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.
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.
The proposed mechanisms of action of cannabis oil are plausible but unfortunately that does not make it safe or effective.
Cannabis oil is of course illegal in New Zealand so as a treatment option it is not valid in any case. Hemp oil contains cannabinoids but the concentration is much lower.
If you think you may have a skin cancer, please make an appointment – our doctors are very good at skin diagnoses and can give you proper treatment advice from leaving harmless things alone through creams to surgical removal if required.
A search of the internet lists many sites where people claim to have had skin cancers cured by cannabis oil. This effect may occur for one of the following reasons:
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.
A patient recently asked if Cannabis oil might be used to cure a small skin cancer.
Second, if a lab produces both CBD and THC products, there can be cross-contamination — whether it’s through extraction, handling or packaging.
Marijuana and hemp are both varieties of the cannabis sativa plant. Both contain cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the two most-common, known active ingredients.
Finally, there have been some reports of people getting infections after using CBD and cannabis products. This is especially concerning for immunocompromised patients, who are already susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections.
The main difference is that hemp has far less THC than a typical marijuana plant. And unlike THC, CBD is not a psychoactive agent, so there’s less possibility that it will cause the same mental confusion, drowsiness or hallucinations that often come with THC.
It comes in many forms: oils that are dropped under the tongue, roll-ons that are applied to the skin and even solutions for vaping. Some producers extract CBD oil and add it into foods to create edible products.
And in lab studies, CBD has been shown to inhibit certain enzymes responsible for the metabolism of drugs, such as CYP2D6 and CYP3A4. This can affect how drugs work and affect our bodies, either by reducing their efficiency or making them more dangerous. This includes chemotherapy and other medications.
State laws vary. In Texas, the Compassionate Use Act allows for the use of medical marijuana for certain conditions. Originally only for intractable epilepsy, the law was expanded this year to include cancer and certain neurodegenerative conditions, such as Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis.