CBD Oil (The Legal Kind) and Skin Cancer
The state where I live, Indiana, isn’t known for being particularly progressive. CBD oil was a hot topic in legislation for a long time before our governor signed a bill in March 2018 making it legal to possess CBD oil, as long as it contained 0.3 percent THC or less. For some people, this law was extremely overdue to be passed.
CBD oil for skin cancer
Why the interest in getting a law passed making it legal to possess CBD oil? CBD oil has been claimed as being beneficial in helping with chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, anxiety and depression, schizophrenia, and skin cancer. Yes, skin cancer!
CBD oil studies have shown that it can encourage abnormal cell death. It can also slow the growth and spread of cancer. Would it help me? I’ve had skin cancer for over 20 years. I know the apprehension of discovering a new, suspicious area on my skin. I know the frustration of yet another skin check at the dermatologist’s office where I have an area that has to be biopsied. So when it became legal to have non-THC CBD oil, I thought I would give it a try.
Experimenting with CBD oil
The first thing I learned is that there is a difference in CBD oils. My first purchase was from a healthy foods store. The store worker told me what she would recommend for me, and suggested that I should take it once a day. The label on the bottle indicated it was flavorless, but I have to tell you that I really struggled with ingesting that CBD oil. It wasn’t exactly flavorless; it tasted like I was drinking dirt. And it was thick.
After four weeks of once-daily ingestion, I couldn’t really tell a difference in how I felt from before I took it, but I noticed that my skin was looking clearer. However, trying to take the CBD oil was still causing difficulties, and I was ready to give up. It was that disgusting. I decided to instead put it directly on a couple of small areas of actinic keratosis on my face. I applied it at night before bed and covered with a bandage. Four nights later, I noticed that the areas were shrinking! This was encouraging.
Finding better quality CBD
Around that time, a CBD oil store opened near my home. I stopped by one day after work and asked if all CBD oils were as icky as the one I was taking. The salesperson told me what they sold was completely different. It was available in flavors, and I chose peppermint.
When I got home and tried it, I was amazed at the difference. What I purchased in the CBD oil store was completely clear, slightly flavored with peppermint (although no flavoring was necessary for me to be able to take it without gagging), and it didn’t have the consistency of motor oil. (You can see the difference in the photo below.) Lesson learned – buy good quality CBD oil, which makes it much easier to take.
Skin check time!
When it was time for my next dermatologist’s appointment for a skin check, I had been taking CBD oil for a little over two months. I told my dermatologist that I was taking it, and she said that it is an anti-inflammatory so it definitely couldn’t hurt to take it. And for the first time in many appointments, I had nothing that needed biopsied or was causing concern.
Coincidence? Possibly. CBD oil use? Possibly. It’s still early on, and even some of the information I read stated that more studies are needed on the use of CBD oil for skin cancer treatment, but so far it sounds promising!
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.