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Skin Therapy Lett. 2018 Nov;23(6):1-5.

The Therapeutic Potential of Cannabinoids in Dermatology

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The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, DC, USA
Department of Dermatology, The George Washington Medical Faculty Associates, Washington, DC, USA


Cannabinoids have demonstrated utility in the management of cancer, obesity, and neurologic disease. More recently, their immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory properties have been identified for the treatment of several dermatologic conditions. This review thus assesses the therapeutic potential of phytocannabinoids, endoocannabinoids, and chemically synthetic cannabinoids in the management of cutaneous disease. The PubMed® and Scopus® databases were subsequently reviewed in December 2017 using MeSH and keywords, such as cannabinoid, THC, dermatitis, pruritus, and skin cancer. The search yielded reports on the therapeutic role of cannabinoids in the management of skin cancer, acne vulgaris, pruritus, atopic and allergic contact dermatitis, and systemic sclerosis. While cannabinoids have exhibited efficacy in the treatment of inflammatory and neoplastic skin conditions, several reports suggest pro-inflammatory and pro-neoplastic properties. Further investigation is necessary to understand the complexities of cannabinoids and their therapeutic potential in dermatology.


acne; cannabinoid; cannabis; dermatitis; endocannabinoid; fibrosis; palmitoylethanolamide; inflammatory skin disease; pruritus; skin cancer; sclerosis; THC; tetrahydrocannabinol

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Conflict of interest statement

Adam Friedman is currently developing a nanoparticle encapsulated cannabinoid with Zylo Therapeutics - this work is not referenced in the manuscript. Dustin Marks has no conflicts of interest to report for this work. Funding: The George Washington Department of Dermatology received no funding in support of this manuscript.

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