Eczema & Psoriasis and Medical Cannabis

Eczema & Psoriasis and Medical Cannabis

Definition

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that results in itchy and scaly skin. Psoriasis is often associated with conditions such as arthritis, Crohn’s disease, depression and cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).

Eczema (aka “dermatitis”), meanwhile, is a condition that is usually triggered by allergens, irritation and poor blood flow from the veins.

Potential Efficacy / Quality of Evidence (Low, Average, High) of Medical Marijuana for Eczema & Psoriasis

Average.

Cannabinoids, Terpenes/Terpenoids, Strains and Ratios that May Help

Pinene, beta-caryophyllene, CBD and THC may all be useful.

Medical Cannabis Pros

Cannabinoid-based medications – in particular topical creams – could be an adjunct or alternative to steroid-based creams and moisturizers, and work well alongside treatments such as coconut oil.

Pinene has significant antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Alternatives to NSAID-based anti-inflammatories are needed for many.

THC applied to the skin may help prevent contact dermatitis.

CBD may help joint pain and inflammation.

Medical Cannabis Cons

Some people may be allergic to cannabis (or, at least, one or more of the terpenes or other compounds in cannabis) – contact dermatitis is possible with cannabis as well.

Most studies so far are on animals and on tissue samples in labs – most evidence is anecdotal

More About the Condition

Although the two conditions are often put together, there are a significant number of differences between eczema and psoriasis. Psoriasis treatment often includes vitamin D3 topical creams, ultraviolet light treatment and immunosuppressants such as methotrexate. Beta blockers and NSAIDs can make psoriasis worse. Plaque-type psoriasis is the most common type of psoriasis.

Antihistamines, oatmeal baths, coconut oil and capsaicin cream may be used to treat eczema. Eczema is a common condition that usually starts in childhood, and in some continues into adulthood. 245 million people worldwide suffer from dermatitis, as of 2015. In the US, dermatitis affects between 10% and 30% of people.

Cannabis may help both eczema and psoriasis, as the skin contains endocannabinoid receptors, which interact with phytocannabinoids and possibly help prevent itching. Cannabinoids also have an immune system modulating effect, which could help prevent the release of cytokines and therefore prevent inflammation. There is some suggestion that THC may suppress allergic reactions by activating CB1 receptors. The cannabis plant also contains several cannabinoids and terpenoids that have antimicrobial properties.

Quotes from Experts

“In this first text, Dr Henry Granger Piffard, one of the founders of American dermatology, noted: “A pill of cannabis indica at bedtime has at my hands sometimes afforded relief to the intolerable itching of eczema.”” Source: Marijuana for Eczema and Atopic Dermatitis | The Independent

Case Studies – Patient Stories

Cannabis for Skin Problems | Miami Herald

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Featured image by James Heilman, MD. Dermatitis of the hands. From Wikipedia Commons. CC BY-SA 4.0.

Possible Efficacy

Average

Positives

Negatives

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