cbd thc oil for cancer

After Woman’s Tumor Unexpectedly Shrinks, Her Doctors Wonder If CBD Oil Played a Role

Some outside experts are skeptical, but the woman’s doctors say CBD and THC compounds deserve further attention in cancer research.

Doctors in the UK say they’ve come across an unusual case of cancer recovery: A woman in her 80s whose lung cancer began to shrink without any conventional treatment, after she started taking daily doses of CBD/THC oil. Though it’s far from clear that the oil actually affected her tumor, the doctors argue that cannabis and its primary ingredients merit further research as a possible cancer treatment.

The CBD in CBD oil comes from cannabidiol, one of the two major compounds found in cannabis. These products can also include delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the other major compound that’s responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. CBD oil and similar products are in a murky legal market in much of the world. In the U.S., only one medical use of CBD is currently approved, a high-dose version that’s meant to help relieve symptoms in people with certain seizure disorders. But cannabis and CBD oil are permitted to be sold and used in much of the country, as well as in some other countries like the UK.

The patient in this case had experienced a persistent cough for months by the time she visited a doctor in February 2018. By the summer, imaging tests and a biopsy clearly indicated that she had lung cancer, specifically non-small cell lung carcinoma. Though she was a smoker and had preexisting lung problems, doctors felt her case was treatable. But after lengthy discussions, the woman chose to decline options like surgery or radiation therapy. Because of that, the doctors agreed to simply keep an eye on her cancer’s growth through routinely scheduled imaging tests.

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Remarkably, the woman’s cancer started shrinking without any intervention on the doctors’ part whatsoever. Compared to the first imaging taken in June 2018, they estimated that the cancer’s size had shrunk 76% by February 2021. In February 2019, after a year of shrinking, the doctors spoke to the woman about her results, and she revealed that she had been ingesting a CBD oil product on the advice of a relative since June 2018, usually at three doses a day. Other than a reduced appetite, the woman reported no side effects from her regimen, and the doctors couldn’t find any other changes to her prescribed medications, diet, or lifestyle (she was advised to quit smoking but had continued to do so) during that time.

“This case appears to demonstrate a possible benefit of ’CBD oil’ intake that may have resulted in the observed tumor regression,” the doctors wrote in their report on the case, published Thursday in BMJ Case Reports.

Cannabis for medical purposes

The potential benefits of cannabis and cannabinoids (active compounds derived from the cannabis plant) for symptom relief in cancer patients have been subject to a number of government reviews and public debate in recent years. Governments at Commonwealth, state and territory levels have made legislative and policy changes to progress access and investigation of cannabis in the treatment of various medical indications. However, there are currently no natural and synthetic forms of cannabis and cannabinoids products approved in Australia for therapeutic use to alleviate side effects of cancer and chemotherapy.

Applications to access unapproved cannabis-based therapeutic products must be considered through the Commonwealth Department of Health special access programs and processed on a case by case basis and are subject to state-based requirements as well as import legislation.

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Cannabis and cannabinoids are derived from the Cannabis sativa plant. Cannabis, also known as marijuana (and colloquially as grass, pot, weed, hash etc.), is made from the dried flowers and leaves of the Cannabis sativa plant. Cannabinoids are chemicals which act upon cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2 in the body.

The majority of available evidence for the therapeutic use of cannabis and cannabinoids in cancer care addresses their potential efficacy in relieving the symptoms of cancer and cancer treatments such as chemotherapy. The effects of cannabis and cannabinoids can differ significantly with different doses and between individuals, and can vary depending on how cannabis compounds enter the body.

Further evidence from randomised controlled trials is required to evaluate the impact of cannabis and cannabinoid products on cancer and side effects of chemotherapy. There are currently a number of trials underway in Australia reviewing the potential benefits of cannabis and its efficacy for use across different medical indications.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) recently released a set of guidances to assist health professionals and patients, especially medical practitioners, who choose to prescribe medicinal cannabis in Australia under current access schemes. These are available on the TGA website.