The Case for Cannabis in Dermatology Treatment

The Case for Cannabis in Dermatology Treatment

Cannabis is a controversial topic in many ways - but did you know that it’s making waves in the world of dermatology? Personally, I was always averse to the idea of cannabis as a good treatment for pain relief in my Nashville practice, but recently, two things happened that changed my mind.

The first happened, strangely enough, from following professional basketball. This spring, my husband and I watched basketball games frequently, and have been following Steve Kerr (current coach of the Golden State Warriors) ever since his days of playing for the Chicago Bulls. If you follow him as well, you’ll know that he has been dealing with severe back pain that required surgery, and now suffers with intractable headaches. It seems that more than pain medication, cannabis helps control his pain and he is a proponent for using it. This helped me finally understand - even though I used to be dismissive, hearing his story has made me rethink cannabis as a medication.

The second shift happened when an article published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology about the role of cannabis in dermatology. After evaluating studies that have tested its usage and topical treatment, the article concluded that cannabis has promising anti-pruritic, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effects. However, more well-controlled prospective studies are still required before they can be widely recommended to treat dermatologic conditions.

In my Nashville practice, I can see how it could be beneficial for acute pain. For instance, I have performed multiple Mohs surgeries on a Nashville patient who suffers with continuous tremors. During his last visit, he said he was awake all night due to severe chronic nerve pain, which truly breaks my heart. I can see how difficult the surgeries are for him and on top of it all, he now has an underlying pain issue. He did ask if treating the pain with cannabis would be an option, or if I’d heard of how effective it might be - at this point in his life, I could tell he was searching for something else to alleviate the toll that his pain and tremors had taken on his life.

While cannabis does seem like a useful treatment, I will not be recommending it to Nashville patients as it is not legal in Tennessee at this time. While it  is legal for some states in the US, it is still not yet medically legal in others. For now, I think it is extremely interesting that we’re seeing it being recommended for medical use, especially in dermatology. What are your thoughts? Share them with me in the comments below!

Need to see a dermatologist? Visit us at Skin Solutions Dermatology in Nashville, Franklin, Columbia, Smyrna, Hendersonville or Pulaski to chat with our amazing team of dermatology specialists! Take advantage of our online booking system and book an appointment today.

Source: Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology

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Dr Pena

About The Author

Dr. Pena is a Board-Certified Medical Dermatologist, Mohs skin cancer surgeon, and cosmetic dermatologist. Her mission is to educate the diverse patient populations she serves, and their communities, on the importance of skin care in decreasing the risk of skin cancer and minimizing the early signs of aging. She founded Skin Solutions Dermatology with numerous clinics in Nashville, Tennessee and surrounding Middle Tennessee.

Dr. Julia Pena, MD