Topical cannabidiol (CBD) oil appeared to lower pain scores and reduce painkiller use vs. standard treatment in patients with digital ulcers due to systemic sclerosis, a small new study finds. Patients who received the treatment also showed signs of more healing.
The study, published in Advances in Skin & Wound Care, is far from definitive since it’s retrospective and tracked only 45 patients. But the findings add to other research suggesting dermatologic benefits from the topical use of CBD, an ingredient in cannabis that’s widely available and doesn’t cause people to become high or become addicted.
“This is a good first step in trying to address scleroderma digital ulcer pain and healing,” University of Colorado rheumatologist Melissa Griffith, MD, said in an interview. “Digital ulcers cause great impact on quality of life, daily activities of living, and pain, so we are always looking for new, effective tools.”
According to Dr. Griffith, digital ulcers occur in scleroderma due to Raynaud’s phenomenon with reversible vasospasm. “Unlike patients with primary Raynaud’s phenomenon, patients will develop ischemia of digits, leading to digital ulcers due to the vasculopathy or vascular remodeling that occurs in scleroderma,” she said.
Current treatments include removal of causative drugs/toxins and warmth, rest, and pain control, although “no trials exist to compare the scleroderma digital ulcer or digital ischemia…