ARTICLE

Can Cannabis Assist in Healing Skin Cancer?

What Do We Know?

The British Journal of Pharmacology released a study in 2013 showing that CBD, CBG, and CBV, all cannabinoids found in marijuana, were successful in “turning off” uncontrolled cell growth. CBD was found to be the most effective at targeting unwanted DNA activity that causes unrestricted cell growth, CBG was found to be the second most beneficial. Anecdotal evidence for topical application of cannabis oil to skin cancer lesions is also plentiful. There is a large gap, however, in current knowledge of cannabis and skin cancer because there have been no clinical trials that have shown the efficacy of marijuana in treating skin cancer. In the United States this is to due to the classification of cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug.

Hope for Answers

A new study out of Australia could be just what is needed to show that marijuana could be a beneficial aspect of skin cancer treatment, particularly in regards to melanoma. The University of Canberra in Australia is now working to develop a new treatment for skin cancer using a special medical grade cannabis out of Israel. The University of Canberra has entered into a million dollar deal with Cann Pharmaceutical Australia, a medical cannabis distributor, to develop an effective treatment for skin cancer. The project is being headed up by Professor Sudha Rao, an innovator in the field. Rao’s team was the first to identify the role played by certain enzymes in the spread of cancer stem cells. The goal of the current project is to use this specific strain that can compliment the traditional methods currently used to treat melanoma. The project has been fast tracked and results could be available as soon as next year. Hopefully this new study will provide much needed information into the efficacy of treating skin cancer with cannabis, when combined with other therapies.

Why it’s Important

Melanoma is often known as the silent killer and is the most common and serious type of skin cancer. It develops when skin growth goes unimpaired and often resembles a mole or develops from an existing mole. Melanoma are often black or brown in color and have asymmetrical borders. They evolve and change unlike typical moles. 50,000 australians suffer from melanoma and it is predicted to kill 1800 people in Australia and New Zealand in 2016 alone. Also, one in five americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. It is important to keep an eye out for melanoma on your own body and get checked by a dermatologist once a year. These checks can be essential in catching melanoma early and greatly reducing its chance of spreading and causing further harm.

Ask a question about this article or skin cancer in HelloMD’s new Answers feature. A doctor or member of our community will answer.

If you are new to cannabis and want to learn more, take a look at our Cannabis 101 post. HelloMD can help you get your medical marijuana recommendation; it’s 100% online, private and efficient.

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