Can Cannabis Relieve Chronic Itching?


Medicinal marijuana (cannabis) may offer a promising option for patients with chronic itching, according to a new case study.

Chronic itching, clinically known as chronic itching, is characterized by a relentless and sometimes even debilitating sensation, and often reduces the quality of life of people who have itching.

Treatment of the disease has been difficult because there are few therapies approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Chronic itching it can be a particularly difficult condition to treat, with off-label therapeutics often used, “says Shawn Kwatra, an adjunct professor of dermatology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. greater use of medical marijuana and our knowledge of the role of the endocannabinoid system [a complex cell-signaling system that regulates a variety of functions in the body] in chronic itching, we decided to try medical marijuana with a patient who failed several therapies and had few options. “

Kwatra and her colleagues examined a 60-year-old African-American woman with a 10-year history of chronic itching. The patient initially arrived at the Johns Hopkins Itch Center with complaints of extreme itching in her arms, legs and stomach. Examination of the skin revealed numerous hyperpigmented and elevated skin lesions. The patient tried several treatments, including systemic therapies, centrally acting nasal sprays, steroid creams, and phototherapy, but all failed.

Kwatra says that using medical marijuana “Either smoking or in liquid form,” he gave the woman an almost instant improvement.

“We had the patient assess their symptoms using a numerical rating scale, where 10 is the worst itch and zero is no itch,” says Kwatra. “It started at age 10, but dropped to 4 in 10 minutes after the initial administration of medical marijuana. With continued cannabis use, the patient’s itching completely disappeared.”

Researchers believe that one of the active ingredients in medical marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known by its abbreviation. THC – binds to brain receptors that influence the nervous system. When this happens, the inflammation and activity of the nervous system decrease, which could also lead to a reduction in the sensations of the skin such as itching.

While conclusive studies have yet to be done to validate medical marijuana as an effective measure to alleviate previously uncontrollable itching, Kwatra believes it requires more clinical trials.

“Controlled studies are needed to determine the dosage, efficacy, and safety of medical marijuana in the treatment of various subtypes of human itching, and once performed, we will better understand which patients are more likely to benefit from this therapy. he says.

A report on the new findings appears JAMA Dermatology. Source: Johns Hopkins University. Original study DOI: 10.1001 / jamadermatol.2021.1194. This article is shared under the International Attribution 4.0 license; originally published on The future.

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