Research into cancer treatments is obviously robust. As a major cause of death in the US and the entire world, there is a need to find novel and effective ways to help those with the disease. A great study in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine from 2017, titled A Review of the Therapeutic Antitumor Potential of Cannabinoids, discusses a lot of the research in this area and provides us with a direction for future studies. It also makes it clear that cannabinoids can be a significant help to many cancer patients.
There are many approaches to cancer, including but not limited to, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. I am not here to argue the benefit or harm of such interventions other than to say that they can have significant side effects.
What if there were some ways of helping cancer patients without a lot of side effects or even helping those with cancer going through standard medical approaches?
Well, there are and this is where cannabinoids come in. Cannabinoids are chemicals that found in the cannabis plant and there are over 100 that have been identified. There are two types of cannabis plants: one grown for a psychotropic drug called THC and the other for industrial reasons (hemp protein, hemp flour, etc…) and the non-psychotropic cannabinoid called Cannabidiol, or CBD. CBD has tremendous medicinal benefits without the side-effects of THC. It is not smoked or otherwise inhaled and it can be safely taken orally for CB1 and CB2 receptor effects or topically more-so for CB2 receptor effects.
There are many studies that have shown that cannabinoids have anti-cancer effects in both animal and human cells. Studies have shown that cannabinoids cause cancer cell apoptosis, or cell death. CBD, one of the two most researched cannabinoids that has been shown to have incredible health benefits, down-regulates pro-angiogenic signals produced by glioma cells, has been shown to aid in the treatment of tumor growth as well as help in cancer cell death by stimulating the antioxidant enzyme activity. It has been shown to have a positive effect on mitochondrial function as well as have positive benefits on breast cancer. Research is ongoing and the more we learn, the more we can safely use CBD to help cancer patients.
This review study referenced over 60 other studies to help support the premise that cannabinoids can aid in cancer treatment. Although we cannot state that CBD is an end-all cure for the disease, it does appear to have significant beneficial effects that should not be overlooked. It also does not have the side effects of many of the manufactured medications.
The authors finish the abstract of the study with ‘With such knowledge, cannabinoids could become a therapy of choice in contemporary oncology’. This is a very powerful statement and anybody with cancer or anyone who cares for someone who does, should be aware of the research and the benefits that CBD can offer those with this most horrible disease.
It is important for cancer patients to discuss with their oncologist what CBD can do for them. If your oncologist is unfamiliar with CBD, then you can show them the study referenced in this blog or any of the multitude of studies that are easily found on Pubmed/Medline.