Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the two most common cannabinoids. There are over 60 other cannabinoids associated with cannabis. CBD is non-psychoactive and a major constituent of a marijuana plant accounting for about 40% of the extracts. Although THC is the more popular extract of cannabis because of its paranoia effect, CBD has been found to have powerful medical capabilities. In recent times, attention has shifted to CBD and it is quickly changing the debate regarding the use of cannabis as a medicine.
Is CBD Legal?
The US Food and Drug Administration is yet to fully approve cannabis for treatment of several medical conditions. Hemp oil and CBD oil are treated as dietary supplements since they are derived from hemp plants and not considered as medication. So, FDA has approved the use of CBD oil for this purpose without the need for doctor’s prescription. The combination of CBD & THC has been approved in Canada (under the Notice of Compliance with Conditions) for pain relief among patients with advanced cancer. Recently, UK’s Medical & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) reclassify CBD as a medication. Likewise, hemp CBD oil has been approved in Brazil as a treatment for cancer. With the increasing legalization of cannabis to be used for medical purpose, across the world, there is an increasing research on its medicinal power.
CBD as medication for cancer
Several studies are still being carried on this area to understand its usefulness in treating various diseases, cancer included. Some studies have already shown that CBD can help to fight invasiveness and spread of cancer. A study published by National Cancer Institute reported that CBD can suppress breast cancer cells. Another research conducted in 2006 in Italy showed the specifics of how CBD can kill cancer. According to the research, CBD stimulates what is referred to as Caspase Cascade to destroy cancer cells. Generally, CBD in various studies has been linked to slowing down the growth of cancer and in other cases reduce the spread of specific kinds of cancer.
The most widely known use of CBD with regards to cancer treatment is that it is used by cancer patients undergoing a chemo. Because of the pain and the loss of weight associated with cancer patient undergoing chemo treatment, CBD is usually given to patients to improve appetite and improve sleep. Some doctors recommend this to their cancer patients for purposes of relieving the side effects of cancer treatments. It can be used to suppress chronic pain experienced by cancer patients.
CBD in treatment of breast cancer
An in vitro study to determine the impact of CBD on programmed cell death present in breast cancer cell lines discover that indeed CBD induced autophagic cell death. Autophagy is a natural process in which the body respond by destroying cells. Basically, CBD suppresses the survival of both estrogen receptor-negative and estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cell lines. Other studies have also proved evidence of the antitumor effect of CBD in preclinical models of breast cancer.
CBD in treatment of lung cancer
A German research found out that CBD increases the expression of the intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) as a mechanism to keep in check the spread of lung cancer. The researchers concluded that CBD enhanced the rate at which cancer cells adhere to and be broken down by lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cells, which are mainly white blood cells which have been stimulated to destroy tumor cells.
CBD in treatment of colon cancer
CBD have also been found to exert a chemopreventive effect in a mouse model of colon cancer. A team of researchers from UK and Italy reported that cannabis extract with a high concentration of CBD can suppress spread of colon cancer in mice. The experiment showed that azoxymethane increases malignant and premalignant lesions in the mouse colon.
How widely is CBD used for treating cancer?
The jury is not yet out on the universal use of CBD capsules for the treatment of cancer. There are several studies that are still being carried out by health institutions and researchers in various parts of the world to build up enough evidence. There have been quite a number of anecdotal success stories that has even lead to more interest in the application and further research on cannabis. The main setback has been the ethical considerations with regards to getting trials on humans.
Increasing number of oncologists are encouraging cancer patients to try cannabis, CBD included, to complement the regular treatments. However, none of them has advice the discontinuation of the regular treatment. The main reasoning behind the positive reception by medical practitioners is that there is no evidence of harm in using CBD so trying out could help faster cure of cancer.
Potential side-effects of CBD
Just like many drugs for treating serious health conditions like cancer, CBD can also exhibit some side-effects that might have a negative impact on the patients. Cancer patients who use CBD reported having experienced drowsiness, change of moods, lightheadedness or heightened heartbeat. On the worst end are cases of depression and related emotional disorders. In some few cases, patients have reported hallucinations and poor coordination or memory failure. Other side-effects include mouth dryness.
The incidents of side-effects of CBD tend to increase with age. In general, different people might experience difference effects depending on many other factors such as the dosage used and how allergic the patient is. So, it is always advisable to start out with a lower dosage, but most importantly consult a doctor whenever you experience any uncomfortable feeling as a result of CBD usage.
CBD and by extension cannabis is known to have milder side-effects than chemo treatment, which is commonly used in the treatment of cancer. So, with the increasing proof of the effectiveness of CBD in treating various cases of cancer, it is only a matter of time before we can see increased approval and application even in places where it had received resistant before. There would be no need for increased usage of synthetic drugs for defeating cancer when the Mother Nature has provided us with medicine that works. But, before you resort to any medical usage you should consult your doctor. Also, be aware of the CBD counterfeits or adulterated CBD products.