Yohe found that melanoma, a form of skin cancer that can easily spread to other organs, was an area that had a lot of research gaps. York College had melanoma cells available in the lab, so Yohe just had to work to get access to CBD for her independent research project.
Hannah Yohe ’21 has read the news articles and seen the new businesses popping up touting the benefits of medical marijuana and cannabidiol, or CBD. She’s watched as friends and family purchase CBD products that offer promises of helping with joint inflammation or anxiety. While the York College Biology major is a believer in the health benefits of medical marijuana, she knew there was a lot of research ahead.
“It’s a subject that has a lot of opportunity for understanding,” Yohe says. “Getting into the research now is a great foundation for the work I could be doing in my career.”
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.
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.
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:
The proposed mechanisms of action of cannabis oil are plausible but unfortunately that does not make it safe or effective.
Addendum September 2016:
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.