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With the legalization of recreational and medical marijuana recently added to the docket for multiple states across the nation, cannabis seems to be everywhere. While many against legalization preach the harmfulness of the drug, medical studies have shown that marijuana is highly effective at treating a wide variety of previously incurable mental and physical illnesses, including post-traumatic stress disorder, Alzheimer's disease, Crohn's disease, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis, showing why weed should be legalized.
Due to its reducing inflammation properties, you can also treat psoriasis with cannabis. Although the skin condition may feel less serious than some of the other conditions mentioned above, psoriasis can be an incredibly debilitating disease for those inflicted with some people living with chronic pain. Thankfully, new methods using marijuana have been highly successful in controlling psoriasis, making it easy for everyone to keep their disease under control.
What is psoriasis?
Commonly referred to as plaque psoriasis, psoriasis is an autoimmune disease in which new skin cells develop at a faster rate than normal. As a result, premature skin cells are pushed to the top, creating scratchy, red areas with silvery scales known as “plaques.” Although scientists are still unsure of exactly what causes psoriasis, research indicates that it is related to the endocannabinoid system, which regulates several physiological functions in the body including sleep patterns, appetite, and the immune system. If not treated effectively, psoriasis can lead to permanent joint damage, making it a critical disease to catch early. Recent studies have also linked severe psoriasis to depression and anxiety, making it more than simply a physical condition.
How Cannabis Can Help
Marijuana is highly effective at treating psoriasis due to its unique interactions with the endocannabinoid system, specifically, cannabinoid receptors. Particularly when the system is imbalanced, cannabis has the ability to regulate the endocannabinoid system, consequently helping treat several autoimmune disorders.
Cannabis has also been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory and anti-itch properties, particularly to the skin when applied as a topical cream with cannabinoids, such as CBD or THC. CBD binds with cells to reduce the production of cytokines, a protein that causes cells to react. Although research is not entirely sure why cannabis is so effective at stopping inflammation and the associated pain, studies have proved it to be the most successful drug at controlling almost all inflammation-based diseases. In fact, cannabinoid oils have twice the anti-inflammatory properties as a hydrocortisone, making them undeniably the best treatment for severe psoriasis inflammation.
Marijuana has also been linked to pain regulation, particularly through the use of the other primary cannabinoid, THC. As the primary psychoactive component in marijuana, THC has been known to dull the sensations of pain, thus allowing users to focus on their daily lives. Psoriasis has been known to cause extreme discomfort due to itchy skin, making it nearly impossible for those afflicted to go about as normal. Unlike many other pain management options including opioids, THC is a long-term and non-addictive option for those seeking immediate relief.
Research has also indicated that long-term marijuana usage is linked to the slowing of skin cell development.
As overactive skin cell growth is the primary cause of plaque psoriasis, this makes marijuana essential to finding a permanent cure for the disease. A study in 2013 demonstrated that cannabis limited the growth of the most common type of skin cell, epidermal keratinocytes, by activating unbalanced CB1 receptors. Researchers involved with the product believe that balancing CB receptors is a crucial part of managing psoriasis, and will soon be essential to long-term treatment plans.
Finally, cannabis simply improves your mood and makes you feel better. As previously mentioned, psoriasis is often linked to mental illnesses, as many inflicted with the skin disease are not confident in their own appearance. In fact, research indicates that individuals with skin diseases are 39 percent more likely to develop depression and 31 percent more likely to develop anxiety. As a result, marijuana is the perfect two-in-one solution. In addition to boosting confidence by getting psoriasis under control, cannabis has been linked to mood stabilization and overall feelings of depression.
What to Buy
The answer to what to purchase to treat psoriasis truly depends on which state you are currently residing. For those living where medical marijuana is still illegal, there is going to be some difficulty finding stores that sell products containing CBD or THC. The best option would be to find a dispensary in a state where it is legal, and use an online order to purchase and ship a topical cream. Look specifically for products that specialize in anti-inflammatory properties, as they will naturally reduce pain and itchiness. Products designed only for itch control may exacerbate the problem. Make sure your lotion is highly natural, avoiding heavy metals and toxins whenever possible.
However, for those with access to a legal dispensary, there are many more treatment options available. Particularly for those with severe psoriasis, eating edibles or smoking may increase the effectiveness of the treatment. There are actually quite a few medical conditions that edibles can treat, psoriasis being only one of them. By consuming the drug, cannabis can more holistically work with your body to heal, as opposed to only targeting a small region on the top of the skin. That being said, the FDA still currently does not approve of marijuana as a treatment for any disease despite the undeniable success of a large number of medical studies. In addition, be sure to reach out to your healthcare provider prior to trying one of these treatments, particularly if you are exhibiting signs of depression.
Marijuana has always been a powerful force in America’s counter-culture, but today it has made tremendous strides as a life-changing medical necessity. Despite extensive research, the United States still does not recognize the benefits of medical marijuana, preventing those who need it from easily accessing the drug. However, with changing times, cannabis is being viewed as a more and more realistic and natural medication for a wide variety of diseases, including psoriasis. No matter whether you eat it, smoke it, or rub it on your skin, to treat psoriasis with cannabis is an absolute game-changer for anyone suffering from the tremendously painful illness.