Hard to imagine, right?
But no, this isn’t a fantasy.
Science and numerous research studies have already shown that CBD has the ability to help cancer patients[i].
But before you purchase your own bottle of CBD oil, let me first clarify that the US Food and Drug Administration has not given its approval to use medical cannabis for any type of medical conditions, including cancer…yet.
There are FDA-approved drugs like Marinol and Cesamet though. These are commercially available and are being used for the side effects of chemotherapy. Their active ingredients are dronabinol and nabilone, compounds that have almost the same chemical structure to THC.
But they’re synthetically derived.
And because they’re synthetically derived, dronabinol[ii] and nabilone[iii] also have side effects like any other drugs in the market right now. Rapid heartbeat, mood changes, headache, confusion, lethargy, vertigo, shortness of breath, anxiety, depression, hallucinations, and seizures…name it, these drugs probably have it.
Since these drugs are isolated compounds, you don’t get any of the secondary cannabinoids (i.e. CBN, CBG, THCV), terpene oils, and flavonoids you would get from a full plant extract cannabis oil. You don’t get the entourage effect of all these compounds working in synergy.
So it’s kind of disappointing, right? You use these drugs to control chemotherapy side effects (and yes, they are pretty effective!) but to use these drugs, you have to be ready for additional side effects.
But don’t worry!
You can still use CBD for your cancer symptoms, and I’ll tell you how.
What symptoms can I use CBD for?
Like I said, there’s no FDA approval yet to use CBD oil for cancer treatment, but according to one study, this precious oil can help keep chemotherapy side effects at bay[iv] and would be beneficial as an add-on therapy for cancer care.
The side effects they can help control include nausea and vomiting, as well as pain. Medical cannabis can also help with depression, insomnia, and anorexia. All of these are side effects of chemotherapy.
If you’re worried about the side effects of medical cannabis, this study will tell you that CBD appears to be nontoxic to the healthy cells[v], just the diseased ones. Plus, it does not seem to affect your pulse rate and blood pressure.
CBD is also well-tolerated. According to this report, CBD was used for a schizophrenic patient whose dosage was increased to as high as 1,500 mg per day[vi] in a four-week period with no adverse side effects!
There are no cannabinoid receptors in the parts of the brain responsible for respiration or heart rate. There is no risk of your heart stopping or respiratory failure if you took too much CBD whereas with opioid painkillers, this is a real concern. Sure, you might get a little sedated and drowsy if you take too much CBD, but it’s not dangerous so long as you are not driving or operating heavy machinery. Some of you may even welcome the sedating effect because it will help you sleep.
So, will CBD be able to help improve chemotherapy side effects?
Well, this survey[vii] says that some doctors seem to think so.
How can I use CBD for my cancer?
Please understand that everyone is different. Just because Joe’s CBD dosage works perfectly well for him doesn’t mean it will work the same for Jane…or you, for that matter.
Also, there are so many CBD products to choose from. They come in a variety of concentrations and forms. You have the CBD oils, capsules, and sprays. There are even CBD candies!
This is why it’s very important that before you attempt to use CBD for your cancer, you should consult with your doctor first. After all, he knows your medical condition very well and could give you good advice. Try to find a doctor who specializes in using cannabis medicine.
Besides, your doctor can also refer you to trusted CBD providers.
But before you buy their CBD product, do read some reviews first.
Okay, let’s now go to the nitty-gritty of CBD use for cancer and cancer-treatment side effects.
How much CBD should I take for my cancer treatment-related nausea and vomiting?
I’ll be honest and say that it’s going to be a trial-and-error method. So to be on the safe side, start with a very low dose. For example, for the first three days, take two drops under the tongue twice a day. This will help your body adjust to the CBD and give you ample time to measure its effects.
If there are no improvements in your symptoms, you can increase the number of drops till you find a dosage that works for you.
According to this study that involved animal models, 5 mg of CBD[viii] can already reduce nausea and vomiting, so this low dosage is a good start.
How much should I take for neuropathic pain?
According to Project CBD, the best ratio for neuropathic pain is a 1:1 ratio of THC and CBD[ix].
One good example of a THC-CBD combo is Sativex. It’s actually a cannabis-based oromucosal spray used for neuropathic pain. Although the ratio is not exactly 1:1, it’s close at 2.7-mg THC and 2.5-mg CBD per spray.
You may not be able to find Sativex where you live. But just try to get a 1:1 THC to CBD product with similar mg of THC to CBD. Of course, you will only be able to get a product with this much THC if you live in a state with medical or recreational marijuana laws. CBD hemp oil products will be mostly CBD based and will not contain anywhere near this much THC.
Again, you can start with a few sprays each day to test the effects and then slowly increase the number of sprays till you find a dose that works for you.
Based on this study, some patients administer about 8 to 12 sprays per day[x] for their neuropathic pain, so this gives them anywhere from about 22-mg THC/20-mg CBD to 32-mg THC/30-mg CBD.
But according to the Mayo Clinic[xi], you can administer up to 48 sprays per day for about a week to two weeks, then decrease the frequency to 10 to 15 sprays per day. The maximum number of sprays you can administer within a three-hour duration is 8 sprays.
If you want to use CBD for neuropathic pain, Dr. Stephen Holt, author of “The Cannabis Revolution: What You Need to Know,” recommends an initial CBD dosage of 2 mg in the morning and evening[xii] and then slowly titrate your dosage up to 20 mg per day.
How much should I take to improve appetite?
According to the Mayo Clinic, to improve appetite in patients with cancer, you can take 2.5-mg THC orally with or without 1-mg CBD[xiii] for at least six weeks.
How much CBD should I take for sleep problems?
If you’re having sleep problems related to cancer treatment, Dr. Holt’s book suggests taking 40 to 160 mg of CBD orally[xiv].
This may be expensive, so you can always start at a lower dose and then slowly increase till you find a dosage perfect for you.
How much CBD should I take for anxiety symptoms?
Again, Dr. Holt’s book suggests taking about 2 mg of CBD every 8 to 12 hours[xv]. This dosage could also work to improve depression
Even if you’re just going to use CBD to help improve the side effects from your cancer treatments, you do know that you’re getting more, right?
CBD is also helping kill the cancer cells[xvi] and preventing them from spreading.
Is CBD the miracle drug for cancer?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, science and research studies do say that medical cannabis has the potential to help patients with cancer.
I’ll leave you with this interesting article[xvii] written by Dr. Bonni Goldstein.
In 2015, a 16-year-old patient diagnosed with Stage 4 osteosarcoma and lung metastasis who was receiving chemotherapy was also treated with a combination of high dose CBD and THC oil at a 1:1 ratio of 500 mg each. After three months, they were rewarded with disease-free scans. The ratio of CBD to THC was later reduced though to a ratio of 3:1 due to anxiety symptoms. Repeat scans taken after another three months showed the same disease-free results.
One and a half years later (and a year off chemotherapy), the patient remains cancer-free, though cannabis treatment is still ongoing.
Pretty exciting, huh?