CBD Oils - A Benefit to Cancer Patients or a False Hope?

by Kayla Smith

Editor's Note: WhatNext is not the author of this article, the thoughts listed are not necessarily those of WhatNext. We are posting this article from The Truth About CBD for the benefit of those who are interested in the possible use of CBD Oil. Today's guest blog post is from Kayla Smith from The Truth About CBD.org

What is CBD?

Cbd Oils A Benefit To Canceer Patients Or A False Hope

Since the Farm Bill passed in 2018, the door has opened wider for both physicians and the general public to have another option for pain management as the U.S. has access to hemp-derived CBD.

It is common for people to confuse CBD with THC since they both come from the same cannabis plant. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally-occurring compound found in cannabis. There are actually several types of cannabinoids or chemicals compounds found in cannabis. The most famous one is tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. THC is the main psychoactive component in marijuana which causes the effect of getting “high.” Unlike THC, CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, therefore, it doesn’t get you high, but has many health benefits. CBD works by acting on the cannabinoid receptors which are located throughout the body and are part of the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for a variety of physiological processes which we know as appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory.

The use of CBD is one of the most exciting new health trends. Dr. Sanjay Gupta endorsed CBD on “The Dr. Oz Show” saying, “I think there is a legitimate medicine here. We’re talking about something that could really help people.” CBD is now the subject of more academic research due since the FDA approved Epidiolex as the first CBD-based drug for the treatment of two forms of epilepsy. Other studies have found CBD to show promise in the treatment of many disorders, including:

ADHD
anxiety
autism
cancer
COPD
depression
diabetes
heart disease
PTSD
substance abuse  

Where Does CBD Come From?

CBD can be derived from both the male and female cannabis plant. CBD oil is considered a co-product or byproduct of industrial hemp which is grown primarily other purposes. In order to extract CBD from the female cannabis plant which contains THC, a special extraction process must occur in order to remove the THC.

For this reason, it is important to understand what you are buying when purchasing CBD products. You should only purchase CBD products that are certified non-psychoactive cannabidiol products if you want to ensure you are not also consuming any THC.

Benefits of CBD

The body naturally produces cannabinoids, but most people don’t generate enough. The deficiency of cannabinoids can lead to the development of diseases and disorders. We often turn to supplements to fill the gaps in order to prevent deficiencies and encourage our body to create more naturally. Since CBD is a cannabinoid, it can be used to help fix any deficiencies that are present.

CBD has proven medical benefits which makes CBD an attractive option for patients who are suffering from inflammation, pain, anxiety, psychosis, seizures, spasms, and many other conditions without causing lethargy or some of the other possible drawbacks that marijuana can cause. There is an abundant amount of scientific and clinical research to support the use of CBD as a potential treatment option for arthritis, diabetes, alcoholism, MS, chronic pain, schizophrenia, PTSD, depression, antibiotic-resistance infections, epilepsy, and other neurological disorders. Research has also shown CBD has neuroprotective (protecting nerve cells against damage, impairment, and degeneration) and neurogenic effects (regrows nerve cells), along with anti-cancer properties.

Cbd Oils A Benefit To Cancer Patients Or A False Hope

Anti-Inflammation

Inflammation is our immune system’s response to injury and infection. Our body signals that there’s something going on that needs attention to heal and repair or defend against invaders such as viruses and bacteria. Common conditions that cause inflammation include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, grave’s disease, Hashimoto’s disease, myasthenia gravis, and vasculitis. Without inflammation, wounds would take longer to heal and infections would worsen and even become deadly.

CBD helps with inflammation by acting on the receptors located in the central nervous system and immune cells. The fact that CBD can find these receptors in the immune cells suggests that cannabinoids play an important role in regulating the immune system. When cannabinoids were administered in mice, it results in immunosuppression which suppresses the inflammatory response.

Anti-Cancer

Cannabinoids have proven their effectiveness with relieving patients who are suffering from nausea related to their cancer treatments and even pain management. Now, research has shown CBD has proven itself to be a potential treatment as an antitumor drug. Since the compounds found in CBD are similar to the chemical created by our own bodies, this makes CBD much easier to be used by our bodies compared to many synthetic drugs.

According to a study done on breast cancer patients, “CBD represents the first nontoxic exogenous agent that can significantly decrease Id-1 expression in metastatic breast cancer cells leading to the down-regulation of tumor aggressiveness.” This evidence suggests that CBD has the potential of inhibiting the growth of and even killing cancer cells.

Chemotherapy and radiation are very common forms of treatment for people diagnosed with cancer. Both forms of treatment can have some pretty nasty side effects on the body.

During chemotherapy, cancer cells are targeted throughout the body. Depending on the type of cancer a patient has been diagnosed with, chemotherapy may be used to cure, control, or ease symptoms. Chemotherapy may be able to destroy the cancer cells to the point of not being able to be detected in your body and hopefully, they don’t regrow. If the goal is to control the cancer, chemotherapy will be used to attempt to keep cancer from spreading to other parts of the body, or to slow the growth of the cancerous tumors. If chemotherapy is being used to ease symptoms, it will not cure or control the spread of cancer but simply shrink the tumor which might be causing pain or pressure to different parts of the body.

Unfortunately, chemotherapy can affect healthy cells, like those of the skin, hair, intestines, and bone marrow. It is common for patients receiving chemotherapy to experience nausea, hair loss, vomiting, pain, and fatigue. Further side effects can include mouth sores, bleeding tendencies, and changes with menstrual cycles in women.

Radiation therapy produces high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and kill tumors. The body is exposed to low doses of radiation whenever an x-ray is given as well as whenever you fly in a plane. In higher doses, radiation can kill cancer cells and slow the growth by damaging the cancer cell’s DNA. Once the cancer cell’s DNA is damaged enough, they will stop dividing and die off. Radiation therapy does not kill cancer sells immediately. It can take days to weeks, or even months for the cancer cells to become so damaged they can’t repair themselves.

There’s a problem with radiation-our body can only safely receive so much of it in a lifetime. If someone has been reached their limit for radiation, this would mean that radiation can no longer be used on that portion of the body to treat cancer. And radiation can cause side effects which include damage to healthy cells. It is common for patients receiving radiation to experience itching, blistering, peeling, and dryness around the area treated area.

Can CBD Prevent Cancer?

CBD has shown promise to not only help ease the side effects of cancer treatments, but there’s evidence suggesting that CBD can help kill cancer cells. The Institute of Toxicology and Pharmacology published a study in 2010 which focused on the ability for CBD to invade cancer cells. CBD proved to impair the cancer cells in cervical cancer and lung cancer cells and prevent them from multiplying. These findings provide evidence to further study CBD and it’s underlying anti-invasive effects on cancer growth.

Since CBD has been shown to help kill cancer cells or stop them from multiplying, could it also be used to prevent cancer all together? The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology states that there is evidence which suggests CBD is a potent inhibitor of both cancer growth and spread, which also provides evidence that CBD could be used as a possible prevention method.

Researchers at Project on Cellular and Molecular Biology and Gene Therapy published a study in 2003 on skin tumor growth and the impact CBD may have. The strategies for treatment of these tumors was done by directly applying 2 chemical compounds which mimic the effects of cannabinoids. The results proved that by activating the endocannabinoid system through the receptors in the skin, this induced cell death and slowed the growth of the aggressive skin cancers.

The Journal of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment published a study in 2011 which focused on CBD and the reduction of breast cancer cells in mice. The results provided evidence that CBD helped slow the proliferation, or growth of the breast cancer cells. They also were able to confirm that CBD helped reduce metastasis or breakaway of smaller tumors from larger tumors. This particular study found that CBD helped reduce the development of aggressive breast cancer.

Cbd Oils Pain Management

Pain Management

CBD has the ability to bind to CB1 receptors in the body which are responsible for pain management. Since CBD also has anti-inflammatory effects, it can also reduce swelling which can be associated with pain. Back pain is one of the most common reasons why people see a doctor and are often times prescribed a type of pain medication. Chronic pain is the leading cause of opioid use and abuse. Unlike opioids, CBD does not have addictive properties to it or withdrawal symptoms. This evidence supports CBD being a better choice for pain management.

According to a study done on drug addition, CBD was used to help treat withdrawal symptoms. It was discovered that CBD appeared to inhibit drug-seeking behavior as well. This supports the use of CBD as a viable treatment option for a variety of symptoms associated with drug addiction.

Is CBD Safe?

According to researchers at the Department of Psychiatry at King’s College in London, even in high doses, research has shown CBD to be safe. Volunteers were given 10 mg of THC orally that was associated with tachyardia (abnormally rapid heart rate) and sedation (depressing activity of the central nervous system). 600 mg of CBD was administered and showed no difference with a placebo. They stated, “There were no differences between CBD and placebo on any symptomatic, physiological variable. … In healthy volunteers, THC has marked acute behavioral and physiological effects, whereas CBD has proven to be safe and well tolerated.”

More research from the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, Brazil, concluded that CBD “Does not affect gastrointestinal transit and does not alter psychomotor or psychological functions. Also, chronic use and high doses up to 1,500 mg/day of CBD are reportedly well tolerated in humans.”

Is CBD Addictive?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, CBD isn’t addictive. And when you stop using CBD, there are no withdrawal symptoms.
According to a study in the British Journal of Pharmacology, CBD increases anandamide levels in the brain, which regulates other chemicals in the brain such as serotonin and dopamine. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of well-being and happiness, as well as cognition, reward, learning, memory, and other physiological processes. Low levels of serotonin in the brain have been associated with depression.

Dopamine helps regulate movement, attention, learning, and emotional responses. It also enables people to see rewards and move towards them. High levels of dopamine can occur with the use of cocaine, heroin, and nicotine and are associated with drug addiction. CBD balances neurotransmitters.

What are the Different Forms of CBD?

CBD can be used in a variety of ways and comes in many different forms. Sometimes products will be labeled as either CBD-rich or CBD-dominate. CBD-rich means cannabis strains or products that have equal parts of CBD and THC, or in some cases, more CBD than THC. CBD-dominate means cannabis strains or products that are high in CBD but have very little THC content. There is also CBD available with no THC for those who cannot risk or don’t want any THC in their system.

CBD can be ingested in several ways:

Swallowed-CBD is commonly consumed via capsules, though it could also be in a tincture, as salad dressing, in baked goods, candy, butter, coffee, or in juice. This method takes a little longer to be absorbed as it has to pass through the stomach and be metabolized by the liver.
Sublingual-oils, tinctures, and sprays can be used to get CBD under the tongue which is absorbed quickly. Often combined with hemp oil or high-grade alcohol, after you place it under your tongue you wait until it is absorbed without swallowing it. Another option is a concentrate, but it doesn’t have the carrier oil. Concentrates are up to 10 times more potent than the average dose.

Inhalation-CBD is ingested via a vape pen, e-cigarette, or vaporizer.

Topical application-creams, lotions, cosmetics, soaps, shampoos, and patches contact the skin and are often used for pain relief and healing.

Recommended Dosages

The FDA hasn’t set up formal nutritional guidelines for CBD yet, called a Recommended Daily Intake (RDI), so it will be up to you. Many products will list a “suggested serving size” which you can take into consideration if you speak with your doctor and decide how much to start with.

Some users start with a low dosage and gradually work their way up to a dosage where they are experiencing benefits. It may take a few minutes to a few hours for the effects to be experienced, depending on several factors including the form of CBD that you take, the amount, the quality, etc. CBD can build up in the body and cause your cannbinoid receptors more sensitive to stimulation by CBD.

How much CBD you take — and how often — will all depend on factors like your lifestyle, what you use CBD for, the severity of the effects of the condition you’re trying to alleviate, your weight, age, sex, and more. Some recommend 1-6 mg of CBD for every 10 lbs of body weight. If you weigh 200 lbs, you could start with 20-120 mg of CBD. The best way to begin is to start with a very small and gradually increase it.
A good way to track your progress is to keep a paper or online journal of your dosage and the effects. For example, if you’re taking CBD to improve your sleep, write down how much CBD you took at what dosage and form, and note your sleep when you wake up in the morning. You could even use a sleep tracking app (such as Sleep Cycle on Apple and Android) to see how long it took you to fall asleep, what stages of sleep you were in throughout the night and how long, how often you snored, etc. You can rate your sleep every morning and any other pertinent information and start to see connections between your CBD use and find a sweet spot of how much seems to help you.

With many forms of CBD such as tinctures, creams, and roll-ons, it can be a little tricky to know exactly how much you’re taking. One of the easiest ways to get an accurate number is to take capsules, which will list the amount of CBD per capsule on the front of the bottle. Capsules take longer deliver the CBD into your system as it has to be digested first. Other ways to get an accurate dosage are CBD gummies, CBD edibles, CBD applicators, and CBD drinks.

What Does it Feel Like?

As CBD doesn’t have any psychoactive effects (it doesn’t make you high), people most commonly report a reduction in the symptoms from the condition that’s troubling them. One thing you may notice is a sense of calmness. According to a case study published in Neuropsychopharmacology, researchers observed that CBD may be anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) by reducing blood flow to the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for the fight or flight stress response.

There are no guarantees that CBD will work for you, but a person suffering from nausea from chemotherapy treatments may experience less nausea due to taking CBD (research has shown it to be anti-emetic (effective against vomiting and nausea)).

How Quickly Does it Work?

Tinctures that recommend you using a dropper to place the CBD liquid under your tongue for 30-90 seconds, sublingual sprays and vaping are the fastest ways to start feeling the benefits of CBD, usually only taking a few minutes. Capsules and edibles will take longer, usually a few hours.

Applying it on your skin with a cream or roll-on will usually last the longest as the CBD will be slowly absorbed through the skin for a few hours, which may be preferable for people using it for its pain-relieving effect. And users could combine methods, using one method to experience the benefits quickly, and another for longer lasting effects.

Cost & Quality

The CBD market is very new and there’s a wide range of cost for CBD products, anywhere from $.05 to $.50/mg! Eventually the market will balance out and the range probably won’t be that big. The bigger problem is quality. CBD isn’t regulated and this new industry is basically the Wild West-it takes some research to know if what you’re getting is safe and effective.

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