Cannabinoids: Potential Role in Inflammatory and Neoplastic Skin Diseases
The endocannabinoid system is a complex and nearly ubiquitous network of endogenous ligands, enzymes, and receptors that can also be stimulated by exogenous compounds such as those derived from the marijuana plant, Cannabis sativa. Recent data have shown that the endocannabinoid system is fully functional in the skin and is responsible for maintaining many aspects of skin homeostasis, such as proliferation, differentiation, and release of inflammatory mediators. Because of its role in regulating these key processes, the endocannabinoid system has been studied for its modulating effects on both inflammatory disorders of the skin and skin cancer. Although legal restrictions on marijuana as a Schedule I drug in the USA have made studying cannabinoid compounds unfavorable, an increasing number of studies and clinical trials have focused on the therapeutic uses of cannabinoids. This review seeks to summarize the current, and rapidly expanding field of research on the broad potential uses of cannabinoids in inflammatory and neoplastic diseases of the skin.