The Potential Benefits of CBD for Cancer Patients | CAC
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The Potential Benefits of CBD for Cancer Patients

THC and CBD for cancer treatment

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Cancer is one of the leading causes of death globally. In 2020, there were an estimated 19.3 million new cancer cases and 10 million cancer-related deaths worldwide.

Understandably, the search for effective treatments and supportive therapies remains a top priority. In recent years, there has been growing scientific interest in the use of cannabis-based medicine in general and CBD oil in particular as a way to treat and/or manage the symptoms of cancer.

This article will examine the potential benefits of CBD oil for cancer patients. It is, however, crucial to emphasise that CBD oil is not intended to replace conventional cancer treatments and should never be touted as a cure for cancer. 

Instead, it is regarded as a potential complement to conventional approaches, aiming to enhance their effectiveness and provide additional support to patients.

Key takeaways

  • CBD oil has substantial potential in alleviating cancer pain and mitigating chemotherapy side effects. CBD will not cure cancer.
  • CBD oil presents a promising avenue for managing anxiety and depression in cancer patients, potentially improving their sleep, mental health, and overall well-being.
  • Patients should be aware of CBD oil’s potential drug interactions.
  • While generally well-tolerated, CBD oil’s side effects can include fatigue, dry mouth, changes in appetite, or diarrhoea, which typically lessen with time or dosage adjustment.
  • Individual responses to CBD oil can vary; starting with low doses and gradually increasing is advisable to minimise adverse reactions.
  • Cancer patients interested in exploring CBD oil as a therapeutic option should consult their healthcare provider to discuss its suitability and ensure it complements their treatment plan effectively.

CBD oil benefits for cancer

CBD oil benefits for cancer treatment

CBD has been shown to have nausea-relieving, pain-relieving, anti-anxiety and sleep-enhancing properties. These address many of the common side effects of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy.

Additionally, CBD oil may enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy. Research suggests that CBD oil has the potential to increase the sensitivity of cancer cells to chemotherapy drugs, thereby improving their effectiveness. 

One interesting study demonstrated that CBD oil enhanced the anticancer effects of a commonly used chemotherapy drug, cisplatin, in lung cancer cells. The combination of CBD oil and chemotherapy exhibited synergistic effects, inhibiting cancer cell growth, and promoting cancer cell death more effectively than chemotherapy alone.

To top this off, CBD oil may have direct anticancer effects, targeting cancer cell growth and metastasis.

Studies have indicated that CBD oil can modulate various cellular pathways involved in cancer progression. One study showed that CBD oil inhibited the migration and invasion of breast cancer cells, suggesting a potential role in reducing metastasis. Another study demonstrated that CBD oil-induced apoptosis, programmed cell death, in colon cancer cells, thereby inhibiting their growth.

These are preliminary research studies, and more clinical trials are needed to confirm these findings.

Can CBD oil help cancer symptom management?

It very well may.

CBD oil has been investigated for its potential role in managing various symptoms associated with cancer. As previously mentioned, studies have shown promising results regarding its effectiveness in reducing pain, inflammation, nausea, vomiting and improving sleep quality.

One paper concluded that “Emerging evidence suggests that CBD and other cannabinoid treatments may relieve cancer pain and ease the side effects of chemotherapy.”

CBD also interacts with serotonin receptors. These are involved with pain modulation and the regulation of nausea and vomiting. a paper looking into this interaction concluded that there was sufficient evidence to justify further study in the area. Linda A. Parker et al. studied the regulation of nausea and vomiting by cannabinoids. They concluded that “CBD effectively prevented conditioned retching and conditioned gaping.”

Sleep disturbances are also prevalent among cancer patients, often due to pain, anxiety, or medication side effects. 

CBD has been well studied for these issues, with one large-scale clinical trial finding that “Anxiety scores decreased within the first month in 57 patients (79.2%) and remained decreased during the study duration. Sleep scores improved within the first month in 48 patients (66.7%).”

CBD oil and cancer mental health

Cancer diagnosis and treatment can significantly impact mental health. It often leads to increased levels of anxiety and depression among patients. CBD oil has emerged as a potential therapeutic option for managing these psychological symptoms and improving overall well-being.

Several studies have explored the effects of CBD oil on anxiety and depression. As previously mentioned, CBD interacts with receptors in the brain, including the serotonin 5-HT1A receptor, which regulates mood and emotions. By modulating these receptors, CBD may have anxiolytic and antidepressant properties, potentially reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression.

For example, in one study, researchers investigated the anxiolytic effects of CBD in individuals with generalised social anxiety disorder (SAD). The results showed that CBD significantly reduced anxiety levels and improved participants’ overall well-being. Another study found that CBD demonstrated potential antidepressant effects in animal models.

Furthermore, CBD has been suggested to have a positive impact on anxiety and sleep, which are closely linked to mental health. By promoting relaxation and reducing stress levels, CBD oil may contribute to a better mood and improved quality of life for cancer patients.

Potential risks and side effects of CBD oil

Although CBD oil can deliver many significant benefits, it is crucial to consider its potential risks and side effects.

Drug interactions

CBD can potentially interact with the metabolism of specific medications, especially those processed by the cytochrome P450 enzyme system. This system is responsible for the breakdown and elimination of various medications in the body, making it important to be aware of potential interactions with CBD.

In certain cases, CBD can inhibit these enzymes, leading to a slower breakdown and elimination of medications. As a result, the medication levels in the bloodstream may increase, potentially intensifying its effects and raising the risk of experiencing side effects.

Side effects

While CBD oil is generally well-tolerated, it’s important to be aware of potential side effects. Although they are generally mild, some people may experience issues such as fatigue, dry mouth, changes in appetite or diarrhoea when using CBD oil. These side effects are usually temporary and diminish as the body adjusts to the CBD oil or with appropriate dosage adjustments.

Issues with an individual’s response to CBD

While many people experience positive effects, some may be more sensitive and experience adverse reactions. It is always recommended to start with low doses of CBD oil and gradually increase the dosage as needed.

The wrap-up

CBD oil shows great promise in treating both cancer itself and the unpleasant side effects of harsh cancer treatments such as chemotherapy. It will not cure cancer, but it may help cancer patients through the long, hard road to recovery.

We started this website so you can read reviews of all the top medical cannabis clinics UK-wide. Cancer patients should never introduce any cannabis-based therapeutic options without first discussing it with their doctor. Not all GPs are up to date with medical cannabis, so if you feel like your GP is not as well informed on the subject, it may be best to seek a second opinion from one of the higher-rated private clinics.