What you need to Know about CBD and cancer
In September of 2019, MD Anderson, Cancer Center published some important information on CBD and Cancer. You can read the full article by clicking here. CBD oil and cancer: 9 things to know.
My own journey with cancer (now in full remission) was guided by my Oncologist and included 15mg/day of CBD to help with side effects to the treatments. I have continued to take it every day for several other physical issues I’ll discuss in other posts.
There have been many studies on CBD and its uses, but as of this writing the FDA has only approved the use medically for Epileptic Seizures. All of the rest of the information is considered anecdotal until FDA approval for a specific condition. When listening to the buzz of family and friends promoting CBD for many uses, it becomes our responsibility to do some research to understand how it may best help us. One example is this published medical paper on CBD and Cancer in the Journal of the Association of Basic Medical Sciences.
There is also a forum held by the FDA periodically where the medical field presents their scientific findings to the FDA for consideration. Just remember that the FDA approval process is very long and very expensive, so finding this information may be useful for yourself and your doctors but cannot be “claimed” to benefit medically without FDA approval. One such forum was held on May 31, 2019: Part 15 Public Hearing. You can search for and read the results there.
Where to find CBD?
CBD (cannabidiol) is everywhere these days. It became illegal in the US in 1937, and only became legal again in all of the US with the 2018 Farm Bill. It is now available at your local grocery store, pharmacy, yoga studio and even pop-up stores everywhere. I see signs everywhere here in Las Vegas advertising CBD.
It comes in many forms: Oils that are dropped under the tongue or in food, roll-ons, patches and creams that are applied to the skin and even solutions for vaping. Some producers extract CBD and add it into foods to create edible products.
But what is CBD exactly, and how does it affect cancer patients? Can it really treat – or even cure – cancer or relieve its symptoms? This article shares what Kimberson Tanco, M.D., wants cancer patients to know.
What is CBD, and how does it differ between marijuana and hemp?
Marijuana and hemp are both varieties of the cannabis sativa plant. Both contain cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the two most-common, known active ingredients.
The main difference between these two cannabis plants is that hemp has far less THC than a typical marijuana plant. And unlike THC, CBD is not a psychoactive agent, so there’s less possibility that it will cause the same mental confusion, drowsiness or hallucinations that often come with THC.
Has CBD been approved by the FDA for use to treat any disease?
The only FDA approved use as of this publication is Epidiolex. It was originally approved in 2018 for the treatment of two conditions, both related to epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. But aside from Epidiolex, no CBD product has been approved by the FDA for any other medical purpose.
What are the dangers of using CBD?
Quality, cleanliness and regulation are the biggest concerns. Many manufacturers use CBD oil from outside of the USA that are known to have pesticides and other bad chemicals.
All drugs and dietary supplements are regulated by the FDA. But as long as CBD oil is not marketed as a medicine or a dietary supplement, producers can get around that policy. So right now, CBD oil is very unregulated. That means it’s hard to know how much CBD or THC is really in any given product. Certain hemp CBD products have been found to contain significantly less CBD or more THC than advertised.
In terms of purity, THC and CBD are both extracted from hemp and marijuana using essentially similar processes. But trace amounts of THC could still end up in CBD oil. And if the THC is at a high enough concentration, it could produce the psychoactive effects for which THC is known.
Make sure you know what you’re buying before you try it. If you have questions about how to find quality CBD please contact me.
Does CBD have any side effects?
CBD oil has been known to adversely affect liver function in some people. In lab studies, CBD has been shown to inhibit certain enzymes responsible for the metabolism of drugs, such as CYP2D6 and CYP3A4. This can affect how drugs work and affect our bodies, either by reducing their efficiency or making them more dangerous. This includes chemotherapy and other medications.
This is very important for cancer patients to understand, as many people think CBD is not a medicine. They think of it more as a vitamin or a supplement, so they might not let their doctors know they’re using it. Patients might not realize it can be potentially harmful. So, it’s very important to tell your doctor if you’re using CBD.
What’s the most important thing cancer patients should know about CBD?
Because this compound has only been legal for a short time, there is much yet to learn. So always let your health care team know if you are using CBD. That way, they can make sure nothing interacts adversely with your cancer treatments or other medications. I have known others with cancer who have worked with their doctors and felt better using CBD.
Getting a quality product is very important. Avoid products with health-related claims on their labels. While the only product approved by the FDA for its medical value is Epidiolex, there are many studies showing a benefit with CBD.