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Role of Cannabis in Dermatology

Dec 12

Cannabinoids, also known as CBDs, are a broad family of compounds that belong to the cannabis plant. Although these compounds' legal background has hindered their usage and research, CBDs will probably become more popular as they become more readily accessible. We looked at the possible processes behind CBDs having future use in the realm of dermatology, as well as reviewed the relevant published research. We recommend that dermatologists look at the available research on CBD and be prepared to have conversations about it with their patients after doing so.


According to the most recent research, cannabidiol (CBD) might be effective in treating skin diseases, notably in treating acne, persistent pruritus, and atopic dermatitis. Although some early data show that CBDs are effective in certain circumstances, the majority of the studies that are now available are small and lack a rigorous design. Before using these compounds may be encouraged to treat dermatological illnesses.

What is cannabis?

Cannabis sativa, more often referred to as marijuana, contains elements that may produce a euphoric high. Cannabis sativa L., more often referred to as hemp, is a cannabis plant that does not produce psychotropic effects and is utilized in producing goods such as oil, fabric, and fuel.

Form of Cannabis

Cannabis comes in various forms. Some are following


  • Marijuana is the name given to the plant's dried leaves and blossoms.


  • Hashish is the resin of the dried plant. It is often blended with tobacco and smoked, or it may be put into dishes and baked. The quantities of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in hashish are more significant than in marijuana.


  • Hash oil is a viscous liquid that may range in color from golden brown to black derived from hashish. It is poured onto the tip of a joint or cigarette and then smoked; owing to its tremendous strength, hash oil is used sparingly.


  • Concentrates, also known as extracts (dabs, wax, or shatter), often employ butane hash oil as a solvent. Due to the high concentration of THC in concentrates, only a tiny amount is from needs to be vaporized.

What are the effects of cannabinoids on the body?

By smoking, ingesting (eating), or vaporizing cannabis. This will bring about the desired effect. The psychoactive effects of cannabis are almost entirely attributable to THC, and the concentration of THC in cannabis is often employed as a measurement of the drug's strength.

The cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2


  • In addition to being expressed in the vascular endothelium, liver, and adipose tissue, the CB1 receptor may also be found in the central nervous and peripheral nervous systems.

  • The CB2 receptor is mainly found in non-neuronal tissues and on immune cells across the whole human body.

Activation of the CB1 receptor results in the following:

This system is responsible for mediating the positive reinforcing and rewarding effects of practically all abused substances.


  • A decrease in the axon reflex–flare response, which includes the scratching reflex and vasodilation in the skin.

  • Inhibition of the enzyme responsible for the breakdown of anandamide. AEA is metabolized by the FAAH enzyme, which results in the formation of ethanolamine and arachidonic acid. The therapeutic effect of increasing endogenous AEA levels may be achieved by inhibiting the AEA metabolism pathway.

What are topical cannabinoids?

Creams, patches, and gels that contain plant-derived, endogenous, or synthetic cannabinoids are examples of topical cannabinoids. These medicinal products are designed for use in the treatment of various conditions.


  • Cannabinoid receptors on sensory nerve fibers, inflammatory cells, and adnexal structures in the skin are where topical cannabinoids are most effective.

  • This interaction mitigates itching and discomfort, modulates the cellular response to ultraviolet B irradiation, suppresses the proliferation of epidermal keratinocytes, and hastens their apoptotic death.

  • Anti-inflammatory actions associated with keratinocyte cytokine production and immune cell regulation are also facilitated by cannabinoid receptor binding.

Topical cannabinoids in inflammatory skin disorders

It has been hypothesized that cannabinoids, due to their anti-inflammatory, and other qualities, might effectively treat inflammatory skin illnesses such as dermatitis, psoriasis, follicular disorders, and scleroderma.

Cannabinoids and skin cancer

It's unclear what impact cannabinoids have on skin cancer. Through the endocannabinoid system, UVA and UVB may trigger inflammation, which may hasten the onset of cancer. As a consequence of their immunosuppressive effects, cannabinoids may potentially encourage the transformation of oncogenic viruses.


But cannabinoids have been shown to have anti-tumor properties mediated by both the CB1 receptor and, notably, the CB2 receptor in animal studies. These anti-tumor actions are displayed on melanoma and keratinocyte malignancies and lead to the production of apoptosis in tumors but not in normal melanocytes and the suppression of:


  • Slowing the spread of melanoma and stopping tumor development.

  • Growth and spread of tumor cells.

  • Angiogenesis.

Other therapeutic uses for cannabinoids

The following advantages of cannabis extracts for MS have been demonstrated:


  • Lessen the spasms.

  • Spasms should occur less often.

  • Superior for cases of neuropathic pain.

  • Multiple sclerosis is especially useful for pain not caused by damaged nerves.


As the access to alternative and complementary medicines increases in dermatology, CBDs are anticipated to rise in popularity. Since the new cannabis-infused products might mislead customers, dermatologists should be well-versed in CBD chemicals. The formulation, mode of entrance, dose, and frequency of usage have all varied considerably among the trials.