Cannabis in the treatment of wounds and injuries
For centuries, cannabis has been used as topical treatment of wounds, such as cuts and burns. Today, scientists are analysing current research on the results on the potential of cannabis to treat topical injuries and are discovering, the extent of the role played by the endocrinology system in maintaining healthy skin and healing wounds.
The historical medical texts from different cultures mention the use of cannabis in topical preparations that were used to treat cuts, scrapes and burns. Cannabis features on Egyptian papyri indicating the use of topical antiseptics which were believed to have been prepared by mixing cannabis with grease. Greek writers of the first century BC recorded the use of cannabis to treat horses suffering wounds and ulcers, and also to treat nasal bleeding in humans.
The French medieval herbalist Ruellius recorded in his treatise De Natura 1536 withdrawals Stirpium that cannabis could be used to treat wounds and ulcers. Decades later, the renowned German botanist Tabernaemontanus recommended applying a butter balm and cannabis leaves onto burns.
In 1649, the eminent British herbalist Nicholas Culpeper left evidence that cannabis could be used to treat burns and bleeding due to its antiseptic properties. In 1751, the British herbalist Thomas Short wrote in his Medicina Britannica that a preparation of cannabis could be used to treat burns, wounds, insect bites and sores.
At present, scientists have conducted research on the potential of preparations of cannabis to reduce pain, swelling and bleeding resulting from cuts and burns, and to help in the repair of skin tissue.
Research conducted so far have brought ample evidence that cannabis has a strong analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effect. Indeed, it seems that the endocannabinoid system plays a fundamental role in the process of self-healing and plays an essential role in the formation of scar tissue.
In a 2010 study conducted at the University of California, found that if a synthetic compound known as URB937 was used on rats and mice with peripheral lesions, anandamide levels increased and the analgesic effect became stronger. URB937 exerts this effect through inhibition hydrolase enzyme fatty acid amide (FAAH), which is responsible for degradation of anandamide.
In another 2010 study conducted at the Medical University of China, it was found that in mice which had incisions in the skin, the number of cells expressing CB1 receptors increased in the lesion site. Cells expressing CB1 receptors began increasing within six hours of the injury occurring, and peaked five days after the injury, and back down to basal levels fourteen days after the injury.
Initially, most new CB1 expressing cells at the site of the lesion were mononuclear cells (such as red cells and specialized immune cells called monocytes) which are known to mediate inflammation and immune responses. After several days, the fibroblast cells (which are essential for wound healing and scarring) began to dominate. Although no one knows exactly what mechanisms are involved, it is clear that anandamide and CB1 receptors are involved in the process.
Besides injuries affecting the epidermis and the skin tissue, the endocannabinoid system plays a role in healing of injuries to the internal organs, especially in the epithelium (smooth layer of cells lining the surface of organs and other body structures).
In the human colon, the epithelial tissue expressed both CB1 and CB2 receptors . In normal tissue, CB1 receptors are most commonly expressed, and in abnormal conditions (such as in individuals with inflammatory bowel disease) CB2 receptors begin to dominate. CB1 receptors are usually involved in wound closure in the colonic epithelium. If the damage is chronic, CB2 receptors are essential to ensure that excessive scarring occurs.
In the periodontal tissue, it increased cannabinoid receptor expressing cells immediately after the injury was observed. Besides, increased levels of anandamide in patients who had undergone only periodontal surgery was observed. It was observed that administration of AM251 and AM630, synthetic selective antagonists of CB1 and CB2 receptors, respectively, significantly reduced the number of fibroblasts, suggesting that CB receptor promote survival of fibroblasts and therefore accelerate the healing of wounds.
In the liver, chronic tissue damage and chronic inflammation (such as that caused by alcoholism or hepatitis) response promotes wound healing, causing the fibroblast cells migrate to the damaged area and begin the process of fibrosis (scarring). Over time, the overproduction of fibrous connective tissue causes cirrhosis, and inhibits the ability of the liver to function normally.
In a 2006 study in mice, published in the journal Nature Medicine, it demonstrated that administration of a synthetic CB1 antagonist, SR141716A receptors inhibit wound healing response to acute liver injury, and decreased progression cirrhosis in three types of chronic injury, which supported the idea that the CDB and similar antagonists may help in the treatment of cirrhosis.
Interestingly, the CB2 receptor plays its own unique role in the onset and progression of fibrosis in the liver. Usually it is present in lower concentrations than CB1 receptors, but their number increases dramatically during fibrogenesis (fibrous tissue producing) and after injury.
Although hemp seeds contain cannabinoids (except residual traces of the production process), it can be very useful for treating burns, cuts and other external wounds due to its unique balance of essential fatty acids omega-3 and -6, which They are present in optimal levels for human health.
Although there has been very few formal studies on the potential of hemp seed to treat topical injuries, there have been several papers on the potential of its essential fatty acids to improve healing and wound healing in general. It has also conducted a clinical trial on the uses of hemp seed oil applied topically, which concluded that it had good potential to heal the wounds of the mucosa of the skin after eye surgery, nose and throat.
Therefore, cuts, burns, lacerations and other similar injuries can be treated both with hemp seed oil as cannabis preparations rich in cannabinoids. In the case of injury to internal tissues or organs, cannabinoids play a defined role, but further research to develop targeted therapies is needed.