Cancer. It’s the diagnosis we all fear more than almost any other, often because there’s still no cure, no preventative measures to take against it, and no way of knowing how it will respond to treatment.
Of course, progress has been made and for some cancers, treatment response and remission rates are high, and disease progression slow. But now, there may be a new avenue of hope for cancer patients. Reputable studies and long-term research results are demonstrating that CBD oil might be a new, very good, tool in fighting this fearsome disease.
Stay grounded: CBD common sense and best practices
It’s very important to say right up front that although research has shown CBD to be an efficacious part of the fight against cancer itself, it’s still in the early days and there’s a lot of work still to be done in this area.
Hucksters have been hoodwinking patients and their anxious families for decades with promises of “patent cures” for cancer, so be very wary of any company that promises “their” CBD oil will do so.
No reputable CBD company would ever make such a claim, and you should run a mile from anyone who does. If that sounds like bad news, it isn’t: there’s so much that we do know about how CBD can help, and more great results are being discovered all the time. Let’s break it down.
What we know: CBD can offer help to patients with cancer (and their families, too)
People have been using CBD since the Romans, Greeks and the Chinese figured out that it worked wonders on all sorts of ailments, and that the very fibers of the plant were useful, durable and versatile. In fact, what we now call CBD had always been known by its more common name—hemp—until fearmongering misinformation included hemp in the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 during the War on Drugs.
Now that hemp is once again legal throughout the U.S., scientists have been rediscovering its astounding uses in helping with everything from chronic pain to cancer care. We’ll talk later about research into how CBD may be able to fight the disease itself, but it’s equally important to recognize how hemp oil can help with the side effects of cancer.
How CBD can help cancer-related psychological issues
It’s often said that cancer is a family disease—meaning, it affects not only the directly afflicted but also those who love them. Because both patients and loved ones often feel helpless and hopeless in the face of a cancer diagnosis, it’s common for psychological issues to develop.
Depression and anxiety
CBD is widely regarded as an effective, safe treatment for depression, anxiety, fear, and insomnia. CBD works within the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) and affects serotonin receptors, which means that CBD can often be used either in conjunction with or instead of traditional selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Zoloft and Prozac
Panic Disorder and PTSD
Sometimes in the face of a cancer diagnosis, people are even diagnosed with panic disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Of course, neither panic disorder nor PTSD is limited to those dealing with cancer: panic disorder affects 355 million people worldwide.
Now, research shows CBD may be an effective treatment against this paralyzing syndrome. And, because CBD disrupts the fear response in the brain’s hippocampus, the almost 25 million Americans alone who are reported to have PTSD have also found new hope through CBD.
How CBD can help with cancer-related physical issues
The most common treatment for most cancers is chemotherapy—which is an incredibly blunt tool. Although it often beats cancer into submission, it can be equally as rough on the patient it’s trying to help. Both chemo and radiation can cause neuropathy and the disease itself often causes chronic pain. CBD can help with all of this.
The biggest complaint cancer patients have about chemotherapy (apart from hair loss) is the nausea and vomiting it causes. Because CBD works in the ECS (which is where nausea triggers live) it can help to disrupt the body’s vomit signals.
But the American Cancer Society and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) both recognize that a simple hemp-oil treatment may not be enough to overcome chemo-related nausea, and have approved two heavier-hitting anti-nausea chemo drugs: Dronabinol (Marinol®)—which contains actual delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC); and Nabilone (Cesamet®), a synthetic cannabinoid that effectively mimics THC.
Another drug, Nabiximols, contains an almost 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD and is widely used in Canada and Europe to treat not only cancer patients, but also those with multiple sclerosis.
At the 2018 MASCC/ISOO Annual Meeting on Supportive Care in Cancer, a major topic of discussion was treating cancer-related neuropathy, which affects 18.7 percent to 21.4 percent of people with cancer. Neuropathy can range from a tingling or numbness to excruciating pain, particularly in the hands and feet.
In a reveal of groundbreaking research from numerous independent studies, global scientists concluded that CBD is protective against the causes of neuropathy. If harnessed correctly, this could provide almost indescribable relief to neuropathy sufferers.
Although over 100 million people in the United States suffer from chronic pain, there is no doubt that cancer patients bear more than their fair share of this condition. And because of CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects and inhibition of neuropathic pain, there’s now even a CBD-based drug approved by the US food and drug administration (FDA)—Sativex—to directly combat chronic pain.
Going further, a study in the Journal of Experimental Medicine found that mice with chronic pain and inflammation were greatly relieved by CBD treatment. This is especially exciting because research suggests that it is the non-psychoactive compounds in CBD that provide the relief. In other words, patients don’t need to get high to feel better. Medical marijuana has long been self-administered for pain, and this is taking it a step further.
What we hope: CBD and cancer prevention, treatment and cure
Exciting prospects are emerging all the time about CBD’s potential in the fight against the actual disease of cancer. And news around the subject thus far is incredibly positive.
Research published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology indicates that scientists believe they have found proof that CBD significantly helped prevent the spread of cancer. Specifically, scientists noted that CBD “tends to suppress the growth of cancer cells and promote their destruction.”
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has noted the antitumor activity of CBD, as shown by clinical trials in mice and rats. This is largely in response to research going back nearly 20 years, which has aimed to prove that CBD prevents the spread and growth of tumors.
The good news
Although cancer is certainly a frightening prospect, work is being done every day, to both better patients’ lives and possibly even harness the power of CBD to cure this devastating disease. CBD For Life is in your corner, and provides the best in CBD health products. Still have questions? Reach out online, or leave a comment below!