions themselves. Other research has shown that cannabinoids seem to slow cellular growth, which is another major bonus for psoriatic conditions.
There’s a catch, though. If you want cannabis to help treat your psoriasis, you’ll have to use it in the right way. When it comes to skin conditions, not all forms of marijuana are equal.
A cannabis topical is a balm, cream, or salve that has been infused with cannabinoids. There are many varieties of topicals, some containing CBD, THC, or a combination of other cannabinoids. Some topicals contain “activated” marijuana, which is cannabis that has been heated and extracted. Other topicals contain THCa, the unheated acid precursor to the psychoactive THC that most are familiar with.
Cannabis topicals do not get you high. Rather, they work wonders for drastically reducing skin irritations and easing pain in localized areas. As we explained in our first Skin Deep segment, there are cannabinoid receptors in cells throughout the skin. When you apply topical cannabis, specifically activated topical cannabis, you engage these receptors.
This dampens the immune and inflammatory response in the skin. If you have psoriatic arthritis, topicals can also help relieve some of the pain and inflammation in your joints. For psoriasis of the scalp, it’s possible to pick up cannabis infused shampoo and conditioner at a local dispensary.
Cannabis for Psoriasis
Because psoriasis is caused by problems with the immune system, cannabis is an especially effective treatment. The cannabinoids in cannabis fit perfectly into special receptors in the endocannabinoid system of the human body. These receptors, called CB1 and CB2, are concentrated in the brain/central nervous system and the immune system, respectively. However, the latest science reveals that each receptor type is found throughout almost all organs and tissues of the body, just with different expressions (densities and patterns).
Conventional pharmaceutical drugs used to treat psoriasis, typically systemic immuno-modulating agents, involve many problems that are not associated with the use of cannabis or cannabis topicals. These include fever, diarrhea, liver dysfunction, and increased chance of infection. Thus, cannabis effectively deals with the significant cause of this skin condition, inflammation, and its chief symptoms, pain and discomfort — all while avoiding the negative side effects of pharmaceutical drugs.
The Meager Studies
Very few research studies have been conducted to investigate the medical efficacy of cannabis and its components for skin ailments such as eczema and psoriasis. The little formal and informal research that is available, especially in the form of anecdotal testimonies and case studies, reveals that cannabis is very effective at dealing with this disease that involves the immune system and sometimes produces severe inflammation within the skin.
Cannabis is a nuanced and symbiotic medicine, individual samples of which may contain more than 100 cannabinoids and 200 terpenes, the two categories of major medicinal molecules within the plant. Thus, the specific benefits gained from topical use of this herb are highly dependent on the quality of the cannabis employed by a patient, as well as its particular makeup. Some strains are rich in THC, while others, although more rare, have unusually large volumes of the non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD.
Because cannabis is most effective at battling pain, inflammation, and nausea, it is especially adept at helping sufferers of psoriasis, arthritis, and other inflammation-based conditions. However, it is important to note that each strain of cannabis offers a distinct cannabinoid and terpene profile and will, thus, have maximum efficacy with a particular disease or only a certain percentage of a patient population.
A study conducted in 2007 and published in the Journal of Dermatological Science determined that cannabinoids help prevent the buildup of dead skin cells and other symptoms of psoriasis. Concluded the researchers: “Our results show that cannabinoids inhibit keratinocyte proliferation, and therefore support a potential role for cannabinoids in the treatment of psoriasis.”
Although not a formal study, the Gwynedd Cannabis Club in Wales and the United Kingdom conducted a nine-day experiment in which it used cannabis oil to treat acute psoriasis. One subject was treated with a conventional pharmaceutical therapy, a chemotherapy drug called Methotrexate. This drug resulted in fever, diarrhea, abnormal liver function, and increased chance of infection.
However, when the same subject was treated with cannabis instead of Methotrexate, she experienced no negative side effects and a complete healing of her skin. In fact, she was able to go swimming with her family — something her severe psoriasis had previously prevented — for the first time following the brief cannabis therapy. This treatment regimen involved three treatments of topical cannabis oil daily for nine days.
Is cannabis a solution?
Psoriasis isn’t curable. It can also be difficult to control. Although there are useful drug 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 indicate cannabis may be useful in slowing the rapid growth of keratinocytes. These are the immature skin cells found in people with psoriasis. One study found that cannabis controls 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 and postoperative pain, according to an article in Current Neuropharmacology. An article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association also says that evidence suggests 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 Nature Reviews. Immunology says a wealth of information indicates that cannabis can suppress the immune system.
Most research has focused on forms of cannabis that are taken by the mouth. Cannabis is also available as oil. Some people use this oil topically to treat psoriasis, saying it controls the speed of skin cell production and reduces inflammation.
Cannabinoids hold the key
Cannabinoids are active chemicals found in marijuana plants. Your body makes cannabinoids, too. These chemical messengers are called “endocannabinoids.” They have a role in some functions in your body.
These can include:
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