Does CBD Hold Any Value For Fighting Cancer?
By Keith Alban
There's nothing that strikes fear in the hearts of people like a diagnosis of cancer. The pathology of what's involved with a tumor growing inside of the body, the survival rates, the toll chemotherapy takes on the body all equates to an overwhelming experience for the human mind to grasp. It's a sad fact of life that something toxic can grow inside the body and eventually kill it exists in this world. This pattern isn't too unlike certain opportunistic infections, although the pathology is much different. Knowledge is power when it comes to fighting cancer, the more tools you have in your arsenal, the better the chances of survival. In this article, I'd like to go over certain tools that may have value for cancer.
It's such a shame that so many valuable weapons in the fight against disease remain hidden away and don't fulfill their purpose on this earth. There is never any guarantee of success with any supplement, herb, drug, or treatment, but it's about stack the odds in our favor. The causes of disease are sometimes very complex, which may partially explain why the medical system has very little success against many conditions despite spending billions of dollars. Many people question the underlying intentions and business of the medical system, but that's another discussion. Nature is very intelligent, although it's easy to look at the natural health industry and get discouraged because of all the fluff and hype around supplements with no real value. If you look past that and search through the actual science, sometimes you find hidden gems that have incredible potential.
The Bright Future of Cannabidiol
CBD has been making some headway around the country for the last few years. Since CBD is now 100% legal to sell, sales have skyrocketed and studies have significantly increased. In the last two years alone, over $10 million dollars has been granted to research CBD in greater depth. Even before this CBD boom, many researchers were conducting studies in universities, clinics, and labs around the world to see if this cannabinoid had any therapeutic properties within the human body. Preliminary results have surpassed expectations in many different categories so far, including cancer.
While it is still a bit too early to predict the response that CBD will have on different types of cancer within the human body, test tube and animal research has been promising. CBD and marijuana have been used for many years to help manage certain symptoms associated with chemotherapy. Despite it's illegal status up until recently, people have found a way to incorporate cannabis for things such as poor appetite, nausea, pain, sleep, depression, and others tied to chemotherapy. Not all of these areas have been tested in conjunction with chemotherapy, but many people tout cannabis for its benefits. What type of anti-cancer properties does CBD have on its own though?
The Fear & Threat of Breast Cancer
Aside from skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in American women. Breast cancer accounts for over 15% of ALL new cancer cases in the United States in men and women. It is estimated that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. This year alone, over 40,000 women will die from it according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. (1) It's safe to say that this form of cancer is one of the biggest fears women face today. The statistics are somewhat staggering, but there are certain precautions that may help lower the risk of being diagnosed.
There's nothing that we can take that will guarantee a lifetime free of cancer, but certain things may help in lowering the chances of it happening. In one study with mice, CBD helped to decrease the expression of a cancer-promoting gene called ld-1 within breast cancer cells. This decreased expression of the ld-1 gene caused the tumor's aggressive nature to be weakened. Researchers concluded that out of several cannabinoids that were tested, CBD had the strongest inhibiting effect on breast cancer cell proliferation! Cannabinoids like CBD may also help to increase anandamide levels, which was shown to impact the BRCA gene. (2,3)
The BRCA Gene Debauchery
Many people may be familiar with the term BRCA because of the attention it received from celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and Christina Applegate. Many people may not remember, but several celebrities were touting breast removal as a form of protection from breast cancer. Fortunately, you do not have to chop off your breasts like Angelina and others have to help prevent breast cancer. This BRCA gene is a tumor-suppressing gene that when mutated, may increase the risk of breast cancer. Besides the absolute unnatural debauchery involved, getting surgery like that may not even be a good solution.
There are so many other moving parts that play a role in cancer forming. This was a publicity stunt with a nefarious agenda behind it in my opinion. Many agendas are behind public stunts like this that aren’t easy to see on the surface. There are much more intelligent and effective ways to influence our cancer-fighting genes other than self-mutilation. This surgery won’t protect other pro-cancerous genes or alter gene expression in nearby tissues. It’s a flawed strategy that has a nefarious agenda behind it, although on the surface it appears to be a useful strategy for helping prevent a very prominent form of cancer.
In further research on the effects of cannabinoids in cancer cells, it was found that these compounds were able to help inhibit cancer cell growth in cultured cells and animal models. (4) It was concluded that cannabinoids are becoming more widely known to have the potential as suppressors of angiogenesis, cell migration, cell proliferation, and cell death in different types of cancer cells. (5) These are all specific actions related to cancer metastasis and tumor development. CBD has proven in animal models to help halt multiple processes related to cancer development. This doesn't mean that it will kill cancer or stop all types of cancer, absolutely not. Multiple studies with people and different types of cancer are needed to see the type of efficacy that it may have within the human body.
Preliminary Research on CBD & Cancer
A powerful study that was published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics demonstrated that cannabinoids were able to produce strong anti-tumor activity in a form of cancer called glioblastoma multiforme. This form of cancer has a high resistance to current medical treatments, which makes this study even more impressive. (6,7) Although this study was done in mice, which may not be indicative of its activity in the human body, it does show compelling potential. Another study that was done by the Institute of Toxicology and Pharmacology showed cannabidiol's anticancer activity in lung cancer cells. The Department of General Surgery in Germany determined that cannabinoids like CBD may help to decrease cancer cell invasion. (8)
Other studies have shown promise in prostate cancer cell lines. One very large study in men showed that smoking marijuana may actually increase the chances of prostate and testicular cancer. (9) Those two types of cancer were singled out, while other forms of cancer were inconclusive with marijuana. We know that the act of heating certain chemicals to high temperatures causes combustion and may alter the effects of over 400 compounds found in marijuana. There are also studies that show heavy metals and trace amounts of mold in a high amount of marijuana samples, even top-shelf strains. It's possible that some of the metabolites formed from combustion may be carcinogenic and can become concentrated in certain areas of the body.
What's interesting is that CBD alone has never had a negative blemish like that in research with cancer. A study that was funded by The Swedish Cancer Society demonstrated that cannabinoids caused an inhibition of tumor growth and apoptosis in a form of blood cancer called mantle cell lymphoma. These findings were further verified in research published in the International Journal of Cancer with the same type of blood cancer. (10,11) There has also been promising research with cannabinoids for malignant oral tumors and pancreatic cancer as well. It's quite shocking that something as benign as CBD would have any effect at all in such an aggressive and stubborn form of cancer. Pancreatic cancer is known to be one of the most incurable and treatment-resistant forms of cancer in the world. (12)
It's important to know that more research is needed in double-blind, placebo-controlled human studies. Despite the scarcity of human clinical studies, it appears that CBD and other cannabinoids have potential in the fight against cancer. That doesn't mean it will cure anything or guarantee protection against cancer forming in the body. Every day our bodies are exposed to many cancer-promoting compounds, so it's a constant battle keeping cancer at bay. There's no way to know CBD's ability to affect cancer cells in the human body yet until multiple large scale clinical studies have taken place. It's safe to use before large scale human clinical studies become available. Using only one supplement against a disease like cancer is never the best plan of action though. It's incredibly important to attack cancer from as many angles as possible.
Other Strategies & Supplements for Cancer
Cancer cells are intelligent and strategic, so attacking with different substances is much more impactful than a single substance. Many compounds like honokiol extract, hydroxy-tyrosol, pterostilbene, d-limonene, galangal, lemongrass, curcumin, boswellia, MSM, organic germanium GE132, selenium, medicinal mushroom extracts like reishi, holy basil (tulsi), high dose CoQ10, and cat's claw all have powerful potential in the fight against cancer. Many of these products mentioned above either have test tube, animal, or human research showing very good promise. Oxygen therapies also may have value for cancer. It's a quick compilation of many hours of research over the years on natural cancer fighters. A whole paper could be written on several of these natural compounds that show excellent promise.
It's a shame not to take advantage of all the wonderful research being done around the world in clinics, universities, and laboratories. Unfortunately, oncologists and other doctors don't often read research in the natural health field or are unable to promote anything in the rare cases that they do. No matter how much potential certain nutrients may have, it's almost as if they have a gag order, especially when it comes to major diseases like cancer. Every so often, doctors will suggest natural therapies and nutrients, but that's the minority. It's up to us to take charge of our health and do everything in our power to beat a disease like cancer. Whether or not you believe in chemotherapy and pursue it as an option shouldn't change the use of natural therapies.
Many of these supplements have potent properties on their own, but some of these nutrients may also help make chemotherapy more effective. Certain natural supplements seem to sensitize cancer cells to radiation therapy and protect against some of the damage done by it. Many people believe that chemotherapy is an antiquated and barbaric therapy because of how it overwhelms the body, the pain it causes, how toxic it is to normal cells, and the overall 10-year survival rates. I suppose it has its place in medicine, but if you do choose to pursue chemotherapy, incorporating different natural compounds may help to make it more effective and less painful. Many doctors will tell patients not take anything while undergoing chemo, which goes against a plethora of unbiased research. It really depends on the specific nutrient though, not every supplement will be beneficial to take while undergoing chemotherapy.
Prevention is extremely valuable in the world of medicine, but no matter how many supplements or preventative actions we take, there's still no guarantee of a lifetime of good health. It's certainly advantageous to be proactive over being passive and not utilizing the tools available to us. Cancer rates are absolutely staggering and only increasing. With so many cancer-causing agents that are intimately tied to living in this world, the need for a counterattack becomes increasingly important. The synergy of CBD and other nutrients may provide the body with more weapons to better defend itself in this world.