Treating Skin Diseases with Topical Cannabis, as Explained by Dr. Rasmussen

In part one we reviewed applications of cannabis in the treatment of psoriasis. Today we’ll cover other skin diseases that may be positively affected by cannabinoids.

When I was in medical school I recall one of my professors blithely commenting that dermatology was easy. If the lesion is wet dry it, if it’s dry wet it. That’s it.

I’m not convinced however that patients with serious skin disorders would find those comments very reassuring. That’s because skin diseases are legion. They can be difficult to cure, and are a frequently occurring health problem affecting all age groups from neonates to the elderly. They cause harm in a number of ways while contributing to the loss of productivity. Maintaining healthy skin is important for a healthy body, self-esteem and wellbeing.

In part one I revealed to you that a new, previously unknown endocannabinoid system (ECS) exists in the skin. That system can be manipulated with cannabinoid agonists to relieve symptoms of psoriasis. Moreover, it’s influential in the relief of many other skin diseases. In the future we can look forward to the addition of cannabis preparations to the list of topical materials shown below.

CONVENTIONAL TREATMENT OF SKIN DISEASES[ref]Pharmacogn Rev. 2014 Jan-Jun; 8(15): 52–60.[/ref]

The common medications for topical use include:

– Antibacterials: These medicines, like bactroban or cleocin, are often used to treat or prevent infection

– Anthralin (drithocreme, micanol and others): Although not often used, these help to reduce inflammation and can help treat psoriasisAntifungal agents: Lamisil, lotrimin and nizoral are few examples of common topical antifungal drugs used to treat skin conditions such as ringworm and athlete’s foot

– Benzoyl peroxide: Creams and other products containing benzoyl peroxide are used to treat acne

– Coal tar: Coal tar is used to treat conditions including seborrheic dermatitis (usually in shampoos) or psoriasis. Currently, coal tar is seldom used because it can be slow acting and can cause severe staining of personal clothing and bedding

– Corticosteroids: These are used to treat skin conditions including eczema and come in many forms including foams, lotions, ointments and creams

– Retinoids: These medications (such as retin-A and tazorac) are gels or creams derived from vitamin A and are used to treat conditions including acne

– Salicylic acid: Salicylic acid is the active ingredient in many skin care products for the treatment of acne and warts.

– Cannabinoids?


Cannabis can be used to treat contact dermatitis, an allergic reaction to an irritating agent when exposed to the skin.

Hebrew University of Jerusalem august 2007:

Administering a substance found in the cannabis plant can help the body’s natural protective system alleviate an allergic skin disease (allergic contact dermatitis), an international group of researchers from Germany, Israel, Italy, Switzerland and the US has found. The results clearly show a protective role for the endocannabinoid system in contact allergy in the skin and suggest that development of cannabinoid compounds based on elements produced from the cannabis plant could enhance therapeutic treatment for humans.

Other disorders where pot may be a useful addition are listed below:

Cannabis sativus (Common name: Charas, Ganja; Family: Cannabinaceae)[ref]IBID[/ref]

The powder of the leaves serves as a dressing for wounds and sores. Ganja is externally applied to relieve pain in itchy skin diseases. Hemp seed oil is useful for treatment of eczema and host of other skin diseases like dermatitis, seborrhoeic dermatitis/cradle cap, varicose eczema, psoriasis, lichen planus and acne roseacea. By using hemp seed oil, the skin is strengthened and made better able to resist bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Crushed leaves are rubbed on the affected areas to control scabies.


Then it gets interesting. Considerable information exists that cannabis oil and other similar preparations can cure skin cancers. There are three main types of skin cancer. Of those only one is usually deadly. It’s called malignant melanoma. But there are other, slower growing, cancers of the skin such as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. They have caused fatalities but are treatable with surgery and other methods. In an upcoming article I will present amazing studies that clearly demonstrate cannabis oil can help cure skin cancers.

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