Cannabidiol is one of the many cannabinoid compounds found in varieties of cannabis plants. In the U.S. all species of cannabis had been illegal up until 2018, when Congress added hemp as an approved agricultural crop. CBD derived from hemp plants contains less than 0.3% THC, which is the legal limit set for the psychoactive compound.
A growing body of research supports the use of cannabidiol to treat a number of conditions, including chronic pain, anxiety and depression, PTSD and blood pressure. CBD has also been found to provide relief from a few of the negative effects of chemotherapy, including neuropathic pain, nausea and vomiting. There is also some promise in using the compound to treat various forms of cancer, including melanomas.
What Is Melanoma?
Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer, due to its rapid progression. While the exact causes are unknown, there is an association between high levels of exposure to UV rays and melanoma occurrences.
Melanoma forms in the melanocytes, which are the cells that produce skin pigments. It can occur anywhere on the body, and early detection is key in successful treatment. Some of the symptoms and warning signs to look out for include:
- A new, unusual growth
- Change in an existing mole that includes changes in color and sizes larger than 1/4”
- Irregular edges, such as notches or scallops
- Moles that are asymmetrical
The treatment options for melanoma vary based on how early the cancer is caught, the patients age and overall health and whether the cancer has metastasized. Surgery is generally the first line of defense. Other forms of treatment include immunotherapy, chemotherapy, radiation and targeted therapy drugs.
How CBD Can Help
In addition to aiding in relief from chemotherapy’s harsh effects, there have been some early studies that indicate the potential for CBD to treat cancer cells. Thus far, the research has only been conducted in a lab and on mice. However, the results indicate that cannabidiol proved effective in reducing the size of tumors. Further research and clinical studies on humans are needed to gain more supporting evidence.
The aforementioned experiment involved cannabidiol injections. Thus far, no studies have been conducted on the effects of CBD oil applied topically. Unlike other cancers, melanoma is usually — though not always —visible on the surface. As such, more research is needed on the effects of topical creams and oils on melanoma.
Melanoma is an aggressive form of skin cancer. Its rapid progression makes it especially important to detect and treat early. Research on the benefits of CBD for treating melanoma is in its nascent stages, but early results indicate that it has potential.