Is CBD for cancer a viable option? Millions of people are diagnosed with cancer every year. Cancer is devastating to both individual patients and their families. It is also a massive burden on the health care system; countries spend millions every year on treatment. Not to mention the psychological toll a cancer diagnosis can have on a person.
Thus, cancer researchers are always on the lookout for new treatment options. One promising candidate is CBD, the non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis. Studies show CBD relieves pain and chemotherapy-related nausea. CBD can also help with anxiety and depression related to a cancer diagnosis. Preliminary research even shows CBD could kill cancer cells, which would be a game-changer for everyone.
As it stands, CBD for cancer is a viable alternative for those looking to reduce their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
What is Cancer? What Causes It?
First, what is cancer? Cancer isn’t just one thing. There are many different diseases categorized under cancer. But what they all have in common is the same process.
Everyone has trillions of cells in their bodies. The body can regulate every cell’s birth, growth, and death in healthy people. Cancer is a runaway process. Cells divide uncontrollably and spread to neighbouring healthy cells.
Cancerous cells grow despite the body signalling them to stop.
But what causes these cells to divide uncontrollably? Unfortunately, cancer is genetic. It is hereditary and passed down through generations. However, researchers think this only accounts for 5-10% of cancer cases. Environmental factors also cause cancer. Alcohol and tobacco use are obvious culprits. But so is a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle. Excessive exposure to sunlight can also cause cancer.
One’s risk for cancer increases with age, but there are ways to limit its development. There are plenty of treatment options if one is diagnosed with cancer.
Fortunately, a cancer diagnosis isn’t the death sentence it used to be. Surgeries are far more complex and intricate than they were in the past. Chemotherapy is also a powerful way to kill cancer cells, as is radiation therapy.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for Cannabidiol, one of the hundreds of cannabinoids found in the cannabis or hemp plant. Cannabinoids mimic the endocannabinoids that the body produces naturally.
Everybody has an endocannabinoid system (ECS). It helps regulate mood, appetite, sleep, pain response, and the immune system. CBD is an external cannabinoid that binds to our cannabinoid receptors. CBD prompts the ECS to help with pain relief and reduce inflammation.
CBD is non-psychoactive, unlike the THC cannabinoid. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) handles the “high” associated with cannabis. This effect is not present in CBD-dominant strains of cannabis. In hemp, there is no THC at all. Some cancer patients use THC to help alleviate their suffering. But not everyone is interested in feeling stoned. For some, THC can cause side effects of increased anxiety or paranoia. Making CBD for cancer a viable alternative.
CBD for Cancer-related Pain Relief
Cancer can cause chronic pain as it damages the healthy parts of the body. Additionally, cancer treatments can also cause pain. For example, nausea is a common side effect of chemotherapy. Recovery from cancer-related surgeries can cause aches and pains.
Cancer patients have often been prescribed opioids. Drugs that are habit-forming and have serious side effects. CBD for cancer works because the endocannabinoid system is involved in regulating pain. Making CBD a promising treatment for addressing acute and chronic pain. CBD doesn’t lead to dependency, lowering the risk of addiction.
CBD Reduces Chemotherapy’s Side Effects
Chemotherapy effectively kills cancer cells and is one of the most popular treatments. But it is also damaging to the body with such side effects as hair loss, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. Chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting are so severe many quit the treatment altogether.
CBD suppresses nausea and vomiting. A study conducted with CBD showed significant decreases in nausea and vomiting. The study treated patients with CBD or a placebo. And it wasn’t the only one. Multiple studies show CBD is effective at reducing chemotherapy’s side effects.
CBD for a Cancer Cure?
The most significant factor in CBD for cancer is its potential to cure cancer altogether. Researchers are finding CBD-induced death of breast cancer cells. CBD also appears to inhibit tumour growth in liver cancers.
CBD is naturally anti-inflammatory. Because of this, some researchers think CBD may have a preventative effect. The link between inflammation and certain types of cancer is scientifically solid. Therefore, a daily CBD regimen could potentially lower one’s cancer risk.
CBD Increases Cancer Survival Rates
A 2018 study found CBD may increase cancer survival rates. The researchers split mice into two groups. One treated with chemotherapy, the other treated with CBD and chemotherapy. The group that received CBD alongside chemotherapy lived three times longer than the chemotherapy-only group.
Researchers believe that a cannabinoid receptor called GPR55 is involved. Linked to cancer cell growth, CBD inhibits this receptor, thus increasing survival rates.
Is CBD Safe? How Much Should You Take? And How Do You Take It?
CBD is safe and has no adverse side effects. But because CBD can potentially interact with other cancer-related medications, you should speak to your doctor before taking CBD.
If you decide to try CBD for cancer, there are plenty of options. You don’t have to smoke it (although that is an option, whether in the form of herbs or hash). There is also the option to vape it.
You can apply it topically, that is, CBD balm. Using this method, CBD doesn’t enter the bloodstream. It instead interacts with the cannabinoid receptors through the skin. CBD balm is an excellent option for when a specific part of the body aches and you want to target it with an ointment.
Perhaps the most effective method is oral. CBD drops allow for higher accuracy in dosage than smoking or applying it topically. As well, CBD drops are tiny and easy to carry around.
Another oral option is beverages, which provide flavour alongside the treatment. Suppose you or your loved one has cancer-related nausea and vomiting problems. In that case, flavoured CBD beverages may be a better option than the drops. There is also CBD powder that you can mix into a beverage you make at home. You can also make CBD tea.
Because CBD for cancer is still in its early stages of research, there is no universal agreement on how much CBD is required. A common rule of thumb is 5mg of CBD for every 10 pounds of body weight. However, one’s age and metabolism can also play a factor.
CBD for cancer is a growing field of research, and the results look promising so far. CBD acts as a natural medicine to help manage the side effects of chemotherapy and other cancer treatments. Research also shows it helps these cancer treatments do their job effectively. The potential that CBD might suppress cancer cells opens a doorway to much further investigation. Research that may one day finally bring us a cure for all types of cancer.