Last updated on 12 August 2021
Why Use CBD for Skin Cancer?
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.
In recent years, there has been increasing attention to the use of cannabis and CBD oil for skin cancer1.
Anyone who starts exploring the topic of CBD for cancer will eventually come across CBD oil cancer testimonials.
Are these claims realistic? Should patients now consider using CBD oil for skin cancer as part of their treatment? What is the position of the scientific community on this matter? These are just some of the questions that will be clarified in this article.
Different Forms of Skin Cancer
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 suggests2 CBD oil can be used for skin cancer with no compromise to conventional treatment plans.
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.
At this point, CBD oil for skin cancer is on the verge of being officially reintroduced to modern medicine. Since political administrations are being understandably slow and cautious in aligning with the scientific advancements, many patients have to find their CBD for skin cancer online, especially in places where cannabis legalization has not fully unfolded yet.
What is medical research saying about CBD oil for skin cancer?
Anyone who wishes to catch up to the medical research around cannabis oil as a possible cancer treatment will find massive amounts of information available online. At this point in history, cannabis has been extensively studied3 with promising results that already led to the development of the first cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals.
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.
Even though it was only discovered in recent decades, this is the largest neurotransmitter system in the human body; it seems to have a key role in regulating the maintenance of physical and mental health from a cellular level, and it’s activated by the unique compounds available in the cannabis plant. These compounds, including CBD, THC and several other cannabinoids effectively seem to mimic substances that our body produces naturally, which are extremely important to the maintenance of good health4.
There is plenty of medical research exploring and evaluating the relationship between CBD and cancer in general, which is giving hope to patients suffering specifically form skin cancer. Studies have shown that cannabidiol can promote the apoptotic death of cancer cells5 acting independently of the cb1 and cb2 receptors. The way this happens remains not fully known, for now, however it is assumed that it is due to the compound’s ability to enhance the production of reactive oxygen species in cancer cells6.
How to Use CBD Oil for Skin Cancer
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.
It’s worth noting the results seem to be dependent on the dose, and it typically takes a strong concentration of cannabis oil that’s applied regularly and in sufficient quantity to a skin cancer lesion, in order to effectively heal it. As well as applying the CBD oil on the cancerous lesion (if possible), it’s recommended to also consume CBD oil internally to boost the immune system7 as well as to minimize the side effects and improve the success rate of conventional cancer treatments.
CBD oil for skin cancer: what’s the right dosage?
CBD oil has nearly no toxicity and no major side effects8, meaning patients shouldn’t worry about over-dosing. In fact – if a patient has positive results using the oil, it can be worth trying to increase the dosage to accelerate the rate of recovery.
CBD dosage for skin cancer
Finding the right dose of CBD oil for skin cancer will depend on several factors, such as your tollerance for CBD as well as the severity of your condition. We recommend starting low and gradually increasing the dossage until you see an improvement. We draw our recommendation from the book “CBD: A Patient’s Guide to Medical Cannabis” by Leonard Leinow and Juliana Birnbaum9 We describe this approach in detail in our post on CBD dosage.
CBD oil is safe to use both topically as well as internally, and in fact, it should be administered both ways at once to get the best results. Patients who are undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy as part of their cancer treatment should benefit greatly from adding CBD oil to their diet. There are many studies available showing a CBD is very useful to minimize the side effects of conventional cancer treatments, and some evidence suggests its use is associated with improved survival rates10.
Using CBD Oil for Skin Cancer in Pets
This may sound a bit surprising, but CBD oil for skin cancer in pets is also a popular topic. Medical cannabis is just as effective in pets11 as in humans; in fact, it seems to be effective in all vertebrate animals, since it has been established they all have an endocannabinoid system just like humans do.
CBD oil for skin cancer in pets is the exact same oil that is used to treat human patients. It is also used in the same way – ideally by applying the oil directly on the skin lesion, either in its pure form or diluted in a carrier. CBD oil products are safe to use both in humans as well as their pets; similarly to the treatment of human patients, it’s advisable to feed some oil to ailing pets to enhance the topical treatment.
Final Thoughts on CBD for cancer
Hopefully, this information has shed light on the usefulness of CBD for cancer, as well as the clinical potential of cannabinoid compounds available only from the cannabis plant. In the next few years, it’s highly likely cannabis will become increasingly popular in mainstream medicine… but patients who are treating a skin cancer right now don’t have the luxury of waiting – so it could be wise to learn more about the endocannabinoid system and its relevance to cancer treatment.
- Cannabis Oil Success Stories. (2019). Cannabis Oil Success Stories for all types of dis-ease. [online]
- Velasco, G., Sánchez, C. and Guzmán, M. (2016). Anticancer mechanisms of cannabinoids. Current Oncology, 23, p.23.
- NCCIH. (2019). Marijuana and Cannabinoids. [online]
- McPartland, J., Guy, G. and Di Marzo, V. (2014). Care and Feeding of the Endocannabinoid System: A Systematic Review of Potential Clinical Interventions that Upregulate the Endocannabinoid System. PLoS ONE, 9(3), p.e89566.
- Shrivastava, A., Kuzontkoski, P., Groopman, J. and Prasad, A. (2011). Cannabidiol Induces Programmed Cell Death in Breast Cancer Cells by Coordinating the Cross-talk between Apoptosis and Autophagy. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 10(7), pp.1161-1172.
- Massi, P., Valenti, M., Vaccani, A., Gasperi, V., Perletti, G., Marras, E., Fezza, F., Maccarrone, M. and Parolaro, D. (2008). 5-Lipoxygenase and anandamide hydrolase (FAAH) mediate the antitumor activity of cannabidiol, a non-psychotropic cannabinoid. Journal of Neurochemistry, 104(4), pp.1091-1100.
- Yasmin-Karim, S., Moreau, M., Mueller, R., Sinha, N., Dabney, R., Herman, A. and Ngwa, W. (2018). Enhancing the Therapeutic Efficacy of Cancer Treatment With Cannabinoids. Frontiers in Oncology, 8.
- Crippa, J., Guimarães, F., Campos, A. and Zuardi, A. (2018). Translational Investigation of the Therapeutic Potential of Cannabidiol (CBD): Toward a New Age. Frontiers in Immunology, 9.
- Leinow,, L. and Birnbaum, J. (2017). CBD: A Patient’s Guide to Medicinal Cannabis. North Atlantic Books.
- Śledziński, P., Zeyland, J., Słomski, R. and Nowak, A. (2018). The current state and future perspectives of cannabinoids in cancer biology. Cancer Medicine, 7(3), pp.765-775.
- Iffland, K. and Grotenhermen, F. (2017). An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 2(1), pp.139-154.