cbd oil for non cancerous tumors

Woman diagnosed with incurable brain tumour claims cannabis oil ‘saved her life’

A cancer patient who was given just months to live has made an incredible recovery, which she credits to using cannabis oil.

Lynn Cameron, 48, from Blantyre, Scotland, was given six to 18 months to live after being diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour in December 2013.

But, despite several sessions of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, scans were showing no change to the mass so she opted to try cannabis oil in a desperate bid to save her life.


Four years later, Cameron has been given the all clear and says it was the cannabis oil that helped her survive. Now, she is part of a new campaign group, Medical Cannabis Reform Scotland, pushing “for the reform of the current prohibitive laws around the use of cannabis for medication”.

After being told that she had stage 4 terminal brain cancer, Cameron tried all the traditional routes before a friend suggested using cannabis. And while she was too scared at first because it was illegal she eventually decided to give it a go.

“I researched more and more into natural ‘cancer killers’ and decided to follow an alkaline diet and cut out processed foods altogether. I also cut out sugar completely,” she told the Daily Record.

“I started taking cannabis oil under my tongue, as it gets straight into the blood stream that way.

“Each scan I received after that was showing an improvement. I had been told that chemotherapy and radiotherapy doesn’t make much difference, so I knew it must be the cannabis doing it.

“By the sixth MRI, the cancer had gone.”

Cameron kept her use of cannabis oil from the doctors until she received the all-clear and decided to challenge them on it.

“They dismissed it. They weren’t taught about cannabis at medical school – more for a political reason than medical I believe.

“They told me, ‘eat whatever you like, take all the vitamins you want, it won’t work’.

“But these were the people who told me my cancer was incurable, and it was gone.

“The British Medical Journal hasn’t properly investigated cannabis. It was up to me what treatment I took, and I’m glad I researched it.”


One of a number of patients providing anecdotal reports that cannabis has improved or cured their medical complaints, experts continue to warn that there is no definitive proof of its effects on cancer in humans.

“We know that cannabinoids can have a range of different effects on cancer cells grown in the lab and animal tumours,” Dr Kat Arney, from Cancer Research UK told the Daily Mail.

“But at the moment there isn’t good evidence from clinical trials to prove that they can safely and effectively treat cancer in patients.”

Cannabis and brain tumours

The potential therapeutic effects of cannabis have gained a lot of attention in recent years, from both brain tumour patients and within the media.

Two of Brain Tumour Research’s Member Charities have now joined forces to launch a study into the clinical effects of cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. The research, builds upon previous research in this area and will be conducted by the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre at the University of Nottingham, and is being co-funded by the Astro Brain Tumour Fund and other brain tumour foundations.

The calls for research into the effectiveness of cannabis-based treatments have not just been prompted by a growing number of brain tumour patients and researchers, but also by Parliamentarians.

In the run-up to the General Election, Baroness Meacher, Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Policy Reform has called for a relaxation of the rules around cannabis-based medicines. It has been noted how cannabis can also provide symptomatic relief to patients with various conditions, and it is licensed for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

We have analysed the evidence for the use of cannabis as a potential treatment for brain tumours.

Are there any cannabis-based drugs available?

Sativex was rigorously tested for its safety and efficacy before receiving approval, and is distinguished from cannabis in its raw form by its specific components. The composition, formulation and dose have been developed to provide medicinal benefits with minimal psychoactive effects.

Other sources include cannabis oil (CBD), which is legally available in the UK, and the cannabis plant, which is illegal within the UK and in about half of the US States with other States’ laws broadly legalising marijuana in some form. The plant also has limited availability in some European countries, albeit under strict control.

Is there any evidence for the clinical benefit of cannabis?

Clinical studies have recently been carried out to assess the potential benefit of Sativex when given in combination with temozolomide (TMZ). Although the interim results of the trial appear to be promising, we need to wait for the complete data before any specific conclusions can be drawn.

At the moment, it is permissible for a UK doctor to prescribe Sativex “off-licence” i.e. as a treatment for a condition for which it has not been approved. This would be at the discretion of the clinician, who must carefully consider the evidence that is available for the clinical benefit of the drug in addition to any potential adverse effects.

Furthermore, some patients may have to pay for the cost of the medication and it is unlikely that the cost would be reimbursed by private health insurance due to it being prescribed off-licence.

Are there any benefits from taking cannabis oil?

Some people have used cannabis oil as a potential treatment for their brain tumour; it contains the non-addictive CBD component of cannabis.

The oil is currently marketed as a health rather than a medicinal product which means that different regulations apply. The manufacturers are not permitted to make any claims about the efficacy of the agent for the treatment of specific medical conditions. Although the product is made in accordance with general manufacturing guidelines to ensure that it is safe, there is no independent quality testing to confirm the amount of compound present in the product, despite what may be stated on the label. This unreliability makes it difficult to assess whether there are any health benefits.

Once claims are made about the benefit of the cannabis oil (or other healthcare products) for specific medical conditions, it now comes under medicinal (rather than health) product guidelines and therefore has to undergo clinical trials in the same way as any other medicine before it can be made available (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/mhra-statement-on-products-containing-cannabidiol-cbd). This is likely to be by prescription rather than as an “over the counter” product. Furthermore, the quality testing would be much more rigorous in order to confirm the exact components present in the oil.

So what are the next steps?

It may be possible to allow limited use in the clinic when the larger trial is taking place, but this would be at the discretion of the regulatory authorities and is likely to be very controlled for a restricted group of patients who are most likely to benefit.

In the meanwhile, we will keep a close eye on all developments in the area, and keep you updated of all developments in future blogs.

Related reading

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Certain CBD oils no better than pure CBD at inhibiting certain cancer cell lines

Cannabidiol (CBD) oils are equally or less effective at inhibiting the growth of certain cancer cells compared to pure CBD, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers. The results of their recent study indicate that future research into the clinical applications of cannabinoids should include an analysis of whether the pure cannabinoid compound or intact plant material is more effective at achieving the therapeutic effect.

The researchers evaluated whether CBD oils were better than pure CBD at inhibiting the growth of different cancer cell lines. They studied brain, skin and colorectal cancers — using two cell lines for each cancer type — and found that pure CBD was able to reduce cell viability in three of the six cell lines tested and that the effect was cell line specific and not specific to select cancers. None of the CBD oils tested were able to reduce viability to a greater extent than pure CBD.

Prior research found that CBD or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can reduce cancer cell viability in some cancer cell models. Proponents of medical marijuana argue that there is an additive effect between the various compounds in the plant material that increases its therapeutic efficacy compared to individual, pure cannabinoid compounds. Kent Vrana, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacology, said the study did not support this concept, known as the “entourage” effect.

“Based on our results, we recommend that specific investigations on the entourage effect be carried out when determining the therapeutic uses of medical marijuana and other cannabinoid products,” Vrana said.

Wesley Raup-Konsavage, co-author of the study published in the journal Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids, said the study was carefully designed so that the amounts of CBD oil used for testing had an equivalent amount of CBD as the pure CBD in the experiments. The researchers obtained three types of CBD oil with certificates of analysis and had their composition verified by a third party laboratory. Equal concentrations of CBD were used to treat the six cell lines.

After evaluating the viability of the treated cell lines, researchers determined that the CBD had an effect on one of each of the colorectal cancer, melanoma and glioblastoma cell lines tested. The viability of the other cell lines tested was not significantly reduced.

Because a previous study evaluating the use of THC for treating breast cancer cells suggested that there is an entourage effect in that context, Vrana cautioned that careful testing of cannabinoids should be done for each proposed therapeutic context.

“Pure CBD had the ability to reduce certain cancer cell types’ viability in this study,” Vrana said. “It would be reckless for a consumer to assume that a CBD oil product off the shelf could have the same effects for them, which is why careful studies around the entourage effect are needed for each intended therapeutic application.”

Vrana said that even if there were cases where the entourage effect were proven for therapeutic uses, cannabinoid products are unregulated and consumers would not be able to know in many cases whether an off-the-shelf or off-the-street product had the right components to result in the desired therapeutic outcome.

“The variability in composition and activities of botanical extracts highlights difficulties in assessing their therapeutic potential compared to pure chemical compounds,” Vrana said. Raup-Konsavage and Vrana plan to continue investigating the “entourage” effect of cannabinoids in other therapeutic applications.

Nurgul Carkaci-Salli of Penn State College of Medicine and Kelly Greenland and Robert Gearhart of Keystone State Testing LLC also contributed to this research.

The research was supported by PA Options for Wellness, a Pennsylvania-approved medical marijuana clinical registrant. Penn State College of Medicine is a Pennsylvania-approved Academic Clinical Research Center. The funder had no involvement in study design, data collection, analysis and interpretation or the writing of the report.

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