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Study Finds Topical CBD More Effective at Treating Skin Ulcers Than Other Treatments

A.J. Herrington

By A.J. Herrington

January 11, 2023

Jar with CBD lotion and Cannabis leaf in the middle of pastel pink and blue background

iStock

A new study by Italian researchers has found that topical cannabidiol

preparations were more effective at treating skin ulcers in patients with scleroderma than other commonly used conventional treatments. 

Scleroderma, also known as systemic sclerosis, is a rare autoimmune connective tissue and rheumatic disease characterized by the tightening of the skin and the narrowing of blood vessels. The condition causes an overproduction of collagen, leading to inflammation in the skin and other parts of the body. The narrowing of blood vessels can also cause skin ulcers of the fingertips known as digital ulcers. Common treatments used to treat scleroderma include medication, physical therapy and surgery.

In a randomized clinical trial, researchers at University Hospital of Modena, Italy compared the effectiveness of a

(CBD) preparation with commonly used treatments for scleroderma in patients with digital ulcers. A total of 45 subjects were recruited for the study, with 25 using a topical CBD preparation for two months after surgery, while the remaining 20 participants received conventional therapy for the condition after surgery. 

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CBD Promoted Healing and Relieved Pain for Ulcers

Participants were asked to fill out a daily journal to record their symptoms for later analysis. The researchers determined that study participants in the CBD group saw better healing and greater pain relief than those in the control group.

“Although mean wound-related pain NRS [numeric rating scale] scores did not differ between CBD-treated patients and control patients at baseline, their mean scores differed significantly after 1 month,” the authors of the study wrote.

The authors of the study noted that 18 of the 25 (72%) patients treated with CBD experienced complete healing by the end of the study period. By contrast, complete healing was seen in only 6 of the 20 (30%) patients who used conventional treatments following surgery. The authors also noted that patients in the CBD group reported no adverse effects during the course of the study.

“The present study is the first to report the effectiveness of local CBD treatment in the management of SSc-DUs [systemic sclerosis digital ulcers],” the authors concluded. “Topical administration of CBD is a safe, effective, noninvasive tool that is associated with improved wound-related pain, DU healing, and QoL [quality of life] of patients with SSc.”

In a

on the study, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) noted that the topical application of cannabinoids, particularly CBD, “has demonstrated benefits in the treatment of a variety of skin-related conditions.”

Last year, a randomized, placebo-controlled

published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venerology determined that the topical application of an ointment containing 2.5% CBD improved the symptoms of psoriasis. A published last year conducted a review of available research and found that constituents of cannabis including CBD reduced inflammation and the expression of compounds associated with inflammation known as cytokines, suggesting that CBD might be an effective treatment for acne, which the authors noted in the most commonly reported skin condition in the United States.

In 2015, a

showed that cannabinoid therapies were effective as a treatment for a condition characterized by the reddening of the skin known as erythema and reduced excess sebum production, which can lead to acne. And a separate published in 2020 by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology reviewed previous research and determined that the application of cannabinoids could effectively treat pruritus, a condition characterized by dry, itchy skin.

The

, “Topical cannabidiol in the treatment of digital ulcers in patients with scleroderma: Comparative analysis and literature review,” was published online last month by the peer-reviewed journal Advances in Skin & Wound Care.

A.J. Herrington

About The Author

A.J. Herrington

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