Studies are fairly limited on the effects of CBD on cancer patients. Presently, the FDA has approved two drugs that will help with nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is making its way into many of the most common products that consumers use today. While it started as a simple oil to take sublingually, the product selection has expanded to include edible products, skincare remedies, and other formulas. CBD tackles many of the issues that consumers face regularly, including anxiety and pain. Now, studies show that CBD could possibly relieve the side effects associated with chemotherapy.
While THC is the compound in cannabis tends to cause a psychoactive and intoxicating effect, the same is not true of CBD. The recent 2018 Farm Bill, also known as the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, make hemp-based CBD legal, as long as it doesn’t contain more than 0.3% THC in the formula and is made from hemp grown by licensed products. The only form of CBD that has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration has been Epidiolex, which is used for seizure prevention in two rare epilepsy conditions.
Medical marijuana has long been associated with chemotherapy relief, taking away some of the side effects of this type of treatment. California was the first state to impose any kind of laws regarding legal marijuana for medical use in 1996, and 32 other states have followed their lead over the last two decades, stating that cancer is a qualifying condition. Federally, THC is not legal yet, but the FDA has spread approved two drugs that will help chemotherapy patients handle the nausea and vomiting associated with this treatment.
A review was published in the American Medical Association journal JAMA Oncology in 2016 regarding the use of medical marijuana in these circumstances. The review states:
“Marijuana in oncology may have potential for use as an anti-emetic [relieving nausea and vomiting], for refractory cancer pain, and as an anti-tumor agent. However, much of the data are based on animal data, small trials, or are outdated.”
Ultimately, the authors of the review stated that medical marijuana will need to go through more research to determine if it is a helpful remedy for cancer patients.
As far as CBD’s possible benefits for these patients, there’s even less research, but there are a few studies to reference. This research, according to the National Cancer Institute, shows that there’s a chance of certain types of cancer slowing in growth with the use of CBD, including breast cancer. Research also suggests that some medications may increase in potency, and that the chemo side effects, like anxiety and nausea, can be reduced. However, considering how little information has been gathered on this impact, many experts believe that more research would be conducive to discovering just how beneficial CBD could be for breast cancer patients.
Regardless of how successful this treatment is, patients should not take themselves off of the plan set up by their oncologist to health their body. Consumers that want to try using CBD for their pain or chemo side effects should speak with their doctor about the possible benefits and risks of doing so.