A non-melanoma skin cancer is a type of skin cancer that usually begins as a lump or discolored patch on the skin, persisting after a few weeks and slowly progressing over months and years. The two most common types of non-melanoma skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma (BCC), which starts in the cells lining the bottom of the epidermis; and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), which starts in the cells lining the top of the epidermis.
There is some evidence based on animal experiments that cannabinoids can be useful in the treatment of non-melanoma skin cancers, with selective CB2 receptor agonists such as THC and beta-caryophyllene potentially being particularly effective. There are CB1 and CB2 receptors present on tumors, and local cannabinoid receptor activation may induce regression of skin tumors and apoptosis of cancerous cells. However, more clinical trials are needed and most studies on cannabis as a treatment for various cancer types have been in lab studies or animals.
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