Can I Use CBD With Chemotherapy?
CBD, CBD Skincare

Can I Use CBD With Chemotherapy?

CBD (cannabidiol) is wildly popular these days. It is no longer limited to vitamin or novelty shops. You can now easily buy it at your pharmacy, neighborhood grocery store, or even your local yoga center.

CBD is available in many forms: CBD paste, oil, roll-ons, vapes, edibles, sprays, etc. But what exactly is CBD, and more specifically, does it offer any benefits to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation? We have delved deep into this question, and here is what we found out.

Can I use CBD with chemotherapy? 

There are multiple studies underway to try to answer this question. Although some studies have proven that CBD has relieved anxiety, insomnia, or pain, these were not specific to people undergoing chemotherapy. That said, there is sufficient anecdotal evidence to show cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy enjoy benefits after taking CBD, such as reduced depression, vomiting, nausea, and other side effects.

What is CBD?

A flowering cannabis plant contains hundreds of chemicals, and CBD is one of them. The thing about CBD is that it does not have the mind-altering, psychoactive effects that are usually associated with using cannabis. On the flip side, it is used to help ease ailments like anxiety, pain, sleep issues, etc.

CBD is derived from hemp, which is a variety of cannabis plants. These plants are typically grown with low levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the chemical that is responsible for causing the “high” when consuming cannabis. This variety of cannabis is derived from marijuana, a variant that contains high levels of THC.

CBD comes from the oil that is derived from the cannabis plant. This oil is then transformed into different forms, like CBD capsules, edible gummies, liquids, or even inhaled via vapes. It is even added to skin patches and lotions to treat certain skin conditions.

CBD and Cancer 

The lack of scientific research to back up anecdotal evidence has caused a conundrum for doctors treating cancer patients. Some people say it clearly works for them, including certain medical societies and groups that also say it has value. Some states have legalized it, and the FDA is also ‘looking into it.’

The problem, however, is that there are no FDA-initiated or approved clinical trials that demonstrate its efficacy and safety related to the available drugs. This is a very confusing situation at the doctor-patient level. As doctors, they need scientific proof that something is effective and safe before they can prescribe it to a patient.

CBD works by targeting the cannabinoid receptors called CB1 and CB2. These are mainly found in the brain and other parts of the body. These cannabinoid receptors belong to the signaling system of endocannabinoids. Although we are yet to understand its role completely, it is believed to have positive impacts on various mental functions like sleep, mood, pain, and cognition.

CBD is also believed to help regulate cortisol production, a hormone that aids the body in dealing with stress.

Since CBD comes in many forms, it can be consumed in various ways. You can smoke it, drink it, eat it, or even vape it. Although the FDA acknowledges the widespread public interest in CBD, it maintains that there is a lot more to be researched before it is approved to be used for different ailments, especially for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. That said, it may also be kept in mind that the absence of FDA-approved research doesn’t necessarily mean that it does not have value. The only problem is that it becomes hard for medical professionals to prescribe it to patients.

Can CBD Alleviate the Side Effects of Chemotherapy?

We found little to no scientific research that proves CBD can alleviate the side effects of chemotherapy or even cancer symptoms. The reason is that these studies are pretty mixed, and only a handful are standardized.

We did manage to get our hands on some reports that showed cannabinoids like CBD and THC may help treat anorexia, vomiting, nausea, insomnia, depression, anxiety, and neuropathy. There are also synthetic cannabinoids like dronabinol, which are approved to be used in treating vomiting and nausea induced by chemotherapy.

CBD as an Anti-Cancer Drug?

Several preclinical in-vivo and in-vitro studies are suggesting that cannabinoids like CBD and THC perform anti-cancer activities in different types of cancer conditions. Some of these include killing cancer cells and blocking the growth of cancer cells.

For instance, the role of CBD in breast cancer has been researched for several years now. The studies show effective and consistent anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic activities in mouse models and different types of breast cancer cells.

This is a significant development because breast cancer is said to be the number one cause of the occurrence of new cancer cases and the top cause of cancer-related deaths among women. Positive advancements in this area are therefore readily welcomed. Similar positive outcomes have been shown in other types of cancer as well. Including lymphoma, colorectal, prostate, pancreas, and glioma (the top cause of brain malignancy).

Besides directly acting on cancer cells. CBD has also been suggested to treat tumors by stopping the growth of cancer cells and preventing their spreading and inflaming.

More Findings on Cannabinoids and Cancer

There is a need to increase the number of clinical trials conducted on cannabinoids and actual cancer patients. Here is a significant study that we found:

Temozolomide and Sativex on Brain Tumor (Glioblastoma)

A study was conducted in 2021 where patients with recurrent glioblastoma were administered Sativex along with chemotherapy drugs. The result was that out of 100 people. 83 were still alive after one year. Compared to the 44 patients out of 100 who were simply administered the placebo.

Conclusion:There is still a lot more to learn and unearth in this area. The role of CBD in cancer and chemotherapy is still a new field, but the results so far are promising. That said, it is always advised to check with your healthcare team if you are using CBD of any kind. This way, you will be able to prevent CBD from adversely interacting with your cancer medications and other treatments. To learn more about how to use CBD, read our blog post on How to Use CBD Like a Pro.

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