Marijuana may be the key to treating a wide range of skin diseases at the gene level, according to new research from Italy.
The study, published online in the British Journal of Pharmacology, shows that chemicals in marijuana have the potential to stop harmful DNA activity that underlies diseases like skin cancer and allergies.
“Our findings may lead to the development of preventive medicines, for example aimed at controlling allergic reactions, or to the design of new and more effective treatments for skin cancer.”
Certain genetic factors are believed to play a role in the uncontrollable growth of skin cells – a key characteristic of many disorders.
But a class of chemicals produced by marijuana called cannabinoids appears to have an unique ability of switching them off.
“Plant-derived cannabinoids that are absent of psychoactive effects may be useful candidates for these applications.”
In the study, researchers recorded the effects of three cannabinoids – cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabidivarin (CBV) – on human skin cell lines.
CBD was found to be the most effective at targeting unwanted DNA activity, followed by CBG.
While THC has also been suggested as an effective therapy for skin allergies, research is beginning to focus on compounds in marijuana that can’t get you high – which may be more appealing to patients.
The authors also conclude that the potential to switch off gene activity may “extend well-beyond skin disorders” to diseases like multiple sclerosis and other forms of cancer.