Cannabinoids, Skin Cancer and Allergies

Janet Medical Research



Marijuana May Turn Off DNA Linked To Skin Cancer, Allergies – Marijuana may be the key to treating a wide range of skin diseases at the gene level, according to new research from Italy.

The study, published online in the British Journal of Pharmacology, shows that chemicals in marijuana have the  potential to stop harmful DNA activity that underlies diseases like skin cancer and allergies.

“Our findings may lead to the development of preventive medicines, for example aimed at controlling allergic reactions, or to the design of new and more effective treatments for skin cancer.”

Certain genetic factors are believed to play a role in the uncontrollable growth of skin cells – a key characteristic of many disorders.

But a class of chemicals produced by marijuana called cannabinoids appears to have an unique ability of switching them off.

“Plant-derived cannabinoids that are absent of psychoactive effects may be useful candidates for these applications.”

In the study, researchers recorded the effects of three cannabinoids – cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabidivarin (CBV) – on human skin cell lines.

More-States-Move-Forward-With-CBD-Only-Measures-but-Will-They-Help-PatientsCBD was found to be the most effective at targeting unwanted DNA activity, followed by CBG.

While THC has also been suggested as an effective therapy for skin allergies, research is beginning to focus on compounds in marijuana that can’t get you high – which may be more appealing to patients.

The authors also conclude that the potential to switch off gene activity may “extend well-beyond skin disorders” to diseases like multiple sclerosis and other forms of cancer.

The study was published ahead of print and received funding from GW Pharmaceuticals

Posted at:

Study can be found at:


Epigenetic control of skin differentiation genes by phytocannabinoids

Background and Purpose

Endocannabinoid signalling has been shown to have a role in the control of epidermal physiology, whereby anandamide is able to regulate the expression of skin differentiation genes through DNA methylation. Here, we investigated the possible epigenetic regulation of these genes by several phytocannabinoids, plant-derived cannabinoids that have the potential to be novel therapeutics for various human diseases.

Experimental Approach

The effects of cannabidiol, cannabigerol and cannabidivarin on the expression of skin differentiation genes keratins 1 and 10, involucrin and transglutaminase 5, as well as on DNA methylation of keratin 10 gene, were investigated in human keratinocytes (HaCaT cells). The effects of these phytocannabinoids on global DNA methylation and the activity and expression of four major DNA methyltransferases (DNMT1, 3a, 3b and 3L) were also examined.

Key Results

Cannabidiol and cannabigerol significantly reduced the expression of all the genes tested in differentiated HaCaT cells, by increasing DNA methylation of keratin 10 gene, but cannabidivarin was ineffective. Remarkably, cannabidiol reduced keratin 10 mRNA through a type-1 cannabinoid (CB1) receptor-dependent mechanism, whereas cannabigerol did not affect either CB1 or CB2 receptors of HaCaT cells. In addition, cannabidiol, but not cannabigerol, increased global DNA methylation levels by selectively enhancing DNMT1 expression, without affecting DNMT 3a, 3b or 3L.

Conclusions and Implications

These findings show that the phytocannabinoids cannabidiol and cannabigerol are transcriptional repressors that can control cell proliferation and differentiation. This indicates that they (especially cannabidiol) have the potential to be lead compounds for the development of novel therapeutics for skin diseases.