CBD and Cancer

Updated: May 4, 2021

There is proven evidence that CBD has positive effects on the body. According to the National Cancer Institute in the US, cannabinoids like CBD may be helpful in treating some side effects of cancer, which often include pain, fatigue, nausea, and weight loss. Hence, CBD is used by many as a complementary treatment to conventional cancer therapies. For instance, Sativex, a THC-CBD blend, is approved in Canada for pain relief in advanced cancer patients.

Anti-tumour effects of CBD

CBD may also prove to be groundbreaking for cancer prevention and as a treatment. Initial studies on mice and human cells have suggested that CBD can, in fact, play a role in the reduction of tumours.

The results of laboratory and preclinical studies on the effects of CBD on tumours signal great news for cancer patients. A pioneer of the use of CBD, Dr Sean McAllister of the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute, has done extensive research into the use of CBD and other cannabinoids as a non-toxic and natural treatment for cancer patients.[i] [ii] During studies on live mice, McAllister examined the relationship between CBD and the ID-1 gene – a gene that is active only during embryo development and is turned off after that stage. However, in breast cancer patients, the ID-1 gene is reactivated. The study showed that CBD silences the ID-1 gene and, therefore, delays the spread of breast cancer cells and reduces the mass of the tumours.

A study by Nabissi et al (2013) on glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a cancer of the brain, has indicated that CBD can improve the uptake of cytotoxic drugs that kill cancer cells. [i] This study was conducted on human cells. CBD was found to have increased expression and activity in the transient receptor potential vanilloid type 2 (TRPV2), which prevents the spread of GBM cells. The study concluded that a combination of CBD and cytotoxic drugs can potentially be used to treat GBM.

Moreover, research in colon cancer in mice have shown that CBD can be used in chemoprevention, which means that it can reduce or delay the development of #cancer. A study by Aviello et al (2012) found that CBD reduced polyps and tumours, protected DNA from oxidative damage, and increased endocannabinoid levels.[ii] Hence, CBD proved to be a possible natural method of chemotherapy on its own.


It is important to note, while CBD can help to manage the side effects of cancer, there have been no published studies in humans to confirm if it can be used as a cancer treatment now. Likewise, there is no evidence to suggest that CBD is a cure for cancer. Clinical trials in living humans are needed to see if CBD can produce the same results as seen in mice and human cells.

Moreover, very high concentrations of CBD oils may potentially lead to a decrease in the effectiveness of anticancer drugs in some patients. Therefore, it is essential to talk to your doctor to see if CBD can be used alongside traditional cancer drugs.


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18025276

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20859676?dopt=Abstract

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