Cancer patients may benefit from taking cannabidiol or cannabidiol-containing drugs. For cannabidiol, a certain protective effect has been proven. Firstly, cannabidiol protects the genetic material by activating the enzyme CYP1A1. This enzyme can ensure that potentially mutagenic substances are excreted quicker than the body would otherwise.
Cannabidiol could also prevent nerve damage caused by chemotherapeutic drugs. Nerve damage caused by chemotherapy is a risk and can lead to permanent limitations and discomfort in polyneuropathy. Various studies suggest that CBD can mitigate or prevent damage to nerve cells.
In the case of cancer, cannabidiol (CBD) can inhibit the appetite
The cannabinoids THC and CBD have different effects on appetite. THC can increase appetite. Therefore THC-rich cannabis or THC as dronabinol is used to treat loss of appetite and emaciation in cancer patients. Pure CBD may have the opposite effect. It can inhibit appetite – an effect that was initially observed in animal experiments. These appetite-suppressing properties of cannabidiol have now also been observed in humans.
In cancer patients, the use of CBD-rich cannabis or pure CBD should be carefully considered if they suffer from loss of appetite, weight loss or underweight. In cancer patients, weight loss can lead to the dreaded tumor cachexia (severe cancer-related emaciation). Cancer cachexia is one of the most frequent causes of death in cancer patients.
Other possible side effects and interactions of cannabidiol should also be considered before taking it.
Good to know: Cannabidiol (CBD) can reduce the side effects of THC
The two cannabinoids THC and CBD have different and sometimes opposite effects. Thus CBD can attenuate different effects of THC. These include in particular its appetite-stimulating and psychoactive effects. This may be of interest to patients with poor tolerance to THC-rich cannabis strains. In these cases, CBD-rich cannabis varieties (see below) may be an option.
Cannabidiol is not, according to the current state of knowledge, a miracle cure that can successfully fight cancer or make conventional cancer therapy superfluous. Studies show that cannabidiol can inhibit the growth of cancer cells in cell or animal experiments. However, these results cannot be transferred unconditionally to human therapy. Clinical studies investigating the effects of cannabidiol on cancer in humans are unfortunately still lacking. Nevertheless, cancer patients could perhaps soon be treated with cannabidiol. For example, the US regulatory authority has classified CBD as an orphan drug for glioblastomas. This means that new drugs with CBD must undergo a shortened approval procedure. Experts estimate that as early as 2023, drugs with CBD could be used in difficult-to-treat cancers such as glioblastoma. As mention in our CDB for seizures page, the US has also approved CBD-containing drugs for the use of certain types of epilepsy and seizures.
Aside it’s lack of established cancer healing properties, the use of cannabidiol may be important for cancer patients anyways. Cannabidiol is suitable for the treatment of frequent complaints and side effects that occur during cancer or its therapy. These include bone pain, anxiety, depression and sleep disturbances. Various studies have shown that taking THC and CBD together can be more helpful than taking CBD alone. This is especially true for sleep disorders and depression. Those who want to treat complaints and side effects for which CBD is helpful can, therefore, resort to CBD-rich cannabis flowers. These include Bediol granulated, Bedrolite granulated, Penelope (MCTK002) and Argyle (MCTK005). These varieties can also be recommended to patients who have poor tolerance to cannabis flowers with high THC levels. High CBD levels mean that typical THC side effects are reduced, either by counter-acting effects, or because CBD rich plants often lack THC in general though this is not a general rule.
In cancer patients suffering from a loss of appetite or emaciation, the use of cannabidiol should be carefully discussed with the doctor. Under certain circumstances, a reimbursement of the costs of cannabidiol by various insurance providers may be covered. Ask them before putting in a claim.