CBD Oil And Cancer | How Does CBD Help Cancer Patients?

CBD Oil And Cancer

CBD oil (cannabidiol) is everywhere these days. Once available only at novelty or vitamin shops, it’s now also at your local grocery store, pharmacy or even yoga studio.


It comes in many forms: oils that are dropped under the tongue, roll-ons that are applied to the skin and even solutions for vaping. Some producers extract CBD oil and add it into foods to create edible products.


CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of cannabis (marijuana). While CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana, it is derived directly from the hemp plant, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant. 


While CBD is a component of marijuana (one of hundreds), by itself it does not cause a “high.” 


According to a report from the World Health Organization, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”

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CBD has been shown to help stabilize people who suffer from anxiety, and it helps to reduce seizures for people with epilepsy. It can also help with some neurodegenerative disorders (diseases that cause the brain and nerves to deteriorate over time), and the list goes on. In fact, studies are also starting to show us the different benefits medical cannabis can have for patients who are battling cancer.


Let’s take a closer look at how CBD may help people with cancer.


What Is Cancer?

Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. Cancer develops when the body’s normal control mechanism stops working. Old cells do not die and instead grow out of control, forming new, abnormal cells. These extra cells may form a mass of tissue, called a tumor. Some cancers, such as leukemia, do not form tumors.


How Cancer Begins

Cancer can start almost anywhere in the human body, which is made up of trillions of cells. Cells are the basic units that make up the human body. 

Cells grow and divide to make new cells as the body needs them, normally, human cells grow and divide to form new cells as the body needs them. When cells grow old or become damaged, they die, and new cells take their place.

When cancer develops, however, this orderly process breaks down. As cells become more and more abnormal, old or damaged cells survive when they should die, and new cells form when they are not needed. These extra cells can divide without stopping and may form growths called tumors.

Some types of cancer do not form a tumor. These include leukemias, most types of lymphoma, and myeloma.


What Are The Most Common Forms Of Cancer?

In women, breast cancer is one of the most common. In men, it’s prostate cancer. Lung cancer and colorectal cancer affect both men and women in high numbers.

There are five main categories of cancer:

Carcinomas begin in the skin or tissues that line the internal organs.

Sarcomas develop in the bone, cartilage, fat, muscle or other connective tissues.

Leukemia begins in the blood and bone marrow.

Lymphomas start in the immune system.

Central nervous system cancers develop in the brain and spinal cord.


How Is Cancer Treated?

Treatment options depend on the type of cancer, its stage, if the cancer has spread and your general health. The goal of treatment is to kill as many cancerous cells while reducing damage to normal cells nearby. Advances in technology make this possible.

The three main treatments are:

Surgery: directly removing the tumor

Chemotherapy: using chemicals to kill cancer cells

Radiation therapy: using X-rays to kill cancer cells

The same cancer type in one individual is very different from that cancer in another individual. Within a single type of cancer, such as breast cancer, researchers are discovering subtypes that each requires a different treatment approach.


CBD As A Treatment For Cancer

CBD research is a new and growing field. Thus far, the results are promising—particularly for cancer patients. Specifically, CBD can help cancer patients cope with the side effects of treatment, such as chemotherapy-induced nausea, pain, and sleep issues. There’s also evidence that CBD may be able to slow or prevent cancer growth.


Here are some promising studies:

  • A 2019 review of in vitro and in vivo studies focusing on pancreatic cancer found that cannabinoids can help slow tumor growth, reduce tumor invasion, and induce tumor cell death. The study authors wrote that research into the effectiveness of different formulations, dosing, and precise mode of action are lacking and urgently needed.
  • A 2019 study indicated that CBD could provoke cell death and make glioblastoma cells more sensitive to radiation, but with no effect on healthy cells.
  • A large, long-term study of men within the California Men’s Health Study cohort found that using cannabis may be inversely associated with bladder cancer risk. However, a cause and effect relationship hasn’t been established.
  • A 2014 study in experimental models of colon cancer in vivo suggests that CBD may inhibit the spread of colorectal cancer cells.
  • A review of 35 in vitro and in vivo studies found that cannabinoids are promising compounds in the treatment of gliomas.
  • Other research demonstrated the efficacy of CBD in pre-clinical models of metastatic breast cancer. The study found that CBD significantly reduced breast cancer cell proliferation and invasion.

These are only a couple of studies tending to the capability of cannabinoids to help treat cancer. In any case, it’s dreadfully soon to state that CBD is a sheltered and viable treatment for disease in people. CBD shouldn’t be viewed as a substitute for other cancer treatment.


CBD As A Complementary Therapy

The majority of the evidence available suggests that CBD and cannabis therapies may complement cancer treatment. CBD may help people with cancer by:

Stimulating Appetite

Many people who are going through cancer treatment experience nausea and loss of appetite.

These symptoms can make it difficult for them to maintain a healthy weight.

Ingested cannabis that delivers THC and other cannabinoids to the bloodstream may help stimulate the appetiteTrusted Source, but there is no evidence that CBD alone can have this effect.


Relief From Chronic Pain

Most people with cancer go through severe pain chronically. While there are pain medications prescribed to ease their discomfort, they come with severe side effects.

There’s the risk of addiction, excessive sleepiness, constipation, and vomiting. Apart from that, there are also patients who don’t respond well to opioids.

CBD indirectly acts on the CB2 receptors, which may help with widespread pain relief by reducing inflammation. THC acts on the CB1 receptors, which may be helpful for pain resulting from nerve damage.



Cannabidiol has been shown to suppress nausea in an animal model but is considered more effective when used in conjunction with THC. For those who do not enjoy the ‘high’ effect of THC, it is well worth noting that CBD has been shown to counteract and reduce this effect.


Lessen Anxiety And Sleeping Issues

Sleep problems are quite common among cancer patients. Some of them take the form of insomnia while in some cases, it presents as chemotherapy-related fatigue.

Not getting enough sleep is bad for patients dealing with cancer. It lowers one’s immune system, worsens mood, and impairs cognitive performance.

Taking CBD oil may help address these issues. It has properties that may reduce anxiety, improve sleep quality and make it easier for patients to fall asleep. It may also reduce the times they wake up in the middle of the night.


What’s The Most Important Thing Cancer Patients Should Know About Cbd Oil?

There’s still a lot to learn. So always let your healthcare team know if you are using CBD oil. That way, we can make sure nothing interacts adversely with your cancer treatments or other medications.

Also, avoid products with health-related claims on their labels. The only product approved by the FDA for its medical value is Epidiolex.

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