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Researchers from George Washington University have discovered a compound with marijuana-like properties that may offer potential relief for individuals affected by skin lupus, an autoimmune skin condition. This discovery could lead to a novel treatment option for this serious disease.

Anandamide offers relief for cutaneous lupus erythematosus

This study, involving mouse experiments, suggests that anandamide, a particular compound, may in the future provide relief for the painful and disfiguring skin lesions linked to cutaneous lupus erythematosus.

Anandamide is an endocannabinoid that works the same way as THC and CBD, the active compounds in marijuana. It is a naturally occurring cannabinoid in the human body and is thought to be involved in regulating different bodily systems, including the immune system.

In the study, researchers sought to explore the potential use of anandamide in managing or preventing skin lupus. Skin lupus is a condition where the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy skin, leading to rashes and painful sores. Earlier research indicated a potential link between dysregulation of the human endocannabinoid system and systemic lupus, a condition where the immune system targets its own tissues and organs.

Researchers used nanoparticles to efficiently deliver anandamide through the skin, allowing for gradual release of the experimental treatment. They collaborated with fellow scientists to test this delivery method on genetically modified mice predisposed to a skin disease. In the initial study phase, anandamide enclosed in nanoparticles was given to asymptomatic mice.

Anandamide can prevent onset of skin lesions

Adam Friedman, who serves as the Professor and Chair of the Department of Dermatology at the GW School of Medicine & Health Sciences, said they discovered that it was possible to avert the onset of skin lesions at the anticipated timeframe.

Researchers tested the use of anandamide in nanoparticles to treat symptoms in mice with a disease. They found that the nanoparticle-based treatment was more effective at reducing skin sores compared to anandamide alone. This could potentially be a promising therapy for people with skin lupus, subject to further studies.

Usually, doctors mainly use steroids and other drugs to treat the disease, but these treatments don’t address the root cause.