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on Dec 19, 18

Can CBD Oil Cure Cancer?

This article will discuss the efficacy of full spectrum CBD and cancer treatment. We do not wish to diminish any of the personal testimony of those who claim CBD cured their cancer by not discussing them in this article. We simply want to take this opportunity to discuss the preclinical evidence as shown by medical articles as of the date of this article.

Can CBD Cure Cancer?

To properly address this topic, we first must delve into what CBD is and how it works. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive compound found in hemp and marijuana plants that is utilized for its different medical benefits. Hemp and marijuana are different varieties of the Cannabis sativa plant. Hemp is traditionally cultivated for seeds, oil and fiber, while marijuana is cultivated for its high content of THC, mainly utilized for its psychoactive properties. Individuals looking for alternative means of relief look to CBD to help treat inflammation, pain, anxiety, psychosis, epileptic seizures, spasms, and nausea.

How CBD Works

CBD binds to FABP (fatty acid binding protein), allowing various lipid molecules into the interior of the cell. When this process has taken place, CBD then goes to work modulating receptors on the surface and inside the nucleus of the cell. CBD has been found to enhance endocannabinoid tendency, a neuroprotective affect against seizures. CBD also increases adenosine levels, especially A1A and A2A adenosine receptors, which are mainly responsible for cardiovascular function. Effecting A1A and A2A receptors helps regulate myocardial oxygen consumption and coronary blood flow. This research infers that CBD benefits the body by increasing blood flow and creating broad anti-inflammatory effects.

CBD can provide benefits by interacting with the brain’s endocannabinoid system, which is our vital molecular system for helping maintain healthy homeostasis. This communication between cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system helps our body remedy any deficiencies or fix potential issues in the body’s ability to maintain a healthy balance. Because our endocannabinoid system has such a wide range of responsibilities, CBD has the potential to remedy a wide range of ailments.

CBD & Cancer

In order for CBD to be considered a viable option in the fight against cancer, it really needs to provide two key features. We need to see if CBD can consistently provide antitumor agents, which means it kills cancer cells. The other feature of great import is that it is safe for humans to consume. This is especially crucial, as the predominant agent in fighting cancer today isn’t particularly safe for humans to take. Currently, chemotherapy is very good at indiscriminately killing cells in your body. There have been massive improvements to this therapy over the years, but it still isn’t considered safe for humans. It kills the much needed healthy cells in the body and completely wipes out the immune system. What is considered the Holy Grail in cancer research is to find a treatment that kills cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone.

It is also important to understand that in order for CBD to be considered a cure for cancer (which today it certainly is not considered to be), a patient taking CBD for treatment of cancer would only be considered cured of their cancer if he or she has no signs of cancer five years after completing their treatment. This is the traditional timeline used in order for doctors to feel confident enough to declare that their patient has officially been cured of this horrific disease.

Over the last forty years or so, there has been growing anecdotal evidence of patients with different forms of cancer claiming that they are cancer free due to their supplementation of CBD or other cannabis oils. Of course this is exciting, but it is important to understand that MOST, but not all, of the buzz surrounding CBD as a cure for cancer has come from individuals or patients, and not conducted by doctors in laboratories conducting peer reviewed studies on human patients. Most, but not all, of these preliminary studies which show promising results have been conducted on mice but not on human subjects. It is important to point out that we do not want to give anyone false hope or say this product will cure everything for everyone. That is simply not the case. However, recently some very exciting preclinical studies have been conducted and it’s important to pay attention as these studies become public so we can properly understand how CBD can fight different forms of cancer. Ok, let’s go!

Preclinical Studies of CBD & Cancer Treatment

Today, CBD and other cannabis related products aid cancer patients with the unfortunate side effects of chemotherapy: nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, pain, depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Easing these horrendous side effects can greatly improve a patient’s mood, caloric and nutritional intake, and assist in maintaining a higher quality of life while undergoing treatment. In recent years, promising research on mice and in test tubes has showcased that CBD has the ability, on a cellular level, to create an anti-cancer effect in the body by activating PPARs (peroxisome proliferator activated receptors), which are located on the surface of the cell’s nucleus, creating an anti-proliferative effect on cancer cells. Activating PPARs has also been seen to reduce the size of tumors. In the test tube, research has seen cannabinoids kill cancerous cells while leaving healthy cells alone. Since CBD is both an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory, it could be possible for cancer cells to be killed off before they even develop. Research has yet to be fully conducted on the preventative effects but we can refer to test tube research that has shown that this might be possible. Moreover, cannabinoids have proven to promote apoptosis, the programmed death of tumor cells, while stopping angiogenesis, blood vessel production to the tumor. Studies have also seen CBD’s potential benefits with cancer treatment, as cannabinoids are known to interfere with tumor neovascularization, cancer cell migration, adhesion, invasion and metastasization.

Full Spectrum CBD Oil Treating Breast Cancer & Other Cancers

In 2006, a study was conducted on antitumor activity of plant cannabinoids with emphasis on the effect of cannabidiol on human breast carcinoma, utilizing cannabis extracts which where enriched with over 70% cannabidiol. The study was conducted to discover whether there is a statistical advantage in using cannabis extracts to fight breast cancer cells. The study also focused on whether there was a statistical difference when using full spectrum CBD or THC and other cannabinoids. The authors of these studies stated that they found “CBD induced a concentration-dependent cell death of both oestrogen receptor-positive and oestrogen receptor-negative breast cancer cells with a mechanism independent of CB1, CB2 and TRPV1 receptor activation.” These findings suggest that CBD could potentially be considered as an alternative agent for fighting breast cancer. What cannabinoids seemed to be doing in these studies was leaving the healthy cells alone while attacking the tumor cells. This would be a massive advantage over the traditional chemotherapy treatment options.

What makes this research so remarkable is the fact that, while utilizing concentrations of CBD, the CBD seemed to have little effect on non-tumourigenic cells. Results clearly indicate that, of the five natural compounds tested, CBD is the most potent at inhibiting cancer cell growth in human breast cells. Both cannabidiol and the cannabidiol-rich extract inhibited the growth of xenograft tumors and reduced lung metastase. According to their results, CBD has the ability to induce apoptosis by activating cannabinoid CB(2) receptors, vanilloid transient receptors, and reactive oxygen species. In conclusion, this work brings forth strong evidence that CBD has the ability to balance autophagy and mitochrondira-mediated apoptosis in breast cancer cell death.

CBD and Endocrine Tumors

Neuroendocrine tumors or (NETs) are neoplasms that arise from cells of the endocrine (hormonal) and nervous systems. The most common type of endocrine cancer is thyroid cancer, with over 56,000 new cases in the United States each year. Much like what has been seen in the treatment of other types of cancer cells, CBD has been shown to exert anti-proliferative effects in mice. CBD, like its effect on breast cancer cells, was seen to induce apoptosis (cancer cell suicide) while leaving healthy cells alone. These preliminary studies have shown much promise in CBD’s ability to reduce the growth of cancerous tumors in mice and has been shown to cause cancer cell death in early in vitro studies.

There are some esteemed doctors who have dedicated their professional careers to the study of cannabinoids and their beneficial effects on cancer cells. In our research, there are some very promising cases utilizing CBD as a possible treatment for cancer. Most of the promising work has been done in vitro, in test tubes, or in mice and other rodent studies. There are some small human studies of cancer patients that have shown promising data similarities to the results seen in rodent and in vitro studies, to the point that there’s an overwhelming call for CBD and THC to be seen as a legitimate possibility for the treatment of several different types of cancers.

Notable Scientists Researching CBD & Cancer

Dr. Christina Sanchez

Dr. Christina Sanchez is a molecular biologist from Madrid, Spain. Throughout her career she has been particularly interested in how cannabinoids like CBD and THC can be used in the treatment of cancer. Throughout her research she aims to understand and exploit cannabinoids as potential antitumoral agents. Her research in mice explains that what makes cannabinoids so powerful is the way in which they induce apoptosis, or in her words, how cancer cells commit suicide. In her research, CBD is seen to cause an inactivation of AKT, the protein which, when active, allows cancer cells to proliferate and spread throughout the body.

In her preclinical studies, Dr. Sanchez utilizes both THC and CBD specifically for the treatment of breast cancer. As we know, THC targets CB1 receptors, which causes the psychoactive effects, and CBD targets CB2 receptors. Her research suggests that in breast cancer, THC and CBD have exactly the same effects on breast cancer cells: they stop cancer cell growth and also inhibit the AKT protein, which stops cancer cell proliferation, all the while leaving healthy cell growth alone.

Hundreds of preclinical trials suggest that full spectrum CBD oil is safe in human patients. In 2006, using six terminally ill cancer patients, Dr. Sanchez studied CBD and its effects on tumor growth and proliferation. All the patients enrolled in the study had already undergone surgery to remove cancer tumors, had gone through the standard chemotherapy treatments, and had suffered recurrent cancer activity. What they observed was that THC reduced tumor growth, prolonged life in some of the patients, increased apoptosis, and reduced cancer proliferation as effectively as the standard chemotherapy treatments. This small group study suggests parallels to her preclinical in vitro and animal results. The resulting conclusions from Dr. Sanchez’s work are incredibly important and will pave the way for more human studies in the future.

Dr. Raphael Mechoulam

Dr. Raphael Mechoulam is an organic chemist and professor who is seen as one of the vanguards in the study of medicinal cannabis. Dr. Mechoulam is also a professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. He is well known for his research and accomplishments with the total synthesis of the Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Cannabidiol (CBD), and Cabbabigerol (CBG).

He has stated on numerous occasions that, “…cannabis doesn’t cure a disease but it treats symptoms. It can help certain symptoms but does not cure a disease.” It is important to understand that not many drugs on the market today actually cure the disease the drug is designed for. In most cases, drugs are designed to treat the symptoms. For a good reference, antibiotics is an example of a drug that actually cures a disease. Dr. Mechoulam has explained in detail that when testing with animals, there has definitely been an effect when treating cancer with cannabis. In order for the medical and scientific community to say cannabis and other cannabinoids like cannabidiol are effective in the cure for cancer, we need to see an increase in human trials. As of the date of this article, there have been numerous studies conducted with mice and in vitro, but there has yet to be a strong human case study on the efficacy of cannabis being a viable treatment for different forms of cancer. Dr. Mechoulam “regrets this, as we have seen some promising research in animals which have been treated successfully.” The momentum is increasing and we will definitely see these much needed human case studies come out in the near future.

In Conclusion on CBD Oil & Cancer

In conclusion, cannabinoid CBD exhibits pro-apoptotic and anti-proliferative effects on a variety of different cancers. In some preliminary studies in vitro and in mice, CBD can also be seen to exert anti-migratory, anti-metastatic and possibly preventative effects on cancer tumor formation. In in vitro studies, CBD seems to only target cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone. In mice and rodent tests, CBD was seen to reduce tumor growth and metastasization. These preliminary studies set a strong foundation as to the efficacy of CBD as a potential treatment for cancer. The actual level of effectiveness in humans will be properly measured in the coming years. The pioneering work of Dr. Sanchez, on a handful of terminally ill patients, did show some statistical correlation between CBD’s ability to treat cancer cells in vitro and its ability to slow and possibly reduce cancer growth in humans.

What we can understand from this early work is that CBD is a nontoxic compound which acts very naturally and works with your body through the endocannabinoid system. Studies have shown that ingesting 700mg a day for 6 weeks did not show any toxic effects in humans. As we have discussed earlier, the standard forms of cancer treatment today are considered very toxic, and we can say with strong certainty that CBD and Cannabis will help alleviate many of the horrific effects patients go through during chemotherapy. Finally, these early studies represent CBD’s exciting potential and have garnered the interests of the medical community, to the point that CBD can be seen as a possible supplemental agent to the current chemotherapy treatments. In theory, this could allow chemotherapy dose reduction, greatly reducing the harmful side effects of chemotherapy while maintaining cancer treatment efficacy. Thanks to the work conducted by doctors like Dr. Sanchez and Dr. Mechoulam, cannabinoids are now being seen as legitimate medicinal agents, worthy of human trials and a possible therapy for cancer.


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