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Medical Marijuana and Dermatomyositis

What Is Dermatomyositis?

Dermatomyositis is a muscle disease characterized by inflammation and a skin rash, which may appear over the face, knuckles, neck, shoulders, upper chest, and back. It is a type of inflammatory myopathy. Symptoms include: difficulty swallowing, muscle weakness, stiffness, or soreness, purple or violet colored upper eyelids, purple-red skin rash and shortness of breath.

Medical Marijuana and Dermatomyositis

Dermatomyositis is relatively known as a connective-tissue disease that is directly related to polymyositis, which is characterized by inflammation of the muscles and the skin. For those who are not familiar with polymyositis, it is chronic inflammation of the muscles. While dermatomyositis most frequently affects the skin and muscles, it is also a systemic disorder that may also affect other areas such as the joints, esophagus, lungs and less commonly found, the heart. Although the cause of this condition remains unknown, it may result either from a viral infection or an autoimmune reaction. The latter case usually stems from a systemic autoimmune disease.

Dermatomyositis seems to occur more commonly in female patients than it does male patients. It can present itself as a proximal symmetrical muscle weakness with vasculitis affecting the skin, muscles and internal organs. Patients generally find it difficult to raise their arms when combing their hair or walking up stairs due to extreme muscle weakness. In severe cases, dermatomyositis can affect the muscles that are necessary for speech and swallowing food. Due to complications such as this, this condition is known to cause respiratory compromise.

Medical marijuana can be a great reliever for patients who suffer from this condition. Cannabis may attenuate allergic responses within the body, and is capable of blocking key CB2 receptions in the skin that leads to a decrease in your body's inflammatory response of the epidermis. The scratching and uncomfortable feeling that comes along with this condition can be greatly reduced and leave patients with a comfortable and care-free lifestyle.

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