Psoriasis and Medical Marijuana

What is Psoriasis?

What is the link between psoriasis and medical marijuana? It’s easy to think of psoriasis as just a skin condition. But psoriasis starts underneath the skin. It is a chronic immune system disease that can range from mild to severe. Psoriasis can be associated with other conditions such as arthritis, Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. It has been established through medical studies that marijuana helps with immune support and inflammation.

Experts believe psoriasis occurs due to genetic inheritance. Psoriasis is caused by benign, uncontrolled skin cell growth, psoriatic patients produce new skin cells quickly. These skin cells reach the skin surface before they have matured. The buildup of immature skin cells can cause itching with raised flaky scales. The patient may suffer redness, swelling, pain or discomfort at the site of inflamed skin.

Common symptoms of Psoriasis are itching, burning, soreness, and  dry and cracked skin. Psoriasis affects approximately 2% of the Western population.


Psoriasis patients are more likely to develop psoriatic arthritis, which is characterized by painful swelling and stiffness of the joint’s. Psoriasis may lead to permanent joint damage in psoriatic patients.

The Endocannabinoid System and Skin

Endocannabinoid receptors are found on the skin. Studies have show the positive effects of endocannabinoid system activation in the treatment of skin disorders. One  study found that certain cannabinoid agonists stopped the abnormal growth of skin cells, which has potential implications in psoriasis treatment.

The main role of the cutaneous ECS is to regulate or control the optimal functioning and survival of the skin cells. A disruption of this delicate balance  might result in several skin-related problems, such as, hair growth disorders, allergic dermatitis, acne,  psoriasis and related itching and pain and skin cancer.

Medical Marijuana and Psoriasis

Other studies have observed the human keratinocyte proliferation inhibitory effects of cannabinoids via non-CB1/CB2 mechanisms. The possible non receptor-mediated mechanism suggested by these studies are the dual-modulatory role of the endocannabinoid system on cholinergic and anti-inflammatory pathways, which may have potential therapeutic implications in anti-psoriatic treatment.

Cannabinoids are anti-inflammatory in nature, as well as analgesic, immuno-modulating and anti-inflammatory.Cannabis as also anti-microbial, and an antioxidant. These qualities might be helpful in treating psoriasis symptoms.

A Polish study reported that the topical application of cannabinoid-based cream helped with Psoriasis With just three weeks of topical application, complete disappearance of lesions was show in 38% of patients and remarkable reduction of symptoms was observed in the rest of the patients in the study.81% of the patients reported complete reduction of skin dryness after topical cannabinoid treatment.

How to Medicate

Psoriasis patients ideal route of medical marijuana medication would be a topical skin application, such as an oil or balm. Studies have suggested that topical-formulated cannabinoids are readily absorbed through the skin, and hence it could be easily employed as oils or balms to treat skin disorders.

Topical cannabis oils and balms work to control immature skin cell production and inflammation, which can stop the psoriasis from developing. With it’s anti-inflammatory properties, marijuana can also ease painful inflammation during psoriatic flare ups as well.

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