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Psoriasis is an inflammatory disease that persists for long time. It affects the cells present in the outermost layer of the skin, where the immune system of the patient attacks these cells causing their early or untimely maturation and excessive production in a large number. Therefore, patients with psoriasis experience thickening, scaling, and redness of the skin. Multiple treatments are available but most of them are associated with unfavorable adverse effects. As a consequence, researchers strive for approaching new therapeutic medications with a relevant safe profile.
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The active compounds of the Cannabis plant, cannabinoids, have been recently known for several therapeutic uses, including their promising anti-inflammatory effects. Additionally, they showed excellent suppressive effects on the replicating cells, including tumor cells. Since the cannabinoids have a potent activity against some anti-inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, this study investigated the role of cannabinoids in the treatment of psoriasis.
Actions of cannabinoids in the body and their relevance to psoriasis
The action of cannabinoids is mainly exerted through specific receptors in the body, namely CB1 and CB2 receptors. It has been shown that these receptors are present in human skin, including the outer layer. Along with the anti-inflammatory and immunological effects of cannabinoids, it seems that cannabinoids may represent an effective treatment for psoriasis patients. However, the consistently observed adverse effects of cannabinoids, such as psychiatric symptoms, may hinder their application.
Specific effects of cannabinoids on human skin cells
The current experimental study utilized four cannabinoid compounds present in the cannabis extract. The effect of such compounds on the multiplication of human skin cells was assessed by the relevant techniques. The results revealed that all compounds caused a marked inhibition of cell multiplication and this effect was augmented by increasing the dose. Importantly, cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (CBG) showed the most potent inhibitory actions. However, the researchers found that both compounds did not bind efficiently to their specific receptors on skin cells, indicating that their actions are exerted in a way rather than receptor-dependence.
Actions of the activating and blocking agents to cannabinoids
In addition to evaluating the actions of cannabinoid compounds on skin cells, the effects of chemicals that activate CB1 and CB2 receptors were investigated. Such substances produced a weak inhibition of skin cell multiplication although the action was dose-dependent. Furthermore, the effects of such activators were not reversed or removed by the use of blocking agents to the receptors. Overall, it seems that the compounds in the cannabis extract are more potent than other synthetic agents.
Cannabinoids can be considered as effective compounds for inhibiting skin cell multiplication. Indeed, this may be of important implications for the treatment of psoriasis. Nonetheless, it is imperative to conduct future research studies on human patients for considerable periods of time to evaluate both the efficacy and safety of cannabinoids for psoriasis.