New Study Reveals Cannabis Potentially Treats Melanoma Skin Cancer

    Recent research findings indicate that a specific cannabis extract possesses potential in impeding the proliferation of melanoma cells and promoting apoptosis.

    A collaborative study conducted by researchers from Charles Darwin University (CDU) and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) scrutinized the impact of cannabinoid PHEC-66, a concentrated cannabis extract developed by MGC Pharmaceuticals in Australia, on programmed cell death in melanoma cells.

    The study, which was partially funded by MGC Pharmaceuticals Ltd. in Australia and was published in the Cells journal, highlights the link between the cannabis extract and receptors on melanoma cells, pointing to a potential additional therapeutic use for malignant melanoma. However, additional preclinical research is necessary to fully evaluate its effectiveness and potential.


    Despite making up a small percentage of skin cancer cases, melanoma—which is derived from melanocytes in the epidermis—is responsible for a substantial number of skin cancer-related deaths because of its tendency to spread and resistance to standard therapies.

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    There are currently few treatment options available for metastatic melanoma. However, new research suggests that several naturally occurring cannabis plant chemicals, like terpenes, flavonoids, and polyphenols, may have anticancer effects and may be useful in the treatment of melanoma.

    Previous research has demonstrated that chemicals derived from plants can inhibit the growth of tumors at an early stage by activating CB1 and CB2 receptors, which in turn modulates other molecular pathways.

    The current study shows that the endocannabinoid system’s CB1 and CB2 receptors interact with the cannabis extract PHEC-66 to inhibit the proliferation and motility of melanoma cells.

    In order to verify the role of these receptors in mediating the lethal effects of PHEC-66, melanoma cells were treated with CB1 and CB2 antagonists. The outcomes show a noticeable rise in cell viability after receptor blocking.

    Furthermore, the research notes distinct changes in receptor gene expression in melanoma cell lines after PHEC-66 treatment, indicating that CB1 and CB2 receptors play a role in the signaling pathways that are activated. Furthermore, the variation in response amongst cell lines highlights how intricate this relationship is.

    Moreover, melanoma cell migration and proliferation have been shown to be inhibited by the cannabis extract PHEC-66, which contains mostly CBD, potentially preventing the spread of cancer. However, additional investigation is necessary to clarify the exact mechanisms behind PHEC-66’s binding to CB1 and CB2 receptors in melanoma cells.

    Interestingly, studies of the relationship between PHEC-66 and its receptors in the presence of particular blockers, AM251 and AM630, showed that the extract primarily depends on CB2 receptor activation in all tested melanoma cell lines for its growth-inhibitory actions.

    In summary, this study underscores the ability of PHEC-66 to attenuate melanoma cell growth through interactions with CB1 and CB2 receptors, thereby influencing metabolic pathways and cell cycle progression, ultimately culminating in apoptosis and reduced tumor growth. Further research is imperative to elucidate its therapeutic potential in advanced-stage melanoma, particularly in combination therapies and utilizing advanced experimental models.

    While offering a glimmer of hope in cancer therapeutics, the translation of these findings into clinical applications necessitates rigorous scientific scrutiny, including animal experiments and human clinical trials, to ensure safety and efficacy.

    In essence, this study highlights how PHEC-66 can effectively slow down the growth of melanoma cells by interacting with CB1 and CB2 receptors. These interactions impact important cellular processes like metabolism and cell cycle, ultimately leading to cell death and decreased tumor growth. However, further research is crucial to fully understand its potential in treating advanced melanoma, especially when combined with other therapies and tested in more advanced experimental models.

    While these findings provide hope for improved cancer treatments, they must be subjected to rigors scientific testing. This comprises animal research, followed by human clinical trials. Only through thorough research will we be able to ensure the safety and efficacy of translating these discoveries into real-world patient therapies.

    How do I get access to medical cannabis in Australia?

    Accessing medicinal cannabis in Australia began in 2016, but it was very costly, and not everyone had access. Almost 9 years later, we have access to over 200 medications, with new brands and suppliers regularly entering the Australian market with various consumption methods i.e. oral liquid, flower, vape carts, and edibles.

    To reduce the stress and worry associated with access to alternative chronic pain management choices, I often advise new patients to seek out pharmacies or dispensaries which specialize in medicinal cannabis.

    These clinics have highly qualified pharmacists who can provide guidance and empathize with their patients. During my own journey, I explored a number of clinics, but none of them offered the personalized treatment that I found at Astrid Dispensary. They’re a boutique plant-based pharmacy who are dedicated to providing a safe space and providing the best patient experience.

    What impressed me the most was the thorough Doctors appointment and the range of medication, they have pretty much every day, if a product is not in stock, it can be ordered in and received in a mattery of days – long as the supplier is in stock.

    If you’re in Melbourne or Byron Bay you can simply pick up from their dispensaries’ at either location. To get started, all I did was go to their online clinic and fill out the pre-screening questionnaire, and book an initial doctors consultation via the Astrid Dispensary + Clinic website, and I was on my way. Because the dispensary and clinic are integrated, it makes it easier to manage and access your scripts.