Melanoma / Skin Cancer
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What is Cancer?
The word Cancer denotes any one of a large number of diseases characterized by the development of abnormal cells that divide uncontrollably and have the ability to infiltrate and destroy normal body tissue. Cancer often has the ability to spread throughout your body.
Cancer develops when the body’s normal control mechanism stops working. Instead of dying, old cells grow out of control and form new, abnormal cells. These extra cells may form a mass of tissue called a tumour. However, some cancers like leukaemia, myeloma, and lymphoma, do not form tumours.
There are more than 200 different types of cancer.
What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that affects the melanocytes(cells responsible for pigmentation called melanin) in the body. Melanoma is malignant in nature, meaning it has the potential to spread across the body. Melanoma can also spread to lymph nodes and blood vessels, rooting it deeper in the body. However, if detected early, melanoma can be successfully treated.
What causes Melanoma?
Cancer is caused by changes or mutations to the DNA within cells. The DNA inside a cell is packed into a large number of individual genes each of which contains a set of instructions that tell a cell what functions to perform and how to grow and divide.
Errors in these instructions can cause the cell to stop its normal function and may allow a cell to become cancerous.
Melanoma is mainly caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or from tanning beds. UV radiation damages the DNA in skin cells and can lead to the development of cancerous cells. Other risk factors for melanoma include:
- Having fair skin, light-coloured eyes, and red or blond hair
- Having a family history of melanoma
- Having many moles, especially large or irregularly shaped ones
- Having a history of severe or blistering sunburns, particularly during childhood
- Having a weakened immune system due to medical conditions such as HIV/AIDS or certain medications
- Exposure to environmental factors such as chemicals or radiation
How does Cannabis medicine help with Cancer?
First and foremost, it is to be reiterated that Cannabis medicine is not a cure for cancer. The therapeutic and medicinal benefits of the same can help provide relief from symptoms and complications caused by cancer and/or cancer treatments.
There has been a lot of interest in whether cannabinoids might be useful as a cancer treatment. The scientific research conducted so far has been laboratory research with results showing that different cannabinoids can:
- Block cell growth
- Cause cell death
- Reduce inflammation
- Stop the development of blood vessels that are needed for tumours to grow
- Reduce the ability of cancer to spread.
one of the compounds of cannabis, Cannabidiol (CBD) is studied for cancer-related treatment. It has been found to be non-intoxicating in nature and provides a broad spectrum of medicinal properties that can help relieve pain, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, skin pigmentation, and other complications caused by cancer and/or cancer treatments.
There is solid evidence in support of the idea that cannabinoids can reduce tumour growth in animal models of cancer. CBD may also increase the potency of certain drugs used to treat cancer.
Research on CBD Oil and Cancer
- The results of a 2019 study indicated that CBD could induce cell death and make glioblastoma cells more sensitive to radiation without any effects on healthy cells.
- A 2019 review of in vitro and in vivo studies focusing on pancreatic cancer revealed that cannabinoids, such as CBD, can help slow the growth of a tumour, reduce tumour invasion, and induce tumour cell death. However, the authors of the study also wrote that research into the efficacy of different formulations, dosing, and precise mode of action is lacking and urgently needed.
- A large, long-term study of men found that the use of cannabis may be inversely associated with the risk of bladder cancer. That said, a cause and effect relationship has not been established.
- A 2014 review of 35 in vitro and in vivo studies found that cannabinoids prove to be a promising compound in the treatment of gliomas.
- A 2014 study in experimental models of colon cancer in vivo suggested that CBD may stop the spread of colorectal cancer cells.
- A 2010 research demonstrated the efficiency of CBD in preclinical models of metastatic breast cancer. The study found that CBD considerably reduced breat cancer cell proliferation and invasion.
Potential Benefits of Cannabis Medicine for Melanoma
While the research on the potential benefits of cannabis for melanoma is ongoing, here are some potential benefits of cannabis medicine to consider:
- Pain relief: Cannabis has been shown to be effective in relieving pain, which can be particularly helpful for individuals with advanced melanoma who may experience pain as a result of the cancer or its treatment.
- Nausea reduction: Cannabis has been shown to be effective in reducing nausea and vomiting, which are common side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy used to treat melanoma.
- Appetite stimulation: Cannabis may also help stimulate appetite in cancer patients who experience loss of appetite as a result of their disease or treatment.
- Anxiety and stress reduction: Cannabis has been shown to have anxiolytic and stress-reducing properties, which may be beneficial for individuals with melanoma who may experience anxiety or stress related to their diagnosis or treatment.
- Anti-inflammatory properties: Some studies have suggested that cannabinoids may have anti-inflammatory properties, which could potentially be useful for individuals with melanoma who experience inflammation as a result of their disease.