Ovarian cancer patient's tumours SHRINK because of CBD oil

I know you have heard it - CBD oil as a treatment for breast cancer or ovarian cancer. But is there such a thing? And what is the evidence for it? What advice would you give to a friend or a loved one about this? Is it hocus pocus or real?

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I remember in medical training a professor of oncology once told me a story of how in his 30 years of working as an oncologist, he had seen 3 cases of metastatic (spreading) cancer miraculously cured, leaving with it no sign on scans! How is that even possible?

First and foremost, this article is NOT stating cannabis as a cure for cancer. We are medical doctors and advocate for getting the right treatment for your doctor. This article is to discuss the field and shed light onto a very controversial topic.

This 81 year old lady’s story

It was 2017 at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. This story was shared in Aug 2019 in the Journal of Gynecologic Oncology Case Reports.

See the big red circle below? That was what doctors found in the tummy of an 81 year old lady who was diagnosed with metastatic (spreading) ovary cancer. She initially just had a lump in her tummy and doctors thought it was a hernia but after operating on her and opening up her tummy, the truth was far from it! These growths were cancerous and had spread throughout her body. They were between 7mm and 7cm in size!

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The Treatment

What happened next is fascinating. This lady declined all form of medical treatment and instead went on her path of treatment by taking CBD oil (although the dose was not disclosed!) and Laetrile tablets (500mg four times daily). Laetrile you see is a chemical compound found in the seeds of certain fruits, such as apricots, and accounts for the sour taste.

Fast forward 2 months …

She went in for another scan and it looked like this:

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The mass had shrunk down considerably. It is hard to believe, isn’t it? She then returned 2 months later (4 months after diagnosis) and the spots had reduced in size further with some even going away. The last documented follow up was December 2018 where she continued to have a good response to treatment. The doctors were so impressed by it that they published it as a formal report to a medical journal.

Did you know that in the blood, there are cancer levels one can check to determine the response of a cancer to the treatment given? One such test is the CA-125. This is our lady’s CA-125 levels below, it had come down considerably!

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What the research says about CBD oil cancer

The problem you and I face in the world of medicinal cannabis is that most of the studies have been done in the lab and not in real life, but they do show promise.

For example, in 2008 the American Association for Cancer Research published an article discussing the different evidence available for treating cancer with cannabis and concluded that:

“Although the observed effects of cannabinoids are complex and sometimes contradictory, there is overwhelming evidence to suggest that cannabinoids can be explored as chemotherapeutic agents for the treatment of cancer”

Let me give you an example that relates to female cancers: breast cancer. In 2006, researchers in Italy tested how various cannabinoids, such as: cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol, cannabichromene, cannabidiol acid, and Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) made the growth of breast cancer cells slower. What they found was that CBD proved to be the most potent inhibitor of certain breast cancer cell lines, to the point of it fully stopping their growth. I want you to see below how CBD did that at different concentrations (as the lines go up, more and more of the cancer cells are inhibited and stopped from growing):

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It is important to note that in some studies, cancer cell lines were found to be stimulated by CBD. Researchers are unsure as to the reasons behind this but believe it has to do with wether a cell expresses a particular type of receptor on its surface for CBD or not.

 

What about those already on treatment?

Did you know that for those already on chemotherapy or other cancer treatments, a common side effect is nausea and vomiting. These symptoms can be very unpleasant and it is thought that about one third of people on chemotherapy experience this. However, CBD has been found in several studies to be very useful to treat this.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine concluded in a recent publication that:

“There is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids are effective … as anti-emetics (anti vomiting) in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting”

What does all this mean?

I know it’s all very exciting to read but the unfortunate truth is that conclusive research to prove the role of cannabis in treating cancer cannot be made. Do you know why? Well, we think part of the reason is that there is no real financial incentive for it to be done, no drug company can patent the drug or make billions from it. Like it or not, cannabis will likely remain in it’s own segment under the umbrella term “complimentary and alternative medicine”.

Incorporating cannabis into mainstream medicine should be done as a complimentary approach and not as a substitute, as your health is at stake and your health is precious. We always recommend you consult with your doctor and have an open discussion about using cannabis.

If you want to discuss if medicinal cannabis is right for you, book your consultation with our doctor today, which is done in the privacy of your own home and we can guide you through this process.

Do you have any stories of friends or family who have tried cannabis as part of their treatment? Let us know in the comments below.

Friendly Reminder: The above article is not a substitute for medical advice from a health care professional and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your doctor or other qualified health care professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Do not disregard medical advice or postpone consultation with your health care professional because of information that you have read on this website.

References:

  1. Alessia Ligresti et al. Antitumor Activity of Plant Cannabinoids with Emphasis on the Effect of Cannabidiol on Human Breast Carcinoma

  2. Sami Sarfaraz et al. Cannabinoids for Cancer Treatment: Progress and Promise. AACR Jan 2008.

  3. Incidence and duration of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in the outpatient oncology population. Lindley CM1, Bernard S, Fields SM. J Clin Oncol. 1989 Aug;7(8):1142-9. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics September 2006, 318 (3) 1375-1387

  4. The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research (2017), National Academy of Sciences.

  5. Alessia Ligresti et al. Antitumor Activity of Plant Cannabinoids with Emphasis on the Effect of Cannabidiol on Human Breast Carcinoma. JPET 318:1375–1387, 2006.

  6. Piñeiro R, et al. The putative cannabinoid receptor GPR55 defines a novel autocrine loop in cancer cell proliferation. Oncogene. 2011 Jan 13;30(2):142-52.

Further reading:

  1. Guzman M. Cannabinoids: potential anticancer agents. Nat Rev Cancer 2003; 3: 745–55.

  2. Carracedo A, Lorente M, Egia A, et al. The stress-regulated protein p8 mediates cannabinoid-induced apoptosis of tumor cells. Cancer Cell 2006; 9: 301–12.

  3. Gustafsson K, Christensson B, Sander B, Flygare J. Cannabinoid receptor-mediated apoptosis induced by R(+)-methanandamide and Win55,212–2 is associated with ceramide accumulation and p38 activation in mantle cell lymphoma. Mol Pharmacol 2006; 70: 1612–20.

  4. Sarfaraz S, Afaq F, Adhami VM, Malik A, Mukhtar H. Cannabinoid receptor agonist-induced apoptosis of human prostate cancer cells LNCaP proceeds through sustained activation of ERK1/2 leading to G1 cell cycle arrest. J Biol Chem 2006; 281: 39480–91.

  5. Ligresti A, Moriello AS, Starowicz K, et al. Antitumor activity of plant cannabinoids with emphasis on the effect of cannabidiol on human breast carcinoma. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2006; 318: 1375–87

  6. Blazquez C, Carracedo A, Barrado L, et al. Cannabinoid receptors as novel targets for the treatment of melanoma. FASEB J 2006; 20: 2633–5

  7. Carracedo A, Gironella M, Lorente M, et al. Cannabinoids induce apoptosis of pancreatic tumor cells via endoplasmic reticulum stress-related genes. Cancer Res 2006; 66: 6748–55

  8. Preet A, Ganju RK, Groopman JE. Δ(9)-Tetrahydrocannabinol inhibits epithelial growth factor-induced lung cancer cell migration in vitro as well as its growth and metastasis in vivo. Oncogene. Epub 2007

  9. Ellert-Miklaszewska A, Kaminska B, Konarska L. Cannabinoids down-regulate PI3K/Akt and Erk signalling pathways and activate proapoptotic function of Bad protein. Cell Signal 2005; 17: 25–37.

  10. Guzman M, Duarte MJ, Blazquez C, et al. A pilot clinical study of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol in patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme. Br J Cancer 2006; 95: 197–203

  11. Massi P, Vaccani A, Bianchessi S, et al. The non-psychoactive cannabidiol triggers caspase activation and oxidative stress in human glioma cells. Cell Mol Life Sci 2006; 63: 2057–66

  12. Ruiz L, Miguel A, Diaz-Laviada I. Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol induces apoptosis in human prostate PC-3 cells via a receptor-independent mechanism. FEBS Lett 1999; 458: 400–4

  13. Nithipatikom K, Endsley MP, Isbell MA, et al. 2-arachidonoylglycerol: a novel inhibitor of androgen-independent prostate cancer cell invasion. Cancer Res 2004; 64: 8826–30

  14. Sarfaraz S, Afaq F, Adhami VM, et al. Cannabinoid receptors agonist WIN-55,212–2 inhibits angiogenesis, metastasis and tumor growth of androgen-sensitive prostate cancer cells CWR22Rv1 xenograft in athymic nude mice. Proc Am Assoc Cancer Res 2007; 48: 521.

  15. Mimeault M, Pommery N, Wattez N, Bailly C, Henichart JP. Anti-proliferative and apoptotic effects of anandamide in human prostatic cancer cell lines: implication of epidermal growth factor receptor down-regulation and ceramide production. Prostate 2003; 56: 1–12

  16. Sanchez MG, Sanchez AM, Ruiz-Llorente L, Diaz-Laviada I. Enhancement of androgen receptor expression induced by (R)-methanandamide in prostate LNCaP cells. FEBS Lett 2003; 555: 561–6

  17. Grimaldi C, Pisanti S, Laezza C, et al. Anandamide inhibits adhesion and migration of breast cancer cells.Exp Cell Res 2006; 312: 363–73

  18. McKallip RJ, Nagarkatti M, Nagarkatti PS. Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol enhances breast cancer growth and metastasis by suppression of the antitumor immune response. J Immunol 2005; 174: 3281–9

  19. Fogli S, Nieri P, Chicca A, et al. Cannabinoid derivatives induce cell death in pancreatic MIA PaCa-2 cells via a receptor-independent mechanism. FEBS Lett 2006; 580: 1733–9

  20. Flygare J, Gustafsson K, Kimby E, Christensson B, Sander B. Cannabinoid receptor ligands mediate growth inhibition and cell death in mantle cell lymphoma. FEBS Lett 2005; 579: 6885–9