SAN DIEGO – To date, most of the research on cannabinoids has been outside of dermatology, but these agents may eventually play an important role in the treatment of dermatologic diseases, according to Adam Friedman, MD, director of translational research, department of dermatology, at George Washington University, Washington.
In dermatology, “the greatest potential impact for the cannabinoids beyond acne, eczema, even skin cancer is in the collagen vascular disease space,” for diseases like dermatomyositis, scleroderma, and lupus, Dr. Friedman said in a video interview at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology.
In this area, most progress has been made with a synthetic cannabinoid, ajulemic acid (also known as anabasum), which is designed to go after CB2 cannabinoid receptors, which have the anti-inflammatory effects, and not the CB1 receptors, which have the psychoactive effects, he explained. Results of phase 2 studies of ajulemic acid in dermatomyositis and systemic sclerosis have been “very promising,” he noted.
In collaboration with Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, he and his associates have studied the topical application of an endocannabinoid, anandamide (AEA), in nanoparticles in an animal model of cutaneous lupus. “We found that we can actually reverse the very classic, almost chronic cutaneous-like symptoms that we see in these animals if they go untreated,” he said.
In the interview, Dr. Friedman, who spoke about the potential of cannabinoids for the treatment of inflammatory and neoplastic diseases of the skin at the meeting, said that it is actually surprising that most research with cannabinoids to date has been outside of dermatology, “because our skin is chock full of cannabinoids; chock full of expression of cannabinoid receptors.”
Dr. Friedman disclosed that he has invented the nanotechnology licensed to Zylo Therapeutics. He is a member of the Dermatology News advisory board.