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Cannabis Creams Show Promise In Relieving Itch In Some Skin Diseases

By Kathy Walsh

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)- Researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus say the chemical compounds found in marijuana contain anti-inflammatory properties that could make them useful in the treatment of eczema, psoriasis, atopic and contact dermatitis.

This new study, published online recently in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, summarizes the current literature on the subject.

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(credit: CBS)

Currently, 28 states allow comprehensive medical cannabis programs with close to one in 10 adult cannabis users in the U.S. utilizing the drug for medical reasons.

As researchers examine the drug for use in treating nausea, chronic pain and anorexia, more and more dermatologists are looking into its ability to fight a range of skin disease.

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At Lightshade marijuana dispensary in Denver, customers can find creams and balms infused with THC and CBD, compounds found in marijuana. Many of the products promise pain relief.

"They can have an item that has no psychosis effect to it, just relief... relief of muscle, relief of skin," said Devo Beck, General Manager of Operations for Lightshade.

CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh interviews Lightshade general manager of operations Devo Beck (credit: CBS)

Right now, there are no large-scale clinical trials on humans that prove those claims.

"I can say a very high percentage of our customers, including myself, including our employees, have full relief from these products," said Beck.

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"We did not study pot creams, we studied all of the literature surrounding these creams," explained the study's senior author Dr. Robert Dellavalle, MD, associate professor of dermatology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

Dellavalle concluded the topical treatments containing the cannabis compounds show a promising role in the treatment of itch associated with skin diseases.

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CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh interviews Robert Dellavalle, MD, associate professor of dermatology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine (credit: CBS)

"There is tremendous potential for a new class of medications to treat itch and inflammation that is not a steroid and is not an opioid," said Dellavalle.

Dellavalle cautioned that large-scale clinical trials still need to be done, but Beck is already a believer.

"We see the results on a daily basis," Beck said.

Kathy Walsh is CBS4's Weekend Anchor and Health Specialist. She has been with CBS4 for more than 30 years. She is always open to story ideas. Follow Kathy on Twitter @WalshCBS4.

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