- A case study links the daily use of cannabidiol (CBD) oil to regression of lung cancer in an 80-year-old woman who refused conventional treatment.
- Researchers cannot definitively confirm that CBD oil caused tumor reduction.
- More research is needed to define the mechanism of action, the effects on different types of cancer, side effects, and the optimal dosage and routes of administration.
Cannabinoids are chemical compounds
CBD and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two main cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. However, CBD does not produce the euphoric, or âhigh,â sensation that people associate with cannabis use.
CBD oil is a concentrated extract derived from cannabis leaves or flowers dissolved in a consumable oil, such as olive, hemp, or sunflower oil. There are different types of CBD oil that contain different concentrations of cannabinoids.
CBD isolates contain only CBD. Full spectrum CBD products contain compounds from all parts of the C. sativa plant, with less than 0.3% THC.
Broad spectrum CBD products contain most of the same compounds as full spectrum ones, but only trace amounts of THC.
Full and broad spectrum products may produce greater clinical effects than CBD isolates due to the entourage effect – the combination of cannabinoids has a more pronounced impact than individual products.
Cannabinoids interact with the body’s internal cannabinoid system, which experts call the endocannabinoid system. This system modulates:
Currently, some people with cancer can use cannabinoids for supportive care to treat pain and nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy.
Doctors in the UK recently published an article in the journal BMJ Case reports. The case report describes an 80-year-old woman with lung cancer who suffered tumor regression while taking CBD oil.
She also has a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, high blood pressure and osteoarthritis and has been given medication to treat these conditions.
The woman reported smoking just over one pack of cigarettes per week, or 68 packs per year, before and after diagnosis. In June and July 2018, doctors examined the woman, which included a CT scan, PET, MRI and biopsy, to make and confirm the diagnosis.
Tests did not show any lymph node damage or metastasis, which is when cancer spreads to other parts of the body. For this reason, doctors have recommended curative treatment.
Treatment for NSCLC may include surgery,
Doctors repeated the chest CT scan in September 2018, which showed a reduction in right midlobe cancer to 33mm (1.3in) and two new nodules in the left apex and right upper lobe.
The woman refused surgical lobe removal because of the risks of the surgery. She also refused radiofrequency ablation treatment due to the side effects of the radiation therapy her late husband suffered.
Doctors decided to monitor the patient, performing CT scans every 3 to 6 months. During the 2.5-year follow-up period, CT scans showed a gradual decrease in the initial right middle lobe nodule from 41 mm (1.6 in) in June 2018 to 10 mm (0.4 in) in February 2021.
Around this time, the woman revealed that she had started taking CBD oil at a dose of 0.5 milliliter orally three times a day, and sometimes twice a day, shortly after her diagnosis. .
The active ingredients specified by the supplier were THC (19.5%), CBD (20.05%), and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (23.8%).
On the advice of the supplier, the woman did not take the CBD oil with food or hot drinks because she wanted to avoid “feeling high”. She has reported decreased appetite when taking CBD oil.
The woman did not change her diet, lifestyle, or prescribed medications during this time. She also stated that she continued to smoke one pack of cigarettes per week during the surveillance period.
In an interview with Medical News Today, lead author Dr Kah Ling Liew of the Respiratory Department at Princess Alexandra Hospital in the UK said:
âWe certainly didn’t expect to see such dramatic tumor regression without conventional cancer treatments and other health or lifestyle changes. [â¦] So far, several studies in animal models have shown conflicting results, with some cases reducing the growth of cancer cells and others finding an acceleration in the growth of cancer cells.
MNT also spoke with Dr. Jack Jacoub, medical oncologist and medical director of MemorialCare Cancer Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, Calif.
Dr Jacoub, who was not involved in the study, said: [treatment] option for cancer patients. From the point of view of the strength of scientific evidence, a case report is about the weakest force, so you need to consider what you read in that context.
He stressed the need for randomized controlled clinical trials to confirm the safety and effectiveness of CBD oil for treating cancer. Dr Jacoub explains: âYou enroll patients [meeting preset criteria] and see what happens to their disease, progression-free survival, and all of the endpoints commonly used in oncology trials. That is to say [â¦] the only way i could see [CBD oil] be dominant [treatment]. “
Dr Liew added: âThe optimal dosage, form, route of administration and combination of CBD / THC for each specific type of cancer – brain, lung, liver, prostate, etc. – must be studied and determined further. There won’t be one treatment that works for every form of cancer.
Dr Liew said MNT, “Future studies should take into account potential ingredient inconsistencies between CBD oils and ensure [â¦] when replicating studies that identical components are used.
Dr Liew continued: âClinicians should be aware that their patients may be undergoing unconventional and unauthorized treatments without their knowledge. It is always important to take the patient’s choices into account when discussing treatment options, i.e. being open and honest about the potential benefits and side effects of treatments.