Study Finds Topical Cannabinoids Treat Intractable Leg Ulcers

According to a new study the administration of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids resulted in wound healing in a pair of elderly patients with treatment-resistant leg ulcers. The study was published in the International Wound Journal, and is titled Topical cannabis-based medicines – A novel paradigm and treatment for non-uremic calciphylaxis leg ulcers: An open label trial.

For the study researchers examined the daily topical application of cannabinoids on wound healing and wound-related pain in two patients with severe and persistent leg ulcers. In one patient cannabinoid treatment resulted in complete wound closure in 77 days. In a second patient, wound closure was achieved in 74 days. Researchers found that patients reduced and eventually eliminated their use of conventional analgesics over the course of treatment.

According to researchers; “This is the first study to report the use of TCBM [Topical Cannabis-Based Medicines] to promote complete integumentary wound closure in human subjects, specifically, two Caucasian females with a mean age of 77 years, with three lower limbs afflicted with intractable and biopsy proven NUC [Non-Uremic Calciphylaxis].”



The study concludes by stating: “Topical Cannabis-Based Medicines, applied to both wound beds and peri-wound tissues, represent a promising novel, non-invasive, and safe treatment option for NUC leg ulcers. The ease and simplicity of its application also allows for potential self-application and self-titration by patients. Given that TCBM demonstrated both rapid wound closure and relief of wound-related pain, in very challenging wounds such as NUC, among highly complex patients, they may be poised for an even broader role within overall integumentary and wound management.”

The full abstract of this study, titled Topical cannabis-based medicines – A novel paradigm and treatment for non-uremic calciphylaxis leg ulcers: An open label trial, can be found below:



Non‐Uremic Calciphylaxis (NUC) is a rare condition that often manifests as intractable and painful integumentary wounds, afflicting patients with a high burden of co‐morbidity. The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is a ubiquitous signalling system that is theorised to be dysregulated within wound beds and associated peri‐wound tissues. Preclinical research has shown that the dominant chemical classes derived from the cannabis plant, cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, interact with the integumentary ECS to promote wound closure and analgesia. This is a prospective open label cohort study involving two elderly Caucasian females with recalcitrant NUC leg ulcers of greater than 6 months duration. Topical Cannabis‐Based Medicines (TCBM) composed of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids were applied daily to both the wound bed and peri‐wound tissues until complete wound closure was achieved. Wounds were photographed regularly, and the digital images were subjected to planimetric analysis to objectively quantify the degree of granulation and epithelization. Analgesic utilisation, as a surrogate/proxy for pain scores, was also tracked. The cohort had a mean M3 multimorbidity index score of 3.31. Complete wound closure was achieved in a mean of 76.3 days. Additionally, no analgesics were required after a mean of 63 days. The treatments were well tolerated with no adverse reactions. The positive results demonstrated in very challenging wounds such as NUC, among highly complex patients, suggest that TCBM may have an even broader role within integumentary and wound management. This treatment paradigm warrants being trialled in other wound types and classes, and ultimately should be subjected to randomised controlled trials.

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