Treating Skin Cancer with Cannabis
To understand what skin cancer is, we should first lay out the foundation of what cancer is. Cancer is a group of diseases in which tumors are formed through abnormal cell growth. These cancerous tumors can spread to other parts of the body. An important distinction to make is that noncancerous tumors, otherwise known as benign tumors do not have the ability to spread to other parts of the body. While tobacco use causes roughly 20% of cancer deaths, smoking cigarettes is unlikely to give you skin cancer. Over 90% of skin cancer cases are caused directly by overexposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
While there is a slew of uncommon variations of skin cancer, there are essentially three major types. Basal-cell skin cancer, squamous-cell skin cancer, and melanoma, the first two along with every other type of skin cancer are usually categorized as nonmelanoma skin cancer or NMSC. Basal-cell cancer typically grows at a slow rate, it often does damage to skin tissue around the cancer but doesn’t really spread to other areas. Squamos-cell cancer is far more likely to spread to other areas of the body and often forms into a rough hard lump. Squamos-cell cancer has also been known to cause ulcers. The third major type of skin cancer is known as melanoma, it is the most aggressive form of skin cancer meaning it typically spreads the fastest and causes the most damage.
Typical treatment for skin cancer includes topical chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. However, one unorthodox treatment for skin cancer involves using topical concentrated marijuana oil. There haven’t been many legitimate studies indicating concentrated cannabis oils effects on skin cancer when topically applied. However, over the past decade or two, there has been a mass of anecdotal evidence and personal accounts claiming that cannabis oil is the cure for skin cancer. One such personal account was detailed by Rick Simpson, creator of the famed Rick Simpson Oil or RSO. Rick Simpson Oil is a type of cannabis extract that is made using isopropyl alcohol or Naptha, the extract was traditionally intended to be ingested orally.
Rick had initially been taking his oil orally for almost a year prior to his diagnosis of skin cancer in 2003 for other health reasons. However, the cancer diagnosis reminded him of a study he had once heard about in which THC was used to kill cancer cells in mice. So without further ado, he decided to try out his RSO on the basal-cell skin cancer that had developed on his body. After topically applying the concentrated cannabis oil to his skin cancer, he bandaged it up and let it sit for four days. When he removed the bandage, his skin cancer was completely cured.
More research and clinical studies need to be done on the subject before any definitive conclusions can be made on the effects that concentrated cannabis has on skin cancer. However, Rick’s results have been duplicated by many a YouTuber, and while these results are completely anecdotal, if you have skin cancer it definitely seems to be worth a shot. It’s also worth noting that other types of cannabis extracts can work to treat skin cancer, not just RSO.