Can CBD Help Cancer Patients?
As the popularity of Cannabidiol (CBD) has increased, it’s not uncommon to come across many stories each day about the success CBD has for a range of medical conditions. One particular disease that appears often in the CBD spotlight is cancer, but can CBD actually help cancer patients?
When diagnosed with cancer, dependent on the stage and the severity of the cancer, patients may need to undergo chemotherapy or radiotherapy as a way of completely treating the cancer or to give themselves more time in terminal cases.
With only slight changes in life expectancy over the last 40 years, and cancer rates on the rise, cancer has fast become an epidemic of the modern world, with experts everywhere searching for a solution. However, despite this, more people are turning down radiation treatment due to the long-term side effects it can cause.
Although radiation treatments aim to get rid of the cancer, they can result in a wide range of short-term side-effects as well as long-term effects. This is because when radiation passes through the body, it can harm healthy tissue, nerves and organs around the treatment site. Consequently, once these have been damaged, they won’t repair themselves, which can result in a number of other lifelong medical conditions / symptoms.
In addition to this, some symptoms can appear many years after the treatment has finished. This is because in some cases, the radiotherapy can continue to damage tissue long after it has finished. It is also reported that secondary cancers have developed in some patients receiving radiation and certain types of chemotherapy.
With some cancer patients, once their cancer treatment has come to an end and they’ve received the all-clear, they can find themselves with side-effects from the treatment that leave them with a poor quality of life.
For example, in those who’ve had pelvic radiation, 90 per cent of patients report a permanent change in bowel habits afterwards, and 30 per cent have problems with the bladder, often causing urine to leak. Some side-effects are so severe patients are housebound.
Another example is that using radiation treatment for prostate cancer can lead to life-long side-effects such as
- Erectile dysfunction
- Changes in bowel habits
The problem with any kind of radiation treatment such as chemotherapy is that they often find themselves facing a great deal of pain and unwanted side-effects during this treatment process. It’s important to note that everyone’s reaction to treatment is unique and not everyone will be affected the same by radiation treatment.
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CBD and Managing Symptoms of Cancer
With CBD gaining more popularity for its amazing benefits as a food supplement, more cancer patients going through radiation treatment are turning to CBD to help manage the side effects. CBD can help with:
CBD has shown to significantly relieve pain. CBD has demonstrated that it can significantly reduce neuropathic pain; even pain that traditional treatment had been unsuccessful at managing.
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Nausea and vomiting
Cannabinoids have shown to effectively reduce the nausea and vomiting that often occurs during and after chemotherapy treatments. Studies have found that one of the major cannabinoids found in cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD), is effective at treating the more difficult to control symptoms of nausea.
Help prevent weight loss and restore appetite
CBD can help prevent weight loss and a loss of appetite in chemotherapy patients.
Studies on CBD has shown that it can help reduce the swelling in the hands and feet that can occur alongside chemotherapy. Both THC and CBD have shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.
A survey of 131 cancer patients participating in cannabis treatments for six to eight weeks reported significant improvements in all of the measured symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, mood disorders, fatigue, weight loss, anorexia, constipation, sexual function, sleep disorders, itching, and pain.
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Can CBD cure cancer?
As CBD is a food supplement, we can’t make any medical claims. However, there has been a lot of interest in cannabinoids, Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabidiol and cannabidiol. These compounds are receiving the most attention to see if they could have any role in the treatment of cancer.
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Most of the scientific research and studies has been conducted in a laboratory.
From these studies, scientists have found that different cannabinoids can:
- Increase the survival rate
- Cause cancer cells to die
- Stop cancer cells from dividing
- Stop cells from developing new blood vessels
- Help repair damaged cells
- Maintain the balance of healthy cells in the body
Despite the many benefits and the scientific studies, testimonials and cancer success stories, there is still not enough evidence to say that CBD can have any medical benefits. CBD is often sold as a ‘food supplement’ in the UK, as a result, we can’t make any medical claims.
In one study, researchers found that when using Chemotherapy with CBD for cancer, it inhibited the proliferation rate of cancer cells and tripled the survival rate of mice with pancreatic cancer.
A 2013 study found that the combination of therapies decreased the reproduction of cancer cells, while many others found that the combination actually helped repair damaged cells and helped maintain the balance of healthy cells in the body.
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