After 2.5 years, the CT scans showed that the tumor had shrunk to 10 mm.
Patient Declined Recommended Treatment
The authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships. Nutt chairs the scientific committee of the charity Drug Science, which receives unrestricted educational grants from some medical cannabis companies. Ernst and Freeman have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
A case report describes the dramatic shrinkage of a tumor to a quarter of its original size in a patient with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who had declined conventional treatment, continued smoking, and who later revealed that she was ingesting cannabidiol (CBD) oil.
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Her tumour was 41 mm in size at diagnosis, with no evidence of local or further spread, so was suitable for conventional treatment of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. But the woman refused treatment, so was placed under ‘watch and wait’ monitoring, which included regular CT scans every 3-6 months.
The supplier had advised that the main active ingredients were Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) at 19.5%, cannabidiol at around 20%, and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) at around 24%.
These showed that the tumour was progressively shrinking, reducing in size from 41 mm in June 2018 to 10 mm by February 2021, equal to an overall 76% reduction in maximum diameter, averaging 2.4% a month, say the report authors.
Lung cancer remains the second most common cancer in the UK. Despite treatment advances, survival rates remain low at around 15% five years after diagnosis. And average survival without treatment is around 7 months.
Funding: None declared
Cannabis has a long ‘medicinal’ history in modern medicine, having been first introduced in 1842 for its analgesic, sedative, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and anticonvulsant effects. And it is widely believed that cannabinoids can help people with chronic pain, anxiety and sleep disorders; cannabinoids are also used in palliative care, the authors add.
It may be worth exploring further the use of cannabidiol (‘CBD’) oil as a potential lung cancer treatment, suggest doctors in BMJ Case Reports after dealing with a daily user whose lung tumour shrank without the aid of conventional treatment.
And they emphasise: “Although there appears to be a relationship between the intake of CBD oil and the observed tumour regression, we are unable to conclusively confirm that the tumour regression is due to the patient taking CBD oil.”