Synthetic CBD for the Treatment of Ovarian Cancer Cells

Study Finds Synthetic CBD as Good as Natural in Slowing Cancer Cells, Repairing Damage, & Reducing Inflammation

New research has found that synthetic cannabidiol (CBD) works just as well as natural CBD in the treatment of ovarian cancer cells.

Calvin Chan, Ph.D. April 23, 2022

New research found no pharmacological differences between natural and synthetic cannabidiol (CBD).

A new study published in the journal, Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids, revealed that both naturally purified and synthetic CBD were equally effective in repairing cell damage, preventing cancer cell growth, and reducing inflammation under laboratory tests.

The research was conducted by the University of Nottingham in collaboration with American clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, Artelo Biosciences.

“There is no pharmacological difference between purified natural and synthetic CBD in vitro,” the study authors said.

CBD has gained medical attention in recent years for its anti-pain, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory effects.

CBD Popularity

But reliance on natural CBD has hindered research progress.


The study authors explained that synthetic CBD can offer multiple benefits to researchers and consumers because synthetic CBD is easier to produce at a higher purity.


Currently, the majority of CBD products in the market are derived from hemp, also known as Cannabis sativa L. Even after refinement, natural CBD products will always contain trace amounts of other organic molecules such as phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.

Refinement can typically yield CBD between 97% to 99% purity.

Depending on the quality of hemp cultivation, natural CBD products can also become tainted with heavy metals, pesticides, and other contaminants consumers may wish to avoid.

The study authors explained that the presence of these other molecules can make it difficult for researchers to accurately compare CBD products and treatments in clinical studies, which can slow research progress.

However, “CBD can also be produced synthetically through a series of chemical reactions yielding a highly pure form of CBD,” the study authors added.

Synthetic production allows for improved control over the manufacture of CBD, leading to a more consistently pure product for use in pharmaceuticals and CBD-based treatments.

CBD Refinement

Synthetic CBD as Effective and Potentially More EconomiC and Environmentally Friendly

The research team compared 4 natural CBD samples with 2 synthetic ones.

When the CBD samples were used to treat ovarian cancer cells grown in the lab, researchers found synthetic CBD to be equally as effective as natural CBD in slowing down cancer cell growth.

As with natural CBD, synthetic CBD showed a “concentration-dependent” effect, where the more CBD that was added the more effective it was. In actively growing ovarian cancer cells, 48-hour treatment with a high dose of natural or synthetic CBD both led to over 75% reduction in cancer cell metabolism.


In another test, blood vessels cells called pericytes were starved of oxygen and glucose to trigger damage and inflammation. Pericytes are important in maintaining the blood-brain barrier, a filter that shields the brain from toxic substances in the blood.


After 24 hours of treatment, both natural and synthetic CBD reduced damage by up to 48% and inflammation by up to 53%.

Cancer Cell Metabolism

The research team also compared the effects of natural and synthetic CBD in helping intestinal cells recover from inflammation.

When intestinal tissue experiences inflammation, its ability to block the movement of molecules across the protective intestinal barrier into the body weakens.

In the experiment, treatment of intestinal cells with inflammatory molecules reduced the barrier’s resistance by approximately 30%. But treatment with either natural or synthetic CBD sped up the recovery of intestinal cells to normal levels within 48-72 hours.

NuLeaf Naturals Logo


If you’re looking for a selection of all-natural CBD products made under organic practices, look no further than NuLeaf Naturals.

Redeem code FEELGOOD for 20% Off Nuleaf Coupon

“This study demonstrates for the first time that the anti-cancer, neuroprotective, and intestinal barrier protective properties of purified CBD are similar regardless of the source from which CBD is derived,” the study authors said.

Instead of concerns about the effectiveness of natural versus synthetic CBD, the research team emphasized that other factors such as economic costs and the environmental impact of the different production processes should play a bigger role in our decision-making.

“The purity and reliability of CBD samples, as well as the ultimate pharmaceutical preparation, should all be considered above the starting source of CBD in the development of new CBD medicines.”

Calvin Chan, Ph.D.

Calvin Chan is a researcher and medical writer from Edmonton, Canada. As a big science nerd, he loves reading and writing about everything science - from cannabis to dark matter and even alien life. Calvin has a PhD from the University of Alberta.