Discover supporting research and information on how cannabidiol (CBD) relates to the treatment of Cancer.
Cancer is not a single disease, but instead is a name given to a collection of related diseases. In all types of cancer, abnormal cells in the body begin to divide and grow uncontrollably. Rather than dying, old cells grow into new abnormal cells. In some types of cancer these cells spreading into surrounding tissues to create a mass called a tumor. Not all types of cancer form tumors.
Forms of Cancer
Cancers are named based on the location in the body at which they begin. For example, cancer that begins in the lungs and spreads to the liver is classified as lung cancer. There are several terms used to describe general types of cancer:
- Carcinomas begin in the skin or tissue that line the internal organs.
- Sarcomas begin in fat, muscle, bone, or other connective tissues.
- Central nervous system cancers begin in the brain and spinal cord.
- Leukemia begins in the blood and the bone marrow.
- Lymphomas originate in the immune system.
When a person is diagnosed with cancer, they will be given a stage that represents the size of the disease and how far it has spread. A 0-4 stage ranking system is used with 4 being the most severe. These stages are based on a set of specific set of classifications that help determine the treatment path and future outlook:
- Stage 0 indicates a person is cancer free or only have signs of abnormal cells with the potential to become cancer.
- Stage 1 or early stage cancer is when the disease is small and is localized in the area it originated.
- Stage 2 classifies cancer where a tumor is larger or the abnormal cells may have spread into the local lymph nodes.
- Stage 3 indicates a larger cancer that has likely spread into the surrounding tissues and cancer cells are in the lymph nodes in the area.
- Stage 4 means cancer has spread from its place of origin out into another organ in the body.
Cancer is caused by mutations in the DNA within individual cells. When these mutations occur, the instructions for a cell's activity is changed. When the normal cell function is disrupted by an error, the cell has a potential to become cancerous. These gene mutations can result in rapid cell growth and a failure to stop the uncontrolled growth.
The following factors can increase the risk of cancer:
- An increase in age. Most cancer patients are 65 or older, yet cancer can still occur at any age.
- Regular smoking tobacco drinking.
- Poor diet and lack of exercise.
- Exposure to the sun.
- Exposure to radiation.
- Exposure to harmful chemicals in your immediate environment.
- A small percentage of cancers may run in family genetics.
While there is no guaranteed way to prevent cancer, there are ways to lower your risk of the disease by:
- Stop smoking, reduce or prevent alcohol intake.
- Avoid excessive sun exposure.
- Eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise.
- Get screened for cancer on a regular basis.
- Prevent exposure to harmful chemicals.
- Maintain a healthy weight for your body type.
Common Treatments & Complications
There is a wide range of cancer treatments available that vary depending on the severity and type of cancer. Some of the most common treatments include:
- Radiation therapy
Different types of treatments often carry a range of complications and side effects that may impact the quality of life of the patient. Complications from treatments include:
- Bowl issues including diarrhea and constipation
- Weight loss
- Nervous system problems
Treating Cancer with CBD
A large body of research has been performed on various types of cancer diseases with a wide range of positive results. Many studies have observed CBD and other cannabinoids exhibit a therapeutic effect a reduction of tumor growth via inhibition of tumor proliferation, angiogenesis, and via induction of tumor cell death.
CBD shows promise for the development of new drugs. In some cases, the substance exhibits lesser side effects and more therapeutic benefits as compared to recent available medical therapies. More research and clinical studies are needed to explore the full potential.
A growing body of research is being performed across a wide range of cancer types. See the supporting research section below for type-specific studies.
Managing Side Effects of Cancer Treatments
In addition to the growing wealth of CBD-cancer related research, the compound also has promise for managing the side effects of cancer treatment. Cannabidiol, especially when taken with other cannabinoids in a full-spectrum form or as part of a whole-plant medicine may be helpful in managing side effects like nausea, pain, weight loss and more.
25mg of CBD per day to relieve pain in patients with malignant diseases. (General, 3) 300mg of orally administrated CBD per day was given to patients in a transplant test. (Leukemia, 2)
For more information, see our dosage guidelines for CBD.
- Is Cannabidiol a Promising Substance for New Drug Development? A Review of its Potential Therapeutic Applications. (2018) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29773016
- The current state and future perspectives of cannabinoids in cancer biology. (March 2018) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29473338
- Pharmacotherapeutic considerations for use of cannabinoids to relieve pain in patients with malignant diseases. (April 2018) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29719417
- Cannabinoids in Glioblastoma Therapy: New Applications for Old Drugs. (May 2018) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29867351
- Marijuana and Cancer (American Cancer Society) – https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/complementary-and-alternative-medicine/marijuana-and-cancer.html
- TRPV2 activation induces apoptotic cell death in human T24 bladder cancer cells: a potential therapeutic target for bladder cancer. (August 2010) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20546877
- Antitumor effects of cannabidiol, a nonpsychoactive cannabinoid, on human glioma cell lines. (March 2004) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14617682
- Triggering of the TRPV2 channel by cannabidiol sensitizes glioblastoma cells to cytotoxic chemotherapeutic agents. (January 2013) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23079154
- Id-1 is a key transcriptional regulator of glioblastoma aggressiveness and a novel therapeutic target. (March 2013) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23243024
- Cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid compound, inhibits proliferation and invasion in U87-MG and T98G glioma cells through a multitarget effect. (October 2013) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24204703
- Cannabidiol inhibits human glioma cell migration through a cannabinoid receptor-independent mechanism. (April 2015) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15700028
- Cannabidiol enhances the inhibitory effects of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol on human glioblastoma cell proliferation and survival. (January 2010) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20053780
- Systematic review of the literature on clinical and experimental trials on the antitumor effects of cannabinoids in gliomas. (January 2014) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24142199
- Quantitative Analyses of Synergistic Responses between Cannabidiol and DNA-Damaging Agents on the Proliferation and Viability of Glioblastoma and Neural Progenitor Cells in Culture. (January 2017) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27821713
- Regulation of human glioblastoma cell death by combined treatment of cannabidiol, γ-radiation and small molecule inhibitors of cell signaling pathways. (May 2017) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29088769
- Antitumor activity of plant cannabinoids with emphasis on the effect of cannabidiol on human breast carcinoma. (September 2006) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16728591
- especially as a novel inhibitor of Id-1 gene expression in aggressive breast cancer cells. (November 2007) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18025276
- Cannabidiol induces programmed cell death in breast cancer cells by coordinating the cross-talk between apoptosis and autophagy. (July 2011) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21566064
- Pathways mediating the effects of cannabidiol on the reduction of breast cancer cell proliferation, invasion, and metastasis. (August 2011) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20859676
- Cannabidiolic acid, a major cannabinoid in fiber-type cannabis, is an inhibitor of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell migration. (November 2012) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22963825
- Modulation of the tumor microenvironment and inhibition of EGF/EGFR pathway: novel anti-tumor mechanisms of Cannabidiol in breast cancer. (April 2015) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25660577
- Cannabidiolic acid-mediated selective down-regulation of c-fos in highly aggressive breast cancer MDA-MB-231 cells: possible involvement of its down-regulation in the abrogation of aggressiveness. (January 2017) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27530354
- Novel mechanism of cannabidiol-induced apoptosis in breast cancer cell lines. (June 2018) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30007266
- Induction of apoptosis by cannabinoids in prostate and colon cancer cells is phosphatase dependent. (November 2011) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22110202
- Chemopreventive effect of the non-psychotropic phytocannabinoid cannabidiol on experimental colon cancer. (August 2012) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22231745
- GPR55 promotes migration and adhesion of colon cancer cells indicating a role in metastasis. (January 2016) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26436760
- Cannabidiol and palmitoylethanolamide are anti-inflammatory in the acutely inflamed human colon. (October 2017) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28954820
- Cannabidiol-induced apoptosis in human leukemia cells: A novel role of cannabidiol in the regulation of p22phox and Nox4 expression (September 2006) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16754784
- Cannabidiol for the Prevention of Graft-versus-Host-Disease after Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation: Results of a Phase II Study. (October 2015) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26033282
- Cannabidiol Reduces Leukemic Cell Size – But Is It Important? (March 2017) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28392768
- Anticancer effects of phytocannabinoids used with chemotherapy in leukaemia cells can be improved by altering the sequence of their administration. (July 2017) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28560402
- Decrease of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 may contribute to the anti-invasive action of cannabidiol on human lung cancer cells. (October 2010) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20668920
- Cannabidiol inhibits lung cancer cell invasion and metastasis via intercellular adhesion molecule-1. (April 2012) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22198381
- COX-2 and PPAR-γ confer cannabidiol-induced apoptosis of human lung cancer cells. (January 2013) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23220503
- Cannabinoids increase lung cancer cell lysis by lymphokine-activated killer cells via upregulation of ICAM-1. (November 2014) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25069049
- GPR55 signaling promotes proliferation of pancreatic cancer cells and tumor growth in mice, and its inhibition increases effects of gemcitabine. (July 2018) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30061636
- Towards the use of non-psychoactive cannabinoids for prostate cancer. (January 2013) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22849856
- Non-THC cannabinoids inhibit prostate carcinoma growth in vitro and in vivo: pro-apoptotic effects and underlying mechanisms. (January 2013) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22594963
- Suppression of invasion and metastasis in aggressive salivary cancer cells through targeted inhibition of ID1 gene expression. (July 2016) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27087608
- Anticancer activity of anandamide in human cutaneous melanoma cells. (October 2013) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24041928
- Exploiting cannabinoid-induced cytotoxic autophagy to drive melanoma cell death. (June 2015) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25674907
The contents of this page are not medical advice. Please seek professional medical assistance for any condition and before starting, stoping, or changing medication or supplements.