Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin condition that causes pain and embarrassment due to dry, red patches that appear on the skin. It’s characterized by a dry, flaky rash with silvery scales. For most people with the disorder, mild outbreaks occur irregularly, causing itching and pain. However, some experience severe outbreaks all over their bodies. Psoriasis can even lead to a more serious condition — psoriatic arthritis.
Although there are many treatments for psoriasis, medical marijuana is showing incredible potential in research studies as a treatment for the condition. It can help prevent psoriasis patches from developing, slow the malfunctioning immune system and ease the pain associated with the condition. If you have pain caused by chronic psoriasis or from psoriatic arthritis, cannabis may be an appropriate treatment option for you.
What Causes Psoriasis Pain?
Psoriasis develops in our body’s own immune system. Doctors believe the condition is an inherited autoimmune disease that causes white blood cells to attack healthy skin cells by mistake.
This results in dry, cracked skin that bleeds or psoriasis patches. The patches are caused by irregularity in the skin cells. Cell turnover is when skin cells growing beneath the skin’s surface rise up. This is a normal bodily function and usually takes about a month. In patients with psoriasis, the process takes a matter of days, creating the characteristic thick, scaly skin called plaques.
Other symptoms of the condition, many of which are extremely painful, include:
- Dilated blood vessels
- Swollen or stiff joints
Psoriasis sometimes leads to psoriatic arthritis. This condition causes significant inflammation and stiffening of the joints.
What Are the Common Treatments for Psoriasis Pain?
The leading causes of pain in psoriasis patients are the dry, painful patches, the inflammation and the stiffened joints. There are several courses of treatments that patients pursue to help with these symptoms — however, each is accompanied by adverse and potentially dangerous side effects, and none of them directly target the pain associated with the condition:
- Corticosteroids: Can be used as a cream over a short period of time to help with inflammation and itching. Extended use can thin the skin or render the treatment ineffective.
- Vitamin D Cream: Slows the production of new skin cells. This cream is very expensive and can cause skin irritation.
- Anthralin: Slows the production of skin cells and helps clear plaques, but causes skin irritation.
- Biologics: Suppresses the overactive immune system. However, it leaves the immune system weakened so it can’t protect the body against threats like dangerous viruses or bacteria.
Using Medical Marijuana to Treat Psoriasis Pain
Medical marijuana is an incredible, effective medication for all sorts of pain. The primary reason it seems to work is that its active compounds, called cannabinoids, interacting with the receptors in our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system’s primary purpose is to act as a bridge between mind and body. The receptors of the ECS can be found in the skin, digestive system, nervous system and more, affecting how our body interprets pain and other conditions.
When a patient uses medical marijuana to treat a disorder, the active compounds, primarily THC and CBD, mimic or own cannabinoids found in the ECS. For patients with psoriasis, cannabis-infused lotions can treat the pain associated with the condition in two primary ways:
- CBD and THC have general analgesic (pain relieving) properties. The most common use of medical marijuana medications is for those suffering from painful conditions. The cannabinoids in the plant interact with the ECS to quiet pain signals in our nervous system.
- Other than the dry, red skin and plaques, the main source of psoriasis pain is caused by inflammation. Lotions containing medical marijuana can be applied to inflamed areas, like joints, to relieve these systems. Cannabis is known for having anti-inflammatory properties and is extremely therapeutic for many conditions associated with inflammation.
Use MarijuanaDoctors.com to Find a Cannabis Doctor Near You
For more information about medical marijuana treatments and how they could benefit symptoms caused by psoriasis, be sure to speak to a medical marijuana doctor in your state or a local dispensary. Our advice shouldn’t replace that of a qualified professional who knows your circumstances and can speak to you regarding your specific symptoms.