CBD has the potential to help with cancer management, both in terms of the disease itself and to cope with the side effects of the treatment. Researchers are also studying how CBD could play a role in treating cancer but more research is required before anything concrete can be determined.
Here’s all we know about CBD and cancer management.
CBD For Treating Cancer
Evidence suggests that cannabinoids can prevent tumours from growing. It can also increase the effectiveness of certain drugs currently being used to fight against cancer.
While these studies exist, it’s too early to say CBD is completely safe and effective to be used to treat cancer or as an alternative to other treatment options.
Research is still needed to find out the effects of when CBD is combined with THC, the correct dosage, how CBD interacts with different types of cancer, how CBD should be taken for the most effective results and so on.
CBD Complimenting Existing Treatments
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are common treatment options for cancer, but they come along with a long list of side effects. These include a loss of appetite and nausea.
However, research suggests that CBD can prevent these side effects, along with other benefits such as reducing inflammation and aiding mental health.
To date, the FDA has only approved one CBD product, namely Epidolex. This drug is used to treat rare and severe forms of epilepsy. This means that the FDA has not yet approved any CBD product to treat cancer or to ease any side effects that come as a result of cancer treatment.
That being said, in the case of chemotherapy, the FDA has approved marijuana-based drugs to treat feeling nauseous and vomiting. These drugs are Dronabinol (Marinol), which contains THC, and Nabilone (Cesamet), a synthetic drug that acts in a similar fashion to THC.
Nabiximols is another cannabinoid drug that can be accessed across Europe and Canada. It contains CBD and THC and has is used to treat pain. While it’s not currently approved for use in the US, researchers are studying its properties.
There are multiple ways to take CBD. The most common applications are tinctures, vapes and oils but it can also come in the form of edibles and even in drinks.
If you are looking into using medical marijuana alongside your cancer treatment, make sure you are communicating with your doctor. The way to take CBD will depend on the type of cancer.
CBD To Prevent Cancer
There have been mixed results on how cannabinoids like CBD can be used to prevent cancer. For example, a study back in 2010 suggests that cannabinoids could actually suppress the immune system. This would mean that some users would find it tougher to cope with different types of cancer. It should be noted THC cannabis was the focus of this research though.
In terms of CBD, there is a long way to go until it can be used to prevent cancer. This is because people will need to be using it for a long time, along with studying various dosage, the frequency of use and other important variables.
CBD Side Effects
The side effects associated with CBD may only come to fruition when it interacts with other medications. They also say that CBD alone causes no public health problems.
Even so, as noted by Healthcare Weekly, the main side effects of CBD are a change in appetite and weight, fatigue and diarrhoea. As with everything else to do with CBD and cancer, further research is required to understand other side effects. Researchers are interested in how CBD plays a role when it is used alongside other medications, including their effectiveness.
Now, one point that worth noting is that the WHO’s review suggests CBD could interfere with enzymes in the liver. This means it could impact how some medications metabolize, potentially leading to higher concentrations of the drugs in the body. Interestingly, it’s similar to grapefruit.
Talk to a doctor before taking CBD. This goes especially if you are taking medication with a grapefruit warning on the label, if it contains antibiotics, antidepressants, blood thinners, or sedatives.
Organizations like The American Cancer Society are in support of further research on CBD and cannabinoids for using in relation to cancer.
How To Choose CBD
CBD may be natural but it’s still important to proceed with caution when choosing a CBD product. There are many variations and some will promote false claims - particularly when you buy online.
In a study, researchers analyzed 84 CBD products. The results showed that 43 percent of them had a higher concentration of CBD than what was advertised on the labels. On the other hand, 26 percent of products had a lower concentration of CBD than what was advertised.
Pay attention to the contents of the CBD. Other compounds in the CBD may interact with your therapy. A few things to consider are:
- Hemp-derived CBD should have a maximum of 0.3 percent THC
- Marijuana-derived CBD may get you depending on the concentration of THC
- Stay away from CBD products that seem too good to be true
- Check out the labels to identify the concentration of CBD in the product
The effects of CBD will vary depending on a host of factors including your height, weight, age and more. If you don’t feel them straight away, just be patient and wait. If you’re new, start with a lower dosage and work your way up.
CBD shouldn’t be used as an alternative to traditional cancer treatments just yet. More research is needed to confirm its effects, both positive and negative, how much you should take and how it interacts with other therapies.
The FDA has not yet approved any CBD products for cancer patients. The only CBD-based product approved by the FDA to date is Epidolex.
That being said, cannabinoids are being used to counteract the side effects caused by their cancer treatments. This makes it really important to consult your doctor before you start.