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Can CBD Be the Next Big Thing in Fighting Brain Cancer?

Can CBD Be the Next Big Thing in Fighting Brain Cancer? - SOL✿CBD

As cancer diagnosis goes, the words “brain cancer” can be the most devastating to hear from an oncologist. Not only are the symptoms some of the most challenging to manage, but also are the rates of survival among the lowest. In the three most common forms of brain cancer - glioblastomas, astrocytomas, and meningiomas - the survival rates for these cancers are typically 30 percent, 27 percent and between 50 to 70 percent respectively. Even if one is able to fight it and survive, the side effects of treatment can also be severe. After all, one of the most sensitive and least-understood parts of the human body is targeted - the brain [1][2][3]

Because the brain is responsible for most bodily functions, including the mind and psyche with their conscious and subconscious functions, brain cancer can show itself in any number of symptoms. This includes changes in personality, increased confusion, and seizures, as well as problems with vision and motor skills.

Basically, it will depend on where the brain cancer is developing, and what brain tissue it has affected. The function of this area will then also be affected, leading to an often confusing series of symptoms. Diagnosis is typically a combination of progressively invasive procedures, starting with an in-depth personal interview regarding symptoms, a physical examination, and measurement of the brain's electrical activity, followed by MRI scans. Finally, a biopsy of the suspected cancerous mass is done.

RELATED: CBD Oil Cancer Dosage

Research into CBD And Brain Cancer

Unfortunately, at this point in time scientists do not know exactly what causes brain cancer. Unless someone has been exposed to high levels of radiation (which is extremely rare), there are no other confirmed causes that lead to brain cancer development. There are also some other factors which could lead to increased risk of brain cancer, but these are less prominent. Risk factors include having family members with the disease, having had or suffering from cancer as a child, obesity, and having an extremely rare genetic disorder.

Current brain cancer therapies are typically a combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and invasive brain surgery. Each of these therapies is risky, with potentially extremely problematic side effects. For example, chemotherapy typically causes nausea, vomiting, hair loss, anemia and loss of muscle mass, to name a few symptoms. Radiation is no better. Brain surgery, while often necessary, can have the greatest long-term risk because it must remove cancerous brain tissue without damaging the connected healthy brain tissue. This can lead to brain damage on a scale of mild to severe, stroke-like symptoms, and potentially a lifetime of handicaps.

What if there was a non-chemical and non-invasive treatment option? This is the potential that cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabinoids are showing, and while CBD as a treatment still needs to be proven and further developed through extensive clinical trials and research, the current body of data is very promising.

RELATED: National Cancer Institute Acknowledges CBD Oil May Be Helpful In Fighting Cancer

A Review of The Research into CBD And Brain Cancer

Though still in the early stages, what does the current research show us in terms of CBD’s efficacy in killing off brain-cancer cells? The majority of studies have so far been conducted in vitro (in a laboratory), while in vivo studies have been limited to animal subjects, and with very encouraging results. Yet, the limited studies, done on human brain cancer patients treated with CBD and other cannabinoids, also proved encouraging.

Research into CBD And Brain Cancer

2001

JWH-133, a synthetic cannabinoid, was injected into animals with gliomas, a malignant brain tumor. It was found to significantly reduce the size of these cancerous tumors. Because JWH is an effective CB2 agonist, it is thought this trial may also demonstrate the effectiveness of CBD (another CB2 agonist). However, a 2015 study led by the Institute of Medical Jurisprudence at the University Hospital of Freiburg, Vienna, has shown that synthetic cannabinoids damage the DNA in human cells, and can possibly be cancer-causing. [2] [7]

2003

In a laboratory trial conducted by researchers in Milan, Italy, scientists discovered that CBD was able to promote oxidative stress within cancer cells, which subsequently led to their death. It did not seem to similarly affect healthy brain tissues. [3]

2004

A Spanish study demonstrated that through CBD application, brain tumor cells were inhibited from collecting a continuous flow of blood supply, and were therefore inhibited from growing. This was one of the first areas clearly identified as a reason why CBD effectively halts the progression of brain cancer. [4]

2006

Because brain tumors seemed to respond to direct injection of cannabinoids, at least in earlier research, scientists also wanted to determine if a direct injection of THC (the only psychoactive cannabinoid) into brain cancer patients would result in any negative effects. According to this trial, THC demonstrated to not only have antitumoral action but also showed no detrimental psychoactive effects on the small study cohort of nine brain cancer patients. [5]

Brain Cancer and CBD Oil

2010

One study confirms that while both THC and CBD have individually been found to be beneficial in reducing the size of tumors, they have a much higher and synergized effect when used in conjunction. In cannabis parlance, this is called the entourage effect. [6]

RELATEDUnderstanding the Entourage Effect of Cannabinoids

2017

Published in early 2017, researchers from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, uncovered evidence that CBD enhanced glioblastoma death during radiation. Importantly, they concluded that CBD triggered this effect on malignant cells, with marginal effects on neural stem cells, and other extremely sensitive cells of the central nervous system.

The one common thread among the nearly 15 years of scientific study explored here, is the potential of CBD in brain cancer treatments. Natural cannabinoids, including THC and CBD, continue to show time and time again their effectiveness in triggering cancer cell death and reducing tumor growth, all while protecting brain tissue.

Continued robust scientific work is needed to pursue this line of study. Medical advances like this take time, and we are likely years away from seeing CBD and other cannabinoids incorporated into or added to conventional chemotherapy and radiation therapy for brain cancer.

RELATED: Why is the Public Denied Cannabis Oil for Cancer

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References:

  1. https://www.abta.org/tumor_types/glioblastoma-gbm/
  2. https://www.aans.org/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Meningiomas
  3. https://www.abta.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/glioblastoma-brochure.pdf
  4. https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/brain-tumours/risks-causes
  5. http://jpet.aspetjournals.org/content/308/3/838.long
  6. http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/64/16/5617.short
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2360617/
  8. http://mct.aacrjournals.org/content/9/1/180.long
  9. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150416083746.htm

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