Cannabis oil and skin cancer treatment
In 2008, a documentary by Rick Simpson started a renewed interest in the efficacy of cannabis oil treatment for skin cancer, which prior to prohibition had been prescribed to treat and prevent over 100 separate illnesses.
Simpson was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma near his eye. He treated the lesion with cannabis oil he had made himself and left it four consecutive days.
After removing the dressing, he found the affected skin had begun healing.
Skin cancer is an extremely common form of cancer, with an estimated 5.4 million cases diagnosed each year. This figure is more than the cases of colon, breast, prostate, and lung cancer combined.
How does skin cancer develop?
Skin cancer forms on the epidermis (top layer of the skin). There are three types of cells in the epidermis: squamous cells, basal cells, and melanocytes.
Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or lights in tanning beds is a common cause for skin cancer. UV rays can cause significant damage to the DNA in your skin cells, enough damage to cause skin cancer after years of exposure.
However, skin cancer can also develop on parts of your body that don’t receive exposure to sunlight. This means that there are other factors that can put you at risk for developing skin cancer.
The evidence that has been put forward so far, despite being carried out both in vitro and in vivo (basically in test tubes and laboratory animals), regarding cannabis oil treatment for skin cancer are encouraging but not supported by large-scale scientific trials in human subjects.
This is mainly a consequence of legal restrictions on the cannabis plant, that effectively prevent studying the cancer-fighting potential of cannabis and make it a very difficult process.
However, studies on animal models (laboratory mice), who were subject to induced skin cancer and then treated with full spectrum cannabinoids, indicate that cannabis oil successfully reduced the size of skin cancer tumours.
This led the researchers to conclude that their results “confirm the value of exogenous cannabinoids for the prevention and treatment of melanoma”.
Studies relating to cannabis oil treatment for skin cancer
A study conducted by the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Public Health revealed that cannabis oil treatment for skin cancer were effective at reducing it by as much as 90% over a span of 20 weeks.
The researchers used synthetic cannabinoids on laboratory mice over a course of 20 weeks and discovered that when cannabinoids were administered to them, skin cancer was reduced dramatically, and tumour growth was inhibited.
Another recent study on mice with induced melanoma cells and published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology discovered that the combination of THC and CBD was effective in killing cancerous cells.
The cannabinoids were shown to initiate two processes that cause cell death: apoptosis and autophagy.
Cannabis oil treatment and cancer proliferation
Cannabinoid’s found in the cannabis plant and extracts are classified as anti-proliferative (basically stop it spreading).
cannabinoids have been shown to inhibit cell proliferation in breast, prostate, and lung cancers. These anti-proliferative effects are also shown to apply to other cancers.
Metastasis and cannabis oil treatment for skin cancer
Recent research discovered that cannabinoids block metastasis.
Over the past two decades, Spanish scientists at the Complutense University of Madrid have been studying the impact of cannabinoids and cancer cells, in 2012, they found that cannabinoids had an anti-metastatic effect in tumour cells.
Cannabis oil treatment prevents angiogenesis
For tumours to survive, they need blood. Unfortunately, they take all the blood they need through a process called angiogenesis. Angiogenesis enables tumours to grow blood vessels.
This helps them grow larger and larger over time until they impede normal bodily function. Researchers have discovered that cannabinoids inhibit this process.
Research from 2011 from Vanderbilt University, located in Nashville, Tennessee, demonstrated that non-psychoactive CBD is also anti-angiogenic, though it works differently from THC.
(image right: ‘I’m really hoping the thought of going to a tanning bed no longer sounds quite so attractive to you.’ Judy Cloud)
Cannabis oil treatment for skin cancer and apoptosis
Research as early as 1998 has found that cannabinoids like THC trigger apoptosis in tumour cells, meaning they die.
Currently, chemotherapy and radiation are treatments used for cancer management, but they are invasive treatments with long-term side effects.
Cannabis and cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals are already used to manage pain and nausea associated with chemotherapy.
Hopefully, as research develops, cannabis medicines will be universally incorporated into intensive cancer treatment strategies.
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