cbd for chemo side effects

There have been some studies that show that CBD, alone or together with THC, may relieve pain, insomnia, or anxiety, but these studies were not specific to people with cancer. While no studies to date have shown that CBD eases these side effects specifically in people with cancer or people receiving cancer treatment, some people with cancer have reported benefits in taking CBD, such as helping with nausea, vomiting, depression, and other side effects. According to ASCO guidelines, your doctor may consider prescribing cannabinoids for chronic pain management if you live in a state where it is legal. However, ASCO guidelines state that there is not enough evidence to support the use of cannabinoids for preventing nausea and vomiting in people with cancer receiving radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

There are 2 synthetic cannabis medications, nabilone (Cesamet) and dronabinol (Marinol or Syndros), that are FDA-approved to treat nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy. These medications are made in a laboratory.

You may also be wondering if CBD is legal in your area. Some states allow the sale and possession of cannabis, including CBD and THC, for medical and recreational use. Others have stricter regulations, so state-by-state laws should always be learned before transporting CBD across state lines. Things are more complicated at the federal level. In 2018, the U.S. government recognized that hemp can be grown and manufactured legally as part of the Farm Act. Hemp can be used to make things like rope and clothing, in addition to CBD oil. In other words, hemp is no longer a controlled substance, which means it is not regulated by the government. This means that consumers have to evaluate the safety and quality of CBD products on their own. Some CBD, for example, may have much higher levels of THC than what is labeled.

Can CBD help people with cancer?

There is currently 1 CBD treatment approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) called Epidiolex, which is used to treat a rare and severe form of epilepsy in children. There are not currently any FDA-approved CBD medications for treating cancer or side effects of cancer treatments.

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is one of many chemicals found in the cannabis plant. It has been touted in some online forums as an alternative treatment, and even a cure, for many illnesses, including cancer. And, some people with cancer say that CBD has helped them as a complementary therapy in managing their symptoms and side effects from standard cancer treatment.

What is CBD?

To date, no large-scale studies have shown CBD to have benefits for the treatment of people with cancer. Most studies that have been done evaluating CBD as a cancer treatment were in mice or in human cells in the lab. For instance, there are some studies that have shown that CBD inhibits the growth of cancer cells in mice with lung cancer or colon cancer. Another study showed that CBD, together with THC, killed glioblastoma cancer cells in the lab. However, no studies have been conducted in people with cancer.

There is much about CBD that is still unknown. It has largely gone unstudied because, until 2018, it was considered a schedule I drug by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). A schedule I drug is a drug that has been declared illegal by the DEA because of safety concerns over its potential for abuse and because there is no accepted medical use for it. Then, in September 2018, the DEA updated CBD’s status to become a schedule V drug. Schedule V drugs have a lower potential for abuse and are deemed to have some medical use.

Cbd for chemo side effects

Dr. Markman says he doesn’t discount the many doctors and patients who swear by the plant’s medicinal benefits, but he strongly recommends that any cancer patient contemplating using a CBD product, or medical marijuana, have a conversation with his or her oncologist before doing so.

“There are individuals who clearly say it works, groups and medical societies, such as ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology), that say it may be of value,” Dr. Markman says. “States say it’s legal, and the FDA says it’s looking at it. But the problem is we do not have clinical trials conducted by the FDA to show its safety and efficacy relative to drugs that are already out there. At a patient and doctor level, it’s a very difficult situation. Doctors need scientific evidence, not anecdotal evidence, that something is safe and effective.”

Grammy Award-winning singer Melissa Etheridge says CBD helped her combat the “collateral damage” of chemotherapy during her treatment for breast cancer. Other segments of the cancer community maintain that CBD is an antidote to chronic pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea, vomiting, neuropathy and appetite loss.

“In its absence, it doesn’t mean something isn’t of value, but it’s much harder to advise its use in patients,” Dr. Markman says. “There’s no regulation. The research just isn’t there yet. The fundamental problem has been, and remains, that you’re talking about a class of drugs that’s been woefully under-researched, and the reason is because it’s illegal under federal law. It’s an incredible situation where you have proclamations by people about how great it is, but we also know about the placebo effect, which is a very important consideration. There have also been multiple studies that have shown potential for harm to the central nervous system and cognition. And there’s an incredible economic incentive to consider.”

Cancer and CBD

While some anecdotal evidence has been publicly shared about CBD’s benefits for cancer patients, the scientific research is lacking. The situation causes a conundrum for doctors who treat cancer patients, says Maurie Markman, MD, President of Medicine & Science at Cancer Treatment Centers of America ® (CTCA).

The FDA acknowledges the “significant public interest in cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds,” but maintains there are “many unanswered questions about the science, safety, and quality” of CBD products. The agency is engaged in “ongoing efforts” to answer these questions, according to its website.

CBD comes in many forms—creams, capsules, edibles, tinctures and oils, including a vaping oil. Unlike another key ingredient in the cannabis plant, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, CBD does not cause users to feel high. CBD may be found in grocery stores, marijuana dispensaries, gas stations, pharmacies and health food stores. It can be smoked, vaped, drunk or eaten.

CBD is thought to work by targeting cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) found mainly in the brain and other areas of the body. These receptors are part of the endocannabinoid signaling system, which—while its role is not completely understood— is believed to help regulate various mental functions, including cognition, sleep, pain and mood. CBD may also help regulate the production of cortisol, a hormone that helps the body deal with stress.

It seems nearly everywhere you look these days someone is selling, pitching or endorsing CBD, the acronym for cannabidiol, one of the key ingredients in cannabis. Whoopi Goldberg, Tom Hanks and Olivia Wilde are just a few celebrities to tout CBD as an elixir for conditions such as endometriosis, fibromyalgia, PTSD, anxiety, muscle tension and insomnia.