The body's own 'marijuana' is good for the skin

Jul 02, 2008

Scientists from Hungary, Germany and the U.K. have discovered that our own body not only makes chemical compounds similar to the active ingredient in marijuana (THC), but these play an important part in maintaining healthy skin. This finding on "endocannabinoids" just published online in, and scheduled for the October 2008 print issue of, The FASEB Journal could lead to new drugs that treat skin conditions ranging from acne to dry skin, and even skin-related tumors.

"Our preclinical data encourage one to explore whether endocannabinoid system-acting agents can be exploited in the management of common skin disorders," said Tamás Biró, MD, PhD, a senior scientist involved in the research. "It is also suggested that these agents can be efficiently applied locally to the skin in the form of a cream."

Biró and colleagues came to this conclusion by treating cell cultures from human sebaceous glands (the glands that make the oil on our skin) with various concentrations of endocannabinoids (substances produced by the body that are similar to the active ingredient in marijuana).

Then they measured the production of lipids (fat cells, such as those in skin oil), cell survival and death, and changes in gene expression and compared these outcomes to those in an untreated control group.

"This research shows that we may have something in common with the marijuana plant," said Gerald Weissmann, MD. "Just as THC is believed to protect the marijuana plants from pathogens, our own cannabinoids may be necessary for us to maintain healthy skin and to protect us from pathogens ."

Source: Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

Explore further: Repeated courses of antibiotics may profoundly alter children's development

Related Stories

Chemists discover cannabis 'pharma factory'

Jul 16, 2012

University of Saskatchewan researchers have discovered the chemical pathway that Cannabis sativa uses to create bioactive compounds called cannabinoids, paving the way for the development of marijuana variet ...

Recommended for you

A high-fat diet may alleviate mitochondrial disease

11 hours ago

Mice that have a genetic version of mitochondrial disease can easily be mistaken for much older animals by the time they are nine months old: they have thinning grey hair, osteoporosis, poor hearing, infertility, ...

Cheek muscles hold up better than leg muscles in space

11 hours ago

It is well known that muscles need resistance (gravity) to maintain optimal health, and when they do not have this resistance, they deteriorate. A new report published in the July 2015 issue of The FASEB Journal, however, sugges ...

Sialic acid: A key to unlocking brain disorders

14 hours ago

A new report published in the July 2015 issue of The FASEB Journal suggests that a common molecule found in higher animals, including humans, affects brain structure. This molecule may play a significant role in how brain ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

jonnyboy
not rated yet Apr 20, 2009
So now I can rub the pot on my skin and not have to smoke it?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.