The media touts CBD as a miracle cure for all its beneficial properties. But does it work for cancer? Does it cure cancer? How does it help with symptoms related to it? How can we use CBD to mitigate symptoms?
We'll discuss all of this and way more within this article.
Below, there is a table of contents with links to the different sections. To get the most out of this post, I recommend clicking on the part that most interests you, as this will be a long post.
While it may be too early to make definitive statements about CBD for cancer treatment, this compound may help control the symptoms of this disease.
Before we get too deep into the benefits of CBD for cancer treatment, we need to differentiate CBD from THC. We must understand how Cannabidiol (CBD) is not the same as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
THC is the psychoactive component within cannabis, often resulting in a "high" or euphoric feeling after consuming it.
CBD does not offer any psychoactive or euphoric effects. Still, it does come with a host of beneficial properties for all sorts of conditions. For example, researchers are studying the possibility of using CBD to treat anxiety and chronic pain.
The first results of small studies on cancer cells and CBD are promising but not yet convincing.
However, you can rest assured that we will cover more information about the CBD's effects on cancer after reading this article. Let's continue
What is Cancer
Cancer is a broad term, as it describes a disease that occurs when cellular changes cause uncontrolled cell growth and division. There is the potential for cancer development within all of us.
Fortunately, our bodies are primed and ready to combat cancerous growths before they happen. For example, overexposure to the UV rays may cause sunburn but may also cause damage to our DNA, resulting in skin cancer.
While our bodies are susceptible to developing cancer from sun exposure, our cells create antioxidants which quickly mop up cell damage before they have a chance to replicate.
Sometimes subtle genetic changes go unnoticed, or our body's repair mechanisms struggle to keep up with the substantial damage repair. Either case can explain how cancers develop.
Some cancers result in rapid cell growth, while others slower; some cancers cause visible growths called tumors, while others, such as leukemia, do not.
Our body cells have specific functions and lifespan limitations. Cell death occurs when cells can no longer perform their designed purposes, or they reach the end of their life.
While this may seem like a bad thing, cell death is part of a natural and beneficial phenomenon called apoptosis. Cells receive instruction to die so the body can replace them with a newer, better functioning cell.
NOTE: Cancer cells do not have components informing them to stop replicating and die.
As a result, they accumulate in the body using oxygen and nutrients that generally feed other cells. Cancer cells can form tumors, damage the immune system, and cause other changes that prevent the body from functioning correctly.
Cancer cells may appear in one area and then spread to other areas, such as the lymph nodes. These are groups of immune cells located throughout the body.
Signs and symptoms caused by cancer vary depending on which part of the body is affected.
Some general signs and symptoms of cancer include:
- Lumps or thickening areas that can appear under the skin
- Changes in weight, including unintentional gain or loss
- Changes in the skin color, such as yellowing, darkening or redness of the skin, non-healing wounds, or changes in existing moles.
- Changes in bowel or bladder habits
- Persistent cough or shortness of breath
- Ingestion difficulties
- Digestion or persistent discomfort after eating
- Muscle or joint pain that is permanent and unexplained
- Fever or unexplained night sweats
- Unexplained bleeding or bruising
If you have no signs or symptoms but are worried about the risk of cancer, talk to your doctor about your concerns. Ask which cancer screening tests and procedures are best for you.
Schedule an appointment with your doctor if you have persistent signs that affect your quality of life.
What Causes Cancer?
Genetic mutations caused from damaged incurred to a cell's DNA causes cancer. Some forms of cancer are preventable.
For example, more than 480,000 people die from smoking in the United States each year, according to data released in 2014.
We discussed a bit before about how cancer can happen when the body cannot keep up with cellular damage repair.
More specifically, cancer is caused by mutations in the DNA within cells. DNA contains a set of instructions that direct a cell's function and lifespan. Errors in the instructions can prevent the cell from functioning normally, and the result may lead to cancerous growth.
What do These Genetic Mutations do?
A genetic mutation can tell healthy cells to:
- Enable rapid growth: A genetic mutation may cause a cell to grow and divide faster, creating many new cells sharing the same mutation.
- Fail to stop the uncontrolled growth of cells: Normal cells know when to stop growing, so you have the correct number for each cell type. Cancer cells lose control (tumor suppressor genes) that tell them when to stop developing. A mutation in the tumor suppressor gene allows the cancer cells to continue to grow and accumulate.
- Fail to repair DNA errors: DNA repair genes look for faults in DNA cells and make corrections. Mutation of the DNA repair gene may mean that other errors are not corrected, resulting in cancer cells.
These mutations are most common in cancer. But many other genetic mutations can contribute to cancer.
What Causes Genetic Mutations?
Genetic mutations occur for several reasons, for example:
- The genetic mutations you were born with: genetic mutations that you inherited from your parents. This type of mutation represents a small percentage of cancers.
- Genetic mutations that occur after birth: Most genetic mutations occur after you are born and are not inherited. Several forces can cause genetic mutations, such as carcinogenic chemicals (carcinogens), smoking, chronic inflammation, radiation, viruses, obesity, hormones, and lack of exercise.
Genetic mutations often occur during healthy cell growth. However, cells contain a mechanism that detects and corrects possible errors before they become problems. Sometimes a mistake is missed, however, leading to cancer cell development.
How do Genetic Mutations Work?
If you inherited a genetic mutation associated with cancer, that doesn't mean you will get cancer. Instead, you may need one or more additional genetic mutations to develop before cancer occurs.
Your inherited genetic mutations may increase your chances of developing cancer when you become exposed to a specific carcinogen.
It is unclear how many mutations must accumulate for cancer to form, as this will likely vary based on the types of cancer.
Let's discover some common cancer types before we discuss how to prevent cancer, and whether or not CBD is the proper treatment.
What Are Some Common Types of Cancers?
The cancer incidence and mortality statistics reported by the American Cancer Society in 2019 has reached 40,000 cases or more as of this publication.
The most common type of cancer is breast cancer, with 271,270 new cases in the United States this year. Other common diseases are lung and prostate cancers.
1. Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is the second most prevalent type of cancer among American men and women, leading the list of cancer-related deaths among the same demographic. Remarkably, one out of every fourth cancer mortality is due to lung cancer.
Smoking is a leading cause of lung cancer, and men who smoke are 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer, while women who smoke are still 13 times more likely than non-smokers.
In the United States, approximately 14% of new cancers are lung cancer cases, amounting to about 234,030 new cases of lung cancer each year.
So now that we've covered the stats on lung cancer, let's dive deeper into its variations.
The Two Main Types of Lung Cancer
Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer, affecting about 85% of all lung cancer patients.
Doctors divide NSCLC into several stages, which we will briefly cover. These stages relate to the location and extent of cancer and may affect how doctors treat it.
Cancer appears in the lungs only.
Cancer appears in the lungs and nearby lymph nodes.
Cancer appears in the lungs and lymph nodes in the middle of the chest.
Cancer appears in the lymph nodes, but only in the chest where cancer began to develop.
Cancer has spread to the lymph nodes on the opposite side of the chest or to the lymph nodes above the collarbone.
Cancer has spread to the lungs or other parts of the body.
Small cell lung cancer (SCLC)
Small cell lung cancer is less common than NSCLC, affecting about 10-15% of all lung cancer patients. Though rare, this type of lung cancer is more aggressive than NSCLC and can spread rapidly. Medical practitioners often refer to SCLC as oat cancer.
Doctors assign phases to SCLC using two different methods.
The first is the Tumor, lymph Nodes, Metastases (TNM) system. If you have SCLC, your doctor will assign a number to each category to help determine the phase of your SCLC.
Alternatively, doctors may classify small cell lung cancer at a limited or extensive stage classification.
A limited stage cancer is confined to one lung and may have spread to lymph nodes, but has not traveled to the opposite lung or distant organs.
An extensive stage cancer is located in both lungs and within the lymph nodes on both sides of the body. It can also extend to distant organs, including bone marrow.
Now that we understand the types of lung cancers, and how doctors classify them, let's look at their symptoms:
- Chest Pain
- Headaches or other neurological symptoms
- Increased side effects of any treatment
Are you curious to learn how CBD may help with Lung Cancer?
2. Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is a severe illness that affects thousands of middle-aged and older men every year. About 60% of cases occur in men older than 65 years. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that over 174,600 American men will receive a new diagnosis during 2019.
The prostate is a small gland located in the lower part of the male abdomen, below the bladder that surrounds the urethra. Testosterone regulates how the prostate functions and enables the production of seminal fluid (semen).
When an abnormal or malignant cell growth (tumor) forms in the prostate, depending on the stage it is in; this growth may spread to other parts of the body. In these cases, since the cancer is made up of prostate cells, it is also called "prostate cancer."
According to the Urology Care Foundation, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for men in the United States.
Types of Prostate Cancer
Most prostate cancer cases end up an adenocarcinoma, cancer that originates in glandular tissues, including the prostate gland.
Prostate cancer has two types of growth:
- Aggressive: Fast-growing, aggressive prostate tumors develop quickly and spread to other parts of the body, such as bones.
- Non-Aggressive: Slow-growing, non-aggressive prostate tumors may not spread to other parts of the body.
Prostate Cancer Symptoms and Risk Factors
The cause of prostate cancer is unknown. Like all cancers, many can be a cause, including a family history of exposure to certain chemicals. Regardless of the trigger factor, it results in cell mutations and uncontrolled cell growth in the prostate gland.
Some forms of prostate cancer are not aggressive and do not show signs. However, advanced prostate cancer often causes symptoms. Other conditions may cause some prostate cancer symptoms, so you will need an examination to ensure you get proper diagnosis and treatment.
If you have any of the following signs or symptoms, please consult with your doctor as soon as possible.
Symptoms of prostate cancer may include:
- Urinary problems
- Sexual problems
Who is at risk?
Men. While women have similar functioning glands called skene glands, it is infrequent for women to develop cancers within their skene glands.
Although prostate cancer may occur for anyone with a prostate, some factors increase the risk of contracting the disease. These risk factors include:
- Older age
- Genetic history
- African American men are at higher risk for prostate cancer
- Genetic changes
Are you curious to learn how CBD may help with Prostate Cancer?
3. Colorectal Cancer
Because colon and rectal cancers are closely related, either is called "colorectal cancer." There are an estimated 145,600 new cases of colorectal cancer as of this publication.
The American Cancer Society estimates that 1 in 22 men and 1 in 24 women will develop colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancers start in the rectum or colon, located in the lower part of your digestive system. The colon caps the large intestine, and the rectum is at the bottom of the colon.
Types of Colorectal Cancer
Although colorectal cancer seems obvious, there are several variations in this type of cancer. The difference lies in where cancer begins as well as the types of cells that become cancerous.
Similar to prostate cancer, the most common type of colon cancer starts with adenocarcinoma. According to the American Cancer Society, adenocarcinoma accounts for 96% of all colorectal cancer cases.
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, your colorectal cancer will probably be of this type. Adenocarcinomas form in mucous membrane cells within the colon or rectum.
Less commonly, colorectal cancers may arise from other types of tumors, such as:
- Lymphomas that may first form in the lymph nodes or colon
- Carcinoids, which start in hormone-producing cells in the gut
- Sarcomas, which form in soft tissues such as the colon muscles
- Gastrointestinal stromal tumors, which can be benign and then cancerous (usually occurring in the digestive tract but rarely in the large intestine).
Now that we've covered the different types of colorectal cancers, and how they form, we'll discuss how doctors classify their growth.
Stages of Colorectal Cancer Progression
Doctors use staging as a guide to determine the progress of colorectal cancers. If you have colorectal cancer, your doctor must know the stage of your disease so that he or she may find the best treatment plan for you with an estimate of your long-term prognosis.
Your doctor will classify how colorectal cancer stages advance from stage 1 to stage 4 (the most advanced).
Cancer has penetrated the mucosa or lining of the colon or rectum but has not spread to the walls of the organ.
Cancer has spread to the walls of the colon or rectum but has not yet reached beyond to the lymph nodes or surrounding tissues.
Cancer has moved to the lymph nodes, but not to other parts of the body. Usually at this stage included one to three lymph nodes.
Cancer has spread to other distant organs, such as the liver or lungs.
Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer may not have symptoms, especially at first. If you have symptoms early, these may include:
- Change of stool color
- Changes in the shape of the stool, such as narrow stool
- Blood in the stool
- Bleeding from the rectum
- Excessive gas
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal cramps
If you notice any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss a colon cancer test.
Causes of Colorectal Cancer
The causes of colorectal cancer are still unknown, as researchers are still studying. Although the list of risk factors continues to grow, they act alone or in combination to increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
- Precancerous growth: Abnormal cells accumulate in the mucosa of the large intestine, forming polyps. They are small and benign outgrowths. Surgical removal of these growths is a standard preventative method. Untreated polyps can become cancerous.
- Genetic mutations: Sometimes, colorectal cancer occurs in family members, due to a genetic variation that passes from parent to child. These mutations do not guarantee that you will develop colorectal cancer, but they increase the odds of one forming.
When it is detected early, colorectal cancer is treatable. With early detection and removal, most people live in remission for at least five years after diagnosis. If cancer does not recur at this point, it is considered cured, especially if it is in the first three stages of the disease.
Are you curious to learn how CBD may help with Colorectal Cancer?
4. Breast Cancer
Acute breast pain, perhaps with some tenderness, may lead you to wonder if everything is okay with your lady lumps. Both Women and even men often notice changes in breast size, which may encourage doctor visits.
Although breast cancer does not usually have symptoms at an early stage, timely detection can help turn a breast cancer scare into a survivor story.
Types of Breast Cancer
Medical science categorizes breast cancer in 2 ways while leaving the determination to the kind of cancer dependant on the affected tissues.
There are two categories of breast cancer:
- Non-invasive cancer (in situ): is cancer that has not spread from the original tissue, also referred to as stage 0 breast cancer.
- Invasive cancer (infiltrant): is cancer that has spread to one or more surrounding tissues. These classify as stage 1, 2, 3, or 4 depending on severity.
The affected tissue determines the type of cancer:
- Ductal cancer is cancer that develops in the mucous membranes of the mammary ducts, and it is the most common type of breast cancer.
- Lobular carcinoma is cancer of the lobule of the breast. The lobes are responsible for milk production.
- Sarcoma is a rare cancer of the breast's connective tissues.
As with any cancer, early detection and treatment are crucial factors in determining a positive outcome. Breast cancer is easy to treat and cure if detected at an early stage.
The American Cancer Society says the 5-year breast cancer survival rate, from stages 0 to 2, is higher than 90%. The 5-year survival rate for stage 3 is higher than 70%.
According to the World Health Organization, Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, though it rarely occurs in men.
So whether you are concerned about breast pain or sensitivity, it is essential to stay informed about the risk factors and warning signs of breast cancer.
Ultimately, the best way to fight breast cancer is to detect it early, whether by self-examination, your annual breast exam, or regular mammograms.
False Alarms of Pain and Tenderness
We often associate pain with something that is not right within our bodies. So it's no surprise when women experience tenderness or chest pain, we feel nervous that we may have breast cancer.
You may be surprised to learn, however, that breast pain is rarely the first visible sign of breast cancer. Besides, several other factors can cause breast pain.
Clinically referred to as mastalgia, sinus pain, felt in the breasts, can also be caused by:
- Menstrual hormone fluctuations
- Contraceptive pills
- Infertility treatments
- Breast cysts
- Bras that do not fit
- Large breasts, which may be accompanied by pain in the neck, shoulders or back
Now we've covered some factors that may appear to be signs of breast cancer. Let's take a look at some actual breast cancer symptoms.
Breast Cancer Signs and Symptoms
Although breast size is usually associated with breast cancer, most of the time, these lumps are not cancer. According to the Mayo Clinic, most lumps are benign or non-cancerous.
So what causes these lumps then?
Well, the most common causes of benign breast lumps include:
- Breast Infection
- Fibrocystic Breast Disease ("Lump breast")
- Fibroadenoma: These appear to be cancer but are a non-cancerous tumor.
- Fat Necrosis: With fat necrosis (damaged tissue), masses are indistinguishable from cancer without a biopsy.
Although less severe conditions may cause most breast lumps, new, painless lumps remain the most common breast cancer symptom.
Initially, women may notice a change in their breasts when performing a breast examination or notice persistent, though mild, abnormal pain.
The first real signs of breast cancer include:
- Changes in nipple shape
- Persistent Breast pain that remains after your next period
- Breast size that does not disappear after your next period
- Nipple discharge that is translucent, red, brown or yellow
- Unexplained chest redness, swelling, skin irritation, itching or rashes
- Swelling or lumps around the clavicle or under the arm
- A hard lump with irregular edges is more likely to be cancer
Later signs of breast cancer include:
- Pulling or internal nipple rotation
- Breast augmentation
- Holes in the chest's surface
- An "orange peel" skin texture
- Vaginal pain
- Unintentional weight loss
- Enlarged lymph nodes in the armpit
- Visible chest veins
Having one or more of these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have breast cancer, however.
For example, several infections may cause nipple discharge. Ask your doctor for a full assessment if you have any of these signs or symptoms.
Are you curious to learn how CBD may help with Breast Cancer?
5. Brain Cancer
Brain cancer can have a wide variety of symptoms, such as seizures, drowsiness, confusion, and behavioral changes. Brain tumors are not all cancerous, and benign tumors can cause similar symptoms.
Types of Brain Cancer
Primary Brain Cancer
- Some brain cancers arise when a cell type transforms from its original characteristics. Once converted, cells grow and multiply abnormally.
- When these abnormal cells develop, they become mass or tumor.
- The resulting primary brain tumors are gliomas, pituitary adenomas, meningiomas, vestibular schwannomas, and primitive neuroectodermal tumors (medulloblastomas).
Glioma expression includes glioblastomas, astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas, and ependymomas.
- Most of these cancers share a name with the part of the brain from which they originate.
Metastatic Brain Cancer
Metastatic brain tumors form from cancer cells located in another part of the body. Cells expand into the brain from another tumor as part of a process called metastasis; this the most common type of brain tumor.
Causes of Brain Cancer
As with tumors from other parts of the body, the exact cause of most brain cancers is unknown. Genetic factors, various environmental toxins, head radiation, HIV infection, and smoking are all linked to brain cancer.
Are you curious to learn how CBD may help with Brain Cancer?
Leukemia occurs when developing blood cells, predominantly white blood cells, incur damage, and multiply uncontrollably. It is essentially a cancer of the blood cells.
There are several types of blood cells, including red blood cells (RBC), white blood cells (WBC), and platelets.
White blood cells are an essential part of your immune system, in that they protect your body from invaders. These invaders include bacteria, viruses, fungi, abnormal cells, and other foreign substances.
Types of Leukemia
Leukemia forms when leukocytes do not function normally, incur damage, and divide uncontrollably. They may divide too quickly and eventually migrate to healthy cells, resulting in cancer. There are 4 types of Leukemia including:
- Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML): Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) can occur in both children and adults. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Outcome Program, approximately 21,000 new cases of AML are diagnosed in the United States each year. AML is the most common form of leukemia. The five-year LMA survival rate is 26.9%.
- Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL): Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) occurs mainly in children. NCI estimates that approximately 6,000 new diagnosed cases of ALL appear each year. ALL's five-year survival rate is 68.2%.
- Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML): Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) affects mostly adults. According to the NCI, about 9,000 new diagnosed cases of HML appear annually. CML's five-year survival rate is 66.9%.
- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL): Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is more likely to affect people over 55 years of age. CLL rarely appears in children. The NCI claims about 20,000 new cases of CLL emerge each year. The five-year CLL survival rate is 83.2%.
Symptoms of Leukemia
Symptoms of leukemia include:
- Excessive sweating, especially at night (called "night sweats")
- Fatigue and weakness that does not go away with rest
- Unintentional weight loss
- Bone pain and tenderness
- Painless and swollen lymph nodes (especially in the neck and armpit)
- Liver or spleen hypertrophy
- Red spots on the skin called petechiae
- Easy bleeding and bruising
- Fever or chills
- Frequent infections
Leukemia may also cause symptoms in organs that are infiltrated or affected by cancer cells. For example, if cancer spreads to the central nervous system, it can cause headaches, nausea, and vomiting, confusion, loss of muscle control, and convulsions.
Are you curious to learn how CBD may help with Leukemia?
7. Skin Cancer
Skin cancer, the abnormal growth of skin cells, most commonly develops in skin exposed to UV radiation. Skin cancers may also develop in areas where the sun does not reach.
Limiting your exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light is recommended to reduce your risk of skin cancer. Checking your skin for abnormal changes can help you detect early skin cancer. Detecting skin cancer early gives you the best chance of success in treating it.
Types Skin Cancers
There are three main types of skin cancer which include:
- Squamous cell carcinoma
- Basal cell carcinoma
Other skin cancers may be less frequent but do occur. Some of these are:
- Kaposi's sarcoma: This rare form of skin cancer develops in the blood vessels of the skin. It causes red or purple spots on the skin or mucous membranes. Kaposi's sarcoma occurs mainly in people with a weakened immune system. People who have AIDS, or taking drugs that inhibit their natural immunity are more susceptible to Kaposi's sarcoma. Other people at higher risk of Kaposi's sarcoma are young men living in Africa or older men of Jewish or Eastern European descent.
- Merkel cell carcinoma: Merkel cell carcinoma causes solid light-colored nodes to appear on the skin and just below the skin and hair follicles. Merkel cell carcinoma arises in the head, neck, and trunk.
- Carcinoma of the sebaceous glands: This rare and aggressive cancer originates in the sebaceous glands of the skin. The sebaceous gland carcinomas, which are usually in the form of hard, painless nodes, can develop anywhere. Still, most grow on the eyelid, where they are often confused with other eyelid problems.
Cells Involved in Skin Cancer
Skin cancer begins in the upper layer of the skin: epidermis. The epidermis is a thin layer that covers and protects your skin cells. It contains three main types of cells:
- Squamous cells are located just below the outer surface and function as the inner lining of the skin.
- Basal cells produce new skin cells and sit below squamous cells.
- Melanocytes produce melanin (skin pigment) and sit at the bottom of the epidermis. Melanocytes create additional melanin when exposed to the sun to protect the deeper layers of your skin from UV damage.
NOTE: The place where your skin cancer begins determines the type and treatment options available.
Causes of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer occurs when mutations develop from damaged skin cell DNA. Mutations cause cell proliferation and cancer cell mass production.
Ultraviolet light and other potential causes
Much of the damage to the skin cell's DNA comes from ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun and lamps used in tanning beds.
But sun exposure does not explain all skin cancers, such as those that develop on unexposed skin. Other factors may contribute to your risk of skin cancer, such as exposure to toxic substances or a disease that weakens your immune system.
Are you curious to learn how CBD may help with Skin Cancer?
8. Endometrial Cancer
Endometrial cancer, sometimes called uterine cancer, begins in the uterus, a hollow, pelvic organ in the shape of a fetus.
Endometrial cancer begins in the mucosa layer of uterus cells(endometrium). Other cancers can develop in the uterus, too, as with uterine sarcoma. Still, they are much less common than endometrial cancer.
It is easy to detect Endometrial cancer at an early stage due to its painful and often visible symptoms, including:
- Vaginal bleeding after menopause
- Bleeding between periods
- Pain in the pelvis
If detected early, surgical removal of the uterus often treats endometrial cancer.
Causes of Endometrial Cancer
Doctors do not know what explicitly causes endometrial cancer. What is known, however, is that something mutates the cell's DNA, resulting in damaged cells multiplying.
The mutation converts healthy cells into abnormal cells that do not have a preprogrammed cell death phase.
The accumulating abnormal cells form a mass (tumor). Cancer cells invade adjacent tissues and separate from the initial tumor to spread to other parts of the body (metastases).
Are you curious to learn how CBD may help with Endometrial Cancer?
9. Bladder Cancer
Bladder cancer is one of the most common forms, affecting approximately 68,000 adults in the United States each year.
Bladder cancer occurs more frequently in older men than in women, although it can occur at any age.
It often originates in urothelial cells that line the inside of the bladder. The bladder is a hollow muscular organ in the lower abdomen responsible for urine storage and drainage.
Early-diagnosed bladder cancers are curable. However, even early bladder cancer may return. So people with bladder cancer usually need follow-up tests for years after treatment to spot a re-emerging case or progression to a more advanced stage.
Signs and Symptoms of Bladder Cancer
Signs and symptoms of bladder cancer may include:
- Blood in the urine (hematuria)
- Painful urination
- Pain in the pelvis
- Back Pain
- Frequent Urination
If you have hematuria, your urine may appear bright red or damaged. Sometimes your urine may look normal, but blood may show up during a microscopic examination of the urine.
Causes of Bladder Cancer
Bladder cancer develops when the bladder cells begin to develop abnormally. These mutations cause them to grow tumors uncontrollably without preprogrammed cell death.
Causes of bladder cancer include:
- Smoking and other uses of tobacco.
- Exposure to chemicals, especially on works that require exposure to chemicals
- Exposure to past radiation
- Chronic irritation of the bladder mucosa.
- Parasitic infections, especially in people who have or have traveled to certain areas outside the United States
Are you curious to learn how CBD may help with Bladder Cancer?
Treatment Options For Cancer
Now we will discuss general cancer treatment options as many cancer treatments are available.
Your treatment options will depend on many factors, including the type and stage of your disease, your overall health, and your preferences.
You and your doctor can weigh the risks and benefits of each cancer treatment to determine which one is right for you.
Doctors have many tools for treating cancer. Cancer treatment options, according to Mayo Clinic, include:
- Surgery: The goal of surgery is to eliminate cancer or as much of the disease as possible.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells.
- Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy uses potent energy rays, such as X-rays, to destroy cancer cells. Radiation therapy comes from a machine outside your body (external radiation) or from within your body (brachytherapy).
- Bone Marrow Transplant: A bone marrow transplant is also known as a stem cell transplant. Your bone marrow is the material inside your bones that creates blood cells.
Bone marrow transplants can use their cells or donor cells. Bone marrow transplantation allows your doctor to use higher doses of chemotherapy to treat your cancer. It can also be used to replace diseased bone marrow.
- Immunotherapy: also called biological therapy, uses your body's immune system to fight cancer. Cancer can survive without control in your body because your immune system does not recognize you as an intruder.
Immunotherapy can help your immune system attack cancer once seen.
- Hormone therapy: Some hormones trigger cancerous growth in your body. Examples include breast cancer and prostate cancer. Eliminating these hormones or blocking their effects can prevent the growth of cancer cells.
- Targeted drug therapy: Targeted drug therapy focuses on the specific abnormalities of cancer cells that allow them to survive.
- Clinical Trials: Clinical trials are trials exploring new methods of treating cancer.
No alternative cancer treatments have been proven to cure cancer. However, alternative medicine options can help you cope with the side effects of cancer and its treatment, such as fatigue, nausea, and pain.
Talk to your doctor about alternative medicine options that may provide some benefits. He or she can also analyze whether these therapies are safe for you or can affect your cancer treatment.
Some alternative medicine options useful for people with cancer include:
- Relaxation techniques
- THC-heavy Cannabis
There is currently no major clinical trial on the use of cannabis or CBD for cancer treatment. While there are small pilot studies, research is still in its infancy.
The type of cancer you have will determine the best CBD application. For example, if you have skin cancer, topical creams and lotions may be a good start for you.
If you have lung cancer, perhaps vaping it or taking an oral tincture will work best.
Keep in mind that before you decide to take CBD at all for any reason, please talk to your doctor to make sure it is a good idea. Please don't take CBD unless you are fully aware of the risks it poses when combined with other medications.
Here are some insights for you, however.
In 2016, researchers noted that cannabinoid use was promising in the fight against cancer. The authors found that cannabinoids inhibit the growth of many types of tumor cells in both specimens and animal models.
However, they also noted that specific doses or types of cannabinoids might suppress the immune system, allowing tumors to grow uncontrollably.
Further research is needed to uncover the potential therapeutic uses of CBD for treating cancer.
So how should you use CBD? Should you use it? Let's discuss this more below.
How Does CBD Serve as a Complementary Therapy for Cancer Relief?
Cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy and radiation, can cause several debilitating side effects, such as chronic pain, nausea, and loss of appetite, which may lead to weight loss.
Research suggests that cannabinoids may alleviate neuropathic pain, nausea, and lack of appetite while aiding in a patient's cancer treatment. CBD has anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties.
So far, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved only one CBD product called Epidiolex, specifically for treating epilepsy.
The FDA has not, however, approved any other products containing CBD for treating cancer or its symptoms. Even if there is evidence supporting cannabinoids may help mitigate those symptoms.
CBD and cannabis may help cancer patients by:
- Stimulating appetite: Many people in cancer treatment suffer from nausea and loss of appetite. These symptoms can make it challenging to maintain a healthy weight.
Ingested cannabis that releases THC and other cannabinoids into the blood may help stimulate your appetite. There is not enough evidence to indicate that CBD can have this effect alone.
- Soothes Chronic Pain: Cancer and its treatment can cause pain. Cancer often causes pain due to inflammation, nerve damage, or pressure on internal organs.
When pain is intense, it can even become opioid resistant, which is a powerful painkiller. CBD acts indirectly on CB2 receptors, which can contribute to widespread pain relief by reducing inflammation.
THC acts on CB1 receptors, which can help relieve pain from nerve damage.
- Relieves Nausea: Cannabis and cannabinoids like CBD can also be beneficial for cancer patients who regularly suffer from nausea and vomiting, especially if it is due to chemotherapy.
However, the effect against nausea seems to come from THC in cannabis, not CBD. People who want to give cannabis a trial for reducing nausea should prepare for the psychoactive effects of THC.
Many are relieved by the low dose of THC. There are synthetic THC recipe versions that have fewer side effects.
- Potentiates Chemotherapy: A 2014 study found that CBD could simultaneously reduce neuropathic pain and potentiate chemotherapy drugs when co-administered. Mice underwent chemotherapy for ten weeks; half received CBD at the same time.
Unsurprisingly, the chemotherapy-induced subjects experienced higher pain sensitivity, while mice also taking CBD experienced higher pain tolerances, even at lower CBD dosages.
Scientists observed that taking CBD after chemotherapy was effective at mitigating chemo side effects.
- May Slow or Suppress Tumor Growth: A 2019 study discovered that CBD might trigger cell death (a necessary step in stopping cancer growth) while making specific cancer cells more sensitive to radiation.
CBD did all of this while not affecting healthy cells. Additional CBD studies on animals and in test tubes have demonstrated CBD may have anti-tumor effects.
In animal studies specifically, it showed promise by preventing the spread of brain cancer, breast, prostate, colon, and lung cancers.
- Reduces Hair Loss: CBD oil may improve cortisol levels. A decrease in cortisol levels in the body has been linked to a reduction in potential hair loss.
- Reduces Inflammation: Countless studies have shown CBD’s efficacy when it comes to mitigating the body’s inflammatory responses. This may be especially helpful for those whose current medications cause inflammation.
- Helps with Anxiety: CBD oil has shown evidence as an effective treatment for both anxiety and depression without the side effects of common anti-anxiety medications
- Improves Sleep: Chronic pain, anxiety, depression and other symptoms associated with cancer may contribute to sleeplessness. CBD may help regulate these symptoms for you, thereby improving your sleep quality.
On the other hand, two THC-based drugs have been approved to treat nausea and vomiting symptoms caused by chemotherapy.
- Dronabinol (Marinol): capsule form and contains THC
- Nabilone (Cesamet): oral synthetic cannabinoid that acts similar to THC.
So if you are considering using marijuana for medical purposes, ask your doctor in what ways are the best to apply it.
Does CBD have Side Effects?
Cannabinoid receptors in the brain do not work in the same way as other receptors, because they stimulate the body's natural defenses.
For this reason, the risk of CBD's side effects is low, unlike traditional painkillers and opiates.
NOTE: CBD does not adversely affect the central nervous system or intoxicate the body.
Since cannabinoid receptors are widespread throughout the body, CBD affects not only the brain but many other organs and tissues as well.
Studies have shown that people generally tolerate CBD, but some people may have mild side effects, including:
- Changes in appetite
- Weight changes
- Dry, itchy throat
CBD, when combined with other drugs, may cause liver damage. These drugs include:
- Anxiety medication
- Anticonvulsant drugs
- Chemotherapy drugs
- Muscle relaxants
- Sedatives or sleeping pills
Before using any CBD product, please consult with your doctor to ensure it is the right supplement for your cancer treatment regimen.
Be wary of taking CBD with prescription drugs that warn of possible interactions with grapefruit.
Enhanced liver toxicity is a possible side effect of CBD. In a 2019 Molecules study, researchers administered different doses of CBD to mice. Mice receiving higher doses of CBD experienced liver damage.
On the other hand, clinical trials for Epidiolex found no evidence of physical dependence, which is much more promising than the vast sea of opiates on the market.
However, Epidiolex manufacturers also warned of the risk of liver failure in product safety data.
As NCI observes, CBD inhibits specific enzymes that may be important for cancer treatment. Treating cancers that depend on these enzymes may be less effective if you are taking CBD.
There are risks with any supplement, especially when taking into account other drugs, you may be required to take. "Consult with your physician" should be the major takeaway from this article.
Choosing the Right CBD Products
CBD is a natural substance, but consider approaching even natural substances with care and diligence.
There is a wide variety of CBD products. Some CBD product labels may contain false health claims. In particular, CBD products purchased online are a reliable source of misleading labels. Be sure to read over this guide before buying any CBD online, so you are better informed before purchase.
After analyzing over 80 CBD products sold online, researchers found that about 43% had a higher CBD concentration than indicated, while 26% had less CBD than advertised.
If you are currently on cancer treatment, keep in mind that many substances may interact with your prescribed medications. These include CBD, other cannabinoids, even dietary and herbal supplements.
Here are some things to consider when choosing a CBD product:
- Hemp-derived CBD products should only contain small amounts of THC.
- Marijuana-based CBD products may contain enough THC to produce a high.
- Avoid products that overstate their health claims.
- Compare the labels to see how much CBD is actually in the product.
- Look for an verify the products 3rd party Lab results to see what is in them.
Finding the optimal dose and feeling the effects can take a while. So it would be best if you had some patience. It is good to start with a small dose and gradually increase it.
How much CBD Should I take for Cancer?
No matter what your approach to administering CBD oil is for you, it is better to start low and work your way up.
Consider the following information as a suggestion only, based on patient testimonials, small clinical trials, and ongoing self-testing.
Remember that every patient and every illness is different. A rigorous and extensive clinical study is still required to obtain more accurate cancer dosing recommendations for CBD oil.
Based on widespread anecdotal evidence only, the standard CBD dosage recommendation may depend on your body weight. Start with 1 to 6 mg for every 10 pounds of body weight.
We've built a calculator for you so that you can find the lowest starting dose for your body weight below:
The above dosage recommendation is general and merely a suggestion. Your case may differ in that you may need a lot more, while others may need a lot less. Please consult with your physician before supplementing your treatment with CBD.
For example, if you live with extreme chronic pain, you may need a higher daily dose than someone who sometimes takes CBD to cope with disease-related anxiety.
CBD should not replace other cancer treatments. We need more rigorous studies on the potential benefits and risks of CBD, its dosage, administration, and effects on other cancer drugs.
CBD products may interact with certain over-the-counter supplements and ancillary products, so be sure to seek a medical professional's opinion before taking it.
Some people use cannabinoids to alleviate the side effects of cancer treatment. Because CBD can interact with other cancer treatments, it is best to consult your doctor before taking it.