Many skin conditions are chronic in nature and are caused by genetic factors that we do not have control over. As such, it is a sad fate we are resigned to when we are plagued by painful skin defects such as psoriasis and eczema. Personally, I find the emotional and social effects of psoriasis a bigger burden to bear compared to the physical pain I have suffered due to psoriasis.
Chemical remedies for psoriasis and eczema are a dime a dozen. Cosmetic clinics have capitalized on the large market, with close to 40 million people in the United States alone suffering from either eczema or psoriasis.
The medicines vary in modes of application but what is common amongst them is that they all contain chemicals, which either aggravate the condition further or bring about a myriad of detrimental side effects.
In my search for natural remedies for psoriasis, I stumbled upon cannabis as a potential candidate for alleviating the symptoms associated with this skin condition. Despite its shaky reputation, using cannabis for psoriasis and eczema treatment has been found to be very effective in some cases.
Cannabis for psoriasis & Eczema: How Marijuana may alleviate the effects of chronic skin diseases
When applied topically, cannabis is suitable for treating skin conditions mainly because it is able to target a specific area.
Topically applying cannabis has been proven to have a quicker effect on the damaged area of the skin and is mostly preferred due to its minimal invasiveness.
Furthermore, applying cannabis on the skin has no effect on the brain so there is no risk of experiencing a drug-induced high.
Research has shown that cannabis is highly effective in reducing the effects of psoriasis and eczema in the following ways:
1. Cannabis can Slow down the growth of cells
The rapid growth of cells known as keratinocytes is a predominant characteristic of people suffering from psoriasis. In a recent study, scientists found out that cannabis can effectively slow down the growth of immature growth cells (source).
As such, it is an effective remedy for treating skin conditions arising from the excessive growth of keratinocytes and also in healing wounds.
Most of the research into medicinal cannabis has been focused on orally taken forms. People who have resorted to topical use of cannabis in the form of oils have said that it is more effective in controlling the speed of production of these skin cells.
2. It helps Control inflammation involved in psoriasis & eczema
Cannabinoids are the active chemicals in marijuana plants. According to the United Patients Group, inflammation is often caused by triggers brought on by environmental factors. As such, the THC in marijuana reduces the inflammatory reaction when applied topically.
Cannabinoids are also produced naturally by the body as chemical messengers known as endocannabinoids.
These are essential in controlling the symptoms associated with autoimmune disorders such as inflammation.
3. Cannabis may Control allergic reactions by regulating the immune system
Symptoms like inflammation result from the body’s immune response system. Allergic reactions are common causes of skin conditions, especially in the case of eczema.
A few studies have indicated that cannabis has properties that can regulate the immune system, effectively reducing inflammation of the skin.
Studies report that the cumulative effect of cannabinoids on all cell populations of the immune system can be beneficial for auto-immune disorders (source).
4. Cannabis can Offer pain relief
It is a well-established fact that cannabis offers relief from acute pain. Psoriasis especially can be a painful experience due to the tender inflammatory reactions that characterize it.
5. Cannabis helps Lower stress levels
Stress seems to have negative effects on chronic skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, and reducing that stress can be a critical step to clearing up skin.
THC receptors can lead to increased production of neurotransmitters that make us feel better, like serotonin (source). Thus it may have a beneficial effect on skin conditions when stress is a trigger.
6. Cannabis may improve your skin, but not if you smoke it!
Smoking is the most common way people use marijuana. But smoking marijuana can have a negative impact on health as well as exacerbating skin conditions like psoriasis (source).
Combusting marijuana releases a similar amount of carcinogens as cigarettes do.
Vaporizers, which heat marijuana to a lower temperature than joints or bongs, and topical applications using cannabis oil are probably the best way to use cannabis as a natural remedy.
Great strides have been made in an effort to reveal that the medicinal benefits of cannabis are not just smoke and mirrors. Ongoing research points to cannabis being a very effective treatment for chronic skin conditions.
Cannabis is available at the moment in the form of hemp oil extract that is sold over the counter. Hemp oil is obtained by pressing hemp seeds and is manufactured from varieties of Cannabis sativa that do not contain significant amounts of THC.
Hemp seed oil also seems to help reduce symptoms of some chronic skin conditions. But this benefit is believed to come from the fatty acids in hemp seed oil, not from the cannabinoids.
Progress has been hesitant largely due to the fact that marijuana has strict laws surrounding its use and production. The medical benefits of the components of marijuana are very clear however and more leeway is being given to scientists in pursuit of the ultimate remedy for psoriasis and eczema.
The supposedly “miraculous effects” of the drug are slowly gaining momentum and it is only a matter of time before we fully incorporate it in our catalogue of remedies for the skin.
If you’re looking for other remedies for psoriasis, you’ll find lots of very useful tips on this page: What Works Best for Psoriasis. Also, watch the video below!
Cannabis is classified as a class B drug in many countries, meaning that it is illegal to possess or supply it. Also, when dealing with psoriasis or eczema, it’s highly recommended to work with a qualified health professional. Be aware that cannabis can have undesired side-effects.