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Stirring the Pot: Medical Cannabis Questions Answered by Dr. Melanie Bone

Dr. Melanie Bone

By Dr. Melanie Bone

June 13, 2022

As one might imagine, working in the medical field and specializing in cannabis, I am constantly asked

about cannabis as a treatment option. I’ve compiled my most recent reader-submitted medical cannabis questions to help shed light on this is a possible treatment for involuntary blinking and acne. I also help unravel the debate around the benefits of consuming raw cannabis, as well as its effects (good or bad) with acne. 

If you have a medical cannabis question you’d like me to answer, feel send me an email:

My friend and I are having a disagreement: He says that pot makes your skin break out, and I think that it is a way to treat acne. Who is right?

– P.T. Delray Beach, Florida

Dear PT,

It turns out that you both may be right. It is pretty complicated, but here goes… 

Smoking marijuana is unlikely to help manage any skin problems, especially acne. It actually can contribute to making your

worse for the simple reason that it can increase appetite and result in munching on high-fat foods like chocolate that are not good for the skin. On the other hand, there are a number of studies dating back 20 years ago that seem to indicate a positive effect of CBD topical creams for management of acne. 

Acne is caused by overproduction of sebum by glands in the skin. Because the skin has cannabis receptors in it, using CBD can result in a decrease of the sebum production along with a dampening of the inflammatory components in the skin that contribute to breaking out. Other researchers point to the interaction of cannabis and hormones, which also can improve acne. 

Lastly, there are data that show certain cannabinoids can act as antibacterial agents and can help to manage the skin microbiome. All of this is being studied and it would not be a stretch to bet that there will be topical products coming out specifically for acne. So if you break out easily, pick up a CBD topical product designed for the skin to use after a night of THC-induced binge-eating.

– Dr. Bone

Woman on computer with medical cannabis on desk
iStock

I have been using medical cannabis for a long time to help manage my eye-blinking problem. Are you aware of any articles about this?   

– M.D. Florida

Dear M.D.,

I believe the blinking you are referring to is called Blepharospasm. Blepharospasm is considered a chronic problem that causes involuntary blinking. This is not to be confused with eyelid tremors or twitches. It can be due to readily treatable issues such as dry eyes or inflammation of the eye or eyelid. 

When no identifiable cause can be found, it is called Benign Essential Blepharospasm (BEB). BEB may be found as a singular complaint or in conjunction with spasms in other places like the lower part of the face. If a treatable cause of Blepharospasm can be found, then it can be treated and cured. On the other hand, BEB is considered manageable but not curable, because the definitive cause has not been determined. 

To date, treatment for BEB has included pills of medicines designed to spasms, including tetrabenazine and benzodiazepines like Valium. Currently, the mainstay of therapy is to use Botox in the area to temporarily paralyze the muscles that are in spasm. This is injected every 3-4 months. For intractable cases, surgery is done to remove the muscles. 

Medical Cannabis to Treat Involuntary Blinking

There are a number of

about experience using cannabis and its impact on BEB. The THC component in cannabis is known to treat muscle spasms, so it makes sense that it might work on the eyes. Most of the studies have few patients. They demonstrate that cannabis does help with the Blepharospasm subjectively. The objective data collected was not as positive as how the patients reported that they perceived their spasms. However, the study size was too small to make significant claims.

If you suffer from this rare condition, it is reasonable to use your cannabis to help. From what I can determine, low doses THC (under 10mg) with CBD as well (10-100mg) should provide some relief. I suggest going to the website,

, to find out more information about the disorder.  

– Dr. Bone

A woman holds cannabis in her hand . The legalization of marijuana. Medical cannabis
iStock

My fiancé insists that she gets high when she eats raw weed. I say that you have to heat it or you won’t get high. Am I missing something?

– Wally, Florida

Hi Wally,

You are right that to get high, cannabis needs to be heated. The reason is that the naturally occurring THC in the plant is called

. THCA has a carboxyl group on the molecule that needs to be removed, called decarboxylation, in order to activate it. That is the reason people smoke, vape or cook with cannabis to use it. 

Having said that, I have had a number of patients insist that they can get a buzz off raw cannabis. I suspect that some of the native THCA gets decarboxylated along the way. Some of the THCA starts to decarboxylate at temperatures as low as 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit. If your fiancé is sensitive to THC, this might explain why she feels it, especially if she is putting it in a hot beverage like tea. 

Raw cannabis with THCA is a great way to benefit from the various elements in the plant without getting high. Not only is it nutritious, but has a therapeutic benefit primarily as a natural anti-inflammatory agent. There is some data to point to the value of raw cannabis in managing brain health and in cancer as well. 

Remember to keep your raw product in a cool, dark place. This will help to prevent the degradation of the cannabinoids. Enjoy your next wheatgrass and cannabis juice, but consider mixing it with other delicious juices to enjoy a more robust flavor profile. 

– Dr. Bone

Dr. Melanie Bone
Dr. Melanie Bone

About The Author

Dr. Melanie Bone

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