When it comes to natural medicine, CBD (short for Cannabidiol) has gained popularity recently. Although the hemp plant contains many cannabinoids, CBD has proven to offer the human body many benefits. With this topic has triggering lots of debate, there are people who advise using CBD for treating cancer and to alleviate the symptoms.
While it may be too early to jump to conclusions about CBD for treating cancer, this compound can help in managing symptoms that one might experience due to the disease or during its treatment.
Is research helping make CBD legal?
With medical marijuana is being legalised in more countries across the world, we are now able to find out more about the different elements of cannabis and their uses.
Even though CBD oil extracted from hemp and that from marijuana are in essence the same plant, they do not have the same ingredients. CBD Oil extracted from hemp is by nature low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and has no psychoactive effects. It is for this reason that CBD products have been legalised for medicinal use in Australia. However, what interests many people today is the potential linkage between cancer treatment and CBD oil.
At present, more and more doctors have started to include CBD oil in the care plan of their patient, with Cannabidiol now playing a major role in improving many cancer patient’s lives. While this isn’t an alternative to getting the needed care at the hospital — it is advisable that you ensure to always consult a doctor for the best care option for your health condition.
Cannabis and CBD have been studied in relation to specific cancers. For example, according to a 2012 Molecular Medicine Journal study,  lab-induced colon cancer in mice shrunk following a CBD treatment. Also, according to Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, a 2013 study  found that use of CBD could trigger cell death of cell lines for certain lung cancer, therefore decreasing its tumour viability.
Why use CBD Oil for Cancer?
One thing to take note of is that each cell in your body that is dividing could get attacked by chemotherapy.
Which cells in the body undergo proliferation? First would be the cancer cells, these are to be gotten rid of, but also stomach cells, your immune system cells, and lots of tissues.
Due to this, chemotherapy is very toxic since it will not only attack cancer cells but those cells that are undergoing proliferating in your bodies.
What makes cannabinoids different is that they only attack cancer cells. And although it’s not yet clear in molecular terms or why cancer cells differ in their sensitivity to cannabinoids, what is known is that cannabinoids kill cancer cells. Also, these compounds don’t affect non-cancer cells’ viability.
Is CBD Oil the same as THC?
When the topic of CDB oil comes up, there’s often a common misconception that pops up a lot — will it not get you high?
The short answer is No! In the cannabis plant, there are many types of cannabinoids available, however, only two are known so far to be beneficial: Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). And the component that makes marijuana users high is THC.
However, CBD doesn’t contain any psychoactive effects thus it has no associated highs. When it is extracted from the hemp plant, it is legal in most countries around the globe and that includes Australia.
Also, it’s important to take note that CBD is different from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is because THC in cannabis is an active cannabinoid which causes a “high” if ingested or smoked.
Is CBD The Future Of Cancer Treatment?
CBD(Cannabinoids) occur naturally in the cannabis sativa plant, however, they are commercially accessible in synthetic drugs authorised by the FDA.
For instance, Dronabinol is a synthetic variation of THC and used in treating vomiting and nausea resulting from chemotherapy treatment. This medication is often prescribed when all other drugs fail to work.
Also, there is Nabilone which is a synthetic CBD variant that is used in treating vomiting and nausea caused by chemotherapy.
Can CBD Complement Chemotherapy Treatment?
Most of the evidence available today suggests that cannabis and CBD therapies can complement cancer treatment. Let’s take a look at how CBD can help people suffering from cancer.
- Relieve Pain
How can CBD oil be used to help with cancer? To start with, CBD has the ability to eliminate pain.
Many cancer patients have turned to CBD depending on their situation, to help alleviate pains and aches from arthritis, injuries or inflammation. And because of its pain-relieving capabilities CBD can also be used for pain related to cancer.
This can also be an excellent substitute especially when you don’t want to get hooked on those powerful opioids.
2. Slows down cancer cells Growth
The most fascinating thing with CBD oil is that it has the capability to slow down cancer cells growth. According to a research by McAllister , CBD is capable of inhibiting the growth and even the spread of specific cancer cells. And this might potentially be a significant discovery in cancer research.
Although CBD oil is not being administered to patients for this purpose as yet — that’s because more research regarding this needs to be carried out — but there’s a high likelihood that by using CBD in treating other symptoms, you will also be assisting your body to fight off cancer.
3. Combating Nausea
Cannabis and cannabinoids like CBD can also be useful for cancer patients who have a tough time with regular nausea as well as vomiting. And especially when these symptoms are as a result of chemotherapy.
Even so, the antinausea effect seems to come from Tetrahydrocannabinol in cannabis, instead of being from CBD. When you are considering trying cannabis to lessen or eliminate nausea, you need to be prepared for the possible psychoactive effects from THC contained in the prescribed cannabis products. Also, be sure to talk about these effects with your doctor.
4. Stimulate Appetite
Another way CBD oil can help you manage symptoms from chemo is through the stimulation of your appetite. Lack of appetite and nausea are some symptoms linked to cancer treatments and chemotherapy. Unfortunately, there’s really no way around it.
But, by using CBD oil, most patients find that it’s possible to reduce the nausea symptoms and therefore help the body hold down food. This also means you can now get the necessary nutrients for normal body functions and thus promote healing.
5. Helps manage Depression
It can sometimes seem like a hopeless endeavour when taking Cancer treatments. It is very easy for patients to feel like there’s nothing that can be done and that there’s no hope. And when your mind stops fighting, your body too might give up.
But the good news is that CBD can help you stabilise your mood and combat depression so you can avoid sinking deep into a depressive state. Realise that your body will at times need some help and CBD might just be the thing.
6. Combat Weight Loss
It’s possible you’ve come across the images of rail-thin people who have undergone cancer treatment. Not only is cancer harming your body, but chemo can have rather negative effects as well.
Luckily, by using CBD oil together with your other treatments might help you fight the weight loss which is usually linked to cancer treatment. CBD can help improve your appetite allowing you to actually sit down and have a proper meal. However, for some it’ll help prevent vomiting and nausea considering vomiting might lead to loss of the all-important nutrients.
Does CBD have any Side effects?
When a person stops using CBD, it’s possible they might experience insomnia.
Unlike the other drug receptors, the cannabinoid receptors found in our brains act in a different way, so they could have a lower sideeffect risks.
Different from the traditional medications used in managing pain, CBD has no evident lethal doses since it does not impact the central nervous system as opiates do.
Since the cannabinoid receptors can be found all over your body, CBD will not only affect the brain but it will also impact tissues and other organs. So for individuals who are especially sensitive to CBD, it is possible they might experience some unfavorable side effects. Some side effects that CBD might cause include:
- Low blood pressure (hypotension)
- red eyes
- Fast heartbeat (tachycardia)
- decreased digestion
- muscle relaxation
Although there’s a reduced likelihood of addiction to CBD, some people might develop cannabinoids tolerance. However, some might experience withdrawal symptimd in case they stop using CBD.
Some of the withdrawal symptoms experienced will include hot flashes, irritability, insomnia, nausea, sleep disturbances or restlessness.
Take note that CBD can inhibit specific enzymes which may be essential for cancer therapies. Therefore, cancer treatments that depend on these enzymes might be less effective when a person uses CBD.
How Can I Choose The Right CBD Oil Product For Me?
Make sure you read the label to check the total levels of CBD in the whole product and the number of milligrams found in one regular dose. Usually, CBD products will vary in strength, with some having higher levels of CBD component than others. Most labels will indicate the amount of CBD contained in one drop or dropper. This way, you’ll know the exact amount you need.
Confirm the THC and CBD ratio. Some cannabis products might have micro-doses of THC that has shown to enhance the healing effects of CBD. However, when you want a product that only has CBD and doesn’t cause you to experience intoxication or euphoric effects, then it’s best to choose a product that has no THC component.
Also, you’ll need to buy a CBD product which clearly indicates the amount of CBD present and whether it contains any other cannabis components or ingredients.
Research done has shown that CBD health benefits include combating breast cancer cells. Additionally, it can prevent the invasion of colon and lung cancer for some people. Furthermore, CBD has anti-tumor capabilities in gliomas and it has been used in treating leukemia.
To help you pick out the best quality cannabis products, always look for those that have a COA or certificate of analysis. With a COA, it means the manufacturer has tested the product for any contaminants, and that it fulfills lab standards.
Make sure you know the effect you desire as you begin using CBD oil. To start with, you could normally take smaller doses in case you want to improve your mood, reduce stress, improve sleep, and relieve nausea or headaches.
Also, you might have to take a slightly higher dose if you want to decrease inflammation, fight anxiety, improve arthritis symptoms, and relieve epilepsy symptoms, for instance. Once you know the exact effect you want to achieve when using CBD oil, then determining the right dose for you will be much easier.
Where can I buy CBD oils in Australia?
Today, it’s possible you’ ve noticed many CBD products everywhere and especially online. But in Australia, medicinal cannabis products are to be prescribed only by a registered doctor.
And apart from Nabiximols, in Australia, the medicinal cannabis products aren’t registered medicines. And this means they must be availed through the proper pathways authorised for all unapproved medicines.
Although CBD seems to be a beneficial supplement for many cancer symptoms, no scientific research has shown that CBD might be an efficient cancer treatment.
Cannabinoids and hemp plant itself might have a key role to play as a great complimentary treatment for some cases, for instance, for patients who need some assistance in managing nausea and chronic pain.
And before you use any other compound or CBD, make sure to always consult with your doctor. Especially when you are undergoing cancer treatment. This way you will be able to prevent the risk of CBD reacting with any medications you may be taking.
2012 Molecular Medicine Journal study; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3371734/
2013 research on cell death; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3613838/
2016 research on CBD effects on cancer cells; http://www.phmd.pl/api/files/view/117062.pdf
McAllister Cancer cell growth inhibitor; https://www.projectcbd.org/medicine/cbd-thc-and-cancer