Experts have said more research is needed to prove that self-medicating with CBD oil is what caused the woman’s tumor to shrink. CBD oil can be used to help alleviate the symptoms and side effects of cancer treatments. However, there has been limited research on whether CBD oil can cure or be used to treat cancer to date. Medical marijuana may relieve some lung cancer symptoms, but whether it treats this cancer is still unknown.
Woman’s Lung Cancer Shrinking After She Took CBD Oil Prompts Caution From Scientists
Scientists have advised caution after a report emerged of a woman whose lung cancer tumor shrank after she took regular doses of CBD oil.
CBD oil, which is a non-psychoactive chemical extracted from the hemp or cannabis plant, is linked to several possible health benefits such as pain relief and anxiety reduction.
People have also wondered whether CBD could be used as a cancer treatment, but this link remains inconclusive, according to MedicalNewsToday.
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A case report was published in the British Medical Journal on October 14 involving a woman in her 80s who was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2018 after she went to doctors with a persistent cough.
The woman, a 68-pack-a-year smoker, was offered treatment for her cancer including surgery and radiotherapy, but she declined both, so doctors decided to simply watch and wait by carrying out regular scans.
According to the case report, regular CT scans over the following two-and-a-half years showed that her lung tumor appeared to be shrinking over time, despite the fact that the woman was continuing to smoke and was not receiving any conventional treatment.
The lesion in her lungs was measured at 41 millimeters in June 2018 and had reduced to 10 millimeters by February 2021.
When doctors contacted her to discuss this, she revealed that she had been taking “CBD oil” as a self-treatment after being advised to do so by a family member shortly after her 2018 diagnosis.
The woman was taking 0.5 milliliters of the oil two to three times per day by ingesting it. The case report authors note that the oil “appears to have had a positive effect on her disease” but couldn’t conclusively confirm this.
“Although there is clearly a potential for cannabinoids to be used as a primary or as an adjunct form of cancer treatment, further research is required to identify exactly which compound works against which specific cancer cell type,” the report states.
It also notes that previous studies have “failed to agree on the usefulness of cannabinoids as a cancer treatment.”
Meanwhile, scientists not involved in the case report have said that while the case appears encouraging, it should be taken with caution.
Professor David Nutt, The Edmond J Safra Chair in Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, told the Science Media Centre (SMC) that the example is “one of many such promising single case reports of medical cannabis self-treatment for various cancers,” but added: “A case report itself is not sufficient to give any form of proof that one thing caused the other—we need trials for that.”
Professor Edzard Ernst, Emeritus Professor of Complementary Medicine at the University of Exeter, echoed the point, telling the SMC that while some case reports into cancer and cannabis extracts have been encouraging, “case reports cannot be considered to be reliable evidence.”
One other issue with this case was that the woman had used CBD oil that also contained THC—the chemical in cannabis that causes people to feel high.
“This type of product is very different to most CBD oils which predominantly contain CBD,” Dr. Tom Freeman, senior lecturer and director of the Addiction and Mental Health Group at the University of Bath, told SMC.
Indeed, the case report authors note that it is difficult to conclude whether the THC in the woman’s oil contributed to the tumor reduction or if it was just the CBD component that may have had a positive effect.
Freeman added that “people with lung cancer should always seek guidance from a healthcare professional.”
A stock photo shows a small bottle of oil against a backdrop of cannabis plants. CBD, which can take the form of oil, has been linked to various potential health benefits but it is still not known whether it can be used to treat cancer. Tinnakorn Jorruang/Getty
CBD Oil for Lung Cancer: Is Cannabis A Potential Treatment?
Lung cancer is the second most common form of cancer in the U.S. Sadly, it is estimated that more than 130,000 Americans will succumb to lung cancer in 2021.
Traditional treatments are widely regarded as being extremely difficult and painful to undergo. This fact, combined with the deadly threat posed by cancer, has contributed to a surge in research into new therapies and treatments for cancer worldwide.
One such area in treating cancer is the promising use of CBD oil. Several research studies have provided insight that using CBD oil may help prevent cancer growth. While more research is needed in this area, CBD oil is already being used to help manage the symptoms of cancer and the adverse health effects of various cancer treatments.
Are All Cannabis Oils the Same?
There are many different types of cannabis oils:
CBD Oil. This oil is nonpsychoactive, meaning that it will not produce any feeling of being “high.” This is due to the fact that CBD oil doesn’t contain THC, which is the compound responsible for giving users such a sensation. CBD is valued for its many health benefits, which include easing pain, anxiety, and the side effects of going through chemotherapy.
There are three main types of CBD oil:
- Broad-spectrum CBD oil
- Full-spectrum CBD oil
- CBD oil derived from CBD isolate
Hemp Seed Oil. Hemp is a plant that is very similar to cannabis, with the key difference being that it does not contain THC or other important cannabinoids. Hemp seed oil is mainly used in skincare products or as a cooking oil.
Marijuana-derived oil. This type of oil is made from dried marijuana buds and leaves. As a result, it has a higher ratio of THC than other types of cannabis oils like CBD oil or hemp-derived oil.
Rick Simpson Oil. This type of oil features high levels of THC with a varying CBD content depending on the formulation.
For Health and Safety, Choose CBD Oil
When you’re looking for health benefits, it is CBD you want to emphasize when choosing a cannabis oil. Broad-spectrum CBD oil does not contain any THC, whereas full-spectrum CBD oil will have some THC present — but not more than 0.3%. CBD oil made from isolate involves a process of extracting all compounds from the cannabis plant. This process produces pure CBD in a crystal form which may be ground into a powder so that products are more convenient for consumption.
Can You Use CBD Oil to Treat Cancer?
There has been a push for research on whether CBD oil can help cure cancer. To date, there are many reports that CBD has helped people in dealing with this disease. But most of these reports are anecdotal evidence rather than scientific research. There isn’t any way to confirm the reliability of these stories or whether other treatments may have contributed to these positive experiences.
Most of the scientific research is still in its early stages in exploring whether CBD use is an effective cancer treatment. But there have been some positive findings.
A 2019 study found that CBD and cannabis extracts may cause the death of cancerous cells and may enhance the efficacy of radiation treatment. Other studies have also found that CBD in conjunction with THC may improve the effectiveness of radiation treatment in patients.
A specific case was reported in 2019 concerning a man with lung cancer. He declined traditional treatments and opted for the use of CBD oil instead. His tumor seemed to react favorably to CBD oil treatment.
But it is too early to definitively declare that CBD has any positive effects on preventing or treating lung cancer.
However, there are other areas in which the use of CBD oil can help people cope with lung cancer.
Does the Use of CBD Oil Help with Cancer Symptoms?
It is difficult to say whether CBD oil can help in cancer treatment, given that there is limited research in this area. However, there are various research findings that suggest CBD use can be extremely valuable for patients dealing with cancer and cancer treatments.
Cancer treatment typically involves chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Both of these treatment options take a heavy toll on the human body.
The use of CBD oil can help with various side effects of lung cancer treatment, including:
- Reduced appetite
CBD has been found to provide relief from chronic pain. This benefit of CBD use can be extremely valuable for cancer patients undergoing intense chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
Nausea is another common side effect of cancer treatment options. CBD has been found to lower the symptoms of nausea resulting from chemotherapy.
Does CBD Oil Use Come with any Side Effects?
CBD oil is generally safe to take. When using CBD, the side effects are predominantly mild and may include:
- Dry mouth
- Changes in appetite
Like any compound, CBD oil may interact with any medication you are currently taking. As a precaution, you should consult with your doctor if you are considering using CBD while already taking prescription medication.
How Is CBD Oil Used?
Products infused with CBD generally fall into one of four categories that depend on the way they are used.
There are many benefits to consuming CBD, which may help explain why there are so many options to choose from on the market today. Ingesting these products means that the CBD passes through your digestive system and gets metabolized by your liver. This enables the CBD you ingest to be provided all over your body over a period of a few hours.
Products in this category include capsules, tinctures, or drops and can be added to food or mix with coffee or tea.
Alternatively, you can take CBD oil using a sublingual method. This involves placing a few drops of CBD oil under your tongue and holding it there for up to 60 seconds. This method allows the important compounds to be quickly absorbed into your bloodstream and dispersed throughout your body.
To reduce any inflammation or relieve the pain you may experience, look for topical CBD products as they work the best. They give you the flexibility to apply them directly to whichever parts of your body need some relief. Topical CBD products include salves, shampoos, lip balms, creams, patches, suppositories, personal lubricants, and bath salts.
Another popular way to take CBD is to inhale its vapors using vape carts and pens. This way, CBD enters your bloodstream quickly through your lungs and avoids the digestive system altogether. In particular, vaping has been growing in popularity with CBD use due to its ease of use and variety of flavors and options.
For CBD use with lung cancer, it is important to discuss your options with your doctor. This is particularly important for inhaling CBD.
Where Can I Buy CBD Oil?
With the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, cannabis products are legal, theoretically, at the federal level as long as they contain less than 0.3% Delta 9 THC. As a result, many dispensaries and stores now carry a wide selection of CBD oils and other products.
If you prefer the many advantages of online shopping for your CBD oil, you have countless options to choose from. But keep in mind that CBD oils, for the most part, are largely unregulated. Therefore, you need to guarantee that your product is safe and effective.
According to a recent study, less than one in three CBD products that were sold online had a correct label, with many of these products having less CBD content than advertised or had a significant concentration of THC.
So be sure to carefully research the company and its products before buying.
Key Takeaways on Using CBD Oil for Lung Cancer
There isn’t enough research to declare that CBD oil is effective as a treatment option for cancer. However, CBD may be able to offer some relief from the side effects of traditional treatments and from the symptoms of cancer.
It is a good idea to continue following the advice of your health care provider, even if your CBD oil seems to be giving you positive effects. Otherwise, stopping ongoing procedures could make future treatments more difficult and negatively impact your ability to treat tumors.
CBD oil is a promising ally in your battle with lung cancer. As more research becomes available, CBD oil may prove to be a viable treatment for your health needs.
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Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.
Is Cannabis a Potential Lung Cancer Treatment?
Cannabis, better known to most folks as marijuana or pot, might have the potential to ease pain and other symptoms of lung cancer. But so far, there’s no evidence it can work as a treatment for the disease.
Cannabis is a drug made from the dried leaves and buds of the Cannabis sativa plant. Some people smoke or eat marijuana for the “high” it gives, but it’s also getting a look from experts for the chance that it can play a role in helping with certain medical conditions.
What’s in Cannabis?
The active ingredients in cannabis are chemicals called cannabinoids. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) gives the “high” people get when they use marijuana. Cannabidiol (CBD) doesn’t cause the same euphoric feeling, but it does relax the body.
Both THC and CBD may help relieve the side effects of cancer and its treatments.
CBD oil is an extract from the hemp plant — a relative of cannabis — mixed with oil. Unlike THC, CBD oil doesn’t cause a high when you use it.
Cannabis and CBD products aren’t FDA-approved to treat lung cancer. They shouldn’t replace proven treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and targeted therapy. If you want to try cannabis for medical purposes, ask your doctor whether it’s safe for you.
How Do You Take Cannabis?
Cannabis products come in a few different forms. You can:
them in as smoke or through a vaporizer
- Eat or drink them
- Apply them to your skin as a cream, patch, or spray
Your doctor can suggest a form based on your symptoms and which types of cannabis are legal in your state.
When you smoke marijuana, it goes to work within seconds, but the effects only last for about 1 to 3 hours. When you eat marijuana, it starts to work more slowly, but the effects can last for up to 8 hours.
Potential Uses of Cannabis for Lung Cancer
Cannabis acts on your central nervous system and the immune system — your body’s defense against germs — in ways that could help ease symptoms of lung cancer or its treatment, like these:
Pain. There’s some evidence that marijuana eases pain, both from the cancer itself and from the nerve damage that treatments like chemotherapy can sometimes cause. It might help people who don’t get enough relief from opioid pain medicines.
Nausea and vomiting. Medical marijuana may help relieve these symptoms, which are common chemotherapy side effects. The FDA has approved two man-made cannabinoid drugs to treat nausea and vomiting: nabilone (Cesamet) and dronabinol (Marinol).
These drugs may help when other anti-nausea drugs haven’t worked. Your doctor can give you a prescription for them.
Weight loss. Dropping pounds is a common lung cancer symptom. You may lose weight because you don’t have an appetite, or because your treatment causes nausea and vomiting.
Cancer can sometimes cause muscle loss, called cachexia. Marijuana may also help with this symptom.
Anxiety and sleep. Sleepiness is a side effect of cannabis. If you have cancer, cannabis may improve sleep and ease anxiety.
Research on Cannabis as a Lung Cancer Treatment
Studies done in cells and animals show that cannabis slows or stops the growth of certain cancer cells — including lung cancer cells. But so far, there’s no evidence that it works as a treatment for cancer in people.
There’s also no evidence that CBD oil treats cancer or its symptoms, although it may ease anxiety, pain, and problems with sleep.
Research on marijuana as a cancer treatment has been slow because the federal government considers it an illegal drug. More studies are needed to learn how it might help with lung cancer and other types of cancer.
Cannabis Side Effects
Although medical marijuana is safe overall, it can cause side effects like these:
- Changes in heart rate
- Mood changes
Except for the two FDA-approved cannabis drugs, it’s hard to know how much CBD or THC is in the products you buy. How strong the doses are varies with the type you take.
There have been reports of contaminants like lead, pesticides, or dextromethorphan (an ingredient in cough medicines) in cannabis and CBD products. A small number of people have gotten infections after using one of these. People with cancer are already at a higher risk for infections because their immune system is weaker than usual.
CBD oil might also affect how well your cancer drugs work. For these reasons, it’s important to let your doctor know before you use CBD products, even if you can buy them over the counter.
American Cancer Society: “Signs and Symptoms of Cancer.”
Cancer.Net: “Weight Loss.”
CDC: “How is Lung Cancer Diagnosed and Treated?”
Harvard Medical School: “Cannabidiol (CBD) — what we know and what we don’t.”
Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology: “The antitumor activity of plant-derived non-psychoactive cannabinoids.”
Journal of Thoracic Oncology: “Cannabis Use, Lung Cancer, and Related Issues.”
LungCancer.org: “Medical Marijuana and Cancer.”
Mayo Clinic: “Marijuana.”
MD Anderson Cancer Center: “CBD oil and cancer: 9 things to know.”
National Cancer Institute: “Cannabis and Cannabinoids (PDQ) — Health Professional Version.”
National Conference of State Legislatures: “State Medical Marijuana Laws.”