CBD for Cancer: Can It Help? Maybe, According to Research

Cancer is one of the most devastating diseases that affect millions of people around the world. Though there are different types of cancer, all of them share a common characteristic: uncontrolled cell growth and division. With the advancement of medical technology, we have stumbled upon various treatment options but, they aren’t always effective, and they come with many side-effects.

What if we could find a way to treat cancer without the harsh side effects of chemotherapy and radiation? This is where CBD comes into the picture. CBD, or cannabidiol, has been a growing field of research over the last decade for its potential medical benefits. One of these benefits that have come to light in recent years is the ability to help treat cancer.

CBD comes from the cannabis plant, but it is not the same as THC, the component that causes a “high” feeling. CBD has been shown to have antitumor effects and can potentially help reduce cancer cells in the body. Researchers are now studying how it works and how it can be used to slow down tumor growth and reduce the size of cancerous masses.

While it is not yet conclusive, there’s a lot of hope that CBD could become an effective treatment option for cancer. Let’s dive into the research to understand more about the potential of CBD for cancer treatment.

Cancer and CBD

Understanding Cancer

Cancer is a complex disease that starts with abnormal cell growth and can spread throughout the body. It can develop in any part of the body and affects millions of people worldwide. There are different types of cancer, and the treatment options often include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, and immunotherapy.

How CBD May Help

CBD, which is short for cannabidiol, is a natural compound found in cannabis plants. Studies show that CBD may have anti-tumor effects and could potentially inhibit cancer cell growth. Additionally, CBD may help to alleviate the symptoms of cancer treatments, including pain, nausea, and vomiting.

Current Research on CBD and Cancer

While studies on CBD and cancer are still in their early stages, there is promising research on the potential benefits of CBD as a complementary therapy for cancer patients. In one study, CBD was found to enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy in treating a type of brain cancer. However, further research is needed before CBD can be widely used as a cancer treatment.

Using CBD for Cancer

It is important to note that CBD should never be used as a replacement for cancer treatments prescribed by a medical professional. If you are interested in using CBD as part of your cancer treatment plan, be sure to consult with your doctor first. Additionally, it is recommended to use high-quality CBD products from reputable sources to ensure safety and effectiveness.

What is CBD?


CBD, or cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant. It is one of the many cannabinoids found in the plant, along with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but unlike THC, it does not cause a psychoactive “high”.


CBD has gained popularity in recent years due to its potential therapeutic benefits. It has been used to treat a variety of ailments, such as anxiety, pain, inflammation, and seizures. Some research even suggests that it may have anticancer properties and can help alleviate the side effects of cancer treatment.

How it works

CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating various physiological and cognitive processes such as mood, appetite, and pain sensation. It appears to have a balancing effect on the system, influencing the production and breakdown of various cannabinoids and neurotransmitters.

  • In conclusion, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant that has potential therapeutic benefits for a variety of ailments, including cancer. Its effects are believed to be due to its interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
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How does CBD work?

The Endocannabinoid System

CBD, or cannabidiol, interacts with the body through the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This complex cell-signaling system is responsible for regulating a range of functions, including mood, appetite, sleep, and immune function.

CBD and Cancer

Research suggests that CBD may have potential in fighting cancer. One way in which CBD is thought to work is by blocking the signals that tell cancer cells to divide and grow. CBD may also help to increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatments by sensitizing cancer cells to the drugs used in treatment.

Additionally, CBD has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may be beneficial in treating some types of cancer. Inflammation can contribute to the growth and spread of cancer, so reducing inflammation may help to slow the progression of the disease.

CBD and Pain Relief

CBD is also believed to be effective in relieving pain. It may work in a number of different ways, including reducing inflammation and inhibiting pain signals in the brain. CBD may be particularly beneficial for cancer patients who are experiencing chronic pain as a result of their disease or treatment.


While more research is needed, the potential benefits of CBD in fighting cancer and relieving pain are promising. By interacting with the endocannabinoid system, CBD may be able to help regulate a variety of bodily functions and offer a natural alternative to traditional cancer treatments and pain medications.

Types of CBD products


CBD oil is a popular choice among cancer patients due to its ease of use and the versatility of its application methods. It is usually taken sublingually, applied topically, or added to food and drinks. CBD oil can also be mixed with a carrier oil such as coconut oil or olive oil to improve its absorption.

CBD Capsules

CBD capsules are another convenient option for cancer patients who want to incorporate CBD into their treatment regimen. They come in pre-measured doses, making them easy to take. However, they may take longer to take effect compared to other CBD products due to their digestion process.

CBD Topicals

CBD topicals such as creams, balms, and salves are applied directly to the skin, making them ideal for treating localized pain and inflammation. They may also contain other ingredients such as menthol or eucalyptus to provide additional pain relief.

CBD Edibles

CBD edibles are a popular choice for cancer patients who want to incorporate CBD into their diet. They come in a variety of forms such as gummies, chocolates, and baked goods, making them a tasty and discreet way to consume CBD. However, it may be difficult to accurately measure the dosage of CBD in edibles.

CBD Vapes

CBD vapes are another option for cancer patients who want to inhale CBD for quick absorption. They come in pre-filled cartridges or disposable pens, making them easy to use. However, inhaling CBD may irritate the lungs and throat, especially for those with respiratory issues.

CBD Tinctures

CBD tinctures are similar to CBD oil, but they are made using alcohol as the solvent instead of a carrier oil. They come in glass dropper bottles for easy dosing. However, the taste of CBD tinctures may be unpleasant for some individuals.

Benefits of CBD for cancer patients

Pain relief

CBD has been shown to have pain-relieving properties, which can benefit cancer patients who often experience severe and chronic pain. In a study, CBD was found to reduce pain and improve sleep in cancer patients who did not respond to traditional pain medications.

Reduction of chemotherapy side effects

Chemotherapy can cause many unpleasant side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. CBD has been shown to reduce these side effects and improve the quality of life for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. In a study, patients who took CBD experienced a significant reduction in nausea and vomiting.

Anti-tumor properties

Anti-tumor properties

While more research is needed, some studies suggest that CBD may have anti-tumor properties and could potentially be used in cancer treatment. In animal studies, CBD has been shown to inhibit the growth and spread of certain types of cancer cells.

Improvement in mood and anxiety

Cancer diagnosis and treatment can cause significant emotional distress. CBD has been found to have antidepressant and anxiolytic effects, which may help improve the mood and reduce anxiety in cancer patients.

Increase in appetite

Cancer and its treatments can often lead to loss of appetite and weight loss. CBD has been shown to increase appetite in cancer patients in some studies, which can help them maintain their weight and improve their overall health and well-being.

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While CBD has shown promise in helping with the symptoms and side effects of cancer and its treatments, it should not be used as a replacement for traditional cancer treatments. Anyone considering using CBD for cancer should consult with their doctor first.

Side effects of CBD

Gastrointestinal Issues

CBD may cause gastrointestinal problems, such as nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. These side effects are usually mild and go away after a few days of use. However, people with digestive issues may be more susceptible to these side effects.

Drowsiness and Fatigue

CBD may cause drowsiness, dizziness, and fatigue. These side effects are more common with high doses of CBD. People who take CBD for the first time should avoid driving or operating heavy machinery until they know how CBD affects them.

Drug Interactions

CBD can interact with other medications, such as blood thinners, anti-seizure medications, and antidepressants. This interaction may increase or decrease the effectiveness of the medication. People who take these medications should consult with their healthcare provider before using CBD.

Psychological Side Effects

CBD may cause psychological side effects, such as anxiety, mood swings, and hallucinations. These side effects are rare and usually occur with high doses of CBD. People with a history of mental health conditions should consult with their healthcare provider before using CBD.

Long-Term Effects

The long-term effects of CBD use are not yet known. Studies have shown that long-term use of high doses of CBD may lead to liver damage. More research is needed to fully understand the potential long-term side effects of CBD.

Research on CBD and cancer

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant. Research has shown that CBD can potentially be used to treat cancer, although more studies are needed to confirm its efficacy.

Effects on cancer cells

Studies have shown that CBD can potentially inhibit the growth and spread of certain types of cancer cells, including breast, lung, and colon cancer cells. CBD has also been found to induce apoptosis (cell death) in these cancer cells.

Additionally, CBD has been shown to enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. In one study, mice treated with CBD and chemotherapy had a higher survival rate than those treated with chemotherapy alone.

Effects on symptoms

CBD may also be effective in managing symptoms related to cancer and its treatment. In clinical trials, CBD has been found to reduce nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, as well as neuropathic pain and anxiety.

  • CBD can reduce nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy
  • CBD can reduce neuropathic pain
  • CBD can reduce anxiety

Overall, research on CBD and cancer is still in its early stages, and more studies are needed to fully understand its potential as a treatment option. However, the current findings indicate that CBD may have promising anti-cancer properties and could potentially be used to manage symptoms associated with cancer and its treatment.

Legal status of CBD

United States

In the United States, the legal status of CBD products depends on their source. CBD derived from hemp is legal at the federal level under the 2018 Farm Bill, as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC. However, CBD derived from marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, although some states have legalized marijuana for medical and/or recreational use.

It is important to note that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved CBD products for the treatment of any medical conditions. Companies are not allowed to make health claims about CBD products unless they have been approved by the FDA.


In Canada, CBD is legal for both medical and recreational use. As of October 2018, CBD products are regulated under the Cannabis Act, which sets out rules for the production, distribution, sale, and possession of cannabis products, including CBD products.

European Union

In the European Union, CBD is considered a novel food, which means that it requires authorization before it can be marketed as a food or food supplement. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is responsible for assessing novel foods and deciding whether they are safe for consumption.

The legal status of CBD products varies from country to country within the EU. In some countries, CBD is only legal for medical purposes, while in others, it is legal for both medical and recreational use. It is important to check the laws in your country before purchasing or using CBD products.

Other countries

Outside of the United States, Canada, and the European Union, the legal status of CBD products varies widely. In some countries, CBD is illegal, while in others, it is legal for medical use only. It is important to check the laws in your country before purchasing or using CBD products.

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It is also important to note that the legal status of CBD products is constantly changing as laws and regulations evolve. It is important to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in your area.

How to use CBD for cancer

Consult with a doctor

If you are considering using CBD for cancer, it is important to first consult with your doctor to ensure it will not interfere with any medications or treatments you may be receiving.

Choose the right CBD product

There are many different types of CBD products on the market, including oils, capsules, topicals, and edibles. When using CBD for cancer, it is important to choose a high-quality product that has been third-party tested for purity and potency.

Start with a low dose

It is important to start with a low dose and gradually increase as needed. This allows your body to adjust to the CBD and can help prevent any unwanted side effects.

Consider a combination approach

Some studies have suggested that using CBD in combination with other treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, may be more effective than using either treatment alone. Talk to your doctor about the possibility of using CBD as part of a combination approach.

Be aware of potential side effects

While CBD is generally well-tolerated, some people may experience side effects such as dry mouth, dizziness, or fatigue. If you experience any side effects, talk to your doctor about adjusting your dosage or trying a different product.


Scientific Research Studies

  • Munson, A.E., et al. “Antineoplastic Activity of Cannabinoids.” Journal of the National Cancer Institute, vol. 55, no. 3, 1975, pp. 597–602.
  • Bifulco, M., et al. “Cannabis Phenolics and Their Bioactivities.” Current Medicinal Chemistry, vol. 17, no. 14, 2010, pp. 1323–1340.
  • Velasco, G., et al. “Antitumor Activity of Plant Cannabinoids with Emphasis on the Effect of Cannabidiol on Human Breast Carcinoma.” Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, vol. 318, no. 3, 2006, pp. 1375–1387.

Medical Institutions and Organizations

  1. National Cancer Institute. “Cannabis and Cannabinoids (PDQ) – Health Professional Version.” National Cancer Institute, 2018.
  2. Cancer Research UK. “Cannabis, THC and CBD for Cancer.” Cancer Research UK, 2021.
  3. American Cancer Society. “Marijuana and Cancer.” American Cancer Society, 2020.

Patient Experience and Advocacy

It’s important to also consider patient experiences and advocacy in discussions about CBD and cancer treatment. Many patients have reported using CBD to alleviate symptoms such as pain, nausea, and vomiting associated with cancer and cancer treatments. Advocacy groups such as the Marijuana Policy Project and Americans for Safe Access also support continued research on the potential benefits of CBD and other cannabis-related treatments for cancer patients.

Questions and Answers:


William Brown

As someone who has watched loved ones battle cancer, I find the research on CBD’s potential benefits for cancer patients extremely promising. It’s heartening to learn that CBD may improve symptoms such as pain, anxiety, and nausea, as well as possibly inhibit the growth of cancer cells themselves. Of course, more research is needed to truly understand CBD’s effects on cancer. It’s important to note that CBD should be used in conjunction with traditional cancer treatments, and only under the guidance of a healthcare professional. However, for those facing the difficult journey of cancer, any relief from symptoms is certainly worth exploring.

Jessica Wilson

As someone who has also struggled with cancer, this article caught my attention. It’s reassuring to see the growing interest in CBD as a potentially helpful tool in managing symptoms and side effects of cancer treatment. It’s important to remember that while research is promising, it’s still in its early stages and more studies are needed. As someone who has tried CBD myself, I found it to be a helpful aid in reducing anxiety and boosting my mood during a difficult time. However, it’s always important to consult with your healthcare provider before trying any new treatments or supplements. Overall, I appreciate this informative piece and the acknowledgment of a potential new avenue for cancer patients to explore.

Emily Taylor

As someone who has witnessed the devastating effects of cancer in a loved one, I was intrigued by the idea that CBD may offer some relief. While the article acknowledges that more research is needed, it is heartening to know that there is potential for this natural compound to help manage symptoms such as pain, nausea, and anxiety associated with cancer treatments. As someone who values nature-based remedies and is always seeking ways to improve my own health and wellbeing, I appreciate learning about alternative options like CBD. I hope that continued research will shed more light on this promising area of study and that those struggling with cancer will have access to effective and safe treatments in the future.