Scleroderma, Systemic Sclerosis and Cannabis

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What is scleroderma?
Scleroderma is a chronic, complex, and debilitating disease. One of the most deadly of all rheumatic disorders, it begins as an autoimmune attack and eventually causes devastating fibrosis or vascular damage. Depending on the subtype of illness (localized, linear, systemic limited, systemic diffuse), scleroderma can damage multiple organ systems. Who develops scleroderma? Anyone can develop scleroderma. Although it is generally more common in women, the disease affects people of any race, age, or gender, anywhere in the world. The symptoms and severity of scleroderma vary greatly, and the course of the disease is often unpredictable. Because of its rarity, many healthcare professionals have little experience in recognizing its symptoms and confirming a diagnosis. One of the goals of the SRF is to bring greater awareness to the general public and educate healthcare professionals to increase understanding.

Who is at risk?
The cause of scleroderma is still unknown, and there is likely no single risk factor for it. Scientists are working to understand what biological factors contribute to scleroderma pathogenesis. A number of scientific studies suggest that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may trigger the disease. The most striking statistics show that women in their childbearing years outnumber men with scleroderma by about 4-to-1.
Can Scleroderma Be Treated?
There are a number of treatments available to address the various complications associated with scleroderma. None of these are a cure — they are designed to treat symptoms of the disease. Several different classes of drugs are currently approved, either in the U.S. or Europe, to treat these complications. The primary mission of the SRF is to find, fund, and facilitate the most promising research that will result in improved therapies, and ultimately a cure for patients.
Dr. Arnold Postlethwaite presented this new session in 2014. The body produces several cannabinoids (a class of biologically active compounds also found in cannabis sativa, or marijuana) that affect the function of cells in the brain and in most tissues of the body by binding to structures on cells called receptors. These cannabinoids and receptors (called CB1 and CB2) make up the “endocannabinoid system.” In this session, learn how the endocannabinoid system regulates blood vessel constriction and about functions of the immune system and fibrosis with particular relevance to systemic sclerosis. The potential for drugs derived from non-psychoactive cannabinoids as therapeutics to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension, autoimmunity and fibrosis will be discussed.
A research team has developed a cannabinoid-based drug that stimulates not only one, but two, receptors believed to be involved in fibrosis development in scleroderma. The drug, VCE-004.8, prevented the formation of fibrosis-promoting myofibroblasts in culture and stopped fibrotic changes in a mouse model of dermal fibrosis. Findings from these pre-clinical studies, while early, are promising and may lead to a new therapy for SSc.
Scientists have increasingly realizing that the PPAR-γ receptor is involved in inflammatory processes, and drugs stimulating the receptor can prevent inflammation and fibrosis in a mouse model of skin fibrosis. PPAR-γ is activated by cannabinoids, which have, in turn, also been shown to modulate fibrotic development.
The team from the University of Córdoba, Spain, developed a drug that targets PPAR-γ and the cannabinoid receptor CB2. Cannabinoid receptors are, as the name implies, the targets of cannabis. While the psychotropic effects of the drug are mediated via the cannabinoid CB1 receptor, the CB2 receptor gives rise to anti-inflammatory effects without affecting mental processes.
The study, The cannabinoid quinol VCE-004.8 alleviates bleomycin-induced scleroderma and exerts potent antifibrotic effects through peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ and CB2 pathways,” showed that the drug blocked the effects of the factor TGF-β, a key mediator of fibrosis development, slowing collagen production and the transformation of fibroblasts to disease-causing myofibroblasts.
As these effects were explored in cultured cells, the team went on to test if the drug could affect fibrotic processes in a mouse model of skin fibrosis. Researchers first injected bleomycin into the skin of the mice — a common way to trigger a fibrosis development resembling scleroderma. They then treated half of the mice with VCE-004.8, and observed that the drug reduced the fibrosis and prevented skin inflammation.

To make sure the effects seen were really a result of stimulation of the PPAR-γ and CB2 receptors, the researchers blocked the receptors using other substances. This reduced the fibrosis-preventing effects of VCE-004.8, validating that the drug acted through the two receptors.
Findings, published in the journal Scientific Reports, showed that the researchers could conclude that the actions of the drug affected fibrosis both via the TGF-β pathway and by reducing inflammatory signaling.
Drugs with the double target PPAR-γ and CB2 could represent an important advancement in the search for new scleroderma therapies.
Objective. It has been demonstrated that the endocannabinoid system is up-regulated in pathologic fibrosis and that modulation of the cannabinoid receptors might limit the progression of uncontrolled fibrogenesis. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist WIN55,212-2 could modulate fibrogenesis in an in vitro model of dcSSc.
How Medical Marijuana (Cannabinoids) Can Help Symptoms

Anti-fibroid effect
protect the immune system
anti-inflammatory effects
cannabinoids used as anti-itch
analgesic effects
improve sleep
anti-immune suppressive properties
help relieve hardened esophagus
improve mood (anti-anxiety)
improve appetite
Relieve Painful Joints
  • help with gastrointestinal problems (diarrhea)
  • lower blood pressure
Use as adjunct to other prescription drugs. You may find that you will begin to use less and less of your prescription (NSAIDS and opiates) drugs. You may be able to cut them out completely. Medical marijuana will provide relief from many of your symptoms and with little or no side effects.
Best Strains: Sweet Blu, Dragon, Skywalker x OG Kush, Headband, Black Domina, Northern Lights, BlackLites, God Bud, Trainwreck, OG Kush.

Cannabis and Systemic Sclerosis
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, for MS patients: “Essential oils (aromatherapy) may give symptomatic relief with sleep, relaxation, joint mobility, and an improved sense of well-being.”
Below is a list of essential oils that might help to ease symptoms of various conditions.
Massage Today suggests these uses of essential oils:
For Pain: Spike lavender, sweet marjoram, lavender, petitgrain, Roman and German chamomile, clary sage, lemongrass, helichrysum, peppermint, ginger, black pepper.
For Stress: Rose otto, frankincense, clary sage, sweet orange, bergamot, grapefruit, ylang ylang, sandalwood, neroli, sweet marjoram, petitgrain, mandarin, lavender, rose geranium, tangerine, jasmine.
For Sleep: Lavender, neroli, jasmine, marjoram, Roman chamomile.
For Sense of Well-Being: Frankincense, lavender, rose, mandarin, neroli, helichrysum.
For Headaches: Lavender, peppermint, marjoram, Roman chamomile.
For Circulation: Rosemary, ginger, black pepper, peppermint, lemongrass, rose geranium.
Early research shows more possible benefits for essential oils in these areas:
For Antioxidant Properties: Lavender.
For Anticancer Properties: Lemongrass, thyme.
For Anti-inflammatory Properties: Myrrh, frankincense.
For Nausea: Peppermint, spearmint.
For Hormone Regulation: Thyme, coconut.

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  1. That is incredible that modern researches approve the positive influence of cannabis.