Researchers say that marijuana plants could provide the basis for topical, anti-inflammatory lotions to treat everything from wounds to psoriasis, the San Francisco Chronicle reported June 9.
New research shows that natural cannabinoids in the body — similar to those found in marijuana — reduce inflammation. Researchers found that wounded lab mice whose cannabinoids were blocked took longer to heal, and some medical marijuana patients have reported that inflammatory diseases like psoriasis and even asthma improved when they smoked marijuana.
Mice with skin allergies also healed faster when given a topical lotion containing THC, the main active ingredient in marijuana. Lead study author Meliha Karsak of the University of Bonn in Germany said that a skin cream derived from marijuana would have too low a concentration of THC to have any psychoactive effects.
“Most people have believed for some time that the cannabinoid system is involved in modulating the immune system,” said Donald Abrams of San Francisco General Hospital, who has studied medical marijuana use among AIDS patients.
The study appears in the June 8, 2007 issue of the journal Science.