An Australian company has recently completed Phase I clinical trials using synthetic cannabidiol - an active compound found in cannabis - for the treatment of acne in a world first.

Botanix Pharmaceuticals is using a specially developed technology to ensure the compound - BTX 1503 - is delivered across the outer layer of the skin and into the skin tissue while avoiding excess amounts being deposited directly in the bloodstream.

The Phase I study, which assesses safety and tolerability, was conducted in Australia with 20 healthy subjects.  According to the company’s media release, top line data found BTX 1503 “had little to no skin irritation and no severe adverse events were recorded”. The most common adverse event was mild dryness.

The next step is a follow-up acne patient pilot study which is expected to commence this quarter in Australian dermatology clinics.

Dr JoAnn See, Sydney dermatologist and All About Acne co-chair said that while the study was certainly interesting, there is a long way to go before the treatment may become available.

“There is a wide range of proven and effective acne treatments that are available right now.” 

“We’ve seen a number of new acne treatments become available in Australia in the past 18 months so there a number of options - old and new - to get those pimples under control.  See your pharmacist, GP or dermatologist for acne management advice.”