MAY 25, 2021 9:30 PM PDT

Cannabis: Could it Help Chronic Itch?

WRITTEN BY: Angela Dowden

Chronic itch —clinically known as chronic pruritus — is characterized as an unrelenting sensation to scratch the skin, understandably lowering the quality of life of those who suffer with it.

But in a case report published in the journal JAMA Dermatology dermatologists from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, report that medical marijuana may help the miserable condition when all other medications have failed.

The patient in question was an African American woman in her 60s complaining of extreme pruritus on her arms, legs and stomach. Examination revealed several hyperpigmented, raised skin lesions, but no relief from a barrage of treatments, including several systemic therapies, centrally acting nasal sprays, steroid creams and phototherapy.

However, when the woman was administered medical marijuana — either by smoking or in liquid form — she reported nearly instantaneous improvement.

Assistant professor of dermatology at Johns Hopkins, Shawn Kwatra, M.D., and his team report that the patient started out with symptoms rated 10/10 (worst itch possible), but this dropped to 4/10 within 10 minutes after administration of the medical marijuana. After continued use, the patient’s itch disappeared altogether.

The researchers believe that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in cannabis attaches itself to brain receptors that influence the nervous system. This appears to cause a decrease in inflammation and nervous system activity, which in this patient led to a significant reduction in the sensation of skin itchiness.

Of course, this is just one report, but the magnitude and speed of the effect, after numerous ineffective treatments, warrants further clinical trials.

“Controlled studies are needed to determine dosing, efficacy and safety for medical marijuana in the treatment of various human itch subtypes, and once those are performed, we will better understand which patients are most likely to benefit from this therapy,” Kwatra said in a press release.

Sources: JAMA Dermatology, High Times

 

About the Author
bsc hons
I'm a journalist and author with many year's experience of writing for both a consumer and professional audience, mostly on nutrition, health and medical prescribing. My background is food science and I'm a registered nutritionist.
You May Also Like
APR 28, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
Keto Molecule Shows Promise for Treating Colorectal Cancer
APR 28, 2022
Keto Molecule Shows Promise for Treating Colorectal Cancer
A molecule produced when on low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets suppresses the growth of colorectal tumors in the lab. The ...
MAY 05, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
What to know about edibles before trying them
MAY 05, 2022
What to know about edibles before trying them
Here's what to know about edibles so that you consume them safely and make sure you don't overdo it.
MAY 10, 2022
Cardiology
Screen Time is Linked to Heart Disease and Cancer
MAY 10, 2022
Screen Time is Linked to Heart Disease and Cancer
Spending too much time in front of the TV or computer can lead to major health risks.
MAY 12, 2022
Cancer
Crisis in Ukraine Disrupts Delivery of Critical Cancer Care
MAY 12, 2022
Crisis in Ukraine Disrupts Delivery of Critical Cancer Care
Many factors including the type of cancer, pathologic stage, and the general health and demographics of the patient, dic ...
MAY 13, 2022
Health & Medicine
Increased Mental Health Risks Linked to High Potency Cannabis Concentrates
MAY 13, 2022
Increased Mental Health Risks Linked to High Potency Cannabis Concentrates
As more states legalize cannabis for medical and recreational purposes, the association between excessive cannabis consu ...
MAY 17, 2022
Cell & Molecular Biology
Single-Cell Atlas Reveals Gene Activity Across Human Tissues
MAY 17, 2022
Single-Cell Atlas Reveals Gene Activity Across Human Tissues
Scientists have learned a lot about individual genes, especially those that are connected to human disease. And while we ...
Loading Comments...