Using CBD to Support with Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States. Considering the primary methods for treatment remain toxic and invasive, women aren’t thrilled with the current options. Depending on genetics and the stage at which it was diagnosed, most women face, at the minimum a few rounds of chemotherapy and perhaps radiation. If the situation is dire enough, women also may face the surgical removal of one or both breasts.
For women, breast cancer is a real risk we face as we grow older. We all know someone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer and know about their struggles through treatment. As with many other cancers, the consistently problematic treatment options have led to a quest for alternatives. One alternative treatment being explored is cannabidiol (CBD). In fact, using CBD to treat breast cancer already shows significant potential in laboratory-based trials.
What is CBD?
Cannabis has been used as a traditional medicine for six thousand years. Until recently, it was not considered a problematic substance. Unfortunately, it has received a rather bad rap from the federal government for the last almost 100 years. However, there is much more to the Cannabis Sativa family of plants than many people may realize.
First and foremost, Cannabis Sativa isn’t always psychoactive. Only some strains of the plant contain THC, the chemical that gets people “high.” Although all cannabis contains dozens upon dozens of cannabinoids, only THC is psychoactive. The other cannabinoids, such as CBD, still offer significant medicinal potential, but none of the THC-associated issues.
Cannabinoids work through our endocannabinoid system, mimicking our own naturally produced cannabinoids to influence various aspects of health and wellness. For example, CBD has been found to have anti-inflammatory characteristics, pain reduction capabilities, and the power to stimulate appetite. As we will now explore, CBD oil is being researched for its anti-tumor potential in the fight against breast cancer.
Check out this article for more in-depth information on how CBD works with the endocannabinoid system for positive health benefits.
CBD and Breast Cancer
The research into CBD and breast cancer is in its preliminary stages, just like the research into CBD and other cancers. But even the initial analysis is compelling. The research into CBD and breast cancer adds a voice to the extensive area of study around CBD and cancer more generally. This includes research into CBD and bladder, brain, prostate, and other cancers. Taken together, this body of research paves the way for further clinical trials of CBD.
A 2011 study in the Journal of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics found that CBD has little to no effect on healthy breast cell tissue, and seemed to inhibit the survival of cancerous cells exclusively. Researchers investigated how CBD may trigger this response. They concluded it was not through any of the receptors that CBD is known to stimulate: CB1, CB2 and the vanilloid receptor. Even though they were unable to identify which receptor CBD worked through, they did conclude that CBD treatment was able to stimulate programmed cell death (apoptosis) as well as intracellular-degradation of breast cancer cells.
Another paper, “Cannabidiol as a novel inhibitor of Id-1 gene expression in aggressive breast cancer cells”, concluded that CBD down-regulates a specific gene (Id-1). This gene has been linked to the aggressive metastatic behaviors of some breast cancers. Based upon the study results, researchers believe “CBD represents the first nontoxic exogenous agent that can significantly decrease Id-1 expression in metastatic breast cancer cells, leading to the down-regulation of tumor aggressiveness.” Or, put in layman's terms, CBD therapy could help reduce the movement of breast cancer cells through tissue and also may reduce the speed at which cancerous cells grow.
What Conclusions Can We Make?
Countless testimonials from cancer-free women discuss their positive experiences using cannabis or CBD to cure their cancer. Can their experiences be proven? Unfortunately, it’s too soon to tell. Whether their cancer-free status can be directly attributed to cannabinoids remains to be seen. We must wait for more results from rigorous clinical study. The good news is that some research is underway, but it could be some years before it is published.
Despite the federal government’s opposition to the use of cannabis and other cannabinoids for the treatment of cancer (as well as any other purpose), the scientific evidence is piling up. Even the National Cancer Institute discusses cannabinoids as a possible alternative therapeutic medicine on their website.
Plus, as further proof the federal government slowly is shifting toward a more positive view of cannabinoids, the Food and Drug Administration has approved two synthetic cannabinoids for the treatment of cancer side-effects. While Dronabinol and Nabilone are not approved to treat other symptoms, they are considered effective options for the treatment of nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy.
Some clinical trials are underway in research centers around the world, particularly in Israel and Brazil, but there are no published results so far. However, we can conclude from the initial results from laboratory test tubes and animals trials, that CBD’s potential is at least incredibly compelling.
We can hope that in the next few years enough evidence will show the beneficial of CBD oil for the treatment of cancer, including breast cancer. Given the current climate, it likely won’t take much more confirmation before we reach a tipping point and real change begins happening in the treatment of cancer.