Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of many compounds in the cannabis plant and has become an increasingly popular substance as a suggested remedy for several different health issues. But perhaps the most interesting and beneficial for humanity is its place in possibly managing the side-effects of some cancer treatments.
While there are no conclusive studies done as to whether or not it is an effective method for actually treating patients’ cancer, studies have shown some benefits to CBD in pairing with other legitimate treatments, mainly chemotherapy and radiation.
The results of CBD as a treatment for many things are promising but we don’t know too much yet. Here’s what professionals do know, and everything you should know about CBD and its benefits as a supplement to cancer treatment.
What is CBD?
It’s important to understand the difference between CBD and other products of cannabis. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a chemical found in hemp. It does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana that produces a high.
CBD can be used with treatment, not as a substitute.
The effects of cancer treatments like chemotherapy are plenty and they can make living with the intense disease that much more difficult. Many cancer patients undergoing chemo experience loss of appetite, severe nausea, fatigue, intense pain, and so many other serious symptoms. CBD oil, however, has been shown in some studies to help manage some of these issues.
CBD is not a treatment for cancer.
The U.S. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved Cannabis as a treatment for cancer or any other medical condition, and there is no evidence that CBD can cure cancer, according to Cancer.gov. It is important to understand that it is not a treatment for cancer, rather a complement to treatments for patients undergoing chemo or radiation. There are a multitude of promising studies being done on the effectiveness of treating cancer with CBD, but there have been no conclusive results as of yet. Until more in-depth and widespread studies have been done, it’s far too soon to say that CBD is a safe and effective treatment for cancer and should not be considered a substitute for other cancer treatments.
While it is not approved for treatment, CBD is approved to help patients manage cancer-treatment-related side effects. Commercially available CBD products like dronabinol and nabilone, are approved drugs for the treatment of cancer-related side effects.
Managing side Effects
Many people experience pain while going through chemo, and it can arise in a lot of different ways. Cancer patients can experience severe headaches, mouth or abdominal pain, and chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), which is nerve damage that can cause tingling, numbness, and other sensations, often in the feet and hands. CIPN affects a lot of cancer patients and can be pretty severe. A 2014 study found that about half of the 90 people who took part in the study had neuropathy, and 6.7% said it was a major symptom that doctors overlooked.
According to the National Cancer Institute, CBD may provide much-needed relief for many of these painful symptoms of cancer treatment, including CIPN, by reducing inflammation in the body caused by chemotherapy.
Helping with nausea.
Most research that has been done on the effect CBD has on nausea and whether or not it helps has been done on cancer patients. Nausea and vomiting are other nasty symptoms of chemo, and CBD could be a way to help manage it. Studies show, however, that THC is really the driving ingredient in helping with queasiness, but a combination of THC and CBD has been shown in human studies to help quell some of it.
CBD itself has very few side effects. Perhaps the greatest benefit to CBD products in addition to cancer treatment is that while it helps curb side effects of chemo or radiation, CBD itself has very few, non-serious side effects. Some users may experience dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness, and fatigue, but otherwise, it is very manageable to use daily.
Regardless of what you research, it’s imperative that you speak with a doctor before taking any additional drugs or medication, including CBD products while undergoing cancer treatment.