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Want Nice Skin? Then Smoke Cannabis!

Truth Seeker

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They put the blame on cannabis for many things: from madness and early aging to fetal malformations. But cannabis is used in some therapies as well and now it has been found to decrease allergic skin reactions. This discovery could lead to the development of new drugs based on tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabis's active chemical, against allergy and autoimmune disorders.

The team led by Andreas Zimmer at the University of Bonn in Germany, engineered mice lacking the receptor for endocannabinoids, chemicals related to THC naturally synthesized in the body. These mice soon developed a severe skin allergy to the nickel in the metal tags the researchers had attached to their ears.

A set of experiments checked the anti-allergy effect of natural and synthetic THC chemicals.

When the ears of mice with normal endocannabinoid receptors were exposed to an irritant substance called dinitrofluorobenzene (DNFB), which induces a severe skin reaction similar to the toxins of the poison ivy in humans, within minutes the levels of an anandamide, a endocannabinoid, jumped from undetectable to about 300 picomoles per tissue gram.

30 micrograms of synthetic THC dropped the skin irritation by 50 %. A cannabis cigarette contains a maximum of 150 milligrams of THC.

"Endocannabinoids may be produced by the body to dampen the immune response and so prevent allergic reactions," Zimmer believes.

The mouse skin cells exposed to synthetic THC also synthesized fewer cytokines, compounds that attract immune cells to an infection or irritation point.

Zimmer believes that a study he published in 2006 could also help explain what the European researchers found.

In 2006, Ramesh Ganju at the Harvard Cancer Center in Boston, Massachusetts, US, showed that immune T cells involved in marking foreign particles in the body and trigger allergy, turned 70 % less sensitive to cytokine messaged when sunk in a synthetic THC solution.

"Zimmer's findings provide further evidence that endocannabinoids probably have a role in autoimmune diseases", said Ganju.

"People with inflammatory conditions such as asthma and eczema might not produce enough endocannabinoids or related cell receptors. One day therapies based on THC-like compounds might be used to treat such disorders," said Zimmer.
Still, the researchers do not point to smoking marijuana for autoimmune disease patients, due to its side-effects.

Source: Want Nice Skin? Then Smoke Cannabis! - Softpedia
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