One study of cannabis users found they had a lower risk of bladder cancer, but their risk of developing prostate cancer increased.
Walking along your local high street, you’ve probably noticed shops selling CBD oil, along with all sorts of health claims – including the possibility that it could even be used to combat cancer. But could this be true? Could cannabis really cure cancer? We asked our experts to delve into the research.
This is difficult to answer, as research into cannabis and the chemicals in cannabis is still in its infancy. Most of the research so far has involved work in cells and mice. THC and CBD are two of the main cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant.
Is CBD oil safe?
There is some evidence that CBD oil could be effective against some rare childhood epilepsies. But again, more data is needed before we can draw any firm conclusions. Studies also show that CBD oil could be beneficial for managing anxiety and insomnia in some people, and early research also suggests a possible use of CBD for the treatment of certain types of pain.
Relatively. The doses sold in UK health stores are generally too low to cause any serious harm. Side effects of CBD include nausea, fatigue and diarrhoea. Most importantly, it can affect certain medications and you should always check with your GP before trying CBD oil. Because CBD oil is freely available to purchase in stores, it is not as tightly regulated as medicines.
This is why research and regulated clinical trials are so important. They enable us to make informed decisions on what treatments are likely to work best based on solid evidence.
We don’t know yet whether cannabis, or any of the chemicals in cannabis, are useful to treat cancer. But it’s an important topic to discuss. And because we believe in the power of research, we dug into the science to answer some of the top questions you might have on cannabis and its effect on cancer.
Despite what these sources may claim, it’s impossible to tell whether these patients have been ‘cured’ by cannabis or not. There is usually no information about their medical diagnosis, stage of disease, what other cancer treatments they had, or the chemical make-up of their treatment. These sources also only publish the “success stories”, and don’t share how many people who used cannabis or its derivatives had no benefit, or worse, were potentially harmed.
My mum is still hear today no driver she doesn’t take morphine on a daily basis she’s on no medication if it wasn’t for the cbd oil she would not be with us today.
Hi Andy, I just wanted to respond to some of your points. You state that there are no clinical trials involving CBD. This isn’t actually correct. Cancer Research UK has funded research into cannabinoids and we also support the only two UK clinical trials of cannabinoids for treating cancer, through our national network of Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres.
What I can tell you is there is enough people whose doctors cannot explain why they no longer have cancer that we know doctors do not know everything about cancer. They cannot explain why some people who take CBD oil no longer have cancer. My doctor said ‘I have never seen this, it cannot happen’.
You are not alone.
I strongly recommend you all to watch the new movie on netflix called ‘Weed People’ and inform yourself. Don’t expect big phrama to come along and stop marketting their cancer medicines and treatments away (from which they make huge profits), because of a product widely available that might help.
4746 posts since
Although few relevant surveys of practice patterns exist, it appears that physicians caring for cancer patients in the U.S. who recommend medicinal cannabis do so predominantly for symptom management. The potential benefits of medicinal cannabis for people living with cancer include antiemetic effects, appetite stimulation, pain relief, and improved sleep.
Newton-John refuses to focus on how much time she could have left, feeling that concentrating on a specific time could be a self-fulfilling prophecy. “So, for me, psychologically, it’s better not to have any idea of what they expect or what the last person that has what you have lived, so I don’t, I don’t tune in.”
The studies that look at cannabinoid’s effect on appetite on patients with cancer or HIV have had mixed results. A few studies showed no significant improvement in appetite or weight gain. However, a smaller, placebo-controlled trial of dronabinol in cancer patients demonstrated improved and enhanced chemosensory perception in the cannabinoid group — food tasted better, appetite increased, and the proportion of calories consumed as protein was greater than in the placebo recipients.
— The singer and actress updates fans on her battle, but can marijuana help?
In addition to hormone suppression therapy (via estrogen receptor blockade), Newton-John has continued to use complementary treatments including herbs, marijuana, and mindfulness/meditation therapy.
There are a few studies done in mice, rats, and in vitro human cancer cell lines, that suggest that cannabinoids may have a protective effect against the development of certain types of tumors. Cannabinoids may cause antitumor effects by various mechanisms, including induction of cell death, inhibition of cell growth, and inhibition of tumor angiogenesis invasion and metastasis.
A 2017 review looked at five studies evaluating the efficacy of cannabis in patients with cancer. “Four out of the five studies found that cannabis was significantly associated with a decrease in cancer-associated pain,” the authors wrote. Limitations to the studies included the small number of patients in some studies, variation in route of administration, and a lack of dosing guidelines. Further research is needed into this potentially important adjuvant treatment.
Cannabis’ status as a Schedule I drug has limited studies on the potential benefits of cannabis for cancer patients as well as others with chronic illness. Even with the increasing number of states that have legalized medicinal or recreational marijuana, researchers may shy away from this research because of federal restrictions and inability to get federal grants to pay for such research.