Topical cannabidiol in the treatment of digital ulcers in patients with scleroderma: comparative analysis and review of the literature
Administration of a topical CBD extract effectively alleviates wound pain and promotes healing of skin ulcers in patients with scleroderma, according to data from a randomized trial published in the journal Advances in Skin & Wound Care. The scleroderma (aka systemic sclerosis) is a rare autoimmune disease that causes skin to tighten and blood vessels to narrow.
Italian researchers have évalué the effectiveness of topical CBD oil compared to conventional drugs in a group of scleroderma patients with digital ulcers (skin ulcers on the fingertips). Twenty-five patients were randomly selected to use CBD for one month; the other 20 received conventional treatment.
Subjects in the CBD group experienced better pain relief and wound healing than those in the control group. The authors stated: “Although mean NRS [numeric rating scale] scores for wound-related pain did not differ between patients treated with CBD and patients in the control group at baseline, their mean scores differed significantly after one month.” Specifically, patients in the treatment group experienced a 29% reduction in pain over the course of the trial, while those in the control group only experienced a 6% reduction.
The researchers also acknowledged that “in terms of digital ulcer healing, 18 of 25 patients in the CBD-treated group (72%) experienced complete healing at the end of the study. In contrast, complete recovery was observed in (only) 6 of 20 participants in the control group (30%).”
Patients receiving the CBD treatment reported “no significant adverse effects” during the study.
“The present study is the first to report the effectiveness of local treatment with CBD in the management of UD-SSC: digital ulcers of systemic sclerosis,” conclude the authors. “Topical administration of CBD is a safe, effective, non-invasive tool that is associated with improvement in wound-related pain, DU recovery, and QoL [quality of life] of patients with SSc.”
Topical application of cannabinoids, and CBD in particular, has shown benefits in treating a variety of skin-related conditions, including psoriasis, erythema, pruritus, and acne. It has also been linked to wound healing in patients with intractable leg ulcers and the rare skin blister disease epidermolysis bullosa.