Is CBD Safe for Cancer Patients?

7 Minute Read

We all face hardships in life, and for some people, dealing with cancer is the ultimate test of courage and endurance. It's a journey filled with uncertainty and the desire for relief. CBD has become a ray of hope for many who are suffering from cancer and its treatment. In the field of holistic wellness, CBD, which is derived from the hemp plant, has won the hearts and minds of people looking for all-natural treatments for a variety of illnesses. CBD offers the chance to improve well-being and treat symptoms for cancer patients. In this blog, we aim to shed light on the relationship between CBD and cancer while offering insights that will enable individuals to make wise health-related decisions.

What Does Cancer Looks Like?

Cancer is a disease that involves abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. The signs and symptoms of cancer depend on where the cancer is, how big it is, and how much it affects nearby organs or tissues. If a cancer has spread (metastasized), signs or symptoms may appear in different parts of the body. Here are some general signs and symptoms of cancer:

  • Fatigue or extreme tiredness that doesn’t get better with rest.
  • Weight loss or gain of 10 pounds or more for no known reason.
  • Eating problems such as not feeling hungry, trouble swallowing, belly pain, or nausea and vomiting.
  • Swelling or lumps anywhere in the body.
  • Thickening or lump in the breast or other part of the body.
  • Pain, especially new or with no known reason, that doesn’t go away or gets worse.
  • Skin changes such as a lump that bleeds or turns scaly, a new mole or a change in a mole, a sore that does not heal, or a yellowish color to the skin or eyes (jaundice).
  • Cough or hoarseness that does not go away.
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising for no known reason.
  • Change in bowel habits, such as constipation or diarrhea, that doesn’t go away or a change in how your stools look.

Can CBD Help People With Cancer?

One area where CBD may offer some relief to cancer patients is in managing symptoms and side effects of cancer treatment. Some individuals have reported reduced pain, nausea, and anxiety when using CBD. However, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating CBD into your cancer treatment plan, so as to determine the optimal dosing regimen for your specific needs.

It becomes very important to understand the potential benefits of CBD as it can be used as a complementary therapy besides undergoing treatments by cancer patients to improve their overall well-being and quality of life. Here are the following ways that show how CBD may offer relief to cancer patients by targeting its symptoms:

Nausea and Vomiting: Nausea and vomiting are common side effects of cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. CBD has shown promise in reducing these symptoms through its interaction with the endocannabinoid system. Some studies suggest that CBD may help by binding to serotonin receptors (5-HT1A), which can play a role in controlling nausea and vomiting. It may provide relief for patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation-induced nausea.

Pain: Cancer-related pain can be severe and debilitating. CBD has been investigated for its potential analgesic (pain-relieving) properties. It may interact with both the endocannabinoid system and other receptors involved in pain modulation, such as TRPV1 receptors. Some cancer patients have reported reduced pain and improved quality of life when using CBD.

Anxiety and Depression: A cancer diagnosis and the associated treatments can lead to significant anxiety and depression. CBD may have anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) and antidepressant effects by interacting with serotonin receptors and influencing the release of neurotransmitters like serotonin. It can potentially alleviate some of the psychological distress that cancer patients experience.

Sleep Problems: Many cancer patients suffer from sleep disturbances, which can further exacerbate other symptoms and reduce overall well-being. CBD may help improve sleep by reducing anxiety, alleviating pain, and promoting relaxation. While the research on CBD and sleep is ongoing, some users have reported better sleep quality with its use.

Appetite Loss: Cancer and its treatments can lead to appetite loss and weight loss, which can be detrimental to a patient's health and recovery. CBD may stimulate appetite by interacting with the endocannabinoid system, potentially increasing the desire to eat and aiding in weight maintenance.

Inflammation: Inflammation is a common feature of cancer and its treatments. CBD has demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties by interacting with the endocannabinoid system and other pathways. Reducing inflammation can help alleviate discomfort and improve overall well-being for cancer patients.

Neuropathy: Some cancer treatments, particularly certain chemotherapy drugs, can lead to peripheral neuropathy, a condition characterized by nerve damage and pain. CBD's potential analgesic and neuroprotective properties may provide relief from neuropathic pain and improve nerve function.

Fatigue: Cancer-related fatigue is a pervasive symptom that can significantly impact a patient's quality of life. While research is ongoing, some cancer patients have reported increased energy levels and reduced fatigue when using CBD, possibly due to its impact on sleep quality and overall mood.

Skin Irritations: Topical CBD products, such as creams and balms, may be applied to the skin to alleviate skin-related side effects of cancer treatment, including radiation-induced dermatitis and rashes. CBD's anti-inflammatory and skin-soothing properties may help reduce discomfort and promote skin healing.

Potential Antitumor Effects: While it's essential to distinguish between symptom management and cancer treatment, some preclinical studies suggest that CBD may have antitumor properties. It may inhibit the growth and spread of cancer cells and enhance the effectiveness of certain chemotherapy drugs. However, more research is needed to fully understand these effects and their clinical implications.

Scientific Research

The potential therapeutic properties of CBD have prompted numerous studies to investigate its effects on cancer. Studies suggest that CBD has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. One such Research published in PubMed Central in 2022 indicates that CBD may have the potential for the treatment of cancer, including the symptoms and signs associated with cancer and its treatment.

Similarly, the researchers of a 2015 study in men, discovered a potential link between cannabis use and bladder cancer. After controlling for a number of variables, scientists discovered that cannabis users had a 45% decreased incidence of bladder cancer.

Real Life Case Study

Leela, a stage III breast cancer patient, a 100% raw Vijaya Leaf extract alongside her ongoing cancer treatments. She experienced significant benefits from India Hemp Organics's Pain Relief (Strong). This natural extract reduced her nausea, vomiting, and pain, improving her quality of life during chemotherapy. Within a month, Leela's weight increased, and her pain score dropped from 10 to 3, showcasing the potential of this intervention to enhance cancer patients' well-being.

During 9 months of rigorous testing, 200+ volunteers experienced positive results after its usage. On consumption, this syringe of 100% raw Vijaya Leaf extract has shown remarkable results in managing symptoms of cancer, epilepsy, neurodegenerative diseases, and sleep disorders.

Safety Precautions While Using CBD

While CBD is generally considered safe for most people, there are some side effects and safety concerns to be aware of, especially for cancer patients:

Drug Interactions: CBD can interact with certain medications, potentially altering their effectiveness or causing side effects such as dry mouth, dizziness, changes in appetite, etc. It's crucial to consult with your healthcare team to ensure there are no adverse interactions.

Quality and Regulation: The CBD market is not well-regulated, which means that the quality of CBD products can vary widely. Ensure that you purchase CBD products from reputable sources that provide third-party lab testing to verify their contents.

Dosage and Administration: Finding the right dosage of CBD can be challenging, and taking too much may lead to side effects like dizziness or diarrhea. Start with a low dose and gradually increase it under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Consulting with Your Healthcare Team:

The most crucial step for anyone considering CBD as a complementary therapy for cancer is to consult with their healthcare team. Your oncologist or healthcare provider can provide personalized guidance based on your specific cancer type, treatment plan, and overall health.

Is Medical Cannabis Legal In India?

Section 20 of the NDPS Act makes it illegal to possess, trade, or consume cannabis, with penalties including fines up to Rs. 1 lakh and jail terms up to 10 years based on the quantity.

However, there are exceptions recognized by the central government. Cannabis use is allowed for medical, scientific, industrial, and horticultural purposes. The NDPS Act distinguishes between various parts of the cannabis plant, treating products from leaves, stems, seeds, and fibers differently from those derived from flowers.

Section 10 of the law allows State Governments to grant licenses for cannabis plant cultivation. Uttarakhand was the first state to permit commercial hemp cultivation, followed by Madhya Pradesh. In 2020, India's first medical cannabis clinic opened, leading to the emergence of hemp-based startups across the country.

Conclusion

In summary, CBD presents a potential ray of hope for cancer patients seeking relief from the debilitating symptoms and side effects of their condition and treatment. While scientific research suggests that CBD may effectively manage symptoms such as pain, nausea, and anxiety, it's crucial for individuals to tread cautiously, consulting with their healthcare teams to ensure safe and effective integration into their treatment plans. The variability in CBD product quality, individual responses, and legal considerations necessitate informed decision-making. Ultimately, CBD's role in cancer care continues to evolve, offering the possibility of enhancing the overall well-being and quality of life for those on the challenging journey of battling cancer.

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