CBD (Cannabidiol) oil is a product derived from the Cannabis plant.
It is called so because it’s rich in components called cannabinoids. CBD oil lacks the component terahydrocannabinol (THC) and thus does not alter senses in the way cannabis usually does and therefore does not produce any intoxication.
CBD oil interacts with the CB2 receptors in the body and thus produces profound therapeutic effects. It is known to have anti-seizure, anti-tumor, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-psychotic properties.
What is Cancer?
Cancer is characterized by the uncontrolled division of the abnormal cells in the body, which leads to the development of masses called tumours.
This is driven by several genetic, biochemical, physiological changes in the cells, which causes it to become abnormal. These factors include inflammatory stress and oxidative stress among others.
The cancerous tumors, if malignant, spread to the rest of the body through blood circulation via the process of metastasis causing the progression of the disease. Nearly 100 different types of cancer are known to exist.
Benefits of CBD Oil in Cancer
CBD oil is known to exhibit anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-proliferative, anti-oxidant, analgesic, anti-angiogenic, anxiolytic properties. CBD oil can be instrumental in preventive as well as therapeutic care for cancer.
Anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties can help fight inflammation and oxidative stress, which are known to be major causes of cancerous abnormality in cells.
Anti-tumor properties help reduce the size of tumors and reduce its spread.
Similarly, anti-angiogenic properties inhibit angiogenesis, which in turn can help prevent metastasis of malignant tumors by cutting off the nutrient supply.
1. CBD oil exhibits anti-tumour and anti-cancerous properties
Many studies have reported the anti-cancerous properties of CBD. Studies in animal models of cancer have shown promising results.
Use of CBD in these models has been shown to reduce the size of the tumor, prevent its metastasis, etc.
Studies conducted on cancerous cell lines and mice cancer models showed that CBD was capable of reducing and preventing tumor metastatis.
This is important to prevent the development of secondary tumors and stop cancer from spreading throughout the body.
Studies with breast cancer cell lines showed that use of CBD could make changes in gene expression and make the tumors less aggressive.
It inhibits the expression of genes that make the tumor aggressive and proliferative. Less aggressive tumors are easier to treat and therefore this is important in cancer therapeutics.
Prostate cancer studies have shown that CBD is capable of reducing the tumor volume by 60% without many side effects.
This was due to induction of death in the cancer cells. In colon cancer mice models, it was seen that CBD administration could effectively reduce the polyps.
CBD is also known to reduce the lung cancer cell invasion by altering the cell adhesion receptors and thus have an anti-metastatic property.
Studies with cervical cancer cell lines also showed similar positive results. It is suggested that CBD can be used for treatment of highly invasive cancers.
These can be attributed to the anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-neoplastic properties of CBD. It also alters gene expression in such a way that apoptosis is induced in the cancerous cell and their proliferation is stopped.
Cancer is characterized by tumor growth and metastasis. CBD is capable of reducing the tumor volume, induce cell death in cancerous cells, prevent metastasis, etc. and thus can be useful as a therapeutic agent for various types of cancer.
2. CBD oil is anti-inflammatory in nature
Inflammation is a major risk factor for cancer. Acute and chronic inflammations can onset reactions in the body, which can result in cellular abnormalities.
Chronic inflammation can lead to DNA breaks and also result in tumor progression as well as its spread through metastasis.
Many cancer types are solely initiated through chronic inflammation such as hepatocarcinoma, colorectal cancer, etc.
Development of anti-inflammatory regimes to prevent and treat cancer is becoming important for researchers.
Protecting the body from inflammation is therefore a necessity for healthy people as well as cancer patients.
Alleviating inflammation can ensure that the cells don’t become abnormal due to inflammatory stress. Therefore use of anti-inflammatory agents is of importance.
Cannabidiol has potent anti-inflammatory properties. They have been shown to reduce intestinal inflammation of acute and chronic kind. CBD has been found to reduce the expression of tumor necrosis factor-alpha and other inflammatory mediators.
This can be helpful in mitigating the chances of developing gut cancer and other bowel inflammatory diseases, as they are majorly driven by inflammation.
CBD has also been shown to inhibit inflammation in different cell types by inhibition of NF-κB signaling. CBD delivery has also been shown to reduce inflammation and pain in inflammatory models of arthritis as well.
Cannabidiol can also reduce the impact of inflammation on oxidative stress and thus reduce the risk of developing diseases driven by a combination of inflammation and oxidative stress.
Inflammation plays a major role in causing the onset of cancer, tumor growth and progression. Anti-inflammatory properties of CBD oil could help alleviate inflammation and reduce the risk of cancer onset as well as its progression in the patients.
3. CBD oil is an anti-oxidant
Oxidative stress caused by reactive species and free radical is known to play in important role in development and pathogenesis of cancer.
Free radicals are potent mutagens, which cause mutation in DNA and lead to the development of cellular abnormalities. Resistance to chemotherapy and other regimes also results from excess oxidative stress in cells.
Reactive oxygen species also cause DNA mutation and alter signal transduction in body, which ultimately results in carcinogenesis. Oxidative stress also generates other organic species with potent mutagenic properties.
Alleviation of oxidative stress and protecting the body from oxidative damage is essential to not only prevent cancer but also to allow easier, resistance-less treatment.
CBD oil exhibits anti-oxidant properties and therefore it has been found to be effective in mitigating many syndromes brought on by oxidative damage like Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, etc.
CBD oil is effective in reducing cell viability, decreasing tumor growth, etc. which might be attributable to its anti-oxidant properties.
CBD can help remove free radicals from the body, which in turn prevents oxidative damage. Cannabinoids can also effectively neutralize reactive species such as reactive oxygen species (ROS) thus reducing oxidative stress.
Activation of CB2 receptors also results in activation of enzymes, which can help reduce oxidation and convert harmful oxidative species into non-harmful entities. It also reduces the levels of nitrates that can cause oxidative damage.
Oxidative stress and damage are known to play a key role in cancer development by producing carcinogens in the body. CBD oil exhibits anti-oxidant effects, which can help reduce such oxidative stress/damage and mitigate oxidation related side effects.
4. CBD oil is an analgesic
Acute and long-term pain is very common in cancer patients. Most patients (75%) suffer from chronic pain during treatment, as the treatment regimes are very intense and painful.
Surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, etc. can put the body through excruciating pain. Many patients suffer from pain even during later stages of the disease.
Many of the patients can suffer from extreme fatal pain, as most of them don’t get adequate pain relieving measures.
Pain reduction is a necessity, which is addressed only by the use of addictive, harmful and expensive opioids in these patients. Thus there is a need to develop better analgesics for cancer patients.
CBD oil is an effective analgesic. They have been found to increase the pain threshold in mice models of cancer. CB2 receptors are involved in altering pain and its perception and thus cannabinoids interaction with these receptors can help alleviate pain.
CBD has a syncretistic relationship with opioids and thus it can be given along with low dosage of regular opioids to alleviate pain in the cancer patients.
Cannabinoids do not cause addiction in the patients and thus it can be used safely in infants and children.
Studies have shown that CBD can be used for the “management of difficult to treat pain”. Studies have concluded that CBD can be used as an adjuvant in treating cancer-related pain without side effects.
Management of chronic pain is important to ensure a better quality of life in the recovering and recovered cancer patients and also in the palliative care of patients in the last stages of the disease. CBD is found to be instrumental in reducing pain and increasing pain threshold.
5. CBD oil inhibits angiogenesis
Angiogenesis is the process of formation of new blood vessels in the body, which provide nutrient supply to the cells along with oxygen.
The formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) is a necessity for the cancerous cells, as they need increased nutrient supply.
Blood circulation also helps them spread to the rest of the body by the process of metastasis.
If angiogenesis is blocked in these cancerous cells, they will be starved of nutrients and consequently undergo death. This idea gave rise to the development of anti-angiogenic medication, which is now an important part of cancer treatment regimes.
Angiogenic receptors are found to be more activated in tumor cells than normal cells.
Thus anti-angiogenic molecules are employed for the treatment of many types of cancer with success. Inhibition of angiogenesis reduces the proliferation and spread of cancerous cells.
CBD oil has been proven to show anti-angiogenic properties via several mechanisms. A study analyzed the angiogenesis inhibition activity of cannabinoids and reposted positive results.
It was observed that CBD could effectively inhibit the process of angiogenesis.
There were several mechanisms via which CBD caused such effect including reduction in the level of molecules and receptors responsible for formation of new blood vessels.
Angiogenesis is an important phenomenon that allows cancer cells to grow and spread around the body. Blocking angiogenesis in these cells can help reduce its proliferation. CBD have been shown to possess anti-angiogenic properties and thus they could be instrumental in fighting cancer.
6. CBD oil possesses anxiolytic, anti-insomnia and anti-depressant properties
Cancer is a life-threatening disease and therefore it naturally comes with a lot of mental pressure, emotional reaction and worry due to many reasons.
Apart from treating the disease and its common physiological symptoms, it is important to focus on the mental well being of the patients who are suffering from pain and emotional stress.
Alleviating mental stress is important to ensure the body recovers fast as stress interferes with the functional aspects of the body.
CBD oil has been found to be highly effective in reducing stress, depression and anxiety. Several studies have shown that it is a safe way to treat anxiety, insomnia, etc. in young and old people alike.
Many studies have shown that CBD oil could effectively reduce stress in rat models as well after treatment for 21 days.
CBD oil was capable of alleviating symptoms even in stress-induced and compulsive behaviour models.
CBD oil was shown to be effective in reducing anxiety associated with the cases of social anxiety and panic disorders in volunteers.
It is also helpful in fighting stress that results from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) , which is very beneficial for children who have suffered from cancer during their childhood and face stress because of that after growing up.
Even elderly who face anxiety later in life after having recovered from cancer can find relief by using CBD oil.
CBD oil binds to the CB1 receptors located in the brain and central nervous system and alter the release of the neurotransmitters in such a manner that the excess activity of neurons is reduced.
This, in turn, reduces stress and anxiety and brings on the feeling of calmness.
CBD oil also helps alleviate symptoms of insomnia and thus helps allow the user to experience quality sleep.
CBD can reduce the nightmares associated with PTSD as well. This is important for cancer patients as many of them suffer from disturbed sleep due to pain and quality sleep is important to allow the body to heal.
Stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia are common among cancer patients due to physical and mental pressure from diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
CBD oil is effective in reducing anxiety, insomnia, etc. and thus could be helpful in improving the overall quality of life in the patients who are undergoing treatment or recovering.
CBD oil can be put on skin mixed with gels/creams or taken orally as capsules. The exact dose depends on the condition of the patients and their tolerance of the CBD oil.
Generally, it is recommended that the patients start out with the lowest dose possible and slowly increase their dose as they get acclimatized to CBD oil depending on the body’s cannabinoid system.
This helps to find the best dose, which remains effective over a long run.
600-700 mg of CBD is taken for cases of anxiety and it produces considerable plasma levels of CBD.
Studies have used 5-100 mg/kg of CBD for treating cancerous masses and reducing metastases.
A study has reported that dosage as high as 1500mg/day are tolerated in humans without severe harmful effects.
Such high dosage is neither required nor economically feasible so sticking to lower dosage is the best strategy.
CBD oil has been safely used to relieve the symptoms of stress even in the cases of pediatric anxiety, as it is safe for young kids and children.
Many studies have been conducted to study CBD oil and only a few side effects have been observed.
Drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, low blood pressure, etc. are few commonly observed side effects. CBD at high doses can cause worsening of tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease thus it should be avoided by those patients.
Driving and other things requiring strict attention should be avoided right after CBD oil use.
It is of great importance to ensure you use only high-quality CBD oil obtained from the most reputed and authentic sources as CBD oil with contaminants can cause unexpected side effects and can be severely harmful for the users.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid CBD oil.
It is always recommended to consult the doctor before starting the use of any complementary therapy modules as it can help mitigate any side effects that can be caused due to drug interactions and inappropriate dosage.
Cancer has become a very widespread problem and is responsible for high mortality all around the globe. It is therefore important to keep finding therapeutic and preventive measures for this group of disease.
CBD oil is a great addition as an adjuvant for cancer patients owing to its many therapeutic properties, which can help not only fight cancer but also reduce the collateral symptoms due to other harsh therapeutic regimes.
It is important to ensure the patients use only high-quality CBD oil and consult a doctor before starting its use to evaluate their condition well.
Studies have shown that long-term use of CBD in humans is fairly well tolerated and is rarely accompanied by severe side effects if used appropriately.