The Cannabis Closet: Severe Eczema

A reader writes:

I'm among the legions of pot smokers who have a chronic disease. For me it's severe eczema that itches like hell, splits my hands and feet (and right now face) into tens of cuts, and hurts from swelling.  Nothing else ever works. I've tried the sleeping pills, drink, exhaustion - nothing.  Cannabis dulls the pain and distracts my mind from the itching, which allows me to drift off.  I wake up fresh. When I visit my in-laws I can't bring any, and I stay awake 20-30 hours at a time, finally collapsing for 4-5 hours between.  That's what my life would be like without it. 

I'm really trying to get my eczema under control without having to resort to drugs with potentially awful side effects.  Of all the drugs that I've used, only prednisone works as well as cannabis in easing the symptoms - after all, being awake 2-4 more hours a day means that much more itching, and feeling rested is more precious than many people realize.  But prednisone is so dangerous you can only stay on it a few weeks at a time.

Thanks for all the articles; they make me hopeful someday I'll be able to simply buy some at the pharmacy, or better yet grow it at home.  Music sounds great, the world kind of sparkles, and I get very tired.  How bad can it be?