Can Cannabis Treat Psoriasis?

 Photo Credit: Getty

Photo Credit: Getty

Humans have a skin-specific endocannabinoid system within the subcutaneous dermis that plays a vital role in skin cell differentiation, proliferation, growth, apoptosis, and hormonal or the production of other skin cell types and appendages. This allows cannabinoids to treat skin conditions like psoriasis and pruritis. Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease characterized by uncontrolled epithelial skin cell growth, which can results in itching (pruritis) and raised flaky scales. Other symptoms include redness, dryness, swelling, pain, burning, soreness, and discomfort. 

One study found some cannabinoid receptors in the skin have an affinity to anandamide, which is an endogenous CB receptor ligand that is responsible for inhibiting epidermal keratinocyte differentiation and proliferation. Another study found THC, CBD, CBG, and CBN all inhibited rapid proliferating skin cells. While these cannabinoids may not stop the process completely, they can slow it down. Cannabinoids also modulate immune responses in psoriasis pathology by regulating T-helper subset cells to correct cytokine release, and decreasing anti-inflammatory molecules via CB1 receptor mechanisms. In addition to treating the symptoms of psoriasis directly, cannabinoids' anti-allergic, anti-microbial, and antioxidant properties that could help benefit psoriasis patients.

Topical applications of cannabinoids are recommended because they are absorbed directly through the skin, which helps them control immature skin cell production and inflammation. If you're using cannabinoids to treat psoriasis, we'd like to learn about it! Document your dosing regimen anonymously in the journal section of our app. In doing so, you will contribute to a better understanding of how cannabinoids target psoriasis symptoms. This information has been provided in part by The Marijuana Times and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.