While the overall rate of cancer in the US is going down, it’s still a common condition. In fact, here are a couple of numbers to put it into perspective for you:
Given that this disease touches so many lives, it’s understandable that medical and research communities are always looking for better — as in safer, more effective, cheaper, more accessible, etc. — ways to prevent and treat cancers. Could CBD be an integral part of next-gen cancer therapies?
Cancer is basically cells gone wild. But not just any cells. Cancer develops when abnormal cells grow and reproduce in an uncontrolled manner. Oftentimes, these diseased cells spread to other parts of the body and/or clump together to form a malignant (cancerous) tumor.
There are many kinds of cancer. So, pretty much anywhere in the body could, theoretically, get the cancer. Among the most common forms of the condition are:(3)
Similarly, there are many potential causes of and risk factors for cancer. These may include:(4)
Fortunately, a variety of treatments are available. Depending upon the nature and severity of the illness, a doctor may recommend one or more therapies.
Surgery, Chemotherapy, radiation, and targeted drug therapy are the current standards.(5)
These treatments can be very effective. But, they are often dogged by a litany of issues, like:
For these reasons — and more — a lot of people look to what’s referred to as Complementary and Alternative Medicine, or CAM. CAM are therapeutic products and practices that aren’t part of the standard medical approach to cancer treatment.(6)
Examples of CAM for cancer might include:
The main goals of CAM are to:
So, let’s see how and where CBD fits in to all this….
Thanks to your endocannabinoid system (ECS), CBD and other cannabinoids are able to work with your body. Everyone has an ECS, which consists of a vast, throughout-your-body network of endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes.
This glorious ensemble enables CBD and the brain to communicate and execute instructions that help your body operate. The ECS plays a big and active role in regulating many of the body’s processes and functions — like immunity, inflammatory response, sleep, metabolism, mood, and so on.
In terms of cancer specifically, how CBD and the ECS engage to combat cancer isn’t fully understood.(7,8)
However, studies suggest there may be a correlation between the ECS and tumor aggressiveness. The thought is that, because of cannabinoids, the ECS’s receptors and enzymes may influence cancer cell and tumor growth, death, and blood supplies.
OK, so now you have some broad knowledge of cancer, CBD, and the ECS floating in the background. Let’s now narrow the focus and zero in on some specific tidbits.
There are two pieces to this question, so we’ll break it apart for you.
Studies are investigating CBD’s ability to directly prevent cancer. But, we just don’t know yet.
That said, data does support the ability of CBD to help reduce some cancer risk factors, which means it could indirectly help prevent cancer. For instance, CBD may facilitate healthy weight management, reduce chronic inflammation, or quell pain so exercising is possible.(9)
A ton of research has been done on CBD’s effect on existing cancers. There are some inconsistencies with the data but, overall, it indicates that CBD may inhibit the proliferation of cancer. Meaning CBD may help prevent existing cancer or tumors from growing or spreading.(8)
Yes, maybe. If a cancer patient and his or her doctors deem it appropriate, CBD can dovetail nicely into a care plan. CBD can interact with some medications and may not be advisable before surgery, so it’s really important to talk through using CBD oil products with a medical expert.
Many people with cancer use CBD to help manage cancer symptoms and the side effects of treatment. This is because CBD is known to:
Cancer treatments often crush one’s desire to eat. THC has proven effective at stimulating appetite. So, broad- or full-spectrum CBD could be beneficial.
It’s really too early to say how effective CBD is against cancer. Initial lab, animal, and small-scale human studies are underway — what we’re learning is encouraging but not conclusive yet. So far, researchers have found that CBD may do things like:(10)
For healthy adults who consume it responsibly, CBD is OK. CBD considered non-toxic and well-tolerated. Side effects are usually few, mild, and temporary. True allergic reactions are rare.
How cancer and cancer treatments impact CBD’s safety isn’t known. Some studies imply that CBD could alter the way the body processes certain cancer meds.(11) This just underscores the need for those with cancer to consult with a doctor before starting on a CBD regimen.
Let’s examine this from three different angles….
First, let’s be clear. Currently, there aren’t any FDA-approved CBD-based drugs for cancer. Researchers are looking into using FDA-approved cannabis-based drugs like Epidiolex and Sativex for cancer.(12)
Medical-grade cannabis — like marijuana-derived CBD or high-THC hemp CBD — is available in some form in most states. It may be worth checking into local regulations and speaking with healthcare pros if this is of interest.
Switching gears to OTC hemp-derived CBD oil products that are federally legal. You have seemingly limitless options.
The key thing to remember is that there is no one “best” CBD oil formulation. What’s best for one person may not be the pinnacle of greatness for another. Your optimal CBD is based on your needs and preferences:
Once dialed in to the type of CBD and preparation that’s a good fit, the best CBD is:
There’s so much going on in the research realm.
As of right now (June 2022), there are at least 22 clinical trials ramping up or underway according to the ClinicalTrials.gov website(12). These studies are looking into potential roles and results of CBD for all kinds of cancers — such as breast, lung, colorectal, and pancreatic. The trials are hoping to increase our understanding of how CBD might be able to treat the disease, ease chemo side effects, quell related pain and anxiety, and more.
Cancer is a common health condition. While there are effective conventional treatments available, there may also be a place for complementary and alternative therapies.
Enter CBD. Currently there aren’t any FDA-approved CBD-based drugs for cancer. But, promising scientific evidence suggests that CBD has anticancer properties. Plus, CBD’s ability to relieve pain and anxiety are well established and could make coping with cancer easier.
If you’re interested in exploring the use of CBD for your cancer, you should discuss it with your doctor. Together, you can determine if it’s a good idea to incorporate into your care plan. Assuming your doc is on-board, be sure to only use the purest, highest-quality, most-bioavailable CBD oil products.
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