Psoriasis is a skin condition more common in non-tropic counties that changes the life cycle of kin cells. Psoriasis causes cells to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin hence they die and flake off. For some people it’s just mild skin lesions that can be treated effectively with topical therapies. However, in severe cases it causes extra skin cells form thick, silvery scales and itchy, sore, dry, red patches that are sometimes painful.
Psoriasis usually appears on the elbows, knees, scalp and lower back, although this does not rule out the possibility of it appearing elsewhere on the body.
There are five main types of psoriasis with Plaque psoriasis, also known as psoriasis vulgaris, making up about 90% of the cases. It reveals with red patches with white scales on top. Others include Guttate psoriasis, pustular psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, and erythrodermic psoriasis which affects the finger and toe nails (change in nail color).
In America, psoriasis affects about 7.5 million people and occurs more frequently between the ages of 15 and 50.
Because of the severity and location of the rushes, Psoriasis is known to have a negative impact of discomfort, low self-esteem and disability on the quality of life of the sufferer.
Psoriasis has a wide range of causes with a high risk for people with inflammatory bowel disease such a Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. However, psoriasis is said to be caused by a trigger, these may include an injury to your skin, such as a cut, scrape, insect bite or sunburn, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, smoking, and hormonal changes among others.
Emotional stress is another cause with 80% of people having outbursts reporting a recent emotional trauma, such as a death of a loved one. It’s also linked to genetics with one in three people with psoriasis having a close relative with the condition.
Symptoms of psoriasis
The signs and symptoms can vary from person to person depending on how severe or mild the condition is and may include one or more of the following:
Red patches of skin covered with silver scales, small scaling spots (commonly seen in children), dry, cracked skin that may bleed, itching, burning or soreness, thickened, pitted or ridged nails, swollen and stiff joints, fiery hot and itchy skin and ring-shaped plaques with pustules around the edges and yellow crusting among others.
Medical marijuana and psoriasis
According to the numerous research done on the medical effect of marijuana, discoveries have been made and among them is its ability to have an effect on the skin. Chemical in marijuana, called cannabinoids have been found to be powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.
However, the effectiveness of marijuana also depends on the method of consumption. Just like smoking cigarettes, smoking marijuana has a negative impact on the skin reason being that combusting marijuana releases a similar amount of carcinogens as conditions and in this particular case psoriasis.
For this reasons, topical cannabis is often suggested to be used on the skin. Vaporized cannabis is in form of creams, oils, lotions, sprays, balms, or ointments, and are applied to the skin and absorb through the epidermis. The beauty about these is that they can be used by everyone, children too and are non-psychoactive.
According to research, a unique and separate CB system located within the skin was discovered. A 2007 study showed that cannabinoids inhibit keratinocyte proliferation, and therefore support a potential role for cannabinoids in the treatment of psoriasis by preventing the buildup of dead skin cells. Researchers add that cannabis may be useful in treating several conditions involving keratinocytes, including psoriasis and wound healing.
Unlike the conventional treatments which are associated with a range of side effects, cannabis effectively deals with the significant cause of this skin condition, inflammation, and its chief symptoms, pain and discomfort all while avoiding the negative side effects. Marijuana has been used by several patients with pain as a symptom to relieve it. It has proven to be more effective than opioids in controlling acute and neuropathic pain.
Although more research is needed, some studies indicate that cannabis reduces the severity of inflammation associated with some conditions, including autoimmune disorders like psoriasis.
In most of the states in the US where medical marijuana is legal, none specifically indicate psoriasis for medical marijuana use right now. Because of its schedule 1 status under the controlled substance act, this limits research about the potential of cannabis and leaves US to rely on research conducted like Israel and New Mexico. Its medical benefits by now should be evident to the federal government to organize for its rescheduling.