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Cannabinoids Regulate Inflammation Process

trains of mice in which both cannabinoid receptors are dysfunctional. And it was in precisely these strains that the inflammation occurred,' she explains.

Together with the Bonn dermatologists Dr. Evelyn Gaffal and Professor Thomas Tting the researchers investigated these findings. Skin rash can be caused by allergens in laboratory mice. 'However, normally these rashes are only minor,' Dr. Gaffal emphasises. 'However, strains of mice in which the cannabinoid receptors are missing react much more intensely. We observed something similar when we blocked the receptors with medication.'

Step on the brakes When inflammation occurs the endocannabinoids act like someone stepping on the brakes. They prevent the body from doing too much of a good thing and the immune reaction from getting out of control. This is consistent with the fact that at the beginning of the infection the endocannabinoid concentration increased in the mice.

'Apart from that there are strains of mice in which the breakdown of these active substances produced by the body is malfunctioning,' Evelyn Gaffal says. 'They have an increased endocannabinoid concen-tration in their skin. In our experiments these animals also showed a less marked allergic reaction.'

The results open up new options for the treatment of skin allergies and inflammation. Firstly, drugs which prevent the breakdown of endocannabin-oids look promising. But the old household remedy cannabis could also make a comeback as an ointment. In the experiment on mice this approach has already been successful.

'If we dabbed THC solution on to the animals' skin shortly before and after applying the allergen, a lot less swelling occurred than normal,' Professor Thomas explains. 'THC attaches itself to cannabin-oid receptors and activates them. In this way the active substance reduces the allergic reaction.' Incidentally, ointment like this would probably not have an intoxicating effect, for
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