Recent studies have focused on exploring the potential that CBD may have in helping people fight cancer. These studies have also showcased how CBD may enhance or help increase the potency of certain drugs utilized as part of cancer treatment. In addition to the possible healing capabilities CBD may have in connection to cancerous tumor cells specifically, there is also a growing amount of evidence indicating how CBD can also aid with side effects or symptoms of certain cancer treatments, such as poor sleep, loss of appetite, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, depression and pain.
CBD is showing great promise in its ability to increase cancer cell death, decrease the growth of tumors and inhibit cancer cells to spread to other parts of the body (also known as metastasis). This is likely due to CBD's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which further explain how CBD can help treat a range of conditions and symptoms, including those related to cancer treatments. In addition to the critical function of maintaining homeostasis, evidence points to the endocannabinoid system regulating nausea and vomiting, which are common adverse reactions to both chemotherapy and radiation. Because of this, cancer patients have found CBD to be a helpful complement to their treatment plans, especially in minimizing such symptoms.
For cancer patients adding CBD into their routine, especially those seeking pain management options, many are finding success in utilizing products that include a ratio of CBD to THC. Studies have found that utilizing a 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC can help maximize the potential medicinal benefits due to the cannabinoids’ synergistic nature. This is known as the entourage effect. Research has found that the inclusion of plant-based medicine rich in cannabinoids may help improve the therapeutic effectiveness when compared to CBD isolate products. Higher doses of THC may help increase the efficacy of reducing severe pain related to cancer treatment as well.
For cancer patients adding CBD into their routine, especially those seeking pain management options, many are finding success in utilizing products that include a ratio of CBD to THC.
CBD can also reduce the risk of recurrence of certain kinds of cancers, including breast cancer. One study found that including cannabinoid-based therapies alongside other treatments helped to inhibit cancer cell proliferation. In addition to potentially aiding with slowing cancer cell growth and reducing the risk of recurrence, one study also found that CBD demonstrated an effective ability to reduce the size of tumors in mice. While the small pilot study evaluated the effect of CBD in an animal model, the cannabinoid’s ability to reduce cancerous growth showcases the necessity for additional clinical research to be conducted on humans.
Currently, there is no evidence that CBD oil can cure cancer, nor has the FDA approved any CBD-derived products to treat cancer specifically. In fact, so far only one CBD product has received approval from the FDA, with the landmark drug Epidiolex being approved in 2018 to treat two rare, severe forms of epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. While the preliminary studies that have been conducted to further explore the possible links between CBD and cancer treatment do show promise, they are not conclusive. Some studies in cancer cells and animal models found evidence supporting the notion that CBD and cannabis therapies may serve as a complement to current cancer treatments.
At this time, larger clinical trials are needed to determine CBD's potential to yield anticancer effects. There is an array of focal points for future research, including the effects of CBD with and without other cannabinoids (such as THC), how CBD interacts with cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation, how to utilize CBD best when it comes to specific types of cancers, the safeness and effectiveness of dosages and, ultimately, how CBD can best be utilized to treat cancer or symptoms of cancer.
For an example of a cannabinoid drug that is specifically the subject of ongoing research in regard to how it can be used to treat cancer pain, Nabiximols is a mouth spray containing both THC and CBD that is showing great promise in the space. It is currently available in Canada and parts of Europe, and has not yet been approved for usage in the United States.
As research into medicinal marijuana and cancer continues, the demand remains high for an emphasis to be placed upon studying CBD and other cannabinoids. While CBD does show great promise as a potentially beneficial compound for many cancer symptoms, scientific research is still needed to conclude if and how CBD can serve as an effective cancer treatment in the future.