CBD Oil for Lung Cancer: Is Cannabis A Potential Treatment?
Lung cancer is the second most common form of cancer in the U.S. Sadly, it is estimated that more than 130,000 Americans will succumb to lung cancer in 2021.
Traditional treatments are widely regarded as being extremely difficult and painful to undergo. This fact, combined with the deadly threat posed by cancer, has contributed to a surge in research into new therapies and treatments for cancer worldwide.
One such area in treating cancer is the promising use of CBD oil. Several research studies have provided insight that using CBD oil may help prevent cancer growth. While more research is needed in this area, CBD oil is already being used to help manage the symptoms of cancer and the adverse health effects of various cancer treatments.
Are All Cannabis Oils the Same?
There are many different types of cannabis oils:
CBD Oil. This oil is nonpsychoactive, meaning that it will not produce any feeling of being “high.” This is due to the fact that CBD oil doesn’t contain THC, which is the compound responsible for giving users such a sensation. CBD is valued for its many health benefits, which include easing pain, anxiety, and the side effects of going through chemotherapy.
There are three main types of CBD oil:
- Broad-spectrum CBD oil
- Full-spectrum CBD oil
- CBD oil derived from CBD isolate
Hemp Seed Oil. Hemp is a plant that is very similar to cannabis, with the key difference being that it does not contain THC or other important cannabinoids. Hemp seed oil is mainly used in skincare products or as a cooking oil.
Marijuana-derived oil. This type of oil is made from dried marijuana buds and leaves. As a result, it has a higher ratio of THC than other types of cannabis oils like CBD oil or hemp-derived oil.
Rick Simpson Oil. This type of oil features high levels of THC with a varying CBD content depending on the formulation.
For Health and Safety, Choose CBD Oil
When you’re looking for health benefits, it is CBD you want to emphasize when choosing a cannabis oil. Broad-spectrum CBD oil does not contain any THC, whereas full-spectrum CBD oil will have some THC present — but not more than 0.3%. CBD oil made from isolate involves a process of extracting all compounds from the cannabis plant. This process produces pure CBD in a crystal form which may be ground into a powder so that products are more convenient for consumption.
Can You Use CBD Oil to Treat Cancer?
There has been a push for research on whether CBD oil can help cure cancer. To date, there are many reports that CBD has helped people in dealing with this disease. But most of these reports are anecdotal evidence rather than scientific research. There isn’t any way to confirm the reliability of these stories or whether other treatments may have contributed to these positive experiences.
Most of the scientific research is still in its early stages in exploring whether CBD use is an effective cancer treatment. But there have been some positive findings.
A 2019 study found that CBD and cannabis extracts may cause the death of cancerous cells and may enhance the efficacy of radiation treatment. Other studies have also found that CBD in conjunction with THC may improve the effectiveness of radiation treatment in patients.
A specific case was reported in 2019 concerning a man with lung cancer. He declined traditional treatments and opted for the use of CBD oil instead. His tumor seemed to react favorably to CBD oil treatment.
But it is too early to definitively declare that CBD has any positive effects on preventing or treating lung cancer.
However, there are other areas in which the use of CBD oil can help people cope with lung cancer.
Does the Use of CBD Oil Help with Cancer Symptoms?
It is difficult to say whether CBD oil can help in cancer treatment, given that there is limited research in this area. However, there are various research findings that suggest CBD use can be extremely valuable for patients dealing with cancer and cancer treatments.
Cancer treatment typically involves chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Both of these treatment options take a heavy toll on the human body.
The use of CBD oil can help with various side effects of lung cancer treatment, including:
- Reduced appetite
CBD has been found to provide relief from chronic pain. This benefit of CBD use can be extremely valuable for cancer patients undergoing intense chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
Nausea is another common side effect of cancer treatment options. CBD has been found to lower the symptoms of nausea resulting from chemotherapy.
Does CBD Oil Use Come with any Side Effects?
CBD oil is generally safe to take. When using CBD, the side effects are predominantly mild and may include:
- Dry mouth
- Changes in appetite
Like any compound, CBD oil may interact with any medication you are currently taking. As a precaution, you should consult with your doctor if you are considering using CBD while already taking prescription medication.
How Is CBD Oil Used?
Products infused with CBD generally fall into one of four categories that depend on the way they are used.
There are many benefits to consuming CBD, which may help explain why there are so many options to choose from on the market today. Ingesting these products means that the CBD passes through your digestive system and gets metabolized by your liver. This enables the CBD you ingest to be provided all over your body over a period of a few hours.
Products in this category include capsules, tinctures, or drops and can be added to food or mix with coffee or tea.
Alternatively, you can take CBD oil using a sublingual method. This involves placing a few drops of CBD oil under your tongue and holding it there for up to 60 seconds. This method allows the important compounds to be quickly absorbed into your bloodstream and dispersed throughout your body.
To reduce any inflammation or relieve the pain you may experience, look for topical CBD products as they work the best. They give you the flexibility to apply them directly to whichever parts of your body need some relief. Topical CBD products include salves, shampoos, lip balms, creams, patches, suppositories, personal lubricants, and bath salts.
Another popular way to take CBD is to inhale its vapors using vape carts and pens. This way, CBD enters your bloodstream quickly through your lungs and avoids the digestive system altogether. In particular, vaping has been growing in popularity with CBD use due to its ease of use and variety of flavors and options.
For CBD use with lung cancer, it is important to discuss your options with your doctor. This is particularly important for inhaling CBD.
Where Can I Buy CBD Oil?
With the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, cannabis products are legal, theoretically, at the federal level as long as they contain less than 0.3% Delta 9 THC. As a result, many dispensaries and stores now carry a wide selection of CBD oils and other products.
If you prefer the many advantages of online shopping for your CBD oil, you have countless options to choose from. But keep in mind that CBD oils, for the most part, are largely unregulated. Therefore, you need to guarantee that your product is safe and effective.
According to a recent study, less than one in three CBD products that were sold online had a correct label, with many of these products having less CBD content than advertised or had a significant concentration of THC.
So be sure to carefully research the company and its products before buying.
Key Takeaways on Using CBD Oil for Lung Cancer
There isn’t enough research to declare that CBD oil is effective as a treatment option for cancer. However, CBD may be able to offer some relief from the side effects of traditional treatments and from the symptoms of cancer.
It is a good idea to continue following the advice of your health care provider, even if your CBD oil seems to be giving you positive effects. Otherwise, stopping ongoing procedures could make future treatments more difficult and negatively impact your ability to treat tumors.
CBD oil is a promising ally in your battle with lung cancer. As more research becomes available, CBD oil may prove to be a viable treatment for your health needs.
- Dariš, B., Tancer Verboten, M., Knez, Ž., & Ferk, P. (2019). Cannabinoids in cancer treatment: Therapeutic potential and legislation. Bosnian journal of basic medical sciences, 19(1), 14–23.(1)
- Ivanov, V. N., Wu, J., Wang, T., & Hei, T. K. (2019). Inhibition of ATM kinase upregulates levels of cell death induced by cannabidiol and γ-irradiation in human glioblastoma cells. Oncotarget, 10(8), 825–846.(2)
- Scott K., Dalgleish A, & Liu W. (2014).The Combination of Cannabidiol and Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Enhances the Anticancer Effects of Radiation in an Orthotopic Murine Glioma Model. Mol Cancer Ther December 1 2014 (13) (12) 2955-2967; DOI: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-14-0402 (3)
- Sulé-Suso1 J., 2, Watson N., van Pittius D., & Jegannathen A. (2019). Striking lung cancer response to self-administration of cannabidiol: A case report and literature review. Sage Open Medical Case Reports.First Published February 21, 2019. (4)
- Argueta, D. A., Ventura, C. M., Kiven, S., Sagi, V., & Gupta, K. (2020). A Balanced Approach for Cannabidiol Use in Chronic Pain. Frontiers in pharmacology, 11, 561. (5)
- Rock, E. M., Sticht, M. A., Limebeer, C. L., & Parker, L. A. (2016). Cannabinoid Regulation of Acute and Anticipatory Nausea. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 1(1), 113–121.(6)
- Bonn-Miller, M., Loflin, M., Thomas, B., Marcu,J., Hyke, T., Vandrey, R. (2017) Labeling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online. JAMA. 2017;318(17):1708-1709. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.11909 (7)
Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.
Leave a comment Cancel reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
Case Report: Lung Cancer Shrinks in Patient Using CBD Oil
A case report describes the dramatic shrinkage of a tumor to a quarter of its original size in a patient with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who had declined conventional treatment, continued smoking, and who later revealed that she was ingesting cannabidiol (CBD) oil.
The patient was an 80-year-old woman.
At diagnosis, the tumor measured 41 mm, and there was no evidence of local or further spread. Hence, it was suitable for a standard treatment regimen of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy, note the authors.
The patient declined conventional treatment. She underwent monitoring with regular CT scans every 3–6 months.
After 2.5 years, the CT scans showed that the tumor had shrunk to 10 mm.
The patient then disclosed that she had been ingesting CBD oil, which had been suggested to her by a family member. It was taken orally about two to three times a day.
Details of the case were published on October 14 in BMJ Case Reports.
“We are aware of the limitations of this case report,” write the authors, led by Kah Ling Liew, MD, of Watford General Hospital, Watford, United Kingdom.
“Although there appears to be a relationship between the intake of ‘CBD oil’ and the observed tumour regression, we are unable to conclusively confirm that the tumour regression is due to the patient taking ‘CBD oil,’ ” they comment.
The team also notes that there are similar case reports in the medical literature.
Both points were emphasized by experts reacting to the publication via the UK Science Media Center.
“This is one of many such promising single case reports of medical cannabis self-treatment for various cancers,” said David Nutt, DM, FRCP, FRCPsych, the Edmond J. Safra Chair in Neuropsychopharmacology, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom. “Such case reports are biologically credible given the adaptogenic nature of the endocannabinoid system.”
He noted that a “case report itself is not sufficient to give any form of proof that one thing caused the other ― we need trials for that. There are some controlled trials already started and more are required to properly explore the potential of medical cannabis in a range of cancers.”
Another expert, Edzard Ernst, MD, PhD, professor emeritus of complementary medicine, University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom, pointed out that in animal models, cannabinoids have reduced the size of prostate cancer tumors. “Previous case reports have yielded encouraging findings also in human cancers,” he noted. He too said that further study is needed.
“Case reports cannot be considered to be reliable evidence, and there are currently no data from rigorous clinical trials to suggest that cannabis products will alter the natural history of any cancer,” Ernst said.
Patient Declined Recommended Treatment
The patient initially presented with a persistent cough that did not resolve with antibiotic therapy. She has a history of mild chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, osteoarthritis, and hypertension. She is a current smoker with a 68 pack-year history of smoking. She has no history of alcohol consumption and is taking several prescription medications.
After an initial CT scan, she underwent a CT-guided lung biopsy and was diagnosed with NSCLC (TNM stage T2bN0Mx). Further analysis of the tumor tissue showed that it was negative for ALK and EGFR mutations. PDL1 was expressed by <1% of the tumor cells. No distant metastases were detected.
A subsequent CT scan revealed that the main tumor in her right middle lobe had shrunk from 41 mm to 33 mm. There were new bilateral upper lobe nodules, one in the left apex, which measured 4 mm, and one in right apex, which measured 6 mm.
The patient was referred to cardiothoracic surgeons for a possible lobectomy, but the patient declined to have surgery. She was then referred to the oncologists. She underwent repeat CT and positron-emission tomography (PET) scans, which showed that her cancer had continued to shrink. On CT, there was an 11-mm reduction, and on PET, an 18-mm reduction. The left apical nodule had resolved, and the right upper lobe nodule was reduced in size.
The patient was offered stereotactic ablative radiotherapy, but she declined this treatment. Because she had refused all standard therapies, a decision was made to “watch and wait.” The patient underwent regular CT surveillance.
Over the course of 2.5 years, the tumor continued to regress. By February 2021, it had shrunk to 10 mm, which represents an overall reduction of 76% in maximum axial diameter. The average rate of reduction was 2.4% per month throughout the monitoring period.
“This case was brought to the attention of the local lung MDT [multidisciplinary team] in February 2019 when the serial imaging showed a reduction in tumor size despite having received no conventional treatment for her lung cancer,” write the authors.
The patient was contacted to discuss her results. She revealed that she was using CBD oil and that she had started taking it in August 2018. No changes had been made in her prescription medications, diet, and lifestyle, and she continued to smoke a pack of cigarettes every week.
“I was not very interested in traditional cancer treatments,” the patient said, “as I was worried about the risks of surgery, and I saw my late husband suffer through the side effects of radiotherapy. My relative suggested that I should try ‘cannabidiol (CBD) oil’ to treat my cancer, and I have been taking it regularly ever since. I am ‘over the moon’ with my cancer shrinking, which I believe was caused by the ‘CBD oil’. I am tolerating it very well and I intend to take this treatment indefinitely.”
The source of the CBD oil was outside the United Kingdom. The main active ingredients, according to her supplier, were Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), at 19.5%, CBD, at 20.05%, and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, at 23.8%.
“The product used by this patient reportedly contained high levels of THC (the intoxicating component of cannabis) and was sourced from outside the UK,” commented Tom Freeman, PhD, senior lecturer and director of the Addiction and Mental Health Group, University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom. “This type of product is very different to most CBD oils, which predominantly contain CBD. Unlike prescribed medicines, CBD wellness products lack assurance of quality, safety, or efficacy and should not be used for medicinal purposes.”
The authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships. Nutt chairs the scientific committee of the charity Drug Science, which receives unrestricted educational grants from some medical cannabis companies. Ernst and Freeman have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
BMJ Case Rep. 2021;14:e244195. Full text
For more from Medscape Oncology, join us on Twitter and Facebook.
Woman’s Lung Cancer Shrinking After She Took CBD Oil Prompts Caution From Scientists
Scientists have advised caution after a report emerged of a woman whose lung cancer tumor shrank after she took regular doses of CBD oil.
CBD oil, which is a non-psychoactive chemical extracted from the hemp or cannabis plant, is linked to several possible health benefits such as pain relief and anxiety reduction.
People have also wondered whether CBD could be used as a cancer treatment, but this link remains inconclusive, according to MedicalNewsToday.
- Eligibility for Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer COVID Booster Explained
- Customers Got High After Cannabis Firm Mixed up CBD and THC Say Regulators
- Joe Biden Urged to Deliver on Promise to Decriminalize Marijuana
A case report was published in the British Medical Journal on October 14 involving a woman in her 80s who was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2018 after she went to doctors with a persistent cough.
The woman, a 68-pack-a-year smoker, was offered treatment for her cancer including surgery and radiotherapy, but she declined both, so doctors decided to simply watch and wait by carrying out regular scans.
According to the case report, regular CT scans over the following two-and-a-half years showed that her lung tumor appeared to be shrinking over time, despite the fact that the woman was continuing to smoke and was not receiving any conventional treatment.
The lesion in her lungs was measured at 41 millimeters in June 2018 and had reduced to 10 millimeters by February 2021.
When doctors contacted her to discuss this, she revealed that she had been taking “CBD oil” as a self-treatment after being advised to do so by a family member shortly after her 2018 diagnosis.
The woman was taking 0.5 milliliters of the oil two to three times per day by ingesting it. The case report authors note that the oil “appears to have had a positive effect on her disease” but couldn’t conclusively confirm this.
“Although there is clearly a potential for cannabinoids to be used as a primary or as an adjunct form of cancer treatment, further research is required to identify exactly which compound works against which specific cancer cell type,” the report states.
It also notes that previous studies have “failed to agree on the usefulness of cannabinoids as a cancer treatment.”
Meanwhile, scientists not involved in the case report have said that while the case appears encouraging, it should be taken with caution.
Professor David Nutt, The Edmond J Safra Chair in Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, told the Science Media Centre (SMC) that the example is “one of many such promising single case reports of medical cannabis self-treatment for various cancers,” but added: “A case report itself is not sufficient to give any form of proof that one thing caused the other—we need trials for that.”
Professor Edzard Ernst, Emeritus Professor of Complementary Medicine at the University of Exeter, echoed the point, telling the SMC that while some case reports into cancer and cannabis extracts have been encouraging, “case reports cannot be considered to be reliable evidence.”
One other issue with this case was that the woman had used CBD oil that also contained THC—the chemical in cannabis that causes people to feel high.
“This type of product is very different to most CBD oils which predominantly contain CBD,” Dr. Tom Freeman, senior lecturer and director of the Addiction and Mental Health Group at the University of Bath, told SMC.
Indeed, the case report authors note that it is difficult to conclude whether the THC in the woman’s oil contributed to the tumor reduction or if it was just the CBD component that may have had a positive effect.
Freeman added that “people with lung cancer should always seek guidance from a healthcare professional.”