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Cannabis can destroy skin cancer cells, a new study has found

Cannabis can destroy skin cancer cells, a new study has found

Australian researchers are conducting laboratory experiments to see if cannabis can be used to treat skin cancer. They say that less than 15% of patients manage to survive more than three years after being affected by melanoma. But according to researchers
Leigh Raaschou has been fighting cancer for several decades.

He has not protected himself from sunburn and says that he has spent most of his life under the sun's rays.

The melanoma first appeared on his scalp and then spread to his bone. Doctors were forced to remove part of his skull.

"Doctors have had to remove over 100 cancerous pieces of skin in that time, probably close to 200," says Mr Raaschou.

Since 1998, Mr. Raaschou has been affected by melanoma four times. He was last affected by this disease last year.

"I have never worn a hat, I have never used cream to protect the skin from the harmful rays of the sun. And this is the result," he says.

Radiation therapy to destroy cancer cells has damaged his hearing and vision.

"I have undergone radiation treatments in every area of ​​my head. And the doctors have told me that there is no area left untreated. My wife is worried about my condition," says Mr. Raaschou.

In most cases, melanoma is treated through surgery or radiation therapy.

But researchers at Charles University and the Royal Institute of Technology in Melbourne are investigating the use of cannabis as a possible treatment for this disease in the future.

The study is in its early stages, but they found when they put a specific extract from the cannabis sativa plant, called PHEC-66, into a test tube that it attached to receptors on the surface of cancer cells and stopped their growth.

"It is about malignant melanoma, a fatal type of skin cancer," says Dr. Nazim Nassar from Charles Darain University.

Dr. Nassar is a co-author of a study on this research, published in the journal "Cells".

The researchers now hope to begin animal trials.

This could take years and the results will need to be successful before human clinical trials can begin, but Mr. Nassar is encouraged by the results so far.

“This method forces the cancer cell to go through what we call programmed cell death or apoptosis. And for us this initial study carried out in the laboratory is an excellent result", he says.

For people living with cancer like Mr. Raaschou, any alternative to surgery is a welcome option.

"I would be very happy if I didn't have to have the cancer removed by surgery. I wish I knew that 10 years ago," says Mr. Raaschou.