CBD oil has received a lot of publicity lately, especially in regard to the treatment of cancer and the pain associated with it. Here, we will look at the published evidence surrounding CBD and cancer.
In the lab, CBD has been shown to have a number of promising effects on tumescence – the formation of tumours. It demonstrated anti-proliferative attributes, which means it may stop tumour cells from multiplying. It was also shown to cause some apoptosis or cell death. CBD led to some autophagy in cancer cells. This is where cells self-destruct. CBD seemed also to inhibit the adhesion, migration and invasion of the cells. A final attribute discovered in the lab was the potential to reduce the formation of new blood vessels, so potentially stopping the flow of blood to tumorous cells.
A major issue with the apparent anti-tumescent effects of CBD is that it has so far proven difficult to introduce the molecule into tumours. The one reliable study on human subjects had to inject it directly into the brain, which is an expensive and complicated procedure.
Aside from the treatment of tumours, CBD has been claimed to be a good remedy for chronic pain, in multiple debilitating illnesses aside from cancer. In San Francisco in the 1970s, a doctor in San Francisco found that giving cannabis brownies to her HIV patients seemed to reduce some of their pain symptoms. The doctor was arrested a number of times, but in subsequent years, the stigma around the plant abated a little, and research began to be done into some of the potential painkilling uses.
CBD is being used currently in Canada to treat neuropathic pain for both Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and some cancers. MS is a long-running, debilitating illness of the nervous system, and leads to much pain and suffering for many people across the world.
Is It Effective?
There are a number of small studies suggesting that CBD has promise in treating some of the specific symptoms of lung, colon, breast, and brain cancers. The gold standard of safety testing for medical products – the double-blind trial – has not yet been carried out for CBD’s effect on cancer. Most lab results have been in the test tube, rather than living organisms like humans or rats. Cancer is a serious and debilitating illness, and many people are desperate for a treatment.
Therefore, caution must be exercised and one should always listen to the advice of a licensed medical professional. A small number of the above-mentioned studies suggest that CBD may actually contribute to cancer cell growth, so more research is definitely in order. Many studies deal with the treatment of symptoms, and not the root cause. As always, safety is paramount and medical advice should always be followed.