Cannabidiol (CBD), a constituent of the hemp plant (cannabis sativa), has exploded in popularity in recent years as a natural remedy sold online and in health food stores. With CBD’s potent attributes and apparent lack of side effects, it’s no wonder that everyone from new agers to top execs are taking a look at how this fascinating compound can benefit the human body and mind. As a topic of serious scientific research in the global pharmaceutical industry, the potential of this so-called “miracle cure” is currently being put to the test.
Does CBD Cure Cancer?
A substance or treatment which either prevents cancer from occurring or fights existing cancer in the body is called chemopreventive. While initial CBD research mostly examined this compound’s widely documented anti-inflammatory qualities, researchers started finding clues early on that CBD may have a much wider scope of effect than was previously thought.
Far more than a simple anti-inflammatory, preliminary data suggests that CBD is both chemopreventive and antineoplastic. This means that CBD appears to have the astonishing ability to prevent incidences of cancer in human subjects, shrink existing tumors, and stop existing tumors from growing.
CBD: Fringe or Fact?
With the most common types of cancer treatment being surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, it’s understandable to be dubious of a simple compound’s ability to produce results equal to those of conventional treatments. However, the harmful side effects of these treatments continue to incentivize researchers in their quest for more effective and less hazardous cures. Chemotherapy, for instance, irradiates not only cancer cells, but also healthy cells, doing enormous damage to the body, a common symptom of which is total hair loss.
Every once in awhile, a new fringe substance or treatment appears on the scene which claims to be a cure for cancer. What’s different about cannabidiol is that the majority of currently available data on CBD’s cancer-fighting potential didn’t emerge out of the fringe. Rather, it was researchers working for pharmaceutical institutions that first discovered CBD’s potential healing properties. While CBD certainly isn’t a mainstream treatment yet, it’s much more likely that CBD will be adopted into the fabric of society rather than relegated to quackery. It goes without saying that this is good news for those suffering through cancer or chemotherapy.
Data Currently Available on CBD & Cancer
Numerous scientific studies have been conducted on the potential of CBD as a cancer treatment. One study published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics noted a significant decrease in the growth of human glioma cells that had been implanted into mice (1). A glioma is a type of tumor which occurs in the brain, and if CBD has antineoplastic qualities for glioma cells, it stands to reason that CBD might be capable of fighting any form of tumor. Similarly, another study found CBD to reduce the cell viability of prostate cancer (prostate carcinoma) in both in vitro (dead tissue) and in vivo (live tissue) experiments (2).
There are at least three publically available studies on the topic of CBD as a potential breast cancer treatment. It’s here that we find some of the most compelling data backing up CBD’s viability as a cancer drug. In one study published in 2010, scientists found CBD to diminish primary tumor mass (3). In another, the researchers suggest that CBD may represent the first harmless compound capable of reducing Id-1, a key regulator of the potential of breast cancer to metastasize (4). Especially worthy of note is the position taken in one recent study from 2015, that CBD works particularly well for highly aggressive forms of breast cancer (5)
A Call for More Data
When will CBD finally be marketed as a mainstream healing tool? Only time will tell. Multiple factors currently prevail which both promote and impede the CBD agenda domestically and abroad. What’s certain is that this burgeoning industry’s swirling nexus of creativity will inevitably give birth to something historical, as is evidenced by the multi-million dollar CBD market which has sprung up in the USA, Canada, and Europe in just the last few years.
For some of us, even one study evidencing CBD as a potential therapy for cancer would be enough to order a lifetime supply. But for those who are apportioning billions, not hundreds of dollars, and have international populations as their supply chains, these questions require long and careful thought. Like many potential cancer cures, cannabidiol begs further study, and CBD research is currently being done all over the world. With any luck, this affordable and readily available hemp derivative will soon assume its rightful place in the oncologist’s pharmacopeia.
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