CBD As a Natural Treatment for Basal Cell Carcinoma
Skin cancer affects millions of people each year. Exposure to environmental conditions like sun and certain atmospheric pollutants contributes to the development of this avoidable, yet potentially life-threatening skin disease. Medical researchers have conducted studies on skin cancer, its causes, and its treatments. In recent studies, the role of cannabis in basal treatment has been explored, pointing the way to new methods of approaching skin cancer treatment.
Skin Cancer: An Overview
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. It can affect anyone, of any age and skin type. Rates of this highly-treatable and preventable cancer are on the rise. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, approximately 9500 Americans are diagnosed with some form of skin cancer every day. About one in every five people in the U.S. will develop skin cancer in their lifetimes.
There are several types of skin cancers, including melanoma and non-melanoma cancers. The most common are non-melanoma cancers, particularly basal cell carcinoma and hsquamous cell carcinoma, which together affect about 3 million Americans each year. If detected early, non-melanoma skin cancers are highly curable; if the cancer spreads to the lymph nodes, the survival rate drops dramatically.
Non-melanoma skin cancers are characterized by several symptoms, including:
- Changes in mole shape and size
- Spread of skin pigments into surrounding tissues
- Sores that don’t heal
- Localized itching, redness, or swelling
- Abnormal spots or patches on the skin
Once detected by a dermatologist, skin cancers are often treated with medication or surgical interventions. The cancer cells are frozen and removed in some cases; in more serious cases, a specialized surgical procedure known as Mohs micrographic surgery may be needed to remove cancerous growths while preserving surrounding tissues. Early intervention is the key to survival in this treatable form of cancer.
Cannabinoids & Skin Cancer
Medical cannabis has been researched extensively over the past decade. In a number of clinical studies, the chemical compounds extracted from cannabis have been shown to have powerful health effects. One of these effects is that of apoptosis, or the ability for cannabis’ chemical compounds to attack and kill cancer cells in the human body. For basal treatment in certain cancers, this cell-killing effect holds great promise.
Have Questions on Basal Treatment?
There are hundreds of chemical compounds found in cannabis. Of particular interest to the medical research community are compounds known as cannabinoids. Within this class of compounds are several specific cannabinoids that may be of benefit to those diagnosed with skin cancer. Cannabigerol (CBG), cannabidiol (CBD), and cannabidivarin (CBV) have been demonstrated to kill skin cancer cells, switching off those affected cells and in some cases reversing the progression of the disease in limited clinical trials. These compounds are non-psychoactive and do not produce the characteristic “high” associated with cannabis use.
THC has been the subject of multiple studies in skin cancer treatment. One recent study, performed in 2014, found that THC greatly reduced the size of induced melanoma cells in mice. Another study, published in 2015, found that a combination of THC and CBD (a 1:1 mixture) induced death in melanoma cells in mice.
While further research is needed in order to fully understand how cannabinoids interact with skin cancer cells in humans, CBD, THC and other cannabis compounds may prove to help stop the spread of basal cell carcinomas, and represent a significant step forward in natural treatment of basal cell carcinoma.
View Cannabis based products we offer at King Harvest that are commonly used with a variety of illnesses.
Study: Some CBD Oils Equally, Less Effective Than Pure CBD At Inhibiting Cancer Cell Lines
New research suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) oils are equally or less effective than pure CBD at inhibiting the growth of certain cancer cell lines, indicating that future research into the clinical uses of cannabinoids should analyze whether pure CBD or the intact plant material is more effective.
According to a press release, earlier research has found that CBD or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can reduce cancer cell viability in some cancer cell models. Proponents of medical marijuana argue that there is an additive effect between the various compounds in the plant material, increasing its therapeutic efficacy compared with individual, pure cannabinoid compounds. This concept, known as the entourage effect, is not supported by the study’s findings, according to the authors.
Investigators studied brain, skin, and colorectal cancers, with 2 cell lines for each cancer type. They found that pure CBD was able to reduce cell viability in 3 of the 6 cell lines and that this effect was cell line-specific rather than specific to certain cancers. None of the CBD oils tested were able to reduce viability to a greater extent than the pure CBD.
“Based on our results, we recommend that specific investigations on the entourage effect be carried out when determining the therapeutic uses of medical marijuana and other cannabinoid products,” said researcher Kent Vrana, PhD, in the press release.
The investigators said they carefully designed the study so that the amounts of CBD oil used for testing had an equivalent amount of CBD as the pure CBD used in the experiments. They used 3 types of CBD oil with certificates of analysis and had their composition verified by a third-party laboratory. Equal concentrations were used to treat each of the 6 cell lines.
After evaluating the viability of the treated cell lines, the team determined that the CBD had an effect on 1 of each of the colorectal cancer, melanoma, and glioblastoma cell lines. The viability of the other lines tested was no significantly reduced.
Vrana noted that because a previous study evaluating the use of THC in breast cancer cells suggested an entourage effect in that context, careful testing of cannabinoids should be done for each proposed therapeutic context.
“Pure CBD had the ability to reduce certain cancer cell types’ viability in this study,” Vrana said in the statement. “It would be reckless for a consumer to assume that a CBD oil product off the shelf could have the same effects for them, which is why careful studies around the entourage effect are needed for each intended therapeutic application.”