Cannabis products can be smoked, vaporized, ingested (eating or drinking), absorbed through the skin (in a patch) or as a cream or spray.
Scientists also discovered that cannabinoids can:
We need more research to know if cannabis or the chemicals in it can treat cancer.
Cannabis is a class B drug in the UK. This means that it is illegal to have it, sell it or buy it.
Different types of cannabis have differing amounts of these and other chemicals in them. This means they can have different effects on the body.
Cannabis that contains high levels of THC can cause panic attacks, hallucinations and paranoia.
One study of cannabis users found they had a lower risk of bladder cancer, but their risk of developing prostate cancer increased. The jury is still out whether any part of cannabis will treat cancer in the future. But if you’d like to learn more about the current research, have a look here.
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.
The problem with these stories is that it’s difficult to know whether you have all of the facts. It’s impossible to make any kind of judgement without knowing about the type of cancer, other treatment and the person’s medical history.
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. If you want to delve deeper into the difference between anecdotal evidence and scientific data, this article is a great place to start.
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.
It is also important to note that some studies have shown that CBD might interfere with how your body processes cancer drugs, called a drug interaction. This might make cancer treatments more toxic or make them less effective. More research is needed on these effects, too. For these reasons, always tell your oncologist if you’re thinking about using CBD before you take it.
Yet there’s very little research around CBD and its use in treating people with cancer. Here’s what to know about what CBD is and what science currently shows about whether it’s safe and effective for people with cancer to use.
You may find stories online of people discussing the benefits of CBD as a cancer treatment or as relief for side effects. Please remember that such personal stories, while they may be well-meaning, are shared without scientific study and do not constitute evidence. The safety and efficacy of CBD for people with cancer still has to be proven in large, randomized, controlled clinical trials.
Can CBD help people with cancer?
To date, no large-scale studies have shown CBD to have benefits for the treatment of people with cancer. Most studies that have been done evaluating CBD as a cancer treatment were in mice or in human cells in the lab. For instance, there are some studies that have shown that CBD inhibits the growth of cancer cells in mice with lung cancer or colon cancer. Another study showed that CBD, together with THC, killed glioblastoma cancer cells in the lab. However, no studies have been conducted in people with cancer.
There is much about CBD that is still unknown. It has largely gone unstudied because, until 2018, it was considered a schedule I drug by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). A schedule I drug is a drug that has been declared illegal by the DEA because of safety concerns over its potential for abuse and because there is no accepted medical use for it. Then, in September 2018, the DEA updated CBD’s status to become a schedule V drug. Schedule V drugs have a lower potential for abuse and are deemed to have some medical use.
Studies to answer this question are underway. Some scientists are studying whether CBD could relieve some of the side effects of cancer and its treatment, such as pain, insomnia, anxiety, or nausea. Other scientists are studying whether CBD could potentially slow or stop the growth of cancer.
CBD is 1 of the hundreds of chemicals found in the flowering cannabis plant. CBD does not have the psychoactive, or mind-altering, effects of another chemical found in cannabis called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the chemical that causes people to experience a “high.” CBD, on the other hand, is being used by some to help ease pain, anxiety, and sleep issues.