The skin is the largest organ in the human body. One of its principal functions is to protect the body against external agents and it is the first defensive barrier of the innate immune system. Other important functions of the skin include controlling body temperature, maintaining the hydro-electrolytic balance and perceiving painful or pleasurable stimuli. Any alteration in Lichen Sclerosus, also known as Planus, is a long-term skin condition that postmenopausal women are most exposed to. In this article, we take a deep dive to educate on the causes, symptoms, and treatments including CBD to help with Lichen Sclerosus/Planus. Ever since my LP has started I've dealt with muscle stiffness and spasm. I 've read that CBD helps with skin…
Cannabinoids and Inflammatory Skin Diseases
Doctor in Medicine and Surgery, Professor of Immunology at the Department of Cellular Biology, Physiology and Immunology of the University of Cordoba and Director of the Inflammation and Cancer Research Group at the Maimónides Institute of Biomedical Research in Cordoba. Dr Muñoz Blanco’s research centres on the study of cannabinoids in inflammatory diseases and the development of new semi-synthetic cannabinoids. In 2003, he founded VivaCell Biotechnology España, which develops new pharmaceuticals based on non-psychotropic cannabinoids.
The skin is the largest organ in the human body. One of its principal functions is to protect the body against external agents and it is the first defensive barrier of the innate immune system. Other important functions of the skin include controlling body temperature, maintaining the hydro-electrolytic balance and perceiving painful or pleasurable stimuli. Any alteration in the functioning or appearance of the skin can have important consequences for our physical and mental health. Many of the problems that present in the skin are limited to it. In some cases, however, the skin can reveal a disorder affecting the entire body.
Development of Pharmaceuticals in Dermatology
Nearly 37% of primary health care patients have some acute or chronic skin disease and it is surprising how few new pharmaceuticals are being developed to treat these conditions –particularly those most commonly treated by dermatologists and non-dermatologists– when compared to other pathologies. One important reason why few pharmaceutical companies are developing drugs for skin diseases is that the economic return on such drugs (especially topical skin products) is relatively small when compared to the market for pharmaceuticals for other conditions (e.g. cardiovascular diseases) (Eaglstein and Corcoran, 2011).
Another factor limiting the development of pharmaceuticals based on natural products –including preparations of Cannabis sativa– is the fact that in most cases it is not possible to establish adequate protection for intellectual property of the drug, an essential inventive to investment in the development of new pharmaceuticals for any application. It is therefore hardly surprising that the great majority of skin diseases, especially inflammatory diseases, are treated with over-the-counter health-care (para-pharmaceutical) products whose effectiveness, in most cases, is not proven.
Cannabinoids in Dermatology
The topical use of Cannabis sativa L dates back to ancient China, where cannabis preparations were used externally to treat skin rashes, ulcers, wounds and hair loss. There is also archaeological evidence suggesting that topical cannabis preparations were used by the ancient Egyptians to treat eye conditions and also in bandages for wounds. Cannabis leaves were used in medieval Arab medicine to treat skin diseases such as pityriasis and lichen planus. More recently, in the early twentieth century, before prohibition, tinctures of cannabis were commonly sold in pharmacies. Among other applications, they were used to treat calluses, irritable bladder, menstrual pains and as an aid for quitting opium addiction.
The skin possesses all the elements of the endocannabinoid system, i.e., endocannabinoid compounds (AEA and 2-AG), metabotropic (CB1R and CB2R) and ionotropic (TRPV-1) receptors of cannabinoids and the enzymes involved in the synthesis and metabolism of endocannabinoids (e.g. FAAH and MAGL). The various elements in the endocannabinoid system are involved in key mechanisms of skin regulation, such as control of growth of the epidermis and skin annexes, cell survival, immune and inflammatory responses, the transmission of sensory stimuli to the central nervous system (pain, itching) and the synthesis of lipids, among other activities.
Despite this long history of topical use of cannabis and advances in our understanding of the endocannabinoid system of the skin, research into the use of cannabinoids for skin pathologies is one of the youngest fields of research in this area and clinical data on the use of cannabis in dermatological practice remain extremely limited. Nonetheless, there is increasing evidence of the potential of cannabinoids for the treatment of inflammatory skin diseases, including psoriasis and atopic dermatitis and for the treatment of auto-immune diseases such as scleroderma, characterised by inflammation and fibrosis.
Psoriasis is one of the most common chronic inflammatory skin diseases. It is characterised by hyper-proliferation and shedding of keratinocytes, resulting from infiltration of T-cells and neutrophils and activation of dendritic cells and macrophages. Although the pathogenesis of psoriasis is not fully understood, there is solid evidence to suggest that deregulation of the immune cells in the skin, in particular Th1 and Th17 cells, plays a critical role in the development of psoriasis.
Although there is at present only anecdotal evidence on the use of Cannabis sativa L preparations for topical use in psoriasis, the therapeutic possibilities of cannabinoids acting through CB2R and through mechanisms that are independent of classical cannabinoid receptors are very broad given their role in the regulation of Th1 and Th17 lymphocytes (Derakhshan and Kazemi, 2016). It has also been seen that some phytocannabinoids inhibit the proliferation of keratinocytes through non CB1R and CB2R paths (Wilkinson and Williamson, 2007).
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is the most frequent chronic inflammatory disease of the skin. Initiation and progression of the disease are induced by interactions of genetic, environmental and immunological factors. The clinical characteristics of AD include dryness of the skin through loss of the epidermal barrier, erythema, exudation, scabs and lichenification. Moreover AD is characterised by intense itching which leads to frequent scratching and infection by staphylococcus. There is no cure for AD and the main goals of treatment are to reduce the symptoms (itching and dermatitis), prevent exacerbations and minimise the risk of skin infection. Standard forms of treatment for managing AD patients centre on the use of anti-inflammatory topical preparations with corticoids and hydration of the skin, but in serious cases, patients may require systemic treatment with powerful immunosuppressives –such as cyclosporin A or tacrolimus– and antibiotics to prevent infection by staphylococcus-type bacteria.
Numerous para-pharmaceutical preparations are now available based on oil from Cannabis sativa L seeds, especially hemp, for the treatment of AD. However, despite the misleading advertising often used to market such products, hemp seed oil does not contain cannabinoids or other bioactive phenolic compounds, and its therapeutic effect goes no further than any other preparation containing polyunsaturated fatty acids and favouring skin hydration.
However, to judge from pre-clinical studies, cannabinoids also have great potential for therapeutic management of AD (Ong PY, 2009; Wollenberg and cols, 2014). In this regard, selective CB1R agonists inhibit the activation of mastocytes and the release of histamine. Moreover, topical application of anandamide analogs has been shown to reduce skin inflammation in animal models of AD (Kim et al., 2015). Other authors have suggested that CB1R expression in keratinocytes plays a relevant role in maintaining the epidermal barrier (Gaffal et al., 2014). Finally it has also been described that the release of histamine from CB2R inhibits the inflammatory skin reaction mediated by IgE and intense spontaneous pruritus in AD (Maekawa et al., 2006).
The antibacterial action of Cannabis sativa preparations and phytocannabinoids has been well known for decades, although only more recently has the antibacterial activity of cannabinoids THC, CBD, CBG and their precursors (acid forms) against methicillin-resistant staphylococcus been demonstrated (Appendino et al., 2008).
Nearly 100 cannabinoids have been identified in the plant, together with a large number of other bioactive compounds, such as phenolics and terpenes, which also have important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities (Hanuš et al., 2016; Russo, 2011). The cannabinoids and other types of compound are thought to have interacting synergic effects. This would explain why in some in vitro studies, better results have been obtained with extracts from the plant than with pure isolated compounds. Although the content of cannabinoids and other types of compound varies depending on the variety of plant, cannabinoids can be said to have huge potential for treating AD, given their anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
Cannabinoids and fibrotic skin diseases
Systemic scleroderma (or sclerosis) (SSc) is a rare autoimmune disease that has three main characteristics: dysfunction of fibroblasts, leading to an increase in the deposition of proteins from the extracellular matrix, vasculopathy of small vessels resulting in tissue hypoxia and an immune response with production of proinflammatory cytokines and autoantibodies. SSc is characterised by progressive thickening and fibrosis of the skin, secondary to excessive accumulation of collagen, which can be limited to the skin (localised –or limited– cutaneous SSc) or extend to internal bodies (diffuse SSc). SSc begins with a microvascular injury and inflammation. This is followed by fibroblast activation, a key event in the development of fibrosis.
Recent evidence shows that genetic and pharmacological manipulation of the endocannabinoid system modulates the fibrotic response. CB1 and CB2 receptors, too, have shown different patterns in experimental models of dermal fibrosis. Blockage of CB1R prevents activation of fibroblasts and has a powerful antifibrotic effect (Marquart et al., 2010). The role of CB1R as a profibrotic receptor has also been confirmed in knock-out mice for FAAH, in which high levels of endocannabinoids can induce fibrosis through a CB1R-dependent path. On the other hand, activation of CB2R prevents cutaneous fibrosis and the infiltration of tissue leukocytes in models of experimental dermal fibrosis (Akhmetshina et al., 2009). As a result, JWH-133, a synthetic agonist of CB2R abrogates experimental dermal fibrosis in mouse models. This concurs with the fact that the CB2R knock-out mice are more susceptible to the development of fibrosis (Balistreri et al., 2011). It has also been demonstrated that PPARγ agonists inhibit the profibrotic response by inhibiting the TGFβ signalling path. It has also been demonstrated that dual agonists of PPARγ/CB2R show a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic activity in experimental models of SSc (Del Río et al., 2016).
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Lichen Sclerosus, also known as Planus, is a long-term skin condition that postmenopausal women are most exposed to. It forms itchy, smooth, or crinkled white skin patches that can appear just about anywhere but usually around the genital and anal areas. These patches can bleed easily or hurt if rubbed or scratched, and although they can be treated with cream and ointments, they can reappear on a constant basis which can be excruciating.
Lichen Sclerosus is an incurable, chronic inflammatory skin disorder that changes the life of those who suffer from it . From painful intercourse , urinary retention, constipation to the inability to retract the foreskin of men genitals, the complications of this unfamiliar disease extends beyond the physical. It dramatically impairs the quality of life of millions of patients worldwide.
If you suffer from this disorder and you have tried everything to reduce the scarring tendency, there’s one natural solution you may not have considered. The therapeutic potential of this safe and effective compound will improve the quality of your life. Curious? Stay with us to learn more.
Lichen Sclerosus Causes
Some people might think that Lichen Sclerosus results from poor personal hygiene, but that’s untrue. However, understanding the causes of this disease remains complicated. Research suggests that it is caused by an overactive immune system mistakenly attacking and damaging your skin or an imbalance of hormones. Moreover, some scientists believe that a genetic predisposition to Lichen Sclerosus exists.
Even though it often occurs in postmenopausal women, anyone can get lichen Sclerosus. It’s classified as part of a group of vaginal disorders called vulvodynia . Therefore, it is not contagious and cannot be spread through sexual intercourse, so you can breathe easy in that regard.
Lichen Sclerosus Symptoms
As explained above, this skin condition is characterized by skin changes of the external genitalia and anal area. In people with vaginas, its typical distribution regions involve the vulva, around the vagina’s opening, and perineum. In comparison, people with penises can develop patches on the foreskin and end of the penis, especially if they’re uncircumcised. In this case, the disease is known as balanitis xerotica obliterans.
Lichen Sclerosus can also affect any skin surface, particularly where previous skin damage has taken place. It means that the upper body, upper arms, and breasts are not exempt. Skin tissue becomes thin, shiny, wrinkled, and parchment-like.
Although people with mild Lichen Sclerosus may present no clinical manifestations at all, the usual signs and symptoms are:
- Chronic itching (pruritus) and soreness
- Smooth white patches on your skin
- Blotchy, wrinkled patches
- Tearing or bleeding
- In severe cases, bleeding, blistering or ulcerated sores
Symptoms may vary from person to person and may change by occurrence.
Over time, the skin affected becomes tight, causing discomfort and functional problems such as difficulty in urination, defecation, and Vaginismus (tensing of the vaginal muscles during penetration).
This tension in the lower pelvic floor muscles during attempted sex can increase pain, and insufficient arousal with subsequent avoidance and low libido. In people with penises, erection problems, difficulty urinating, and phimosis (inability to retract the foreskin) can occur.
Lichen Sclerosus lesions may develop into squamous cell carcinoma of the affected area. Although the risk is low, it’s a good idea to check yourself regularly and see your doctor every 6 to 12 months to be checked for any skin changes or treatment side effects. If you notice a lump or ulcer that does not go away, talk to your doctor immediately.
Lichen Planus vs. Lichen Sclerosus
Both Lichen Sclerosus (LS) and Lichen Planus (LP) are immunologically mediated diseases with a preference for the genitalia. The primary differentiator between these two chronic conditions is that LP has a propensity to involve the mucous membranes of the mouth and vagina, which are rarely affected in LS.
Moreover, the first-line treatment for LS is a super-potent topical corticosteroid ointment with a high response rate, while erosive vulvovaginal LP is more challenging to treat. Second-line therapies include topical calcineurin inhibitors and systemic agents. There is limited evidence for systemic treatments for both skin disorders. Finally, the risk of vulval squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is high in LP and LS.
Lichen Sclerosus Diet
Currently, there is almost no research on the impact of diet on Lichen Sclerosus. The Vulval Pain Society highlights the potential benefit of diet changes that affect pain level, like a low-oxalate diet. Nevertheless, these findings are not conclusive, and in fact, another study has already refuted the low-oxalate diet.
Even though there’s a lack of solid evidence, if your urinalysis indicates that you have high levels of oxalate, you should considerate altering your diet as an option. While eliminating high-oxalate food is effective for some women, some alternative diet plans can be efficient as well. Talk to your physician about the potential benefits of the autoimmune protocol diet to determine which food plan is best for you to try. Meanwhile, we invite you to check this fantastic Healthline article where you can find a list of safe foods for you and the food items you should avoid.
Lichen Sclerosus Treatment
This skin disorder typically has a remitting relapsing course complicated by permanent scarring of the affected areas. Vulvar Lichen Sclerosus requires aggressive treatment and life-long monitoring to avert scarring and minimize the risk of squamous cell carcinoma.
Treatment consists of the use of ultra potent corticosteroids ointments prescribed by your doctor (the use of creams is discouraged). Studies have shown that the regular use of Topical Corticosteroids usually helps to manage symptoms and decrease the risk of skin cancer. When used correctly, they are safe and highly effective.
Although the traditional treatment can help, the long-term use of a potent preparation on the vulva may eventually cause cutaneous atrophy, striae, and secondary candidiasis .
Second-line treatments include topical tacrolimus or pimecrolimus, phototherapy, and oral immunosuppressive medications. In very severe cases in women, surgical removal of affected skin layers may prove beneficial, but there’s a high recurrence after surgery. In males with foreskin involved, circumcision may be helpful.
Along with these, making some lifestyle adjustments such as washing the affected areas with emollient soap substitutes instead of regular soap may help. You can also gently dab your genitals dry after peeing, wear cotton or silk underwear, and last but not least, use vaginal lubricant if sex turns uncomfortable. To prevent Lichen Sclerosus complications, you must not scratch or rub the affected skin, wear tight or restrictive clothes or wash your underwear with detergent – use only water instead.
In addition to these recommendations, consider Cannabidiol. (CBD) is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant growing in popularity in recent years due to its promising therapeutic effects.
CBD and Lichen Sclerosus
Currently, there’s not enough specific research on CBD oil for Lichen Sclerosis. While anecdotal reports from people who have tried CBD for Lichen Sclerosus are promising, clinical evidence to support its use is insufficient. Whereas a number of open questions await to be answered, we hope to see in the future more focused research on CBD oil for Lichen Slerosus to support these claims.
GoLove and Lichen Sclerosus
Sexual problems in people with Lichen Sclerosus are common but not inevitable. When they occur, the person who’s suffering and their partner, if any, need to be aware that sexual problems can be treated and there is help available. We know that when you suffer from Lichen Sclerosus or Planus, intercourse can be a challenging, painful experience that causes sexual anxiety.
This is where GoLove can be a tremendous support. This luxurious CBD serum moisturizes and hydrates your delicate skin. When your skin is calm and soothed, you may find it easier to relax and in turn connect with your lover or enjoy solo play. Don’t lose your sexual desire, pamper yourself with this Ph.D. formulated, water-based serum, and invite satisfying sex once again into your life. Don’t put off intimacy any longer. GoLove instead.
Has anyone tried CBD lotion/oil for thier LP?
Ever since my LP has started I’ve dealt with muscle stiffness and spasm. I ‘ve read that CBD helps with skin conditions and also muscle spasms so I tried it, and let me just say. I’m impressed with the results. My spasms has stopped and my scares are clearing up. I was just wondering if anyone else has tried CBD and what their results were,
2 likes, 38 replies
Posted 4 years ago
How exciting ! My daughter kept telling me to try that so I’m going to get some can you tell me how much you dab on and can you use it for oral LP ? X hope it carries on working how long have you been using it ? Xx
Posted 4 years ago
Hello pooh, I’ve been symptom free for about 1 1/2 years but the cbd was not responsible for my remission. I have to contribute my remission to probiotics. I use a lotion with 25 milligrams of cbd in a 8oz bottle for the scars left behind and it has helped tremendously. In the time it took me to use the 8oz bottle, which was about two months. Hope it can help you too.
Posted 4 years ago
I’m glad to hear this pooh. I only hope others will come a cross this post. CBD has so much potential to be a benefit to millions of people. Spread the word and God bless
Posted 4 years ago
Thankyou yes I’m spreading the word ! The hospital wanted to put me on immune suppressants which I think just makes you feel worse I’m determined to fight this as naturally as I can !! I’m positive for Epstein Barr virus which I believe is causing LP I’ve googled loads !! God bless you and all sufferers xx
Posted 4 years ago
I was on immune suppressant for a while to, small doses tho. It’s not a bad idea especially if your breakouts are bad. It will help get it under control and then take a probiotic to rebuild your immune system. That’s what I did for my skin LP
Posted 4 years ago
Will see if CBD works first !! Got CT scan tomorrow they found chronic stomach ulcer and errosion plus hiatus hernia took ten biopsies so now investigating more ! I’m falling to bits . Xx I keep smiling tho and sending out positive vibes !!
Posted 4 years ago
Hi I am a new cannabis user (3 drops 3 times a day and increasing, mostly for back pain). However I have suffered from oral LP since 2015. After a long remission, it returned after my immune cancer therapy last September, and nothing helped. Since starting cannabis oil I have experienced a lessening of the symptoms and even of the dry mouth I had at the beginning. Today I am eating almost normally – thanks to cannabis? This demonstrates that even taking it by mouth is effective (I use a steroid gel on the ulcers in the mouth).
Posted 4 years ago
May I ask you what probiotics you take? I was told that most of them don’t get past the digestive system.
Posted 4 years ago
None. only vitamins and food additives (glucosamine sulphate) and magnesium. Meanwhile the situation in my mouth has worsened again, but as I still not up to full dose, maybe there is hope yet!
Posted 4 years ago
I took the oil for 6 weeks noticed an improvement then stopped for two weeks and mouth went red raw very quickly so I’m back on it I’m sure it helps. It does seem to give me more energy too but I think it gives me headaches !? X
Posted 4 years ago
Maybe I should concentrate on keeping the solution on the ulcers instead of immediately swallowing it
Posted 4 years ago
Mine are oil capsules so I swallow them but if yours is oil drops it’s best to put them under your tongue as that way it goes straight into your bloodstream xx if you’re in UK I can let you know company I get mine from !? X
Posted 4 years ago
Hello Cleo15, I take two different probiotics both are store brand, doesn’t matter which brands long as it is one’s with 5-10 billion live active cultures as far as type of organisms, the more diverse the better, I take mine with food as it helps absorption of the probiotics, one at breakfast and one at dinner, sometimes I’ll take three a day. Be sure to start with one a day and work your way up to more gradually or you’ll regret it.
Posted 4 years ago
Posted 3 years ago
Mary I’m very interested. Has this worked for your nails? are they returning to more normal? If so can you tel me what CBD stands for please? I hope you still get these messages as I’m desperate to find something to help my daughter’s lichen planus.