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August 3, 2023 0 Comments

Psoriasis Treatment and Medical Marijuana

Cannabis may help in psoriasis treatment and other skin conditions that include inflammation, according to recent research. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, the condition affects more than three percent of the adult population in the United States, or 7.5 million people.

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is an immune-mediated disease that causes inflammation in the body. There may be visible signs of inflammation such as raised plaques and scales on the skin. This occurs because the overactive immune system speeds up skin cell growth. Normal skin cells completely grow and shed in a month. With psoriasis, skin cells do this in only three or four days. Instead of shedding, the skin cells pile up on the surface of the skin. Some people report that psoriasis plaques itch, burn, and sting. Plaques and scales may appear on any part of the body, although they are commonly found on the elbows, knees, and scalp.

Inflammation caused by psoriasis can impact other organs and tissues in the body if left untreated. Psoriatic arthritis is one of the conditions that may develop which is a chronic form of arthritis that causes pain, swelling, and stiffness of the joints and places where tendons and ligaments attach to bones.

Types of Psoriasis

There are five types of psoriasis:

Plaque psoriasis. This is the most common kind, and it appears as raised, red patches of skin that are covered by silvery-white scales. The patches usually develop in a symmetrical pattern on the body and tend to appear on the scalp, trunk, and limbs, especially the elbows and knees.

Guttate psoriasis. This type usually appears in children or young adults and looks like small, red dots, typically on the torso or limbs. Outbreaks are often triggered by an upper respiratory tract infection, such as strep throat.

Pustular psoriasis. In this type, pus-filled bumps called pustules surrounded by red skin appear. It usually affects the hands and feet, but there is a form that covers most of the body. Symptoms can be triggered by medications, infections, stress, or certain chemicals.

Inverse psoriasis. This form appears as smooth, red patches in folds of skin, such as beneath the breasts or in the groin or armpits. Rubbing and sweating can make it worse.

Erythrodermic psoriasis. This is a rare but severe form of psoriasis characterized by red, scaly skin over most of the body. It can be triggered by a bad sunburn or by taking certain medications, such as corticosteroids. Erythrodermic psoriasis often develops in people who have a different type of psoriasis that is not well controlled, and it can be very serious.

What Causes Psoriasis?

There are certain everyday things that can trigger psoriasis. Stress, a skin injury such as a bad sunburn, infections like strep throat, some medications, weather, obesity, tobacco, or heavy alcohol consumption. It may be a single trigger for some people and multiple triggers for others. For one person suffering a flare-up, it may take only a stressful day, for another it may be a stressful day in the sun and a skin injury to induce a flareup of psoriasis.

Researchers have found that genetics do play a part in whether a person will have psoriasis but even those with no genetic inclination may still get the condition.

What the Research Shows

Every human body has an endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a rather complex lipid signaling network in which different proteins play distinct roles in the control or in modulation of numerous physiological and pathophysiological processes. With the consumption of different strains of cannabis containing cannabinoids such as CBD, THC, and hundreds of others, the neurotransmitters in the ECS receive the ones needed by the body and process them to assist in providing relief from different conditions.

In 2007, a study found that the cannabinoids tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol, cannabinol, and cannabigerol appeared to slow the growth of cells called keratinocytes in the outer layer of the skin. The researchers proposed that these substances could play a role in psoriasis treatment.

A 2016 review supported the idea that cannabinoids may be a useful treatment for psoriasis. The research was conducted by Nima Derakhshan 1Mahboubeh Kazemi through affiliation with the Department of Neurosurgery, Namazi Hospital, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.

In addition to research indicating a reduction in keratinocytes cells, research has shown that certain strains of cannabis reduce inflammation which is believed to be the root cause of many diseases including psoriasis. A 2009 study found that some of the cannabinoids that occur in cannabis, including some forms of THC, could help regulate the immune system and reduce inflammation.

In 2016, results from the research suggested that some cannabinoids might benefit people with psoriasis by affecting the interaction between the body’s immune and nervous systems.

While research involving cannabis, the ECS, and treatment for certain conditions is ongoing, recent research exploring cannabis as a treatment for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis is promising.

Get Started

To find out if medical marijuana could work for your psoriasis treatment, take the first step by having a Louisiana-licensed physician at The Healing Clinics conduct a medical marijuana evaluation. Click the button below to get started or to find out more.