This article presents a comprehensive analysis of scientific research on CBD oil for cancer treatment, and covers the following topics:
Inflammation is a very important factor in cancer formation, growth, and metastasis. What is more, cancer cells trick the immune system into not recognizing them as foreign.
Scientists have found that CBD has anti-inflammatory (inflammation fighting) characteristics. Therefore, CBD appears to be a good candidate for cancer treatment.
Enzymes and receptors of the endocannabinoid system are present in many cells of the immune system.
Several cannabis compounds have anti-inflammatory effects, including:
Cancer is the second most important cause of death everywhere in the world. First, healthy cells turn into pre-cancer cells due to a number of factors, such as:
Inflammation due to the above is a critical contributor to cancer, because:
Watch this 5:03 minute Nature video: “Tumour immunology and immunotherapy”
As such, inflammation causes cancer AND cancer causes inflammation. This means that non-normal (aberrant) cell growth and inflammation are linked to each other.
CBD also increases the capacity of the immune system to identify cancer cells (also called “tumor immune-surveillance”).
Researchers have observed an increase in CB1 and CB2 receptors in a variety of cancer types.
CB1 is very abundant in:
CB2 is overly present in:
In addition, too much of both CB1 and CB2 means bad prognosis for colorectal cancer.
However, scientists are now gathering increasing evidence that the function of these cannabis-based medications is beyond “palliative” effects (that is, reducing side effects of cancer treatment). Indeed, dronabinol and nabilone might also inhibit:
Moreover, these cannabis-based drugs may also increase programmed cell death (apoptosis) of cancer cells.
Watch this 6:37 minute BBC news video: “Can Cannabis oil reduce cancerous tumors?”
In addition to CB1 and CB2 receptors, there is another cannabinoid receptor that is important in cancer: GPR55. It has a large number of functions. For example, GPR55 controls:
An increase in GPR55 presence and production of the body is linked to the severity and malignancy of tumors, such as:
CBD binds to and decreases the function of GPR55. As such, CBD can kill cancer cells, namely through increasing:
TRPV 1 and 2 receptors bind to both endocannabinoids (cannabinoids naturally present in the human body) and phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids in the cannabis plant). The TRP receptors control how calcium enters cells, and thereby influence mainly:
The difference is that heat and spices activate TRPV1, while mechanical impulses activate TRPV2. CBD activates both TRPV1 and TRPV2.
Interestingly, both TRPV1 and TRPV2 can be either upregulated (meaning they work too much) or downregulated (meaning they work too little) depending on the type of cancer.
CBD acts in an intricate and complex way by harmonizing the function of TRPV1, TRPV2, CB1, and CB2 receptors. In addition, CBD synergistically (meaning: by helping the effect) increases the cytotoxic (meaning: cell killing) effect of anticancer medications. The reason is that CBD increases the anti-cancer drug uptake of the cancer cells.
Scientists still need to evaluate, though, which types of cancers can benefit from either CBD or THC or a combination of CBD and THC. Additionally, it is still a mystery how current anti-cancer treatments can be enhanced by treatment with cannabinoids.
Finally, future research has to assess cannabis compounds other than THC and CBD (such as terpenes and flavonoids) affect cancer. As such, we do not know too much about how hemp extracts with low THC and CBD concentration might fare in the fight against cancer.
Summarizing the above, this is why using CBD oil for cancer treatment might be a promising option, because CBD:
Pellati F, Borgonetti V, Brighenti V, Biagi M, Benvenuti S, Corsi L. Cannabis sativa L. and Nonpsychoactive Cannabinoids: Their Chemistry and Role against Oxidative Stress, Inflammation, and Cancer. Biomed Res Int. 2018 Dec 4;2018:1691428