How does CBD Oil Help Cancer? Possible Benefits & Side Effects
Research over the last decade of cannabidiol (CBD) and cancer has been promising. Though we can’t make any specific claims, we can say there’s a probability CBD may just be the next medication from those suffering from this incurable disease.
Due to the prohibition of cannabis plants in the United States at the federal level, research remains in the early stages. In order for any FDA approval of cancer medication, researchers must continue to provide evidence that cannabidiol (and other cannabinoids) can make a large difference in comparison to current forms of treatment.
The bad news is this is going to take a great deal of time. The good news is cannabidiol has shown a lot of promise for those suffering from cancer.
Throughout this article, we’re going to explore how CBD oil (and hemp oil) can prevent cancer cells from spreading, can be used as therapy for those undergoing chemotherapy, and the potential side effects a cancer patient may feel. We invite you to ask further questions at the end.
CBD Oil as Prevention for Cancer Spread
Since there are so many different types of cancer, including lung cancer, prostate cancer and many others, research concerning CBD has only looked into a handful. Yet, is quite astonishing.
A 2015 study sought to find the correspondence between cannabis use and bladder cancer. Though a few factors needed to be adjusted, it was found that those who used cannabis had a 45% less risk of having bladder cancer.¹
It’s important to note that this study looked into medical marijuana users rather than CBD itself. Though most CBD products are derived from the cannabis sativa plant hemp, it’s just as worthy to note that most medical marijuana contains some level of cannabidiol within it.²
In a separate study published by the California Pacific Medical Center, CBD was discovered to prevent a specific gene that causes breast cancer to develop. Similar, CBD was also found to inhibit ID-1. This prevented cancer cells from spreading throughout the body.³
So, Does CBD Treat Cancer?
Though researchers have said various cannabinoids MIGHT be able to treat cancer, research as a whole is still in the very early stages.?
While it seems cannabidiol can influence tumor cells and prevent tumor growth, we still don’t entirely understand how CBD oil and cancer work together. Yes, there’s a lot of promise, but without the proper research, the FDA will not approve cannabidiol as cancer medication.
CBD Oil as Therapy for Cancer Patients
Still, other research has found that CBD oil might help within those facing various symptoms associated with cancer. Leaving some researchers to believe CBD may be a form of cancer therapy. These symptoms are often caused by chemotherapy, one of the few approved treatments for cancer.
These symptoms include:
- Loss of Appetite
You may notice people with cancer tend to lose a lot of weight as the disease spreads through them. This is due to current forms of treatment causing a great deal of nausea and, in turn, a lack of appetite.
While there isn’t any current evidence suggesting CBD alone can stimulate appetite, it has been found that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with the help of other cannabinoids can do so.?
As mentioned, cancer treatment tends to bring upon nausea and vomiting. Various cannabinoids have been found to reduce these effects in people, including CBD.
This is prominently due to the fact that nausea and vomiting are regulated by our endocannabinoid system. And CBD has the ability to indirectly level out this system when it’s producing too much of a specific chemical.?
On a side note, medical cannabis containing THC has also been found to reduce nausea.
Similarly to nausea, chronic pain is also regulated by CB1 and CB2 receptors found within our endocannabinoid system. Both of these are responsible for different kinds of pain. For example, CB2 receptors spread inflammation when foreign substances enter the body.
Since CBD indirectly influences CB2 receptors, researchers believe it might provide pain relief from the unhealthy spread of inflammation through various diseases, including cancer.?
However, it should be noted, cancer causes a variety of pains CBD might not be able to help with. These include nerve injury and pressure on internal organs. On the other hand, THC is believed to potentially help with pain caused by nerve injury.
It's important to mention, CBD can weaken the immune system and, in effect, be more detrimental to certain individuals rather than beneficial.
Similarly to cancer prevention, it’s still too early to make any claims on cannabidiol's effects of the symptoms caused by cancer treatment. While more clinical trials need to be done, there’s a lot of promise here.
Potential Side Effects of CBD Oil
One of the biggest advantages of looking into this research further is CBD comes with few side effects. Unlike traditional forms of medications, such as opioids, CBD doesn’t have a similar influence on the central nervous system.
Still, since cannabinoid receptors are found all throughout the body, it does affect various organs and tissues, including the brain. Some people are also sensitive to cannabidiol and, in effect, might have side effects others don’t.
Common side effects for CBD include:¹?
- Low blood pressure (hypotension)
- Muscle relaxation
- Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
- Reduced digestion
Though a tolerance to CBD can be built, there is luckily little to no risk for addiction.
Until science pursues further research into cannabidiol, we won’t have any definite answers as to whether or not CBD can be a potential treatment (or have potential health benefits) for those with cancer. From the evidence mentioned throughout this article, it seems as though CBD (along with other cannabinoids and cannabis products) may one day compliment current treatment of cancer and treatment for other medical conditions.
If you or a loved one is currently suffering from cancer, we suggest you consult your doctor or health care professional before taking CBD or medical marijuana. As mentioned, cannabidiol can have side effects in certain people. In sensitive individuals, use of cannabis containing THC will potentially cause unwanted psychoactive effects due to the effects of THC. Furthermore, CBD or THC might have negative interactions with other types of medication.
If you have any further questions concerning CBD and cancer, we invite you to ask them below.
² NCCIH: Marijuana and Cannabinoids
³ Molecular Cancer Therapeutics: Cannabidiol as a novel inhibitor of Id-1 gene expression in aggressive breast cancer cells
? HHS Public Access: Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs
? frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience: Cannabinoid Receptors in the Central Nervous System
¹? Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research: An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol