Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancers suffered by Americans. Every year in the United States, about 5.6 million new cases of skin cancer get reported. This exceeds all the number of cases of breast, colon, prostate, and lung cancer combined! Like every type of cancer, skin cancer is the resultant effect of the abnormal, often uncontrollable division of cells.
Like all forms of cancer too, skin cancer is serious and can be fatal. In the treatment of skin cancer, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy can be deployed. These days, CBD is being identified as having the potential to help in treatment of those diagnosed with cancer. There is a growing body of scientific explanations into how CBD can benefit those who have been diagnosed with skin cancer.
Understanding Skin Cancer
Skin cancer forms when normal skin cells turn cancerous. There are three different kinds of cancer with the three most common being;
• Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) which tends to appear on the mouth or on the lips as an open ulcer
• Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) which portrays itself as brown scaly patch on the face or on the neck
• Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer and can spread to other body parts to kill the patient.
In the beginning stages, skin cancer tends to appear as a precancerous lesion. A precancerous lesion is one made up of abnormal cells that have not blown fully into cancer just yet. In the case of the most serious form of skin cancer, melanoma, the precancerous lesion appears as a mole. Where this mole starts becoming atypical, chances are that it is beginning to mutate into a melanoma.
What causes skin cancer?
Skin is usually caused via exposure to the sun though there are other known causes of the disease. Cumulative exposure of the sun especially in people with fairer skin exposes them the disease. This is because they have very low levels of melanin in their skin.
In fact, it is estimated that 50-60% of all fair-skinned people will develop some form of skin cancer at some point in time in their lives before clocking age 65. Other causes of the disease include exposure to X-rays, scars that don’t get properly healed on the skin and exposure to carcinogens such as tobacco smoke.
How can CBD be used for skin cancer?
Different cells exist in the body and these cells perform different kinds of tasks. A process known as cell differentiation is necessary for the transformation of an (undifferentiated) cell to become a specialized cell – one with a unique nature and metabolism – so it can perform the task required of it.
In the process of cell differentiation occurs another process called cellular division where cells divide and multiple causing the individual to change or to grow. Cancer comes into play when these cells in the process of dividing begin to do so uncontrollably at abnormal rates.
The process by which skin cells remain normal or change into cancerous cells is regulated by one’s genes. This is also controlled by the endocannabinoid system’s network of cannabinoid receptors. The endocannabinoid system is a system of neurotransmitters and receptors responsible for maintaining balance of body systems and processes.
Genes in the skin cells oblige to whatever signals are sent to it by cannabinoid receptors to remain turned on or off. Malfunctioning of the endocannabinoid system means the genes can no longer regulate the normalization of skin cells.
CBD has been shown to provide help to the endocannabinoid system by binding itself to its receptors so they can send messages to skin cells for proper and healthy division and differentiation. In a study found in the British Journal of Pharmacology, the conclusion was that CBD can indirectly activate cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system so that gene regulation is effectively controlled.
This means that through the use of CBD, the process of skin cell differentiation can healthily take place. Another study conducted also revealed how a cannabinoid known as Anandamide found in the body can stifle the growth of melanoma in a laboratory setting.
With research showing that CBD can spike up Anandamide levels in the body through its interactions with the endocannabinoid system, CBD is thought to hold massive potential in the treatment of the disease.