Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Allergies Health Center

Font Size

Pot Chemical May Curb Inflammation

Finding From Lab Tests on Mice May Lead to New Treatments for Skin Allergies
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

June 7, 2007 -- Marijuana's active ingredient may curb inflammation and help treat skin allergies.

That news comes from researchers including Meliha Karsak, PhD, and Thomas Tuting, MD, of Germany's University of Bonn.

Marijuana's key compound, THC, is a type of chemical called a cannabinoid. The brain contains two types of cannabinoid receptors.

Karsak and colleagues studied mice born with or without cannabinoid receptors. The mice wore ear tags to identify them; those ear tags contained nickel.

The mice without cannabinoid receptors were particularly likely to have allergic skin reactions to the nickel in the ear tags.

The scientists reasoned that the mice's allergies may have been linked to their lack of cannabinoid receptors.

Karsak's team tested that theory in several experiments.

First, they turned off cannabinoid receptors in healthy mice. Those mice then became more likely to develop skin inflammation near their nickel ear tags.

Next, the researchers exposed other mice with cannabinoid receptors to a skin irritant. Some of the mice got THC shots after being exposed to the irritant. Others got a THC skin lotion before and after exposure to the irritant.

The THC shot and lotion both helped soothe the mice's inflamed skin.

"If we dabbed THC solution onto the animals' skin shortly before and after applying the allergen, a lot less swelling occurred than normal," Tuting says in a University of Bonn news release.

In the journal Science, the researchers write that their study "strongly suggests" that the body's cannabinoid system can help tame inflammation and that THC skin lotions have "promising potential" for treating skin allergies caused by contact with irritating chemicals.

However, the researchers didn't test the THC lotion on skin allergies in people.

Today on WebMD

man blowing nose
Make these tweaks to your diet, home, and lifestyle.
Allergy capsule
Breathe easier with these products.
cat on couch
Live in harmony with your cat or dog.
Woman sneezing with tissue in meadow
Which ones affect you?

blowing nose
woman with sore throat
lone star tick
Woman blowing nose

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

cat lying on shelf
Allergy prick test
Man sneezing into tissue
Woman holding feather duster up to face, twitching