CBD for the Prevention and Treatment of Cancer

UPDATED ON MARCH 3RD, 2019

Traditional Cancer Treatments

Chemotherapy and radiation are very common forms of treatment for people diagnosed with cancer. Both forms of treatment can have some pretty nasty side effects on the body.

During chemotherapy, cancer cells are targeted throughout the body. Depending on the type of cancer a patient has been diagnosed with, chemotherapy may be used to cure, control, or ease symptoms. Chemotherapy may be able to destroy the cancer cells to the point of not being able to be detected in your body and hopefully, they don’t regrow. If the goal is to control the cancer, chemotherapy will be used to attempt to keep cancer from spreading to other parts of the body, or to slow the growth of the cancerous tumors. If chemotherapy is being used to ease symptoms, it will not cure or control the spread of cancer but simply shrink the tumor which might be causing pain or pressure to different parts of the body.

Unfortunately, chemotherapy can affect healthy cells, like those of the skin, hair, intestines, and bone marrow. It is common for patients receiving chemotherapy to experience nausea, hair loss, vomiting, pain, and fatigue. Further side effects can include mouth sores, bleeding tendencies, and changes with menstrual cycles in women.

Radiation therapy produces high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and kill tumors. The body is exposed to low doses of radiation whenever an x-ray is given as well as whenever you fly in a plane. In higher doses, radiation can kill cancer cells and slow the growth by damaging the cancer cell’s DNA. Once the cancer cell’s DNA is damaged enough, they will stop dividing and die off. Radiation therapy does not kill cancer sells immediately. It can take days to weeks, or even months for the cancer cells to become so damaged they can’t repair themselves.

There’s a problem with radiation-our body can only safely receive so much of it in a lifetime. If someone has been reached their limit for radiation, this would mean that radiation can no longer be used on that portion of the body to treat cancer. And radiation can cause side effects which include damage to healthy cells. It is common for patients receiving radiation to experience itching, blistering, peeling, and dryness around the area treated area.

CBD Used with Chemotherapy and Radiation

CBD can be used to treat chronic pain, inflammation, nausea, and to regulate hormones. All of these are possible and very common side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. Medical marijuana is sometimes used as part of the treatment for cancer patients to help stimulate their appetite and help with nausea. Unfortunately, marijuana has THC and has been found to have addictive components. It is also illegal in many states. CBD offers the same benefits without THC which makes it 100% legal across the United States and offers help without any addictive and serious side effects.

Can CBD Prevent Cancer?

CBD has shown promise to not only help ease the side effects of cancer treatments, but there’s evidence suggesting that CBD can help kill cancer cells. The Institute of Toxicology and Pharmacology published a study in 2010 which focused on the ability for CBD to invade cancer cells. CBD proved to impair the cancer cells in cervical cancer and lung cancer cells and prevent them from multiplying. These findings provide evidence to further study CBD and it’s underlying anti-invasive effects on cancer growth.

Since CBD has been shown to help kill cancer cells or stop them from multiplying, could it also be used to prevent cancer all together? The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology states that there is evidence which suggests CBD is a potent inhibitor of both cancer growth and spread, which also provides evidence that CBD could be used as a possible prevention method.

Researchers at Project on Cellular and Molecular Biology and Gene Therapy published a study in 2003 on skin tumor growth and the impact CBD may have. The strategies for treatment of these tumors was done by directly applying 2 chemical compounds which mimic the effects of cannabinoids. The results proved that by activating the endocannabinoid system through the receptors in the skin, this induced cell death and slowed the growth of the aggressive skin cancers.

The Journal of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment published a study in 2011 which focused on CBD and the reduction of breast cancer cells in mice. The results provided evidence that CBD helped slow the proliferation, or growth of the breast cancer cells. They also were able to confirm that CBD helped reduce metastasis or breakaway of smaller tumors from larger tumors. This particular study found that CBD helped reduce the development of aggressive breast cancer.