CBD: Natural Treatment for Cancer

CBD: Natural Treatment for Cancer

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Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, is a naturally occurring non-psychoactive compound found in both hemp and marijuana plants. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is responsible for the potentially intoxicating effects associated with cannabis (the “high” feeling), which may be an issue for some. Unlike THC, though, CBD is not intoxicating, making it perhaps more attractive as a natural remedy to those people who don’t like the effects of THC. Both CBD and THC interact with the receptors in our endocannabinoid system (ECS), our largest receptor system in the body, which is being studied at a rapid rate due to its relatively recent discovery and identification in the early 1990s.

The Endocannabinoid System
The ECS is responsible for the homeostasis of most systems in our body, including the immune system, inflammation, pain, stress response, emotions/moods, cognitive function, the cycle of cell life and death, neurotransmitters, and many others. The ECS is comprised of CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are abundant in the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord) and found in high concentrations in areas of the brain associated with mood/emotions and cognitive processes. CB2 receptors are mainly in the cells as well as the tissues and organs of the immune system. CB2 receptors are key mediators of cannabinoid regulation of the immune and inflammatory systems.

Cannabinoid receptors are widely expressed on cancer cells as well as normal cells. Research indicates that ECS dysfunction is part of the pathomechanism of many diseases, including cancer. Without delving into how cannabinoid receptors stimulation leads to different outcomes in the various types of tumors, it is important for the purposes here to discuss the benefits of CBD and THC on the systems associated with cancer and/or its treatments. To do this, the main difference between CBD products and medical marijuana should be addressed.

CBD Products, Medical Marijuana, and Cancer
Hemp-derived CBD products contain a high concentration of CBD and very little THC (less than .3% is the legal limit). Full spectrum CBD products are a whole-plant extract containing the synergy of all cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids in the hemp plant. Research is showing that CBD and minor cannabinoids like CBG, CBN, and CBC are outperforming other compounds without the side effects that are caused by THC. CBD products also might be more appealing to some because of the non-intoxicating effect.

Medical marijuana contains a high ratio of THC, and when it comes to certain symptoms and signs associated with cancer and its treatments, the higher concentration of THC found in medical marijuana might be a better option. For example, high THC may help stimulate appetite, aid in weight gain, and lessen symptoms of nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy.

Preclinical and clinical research suggest some evidence of CBD efficacy, alone or in some cases in conjunction with THC (medical marijuana), in treating cancer-associated pain and neuropathy, anxiety and depression, sleep problems, nausea and vomiting, and oral mucositis, all of which are associated with cancer and/or its treatment. Studies also suggest that CBD may enhance orthodox treatments with chemotherapeutic agents and radiation therapy and protect against neural and organ damage. CBD shows promise as part of an integrative approach to the management of cancer.

We recommend starting a conversation with your physician before taking hemp-derived CBD products, especially if you’re on any medication. If you believe THC could be more beneficial to your specific symptoms associated with cancer and/or its treatments, discuss a prescription for medical marijuana with your oncologist and care team.

Stacy Bull has been the co-owner and operator of Your CBD Store Naples and Marco Island locations for nearly four years. She has her bachelor’s degree in Health Care Administration from UW–Milwaukee. She has worked in various healthcare departments including Ophthalmology, Oncology, and Cardiology before getting involved in Cannabinoid Therapy. She can be reached at 239.259.8654.

For more information on this topic, visit: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8869992/.