We feel that it is important to point out that there is also good evidence that smoking cannabis (as opposed to a topical application) significantly increases the risk of lung and head and neck cancer, whether or not it is used in combination with tobacco. Whilst there may in the future be a place for medicinal use of cannabinoids, at present the evidence very strongly suggests that in almost all cases the side effects outweigh the benefits.
A patient recently asked if Cannabis oil might be used to cure a small skin cancer.
It is important to note that some of the cancers being illustrated as treated with the oil are of a type that can spread and potentially kill the patient. We feel that using a totally untrialled medication like cannabis oil in such circumstances is very unwise.
Addendum September 2016:
The proposed mechanisms of action of cannabis oil are plausible but unfortunately that does not make it safe or effective.
The good news is that not all skin cancers need surgery – some may be suitable for treatment with cream, especially in older patients and in many cases, the treatment is fully funded.
Never having been asked this before, a thorough review of the available literature was carried out, but sadly there have been absolutely no published clinical trials to date so it is impossible to recommend this treatment.
Skin cancer is one of the most common, most treatable, and yet also one of the deadliest types of cancer. It typically presents as a skin lesion that won’t heal and tends to keep growing and ulcerating indefinitely. When caught at an early stage, this cancer can often be cured fairly easily by removing the affected area. Things can get a bit trickier once it has metastasized – which means it has progressed below the surface of the skin and burrowed into vital organs.
There are three main types of skin cancer: melanoma, basal cell carcinoma (BCC), and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) – all of which seem to respond well to the use of CBD oil. One of the most interesting things about using cannabis oil for skin cancer is how it seems to enhance the effect of conventional treatments, which means patients will likely benefit from CBD oil for melanoma, CBD oil for basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma. Modern research suggests 2 CBD oil can be used for skin cancer with no compromise to conventional treatment plans.
Different Forms of Skin Cancer
Technically speaking, CBD is the non-psychotropic component in cannabis – the highly controversial plant also known as “marijuana” that was for the last few decades outlawed and banned around the world. As CBD is usually derived from industrial hemp (which is also a type of cannabis), nowadays a lot of countries have embraced its use, as long as it does not contain a high concentration of THC. In America, many states openly sell CBD products.
Since pure CBD oil is extremely thick and unwieldy, it’s sometimes diluted in a carrier oil such as coconut oil to make it easier to apply on the skin as well as improve absorption. Some patients also dilute the oil in alcohol (creating a rubbing salve), while others just apply the pure oil directly. It seems that as long as the plant-based cannabinoids remain in contact with the cancerous wound, recovery will begin and the lesion will show signs of healing within days.
There is now little reason for doubting cannabis and its extracts are real medicine, one that could be quite valuable in the treatment of cancer as well as many other diseases, both physical and mental. To understand how this is possible, a good starting point would be reading about the endocannabinoid system.