Can CBD Help to Treat Cancer?

Does CBD Help Treat Cancer?

 

The diagnosis of cancer brings a lot of fear and anxiety when the diagnsosis is made.  Furthermore, the treatment of cancer usually involves chemotherapy and/or surgical resection, which come with side effects of their own. 

 

This is where the use of cannabis, with THC and CBD can play a role in adjunctive therapy.  Research has shown that specific cannabinoids, such as CBD, may have anticancer and tumor-inhibiting properties. 

Most of these studies are done in vitro or with animal studies, so many people wonder how that research translates from the test tube to the human body, an infinitely more complex, dynamic environment? 

Clinical trials in humans, done in other countries, has shown that CBD has anticancer effects and alleviates the stress and anxiety that comes along with traditional treatment plans for cancer.

 

These studies have illustrated the effects of CBD on different cancer cells, and explain how, when combined with conventional cancer drugs, CBD may promote a special kind of synergy that improves outcomes.

Cancer was recently added as a qualifying condition to enroll patients in the Compassionate Use program in Texas, and our clinic helps alleviate the stress and side effect profiles that come with being diagnosed with terminal illness.

 

How Does CBD Work to Alleviate Cancer Symptoms?

Endocannabinoids, or cannabinoids produced by the body, and the cannabinoids in the cannabis plant both play a role in regulating pathways  that affect cancer, including how cancer cells grow, migrate, and spread. 

The clinical use of THC is often controversial because of its intoxicating psychoactive effects. CBD, on the other hand, is non-intoxicating, and it’s also a well-tolerated compound with a good safety profile. CBD has been shown to reduce tumor growth and progression in cancers as diverse as breast, lung, and colon cancer. 

“A large body of evidence from animal and cell experiments demonstrate the numerous direct anti-cancer effects of cannabinoids, including CBD,” said Dr. Dustin Sulak, an integrative physician, cannabis medicine expert.  “Specifically, CBD rarely causes adverse effects, can provide substantial relief on its own, and is especially useful as an adjunct to THC,” he said.

Researchers have now started digging deeper into how CBD might work synergistically with common chemotherapy drugs, and how this potent cannabinoid can be transitioned out of the laboratory and into the treatment room.

 

The Effect of CBD on Different Types of Cancer

In a 2020 review study from Bulgaria, the research team explored the evidence supporting the use of CBD in the treatment of diverse types of cancer. Here are their findings on the three most common forms of the disease:

 

Breast cancer

 

CBD has an inhibitory effect on breast tumor cells, specifically the MCF-7 cell line, which is frequently used in research on cancer treatment drugs. Researchers found that CBD exerts a more powerful action in halting the spread of breast cancer cells compared to other cannabinoids.

Lung cancer 

 

Other studies found that CBD exerts a mechanism that prevents the spread of lung cancer tumors. The same research team also reported that CBD encourages cancer cell death in primary lung tumor cells. 

Prostate cancer

 

In vitro experiments on different prostate cell lines have shown that CBD can decrease androgen receptor expression, which strongly influences the development and progression of prostate cancer. Inhibiting the activity of these receptors may delay prostate cancer progression. 

 

CBD Can Inhibit Tumor Cell Proliferation and Spread to Other Organs

One of cancer’s most problematic characteristics is the spread of cancerous tumors throughout the body. Unlike regular healthy cells, cancer cells express a number of mutations that prevent cellular death. These mutated cells can then spread and colonize multiple other sites in the body. 

Cancer research often focuses on the primary place a cancer originated and not the secondary sites where it has spread.  Investigations into cannabinoids like CBD often focus on its ability to inhibit the progression of cancer cells  that have already migrated and begun forming new tumors. 

CBD has been shown to act on a number of pathways in the body to encourage tumor suppression. One of the most significant ways CBD may slow tumor progression is via its modulation of the PI3K pathway, a major pathway that modulates cell growth, metabolism, survival, and spread, and therefore represents a target for cancer treatment.

 

Can CBD be Used in Combination with more Traditional Treatment Therapy for Cancer?

 

A number of reports advocate for combination therapy approaches. Combining CBD with specific anticancer drugs has already shown to render certain cancer cells more vulnerable to the effects of cancer drugs.

In pancreatic cancer patients, other research has demonstrated that CBD in conjunction with chemotherapy can yield promising outcomes, a type of cancer notorious for being treatment resistant. Mice with pancreatic cancer lived nearly three times longer when a conventional cancer treatment, gemcitabine, was combined with CBD. In addition to extending lives, CBD could enhance quality of life too. 

Another study has shown that CBD and conventional treatment temozolomide can be combined to treat gliomas—brain and spinal cord tumors—more successfully.

 

Does CBD have Any Side Effects When Used to Treat Cancer?

Several studies have provided supporting evidence that using CBD as an adjunctive drug that prevents and reduces the side effects of cancer therapies. One of the most unpleasant effects of hard-hitting cancer drugs is peripheral neuropathy, which causes weakness, numbness, and pain in the hands and feet. Up to seventy five percent can experience this as a result of certain chemotherapy regimens. 

CBD can help prevent the development of this sensitivity. According to a study done in 2014 using rodents illustrated that CBD doses administered before paclitaxel, a form of chemotherapy, prevented the development of nerve sensitivity in mice. Importantly, the nervous systems of the mice were unharmed and chemotherapy efficacy wasn’t compromised by the treatment.

Another investigation  has shown that CBD can support the kidneys and decrease kidney toxicity induced by cisplatin, a chemotherapy agent linked to kidney damage.

 

Will CBD be Used in the Future to Treat Cancer?

Like many nascent fields of cannabis science, the data exploring CBD and cancer treatments is currently limited. What these studies provide, however, is a body of evidence indicating the diverse ways CBD can support cancer treatments—and the need for more comprehensive clinical investigations to test its efficacy.

At Compassionate Telemedicine, we have treated many patients suffering from cancer with cannabinoids with great success.  While we do not state that CBD or other cannabinoids will ever be a singular cure for cancer, we have seen that it reduces inflammation and nausea, while treating anxiety, insomnia, and weight loss.  Sign up for a consultation now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Author
Dr. Allison Kendrick

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