Is CBD Safe for People With Cancer?

CBD has gained a lot of popularity nowadays for its variety of health benefits and medical uses. However, what is still unclear is whether CBD can help people with cancer. In fact, several scientific groups study whether CBD can relieve common side effects of cancer therapy, including nausea, pain, stress, and insomnia. Some other scientists study whether CBD can inhibit the development of cancer, however, there are no large-scale studies to prove that CBD can really help those with cancer. Instead, most studies have been made in human cancer cells or in mice. Furthermore, a series of studies have shown that CBD can decrease cancer development in mice with either colon or lung cancer. In another study, CBD was used in combination with THC and when given together. they resulted in the inhibition of glioblastoma cancer cells.

Although some lab results seem promising, no large studies have been conducted on humans with cancer, so far. Other studies where CBD and THC were also, combined, were made in order to determine whether those two compounds could possibly relieve symptoms of pain, anxiety, and insomnia. Although there are no studies on people with cancer to prove that these side effects can be relieved, there are reports of people under cancer treatment who benefited from receiving CBD in dealing with common side effects of treatment, particularly nausea and vomiting.

The ASCO guidelines state that a doctor can prescribe cannabinoids, including CBD and THC for the management of chronic pain, providing that patients live in a state where it is legal. On the other hand, the same guidelines state that no real evidence exists to prove that cannabinoids can help deal with symptoms related to chemotherapy and radiotherapy during cancer treatment. However, there are two synthetic drugs named nabilone (Cesamet) and dronabinol (Marinol). that have been synthesized in the lab and are FDA-approved.

Is CBD considered a safe option for people with cancer?

There are lots of states online in favor of CBD as a treatment option or as a relief against the side effects of chemotherapy. However, what we should always have in mind is that those stories are not scientifically backed up. Both the efficacy and safety of CBD for those under cancer treatment have not yet been studied in large controlled, randomized clinical trials. There is also, some evidence that CBD may interfere with cancer drugs, via a process known as a drug interaction. They can either increase the toxicity of cancer drugs or decrease their efficacy. Both those actions are not welcome, and can seriously affect a patient’s clinical outcome. For this reason, as long as no real scientific evidence comes to light, you should advise your oncologist if you are considering taking CBD.

It is also, important to know if your state allows the use of cannabinoids. For example, some states allow both the sale and possession of CBD and THC, both for medical and recreational reasons. Some other states are stricter and fully ban cannabis. At the federal level, things become even more complex. Back in 2018, the US government allows hemp to be cultivated and manufactured legally, as part of the Farm Act. Since hemp is not only used in order to make hemp oil but for other causes, lime clothing, it is not considered a controlled substance, and therefore, it is no longer regulated by the government. For this reason, it is up to each individual to consider its safety. In some cases, for example, some CBD products may have a higher concentration of THC.


It is best if you get medical advice from your doctor before choosing to use CBD. Since there is no scientific research to back up its efficacy and safety, it is always preferable to consult with your doctor beforehand. Since there is a series of ongoing clinical trials which focus on exploring the benefits of using CBD in cancer treatment, your oncologist is the only person who can safely help you learn about the benefits and possible risks of you joining such a study. He can also, help you get to know more about cannabinoids and the difference they can make if you decide to start receiving them on a regular basis.

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