A new study has revealed that chemical compounds produced by our body, similar to an active ingredient in marijuana called THC can help in maintaining good skin.
Scientists from Hungary, Germany and the UK believe that "endocannabinoids" compounds produced by the body that are similar to the active ingredient in marijuana may help in developing new drugs for treating skin conditions from acne to dry skin, and even skin-related tumours.
"Our preclinical data encourage one to explore whether endocannabinoid system-acting agents can be exploited in the management of common skin disorders," said Tamas Biro, PhD, a senior scientist involved in the research.
"It is also suggested that these agents can be efficiently applied locally to the skin in the form of a cream," Biro added. During the study, a team led by Biro treated cell cultures from human sebaceous glands (the glands that make the oil on our skin) with various concentrations of endocannabinoids.
They measured the production of lipids (fat cells, such as those in skin oil), cell survival and death, and changes in gene expression and compared these outcomes to those in an untreated control group.
"This research shows that we may have something in common with the marijuana plant," said Dr Gerald Weissmann.
"Just as THC is believed to protect the marijuana plants from pathogens, our own cannabinoids may be necessary for us to maintain healthy skin and to protect us from pathogens," Weissmann added.
The study is published in Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal.