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CBD and Cannabis for Cancer

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Cannabis and CBD for Cancer

Cancer continued to be the second cause of death in north America and some parts of the world.  This is only second to heart diseases.  The word “cancer” is defined as the out of control (abnormal) growth of cells in certain part of the body.  Even though, huge amount of research is underway to find effective solutions to prevent and cure cancer, the rate of newly diagnosed patients is rising day by day continuously.

How Cannabis interacts with cancer treatment?


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Cannabis has been investigated and used for tackling the symptoms associated with cancer and its treatments.  Some compounds in cannabis found to have anticancer properties and capable of killing, shutdown or control the development of cancer cells in human body.  These compounds are called phytocannabinoids.  In addition to that, cannabis possesses significant medicinal effects to manage cancer-treatment related side effects.  These valuable natural medicines will be a good choice to save people from preventable cancer related death and unnecessary suffering from side effects of treatments.

Cannabis and CBD can help to overcome some side effects associate with cancer treatments

Uses of cannabis-based medicine like CBD to overcome side effects associated with cancer treatment is one of the main applications of medical cannabis with CBD to help alleviate cancer symptoms.  The medical community practicing cannabis medicine has a good understanding about the ways in which cannabis and CBD helps to treat these conditions.  Therefor, cannabis and CBD may be a good choice to use for managing the following side effects arise after therapeutic treatment.

Cancer Pain

Cancer pain is caused by physical damage from the tumor, nerve damage due to cancer, inflammation due to chemicals released by tumors or chemotherapy.  Therefore, this pain is a mixed type and becoming a challenge to treat.  Moderate to severe pain occurs with most patients, causing a decrease in quality of life.  Use of Opioids is the typical treatment to relief cancer pain.  However, some patients experience inadequate pain relief and some side effects, such as nausea and constipation.

Even thought, scientific studies about the use of cannabis and CBD for cancer pain in human trial is limited, large number of independently observed results show that cannabis treatment is effective without causing significant adverse side effects.  Most of these observations are based on THC dominated or THC+CBD combined cannabis consumer products or extracts like CBD gummies or CBD tinctures [1-4].

Chemotherapy-induced Vomiting and Nausea

The antiemetic effect of cannabis is known for several decades after appearance of scientific publication at New England Journal of Medicine in 1975[5].  Following this observations, more scientific studies reveled that cannabinoid, such as THC can be used as an effective medicine to treat chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.  These observations led FDA to approve THC based synthetic drugs for human application [6].  More recent scientific studies show that THC rich cannabis is a highly effective medication for treating chemotherapy induced vomiting and nausea in human [7-12].

Anorexia and Weight Loss

It is common to see anorexia (lack or loss of appetite) and significant weight loss associated with cancer and also after its treatment.  This situation makes the patient’s body extremely weak due to low calorie intake.  Some synthetic medications (synthetic hormones that increase appetite) are available to treat the situation.  Over the past few decades, scientist have shown that cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors play an important role in the desire for food. 

Several clinical Investigations have shown that, improvement of appetite and gaining body weight and energy after using synthetic THC as medication on cancer patients following their therapy [13-19].  This observation shows that cannabis is useful and capable of improving appetite of cancer patients throughout their life.  Many cancer patients struggling with these issues claim that inhaled cannabis is extremely helpful for enhancing appetite, stabilizing weight, and enjoying their meals rather than fearing them but also CBD has been effective as well. 

Cannabis for cure cancer

A large number of anecdotal reports show that cancer patients using concentrated cannabis oil specially containing THC, CBD and some other cannabinoids, effectively resulting in complete resolution of their cancers. 

In addition to that, significant amount of scientific research show that phytocannabinoids, especially THC and CBD have anticancer properties.  These studies show that cannabinoids are capable of killing cancer cells, inhibiting growth of tumors, inhibiting metastasis and cancer cell migration, and inhibiting growth of blood vessels that feed tumors [20]

Furthermore, some studies show that phytocannabinoids can work synergistically with certain chemotherapies and radiation to enhance their anticancer effect [21].  Due to cannabis being classified as control substances, clinical research of cannabis with human trials has been prohibited for several decades.  Therefore, scientific clinical results regarding anticancer properties of cannabis on human are not available.  Scientific evidence for anticancer effect of cannabis has been reported for several type of cancers using animal models.  These studies have reported that cannabis chemicals have effective anticancer properties on breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, glioblastoma multiforme, melanoma, neuroblastoma, and leukemia [22-31].  However, these observations must be tested with human clinical trials.

Despite the lack of human clinical trials, many desperate cancer patients are using cannabis to not only treat their symptoms but also directly treat their cancers.

CBD and Cancer
CBD and Cancer


Cannabis has been used for tackling the symptoms associated with cancer and its treatments.  Some phytocannabinoid compounds in cannabis found to have anti cancer properties and capable of killing, shutdown or control the development of cancer cells.  In addition to that, cannabis possesses significant medicinal effects to manage cancer treatment related side effects, such as pain, chemotherapy-induced vomiting, nausea, anorexia and significant weight loss.  Therefore, these valuable natural medicines will be a choice to save people from preventable cancer related death and unnecessary suffering from side effects of treatments.


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[12] National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research, Washington, DC, National Academic Press, (2017)

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[18] S. Strasser et al., Comparison of Orally Administered Cannabis Extract and Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol in Treating Patients with Cancer-Related Anorexia-Cachexia Syndrome: A Multicenter, Phase III, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial from the Cannabis-in-Cachexia-Study-Group, Journal of Clinical Oncology, 24, No 21, 3394-3400 (2006)

[19] G. Bar-Sela et al., The Effect of Dosage-Controlled Cannabis Capsules on Cancer-Related Cachexia and Anorexia Syndrome in Advanced Cancer Patients: Pilot Study, Integrative Cancer Therapies, 18, 1-8 (2019)

[20] S. D. McAllister et al., The Antitumor Activity of Plant-Derived Non-Psychoactive Cannabinoids, Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, 10, No 2, 255-267 (2015)

[21] K. A. Scott et al., The Combination of Cannabidiol and Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Enhances the Anticancer Effects of Radiation in an Orthotopic Murine Glioma Model, Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 13, No 21, 2955-2967 (2014)

[22] S. Blasco-Benito et al., Appraising the Entourage Effect: Antitumor Action of a Pure Cannabinoid Versus a Botanical Drug Preparation in Preclinical Models of Brest Cancer, Biochemical Pharmacology, 157, 285-293 (2018)

[23] A. Greenhough et al., The Cannabinoid Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Inhibits RAS-MAPK and P13K-AKT Survival Signalling and Induces BAD-Mediated Apoptosis in Colorectal Cancer Cells, International Journal of Cancer, 121, No 10, 2172-2180 (2007)

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[25] T. Powles et al., Cannabis-Induced Cytotoxicity in Leukemic Cell Lines: Role of the Cannabinoid Receptors and the MAPK Pathway, Blood, 105, No 3, 1214-1221 (2005)

[26] M. Haustein et al., Cannabinoids Increases Lung Cancer Cell Lysis by Lymphokine-Activated Killer Cells via Upregulation of ICAM-1, Biochemical Pharmacology, 92, No 2, 312-325 (2014)

[27] J. L. Armstrong et al., Exploiting Cannabinoid-Induced Cytotoxic Autophagy to Drive Melanoma Cell Death, Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 135, No 6, 1629-1637 (2015)

[28] T. Fisher et al., In Vitro and In Vivo Efficacy of Non-Psychoactive Cannabidiol in Neuroblastoma, Current Oncology (Toronto) 23, suppl 2, S15-22 (2016)

[29] A. Carracedo et al., Cannabinoids Induced Apoptosis of Pancreatic Tumor Cells via Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress-Related Genes, Cancer Research, 66, No 13, 6748-6755 (2006)

[30] L. De Petrocellis et al., Non-THC Cannabinoid inhibit Prostate Carcinoma Growth In Vitro and In Vivo: Pro-Apoptotic Effects and Underlying Mechanisms, British Journal of Pharmacology, 168, No 1, 79-102 (2013)

[31] M. L. Casanova et al., Inhibition of Skin Tumor Growth and Angiogenesis In Vivo by Activation of Cannabinoid Receptors, Journal of Clinical Investigation, 111, No 1, 43-50 (2003)

1 thought on “CBD and Cannabis for Cancer

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