Medical Marijuana for Psoriasis
Psoriasis is an immune-related condition that affects millions of people. Skin cells regenerate faster than normal, causing a backup of sorts on affected skin regions. As a result, this skin disease can cause dry, red patchy, scaly skin, mostly around knees, elbows, torso, and scalp. While not contagious, it can cause discomfort, some pain (ie. Psoriatic arthritis), depressive symptoms, and lower confidence levels (often due to how to affects appearance).
There are a growing number of studies focused on medical marijuana and psoriasis. When it comes to marijuana, psoriasis is not often a medical condition people think it can treat, but there are actually a growing number of benefits being attributed to cannabis for psoriasis.
What is Psoriasis and What Causes It?
Psoriasis is a skin disease that is likely caused by both genetic and environmental factors (though doctors are still working to determine the precise causes). For people wondering what causes psoriasis, they may benefit by examining their family history (genetics) and environmental (dry, cold climates seem to exacerbate the conditions).
Symptoms of Psoriasis
Psoriasis symptoms generally include
- Dry, cracked skin
- Red patches, sometimes covered by silvery scales
- Swollen or stiff joints
- Pitted, thickened, or ridged nails
There are also different types of psoriasis, including:
- Plaque psoriasis
- Nail psoriasis
- Guttate psoriasis
- Inverse psoriasis
- Pustular psoriasis
- Erythrodermic psoriasis
- Psoriatic arthritis
How to Treat Psoriasis
When it comes to psoriasis, treatment options are available. There is no cure, though, so people must rely on treatments to help temper the symptoms and flare-ups.
Most commonly, topical creams (mostly steroidal) are available. These are intended to help slow down the cell growth. There is also immunosuppressants, which can alter the way your cells work.
Coal tar ointment and shampoo is often used for treating scalp-based psoriasis. When using for the first time, it can feel like it’s burning and may also increase skin redness.
Phototherapy has also been used to some effect in the treatment of psoriasis. Now, more doctors are realizing the benefits of medical marijuana for psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis.
Can Medical Marijuana Help Psoriasis?
A person who has psoriasis may eventually develop psoriatic arthritis, and marijuana may be able to help with some of those symptoms. Arthritis is a condition that involves inflammation of the joints. Psoriatic arthritis would be most common at the joints where psoriasis breaks out (and is prevalent).
There are a number of ways that patients can benefit from medical marijuana for psoriasis.
Benefits of Marijuana for Psoriasis Patients
Whether it’s for psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, medical marijuana can provide a number of benefits, including:
- Relief from inflammation
- A reduction in pain
- A calming effect
- Decreased anxiety
- Improved outlook on life
- Soothing effects, especially during a flare-up
Risks of Marijuana
The most common side effects of marijuana may include:
- Diminished problem solving abilities
- Low blood pressure
- Increased appetite
- Elevated heart rate
- Impaired reaction times and/or judgment
- Coordination challenges
There may be factors that increase the risk of some or all of these side effects for many people. That is why it is so important to consult a doctor before taking any form of cannabis products for psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.
Best Strains for Psoriasis
Indica and Sativa strains can offer different benefits for people dealing with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. Indica contains far less THC, the active psychotropic drug in cannabis and more CBD (cannabinoid), which means it offers better joint inflammation and pain relief.
Sativa can help offer soothing, a reduction in anxiety, and a better’s night’s sleep, especially when dealing with a breakout. CBD oil for psoriatic arthritis can be beneficial because it will focus on the joints, potentially reducing inflammation and, therefore, pain.
Forms of Medical Marijuana
There are different forms of medical marijuana, including the smokable kind (in traditional or vape formats), CBD oil, and CBD creams.
CBD oil and psoriatic arthritis may not be a household term just yet, but it’s becoming increasingly popular among those dealing with this immune system disease. Taking directly (by mouth) or, more commonly, after being added to drinks and food, CBD oil does not contain any of the controlled substance THC. Therefore, it is available as an over-the-counter medication.
Still, it’s important to consult a doctor before taking anything for treating psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. It’s important to understand, too, that this is only a treatment for psoriasis. If someone says hemp oil cures psoriasis, that is not true.
Along the same idea as hemp oil for psoriasis is CBD cream. CBD cream for psoriasis can be applied directly to the affected region of the body. This can potentially bring more immediate relief to flaky, scaly skin and joint inflammation and pain.
Cigarettes and Vapes
Traditional marijuana cigarettes and vapes that contain THC are also potential forms of medical marijuana. Discuss with your doctor which one would be ideal for you. If your symptoms are most closely aligned with mental anguish, anxiety, stress, frustration, low self-esteem, and more, then this form of medical marijuana may be optimal.
Also, speak to your doctor about the potential to rely on more than one treatment option.
Does Psoriasis Qualify for Medical Marijuana?
Yes, it can. But you would need to receive a prescription from a doctor in order to take advantage of the numerous benefits medical marijuana can offer for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis sufferers.
Also, it bears repeating that medical marijuana is not a cure for either psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. Currently, there is no cure, but this is a treatment option that can help you live more comfortably, with less pain and joint swelling (if you have psoriatic arthritis) and regain a part of your life that has been severely impacted by this immune system disease.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card
Elevate Holistics can connect you with a license doctor in your area who has experience helping people like you live happier, more comfortable lives with less pain and inflammation if you’re dealing with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. Reach out and let us help you find the right doctor for your needs.