A chemical in marijuana, beta-caryophyllene, has
been proven effective to treat pain,
inflammation, atherosclerosis, and osteoporosis.
Jurg Gertsch, of ETH Zurich, and his
collaborators from three other universities
learned that the natural molecule can activate a
protein called cannabinoid receptor type 2. When
that biological button is pushed, it soothes the
immune system, increases bone mass, and blocks
pain signals -- without causing euphoria or
interfering with the central nervous system. The
chemical has not yet been proven to be safe and
effective in humans.
>New study in the FASEB Journal shows how
>substances similar to THC are necessary for
>healthy skin and may lead to new skin disease
>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
>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 ."