Medical Cannabis Oil
Medical marijuana products are seen at a dispensary belonging to Tikun Olam, Israel's largest medical marijuana supplier, in Tel Aviv March 27, 2016. Picture taken March 27, 2016. Reuters/Ronen Zvulun

Botanix, an Australian company, is developing the first new acne treatment in 20 years. The treatment involves using synthetic cannabis oil to treat pimples.

Researchers suggested that cannabis compound BTX 1503 has an excellent safety profile. There is little to no skin irritation, and no severe side effects are recorded. The second phase of the clinical trials will begin within the next few months, Botanix executive director Matthew Callahan said. Australian teenagers could soon be putting cannabis cream all over their faces to be protected from acne. The most serious side effect observed during trials, though, is skin dryness.

“Collectively, our findings suggest that, due to the combined lipostatic, antiproliferative and anti-inflammatory effects, CBD has potential as a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of acne vulgaris,” the study states, as reported by The West Australian.

Existing acne treatments involve the use of antibiotics and a drug called Roaccutane. The latter has been linked to birth defects. An earlier German study had found that cannabidiol controlled the oil production in the sebaceous gland tissue. It has anti-inflammatory effects, too.

Callahan stated that there are numerous reports of people using crude cannabis extracts to treat acne. Even though many have reported positive effects, no one actually knew which molecules made the difference.

Botanix tested a number of chemicals in the cannabis plant and isolated the molecule active against acne. Next, the company developed a synthetic version, which was then combined with a special delivery system called permetrex to ensure the compound goes to the desired layers and stays. Once data has been gathered form clinical studies, Botanix will shift most of the clinical development to the US, seek FDA approval and launch the drug there. Callahan has urged the Federal Government to provide $10 million dollars to develop the infrastructure.

“Australia does not have the infrastructure base to run larger clinical studies. We need people who have experience running and co-ordinating later stage clinical trials, who can find the doctors and get them involved, train the doctors and introduce them to the studies,” Callahan told The Daily Telegraph, adding that Phase 2 and Phase 3 studies may involve hundreds of patients and millions of dollars as investment.