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Many people look to medical cannabis to treat their various symptoms and conditions on a daily basis. But right now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, daily life has changed, and we have to navigate the new normal under the constant fear that we may contract coronavirus, or worse, give it to others. Those who are immunocompromised are especially at risk of succumbing to the virus, so it’s important to understand – does cannabis have an effect on our immune systems? Can patients continue to utilize the medication that they’ve turned to for relief? Here’s what we know about cannabis and its relationship to the immune system. While there isn’t a lot of research on cannabis use and the healthy immune system, there have been several studies surrounding cannabis for patents who suffer from the immunodeficiency virus HIV/AIDS. In one study from 2005, 27% of people with HIV/AIDS used marijuana to cope with symptoms. Cannabis is known to relieve symptoms of HIV/AIDS like nausea, loss of appetite, pain, depression, and anxiety. Now that access to medical marijuana has become more widespread and the stigma surrounding its use has decreased, it’s plausible to think this number could be higher in today’s climate.
Medical cannabis is gaining in popularity among dermatologists as a treatment option for a variety of skin conditions, including eczema. Even the National Eczema Association has described cannabis as an effective treatment for eczema. Eczema refers to dry skin characterized by redness, itchiness, and dry patches. The first uses of cannabis for the treatment of eczema date back to Dr Henry Granger Piffard, the founder of the journal Jama Dermatology. He found a cannabis pill successfully eased his itchy eczema symptoms. Cannabis may be able to help thanks to its cannabinoids, some of which have anti-itch, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Cannabis interacts with cannabinoid receptors found in the skin to reduce itching and redness. According to the National Eczema Association, cannabis also controls outbreaks of the bacteria staphylococcus aureus which is known to cause eczema in some humans.
As research continues to grow surrounding terpenes, more will be discovered as to how they can enhance a cannabis dosing regimen. This information has been provided by High Times and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.
Topicals are gaining in popularity as a method for treating a variety of skin conditions and for its ability to combat localized areas of pain. In a High Times interview with Dr. Jordan Tishler MD. who is the CEO of InhaleMD, a member of patient advocacy and cannabis groups, and a practicing physician, Tishler talks about how effective cannabis topicals really are. According to Tishler, as research stands, there are studies to back topical cannabis use for dermatological issues, but not so many to back the claims that topical cannabinoids can penetrate the skin to target pain. That said, many companies have developed transdermal patches that make it so cannabinoids can be absorbed through the skin. These methods may result in some minor unwanted side effects like rashes or skin hypersensitivity. For pain, Tishler recommends inhalation for episodic pain, or oral consumption for constant issues.
All in all, it would appear that marijuana is relatively safe to use and will not harm the immune system. If anything, it could benefit the immune system. Still, it is important to exercise caution when medicating under the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. This post has been provided in part by High Times, and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.
Topical lotions containing THC can reduce inflammation. Unlike commonly prescribed steroid creams, long term use of topical marijuana creams does not produce unwanted side effects, making it a healthier treatment option in the long run. Over time, patients who are prescribed steroid creams build up a tolerance that requires them to use higher doses for treatment. This can lead to thinner skin, higher blood pressure, higher blood sugar levels, and interference with hormones. People who have eczema generally have sensitive skin, so they should use caution when choosing a cannabis cream, as certain terpenes can contribute to skin irritation. Creams containing mostly CBD and THC are preferred for treating eczema, while creams made for joint pain may not do the trick and may instead irritate or exacerbate inflamed skin.
In our following post, we will continue to look at other countries that are leading examples of how to conduct cannabis research This information has been provided by High Times and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.
In our previous post, we talked about one of the many terpenes found in cannabis, but what exactly is a terpene? Terpenes are the aromatic organic hydrocarbons of a plant, and are the essential oils responsible for a plants aromatic profile. Researchers and consumers are becoming more and more curious about terpenes due to their potential of providing significant therapeutic benefit. Research has found when terpenes work with cannabinoids, they can either enhance or buffer against that cannabinoid’s effect. Dr Ethan Russo, MD, found terpenes offered “complementary pharmacological activities that may strengthen and broaden clinical applications and improve the therapeutic index of cannabis extracts.” Additionally, terpenes have medicinal properties of their own. Although there are hundreds of terpenes, the most common included limonene, pinene, myrcene, linalool, delta-3-carene, eucalyptol, beta-caryophyllene, humulene, borneol, and terpineol. Of those, myrcene is the most common terpene found in cannabis.
Now let’s move on to cannabichromene (CBC), another non-psychoactive cannabinoids. When used in combination with THC, it would appear that THC enhances CBC’s anti-inflammatory properties, supporting the theory that whole-plant cannabis has more to offer than isolated cannabinoids. CBC has the ability to bind to receptors outside of the endocannabinoid system where it has anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antibiotic activity. CBC has proven popular in cannabis topicals. Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is not well understood, and research around the cannabinoid seems to contradict itself. Some studies report THCV is a THC antagonist at CB1 receptors, allowing it to reduce the psychoactive effects of THC, while other studies have found THCV produces a stronger psychoactive effect than THC, and although this effect is short-lived, it is an intensely euphoric head-high. Some studies suggest these effects are dose-dependent, and at low doses, THCV dampens THC’s high, while at high doses it becomes significantly psychoactive.
The 6 Most Advanced Countries For Marijuana Research – Part 2 Photo Credit: Piqsels (https://bit.ly/2L5VsGm) In our previous post, we introduced two countries that are trailblazing