cbd oil for cancer tumors

After Woman’s Tumor Unexpectedly Shrinks, Her Doctors Wonder If CBD Oil Played a Role

Some outside experts are skeptical, but the woman’s doctors say CBD and THC compounds deserve further attention in cancer research.

Doctors in the UK say they’ve come across an unusual case of cancer recovery: A woman in her 80s whose lung cancer began to shrink without any conventional treatment, after she started taking daily doses of CBD/THC oil. Though it’s far from clear that the oil actually affected her tumor, the doctors argue that cannabis and its primary ingredients merit further research as a possible cancer treatment.

The CBD in CBD oil comes from cannabidiol, one of the two major compounds found in cannabis. These products can also include delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the other major compound that’s responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. CBD oil and similar products are in a murky legal market in much of the world. In the U.S., only one medical use of CBD is currently approved, a high-dose version that’s meant to help relieve symptoms in people with certain seizure disorders. But cannabis and CBD oil are permitted to be sold and used in much of the country, as well as in some other countries like the UK.

The patient in this case had experienced a persistent cough for months by the time she visited a doctor in February 2018. By the summer, imaging tests and a biopsy clearly indicated that she had lung cancer, specifically non-small cell lung carcinoma. Though she was a smoker and had preexisting lung problems, doctors felt her case was treatable. But after lengthy discussions, the woman chose to decline options like surgery or radiation therapy. Because of that, the doctors agreed to simply keep an eye on her cancer’s growth through routinely scheduled imaging tests.

Remarkably, the woman’s cancer started shrinking without any intervention on the doctors’ part whatsoever. Compared to the first imaging taken in June 2018, they estimated that the cancer’s size had shrunk 76% by February 2021. In February 2019, after a year of shrinking, the doctors spoke to the woman about her results, and she revealed that she had been ingesting a CBD oil product on the advice of a relative since June 2018, usually at three doses a day. Other than a reduced appetite, the woman reported no side effects from her regimen, and the doctors couldn’t find any other changes to her prescribed medications, diet, or lifestyle (she was advised to quit smoking but had continued to do so) during that time.

“This case appears to demonstrate a possible benefit of ’CBD oil’ intake that may have resulted in the observed tumor regression,” the doctors wrote in their report on the case, published Thursday in BMJ Case Reports.

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Woman’s Shrinking Tumor Has Doctors Asking If CBD Oil Is Responsible

A new case study has suggested that cannabidiol (CBD) as an alternative cancer therapy may warrant further research, after an 80-year-old smoker’s lung tumor shrank despite declining medical treatment. The patient had been self-administering CBD oil several times daily for a period of 2.5 years, during which time a cancerous tumor in her lung shrank to a quarter of its original size. While it can’t be concluded that this patient’s improvement was down to CBD oil use, the authors say it’s possible a connection exists, warranting further research into the effects, if any, of CBD oil on cancerous tumors.

The intriguing case study was published in BMJ Case Reports and details the disease progression of an 80-year-old woman who was a regular smoker and had been diagnosed with lung cancer. At time of diagnosis, the patient was offered several conventional treatments to tackle the tumor but declined in favor of “watchful waiting” whereby her condition would be left unchanged but monitored by medical professionals to keep tabs on any significant changes.

Unbeknownst to their medical team, the patient self-prescribed CBD oil two to three times daily after a family member recommended it. Interestingly, despite turning down medical interventions and continuing to smoke throughout the 2.5 year surveillance period, the cancerous tumor shrank progressively from 41 millimeters (1.6 inches) in June 2018 to 10 millimeters (0.4 inches) in February 2021, an overall 76% reduction. During their “treatment time,” the patient experienced no significant side effects other than a slight loss of appetite which may or may not be the result of the CBD oil.

CBD and THC are two ingredients found in cannabis, being non-psychoactive and psychoactive respectively. According to the supplier of this patient’s CBD oil, the active ingredients were roughly equal amounts of THC and CBD, but the researchers were unable to confirm the full ingredients. The patient also reported taking inconsistent dosages, making the exact “treatment regime” difficult to replicate.

As for evidence for the oil playing an instrumental role in the radical tumor shrinkage, the existing body of research isn’t terribly definitive one way or the other. For a long time, scientists only had cultured cell and animal research to work from, limiting the findings’ generalizability. In 2021, this changed as it was announced that a cannabis-based mouth spray would be tested as a potential treatment for glioblastoma brain tumors, marking the first-ever major human trial involving medical cannabis as a cancer therapy.

Without a significant body of research based on human trials to work from, it would be inaccurate and unwise to draw any sweeping conclusions from individual case reports such as this one. However, as the researchers explain, given the known and severe side effects of conventional interventions such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery, it’s worth investigating alternatives that could provide hope for a less grueling treatment plan.

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“Existing cancer treatments could have severe side effects, both physically and mentally,” they wrote. “This is why our patient decided on non-conventional self-treatment. The limited number of case reports appear to show that ‘CBD oil’ can have positive effects on tumour reduction. More research is needed to identify the actual mechanism of action, administration pathways, safe dosages, its effects on different types of cancer and any potential adverse side effects when using cannabinoids.

“The potential for cannabinoids to be used as an alternative to augment or replace conventional primary cancer treatments definitely justifies further research.”

Marijuana ingredient could be therapy for a deadly brain tumor, Augusta University finds

One of the active ingredients in marijuana and hemp could show promise in fighting a deadly and aggressive brain tumor, said researchers at Augusta University. It could help target an immune-blocking enzyme first discovered at the school more than 20 years ago.

Glioblastoma is one of the deadliest forms of brain tumor and even with treatment the median survival after diagnosis is 15 months, according to the Glioblastoma Foundation. Research into new therapies over the last 15 years has increased survival only by two or three months, said Dr. Martin Rutkowski, a neurosurgeon specializing in brain tumors at Medical College of Georgia at AU and one of the researchers.

“We’re pretty desperate” for better therapies, he said.

One of the active ingredients in marijuana known as cannabidiol or CBD offers some intriguing potential as a therapy, said Dr. Babak Baban, associate dean for research at Dental College of Georgia. CBD does not cause a high, and a drug based on it is already approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat seizures in children; additionally, it is relatively safe with few side effects, he said. But it has also shown it can be a powerful regulator of the immune system and that is part of what makes it attractive as a therapy for these tumors, Baban said.

Glioblastomas, like many tumors, surround themselves with a microenvironment that protects them and allows them to thrive and glioblastoma has “one of the most complex for tumors,” Baban said. The tumors need to create new blood vessels to grow, a process called angiogenesis.

“Through angiogenesis, it can spread out, it can survive,” Baban said. Glioblastoma “is the most aggressive one in the central nervous system.”

Using mice who were made to grow the tumors and then given inhaled CBD, the tumors shrank compared to those who did not get it. CBD appeared to block at least three essential components for forming those new blood vessels.

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But glioblastomas also evades the immune system, and one of the ways it does that is through immune checkpoints, mechanisms set up like sentries to halt the advance of immune cells toward the tumor, Baban said.

Rutkowski likens it to a protective barrier around the tumor.

“They’re very good at shielding themselves so we need ways to drop the shield and make the immune system more effective at finding them,” he said.

One that appears to be protecting the tumors is an enzyme known as IDO. Its function was first discovered at MCG in 1998 as one of the mechanisms that helps protect the fetus from the mother’s immune system. A few years later, those same researchers found the enzyme was being manipulated by tumors for survival.

CBD appears to block the action of IDO and perhaps others, Baban said. One way they knew it was working is the sudden presence of T cells from the immune system around the tumors, he said. Those T cells “are extremely important in fighting tumors and glioblastoma actively blocks (them). We saw the increase in the (T cells) after this immune checkpoint was inhibited.”

CBD is quite common in many over-the-counter therapies and is touted for a number of different ailments, and some of those claims are likely dubious, Rutkowski said.

“I am skeptical when it comes to CBD treating depression or anxiety or financial distress or marriage problems,” he said. “That’s probably not all true. But now that we have some basic science that supports this (therapy) I think it is really exciting.”

The next step will hopefully be a small, early-stage clinical trial in a limited number of patients, Baban said. Researchers in the United Kingdom are looking at a clinical trial with a different drug that combines CBD with equal amounts of THC, the component of marijuana that provides the high and may also have other properties. One advantage of AU’s approach is the inhaled form of CBD can make it easier to control the dosage delivered to the brain, particularly if it can be formulated as a nasal spray, Baban said.

AU also wants to do more research on the mechanisms of CBD and whether it can also prevent the tumor from returning, which is a major problem with glioblastoma, he said.

But it opens the door to using immunotherapy, fighting cancer through an increased role of the body’s immune system, which has led to break-through therapies in lung cancer, melanoma, breast cancer and others, Rutkowski said.

“I think the reason why this is so exciting is because the same principles of fighting cancer in one part of the body may apply to the brain,” he said. “I think we are making some progress here.”