Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that involves black patches on the skin. Skin cells that produce dark pigment (melanin) due to this condition are called melanocytes. Melanocytes often produce melanin normally, e.g. when you get a suntan. So, any part of the body containing melanocytes can be affected by melanoma if melanin is generated in abnormally large quantities. Continuous exposure to ultraviolet light (UV) of the sun is believed to be the main cause for this type of cancer. It is particularly common among Caucasians living in sunny climates, as their white skin lacks pigment to withstand the excessive amount of sunlight. Australia, New Zealand and some countries in South America have the highest rates of melanoma.
Early symptoms of melanoma are changes to color or shape of existing moles or appearance of new ones anywhere on the skin. If observed, such lumps should be consulted at a dermatologist’s without delay – any dark spots with irregular or asymmetric borders, which are firm to the touch and/or elevated above the skin surface, bear the risk of melanoma development.
Advised treatment for melanoma would almost always be surgical removal the affected skin patch. This is certainly the last resort for severe cases when the tumor spreads fast or penetrates deep into the skin. But in some cases, progress is slow as the immune system is trying to fend off the mutated skin cells. In this case, surgery may not be necessary, and neither would be chemo- or radiation therapy. Studies show that medical marijuana is capable of blocking key CB2 receptions in the skin, thus decreasing inflammatory response of the epidermis to excessive sunlight. This effect can be a great reliever for patients who suffer from melanoma with little or moderate growth prognosis. Scratching, itching, irritation and uncomfortable feeling that may come along with this condition can be greatly reduced, leaving patients with a comfortable and care-free lifestyle that they longed for before this treatment option came along.