Pruritus is basically itching. It is associated with several skin diseases and a secondary symptom for more serious underlying conditions such as renal kidney and liver diseases. This usually goes untreated and is a result of CNS activities.
There are several clinical trials now focusing on the use of cannabinoids in treating pruritus. One is a review of the August 2002 issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology. Investigators from University of Miami Department of medicine demonstrated a success in treatment of patients suffering from cholestatic liver disease by using 5mg of THC. The improvement in the patient’s ADL’s after cannabinoid therapy was very apparent. All patients reports improvements in their symptoms and were able to return to work.
Another is from Wroclaw, Poland’s University of Medicine Department of Dermatology. Researchers reported that use of endocannabinoid-based topical cream “completely eliminated” pruritus in 38% of test subjects and a “complete reduction” in xerosis, abnormal dryness of the skin, in 81% of patients. The subjects of their study were hemodialysis patients.
According to dermatology experts, the encouraging preliminary results makes them believe that cannabinoids shows promise as an alternative treatment for managing itch more effectively.