Study shows that cannabis could help relieve the symptoms of skin allergies

Had the mice been equipped with the necessary receptors needed by endocannabinoids to mediate their effects, they wouldn't have experienced such severe skin allergies

Back to Article
Back to Article

Study shows that cannabis could help relieve the symptoms of skin allergies

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

A new study has shown how the cannabis plant’s psychoactive cannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) could prove beneficial when used as an anti-inflammatory for skin conditions. Andreas Zimmer from the University of Bonn in Germany led a team of researchers, who threw caution to the fact that individuals who endure the symptoms of autoimmune diseases on a daily basis should refrain from using cannabis as an anti-inflammatory skin aid until more research is released regarding the plant’s side effects.

Zimmer conducted a number of experiments to investigate the ways in which THC in both its natural and synthetic form may minimize skin inflammation and irritation. Results of the study indicated that the THC compound, which is cannabis’ primary psychoactive cannabinoid, was capable of relieving skin irritations in mice by 50 percent.

Natural and synthetic THC compounds studied by University of Bonn researchers

Sometime back in the early 20th century, chemists and pharmacists stocked cannabis plant extracts. However, bans were soon imposed on cannabis-based medicines that made it illegal to prescribe, consume, produce or sell them.

In order to conduct an accurate study on the anti-allergic effects of THC, Zimmer and his team of researchers experimented on a group of mice. All of the rodents were lacking endocannabinoid receptors, which caused the mice to experience severe skin allergies from the nickel metal tags that were clipped to their ears.

When analyzing the skin cells of mice, Zimmer and his researchers discovered a reduction in the release of cytokines from the synthetic THC compound. Cytokines are essential for ensuring immune cells respond to the wherever the skin allergy, irritation or infection might be. Had the mice been equipped with the receptors needed by endocannabinoids to mediate their effects, they wouldn’t have experienced such severe skin allergies.

Cannabis-derived cannabinoids regulate the immune system

(Pictured) Zimmer’s study involved experimenting on mice

Despite being tarnished with a stoner stereotype reputation, THC is finally being acknowledged for its medicinal benefits, with a fresh load of research suggesting that the psychoactive cannabinoid may positively influence the immune system.

The fact that the human body is equipped with an endocannabinoid system (ECS) gives scientists reason to believe that cannabis could have more therapeutic effects than we already know of. Since CB1 and CB2 receptors can be found on immune cells throughout the central nervous system, cannabinoids could potentially bolster the immune system.

“A new wave of research points toward cannabinoids having an adaptive, immunomodulating effect, rather than just suppressing immune activity,” reads a separate study, which pretty much confirms what Zimmer and his team concluded from their study.

Through regulating the immune system and relieving skin cell overactivity, cannabinoids may help to reduce bullosa, dermatomyositis, epidermolysis, psoriasis and scleroderma.

Due to the lack of receptors inside the rodent’s systems, the skin on each mouse’s ear became red and inflamed. This helped the researchers to ascertain exactly how cannabinoids react with the immune system; they regulate it and protect the skin from outbursts of inflammation. Zimmer and his team concluded that natural and synthetic THC may produce anti-inflammatory effects, proving the potential of using cannabis as an anti-inflammatory skin aid.

“If we dabbed THC solution on to the animals’ skin shortly before and after applying the allergen, a lot less swelling occurred than normal. The THC attaches itself to the cannabinoid receptors and activates them. In this way, the active substance reduces the allergic reaction,” said one of the team members, Professor Thomas Tuting.

Tuting made a point of stating that the required quantity of THC was not enough to trigger feelings of psychoactivity.