Survey: Medical Cannabis Use for Skin Conditions Lags Behind Interest, Acceptance

Richard Franki

January 20, 2022

A majority of adults support the use of medical cannabis for the treatment of skin conditions, but relatively few have actually tried such a product, according to the results of a recent survey.

Almost 89% of respondents were in favor of medical cannabis use for dermatologic diseases, and 73% said that they would be comfortable seeing a dermatologist who recommended such products to them, Samuel Yeroushalmi, a 4th-year medical student at George Washington University, Washington, and associates reported.

"Consumers and patients are already using MCPs [medical cannabis products] to treat inflammatory skin conditions, such as acne, rosacea, atopic dermatitis, and psoriasis, even without guidance from a dermatologist. While acceptance was high, there were clear barriers reported limiting use and uptake, such as patient skepticism and a lack of understanding," Adam Friedman, MD, senior author and chair of the department of dermatology at the university, said in a separate statement.


Dermatologic use of OTC cannabis products without the recommendation of a dermatologist was reported by 18% of the 504 of 700 adults who responded in the SurveyMonkey online panel. Of the two-thirds who had seen a dermatologist, 20% received a recommendation for an OTC product and 11% were recommended a product that required a department of health medical card, the investigators said.

Uptake among the patients who did receive a recommendation, however, was high: 76% for OTC products and 72% for those that required a medical card. Among those who had received an OTC recommendation, 32% used the cannabis product for psoriasis and 30% each for acne and rosacea, Mr. Yeroushalmi and his coauthors said.

The most common indication among the respondents with dermatologist recommendations for products requiring a medical card was for acne (68%), followed by psoriasis and rosacea (28% each). Cost was the main deterrent (60%) for those who declined to use the recommended cannabis product, with skepticism, limited understanding, and product illegality in their state each at 50%, the researchers said.

"Though cost and legality concerns are nonmodifiable barriers, dermatologists have an opportunity to educate those who know little in the way of medical cannabis or are skeptic[s]," they wrote. The survey results show that many patients are interested, and "the future should be bright for MCPs; we just need to show and disseminate the science," Friedman commented in the statement.

One of the authors was from the University of Maryland, College Park. The authors had no disclosures to report.

This article originally appeared on, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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