The consumption of cannabidiol (CBD) is associated with anti-cancer responses in human subjects, according to a pair of recently published case studies which were first reported by NORML.
In the first study, British investigators reported on the use of CBD in an 81-year-old lung cancer patient following his decision to decline chemotherapy treatment. Authors reported that the patients’ tumor size was reduced following the use of CBD extracts.
They concluded: “[T]he data presented here indicate that CBD may have had a role in the striking response in a patient with histologically proven adenocarcinoma of the lung as a result of self-administration of CBD oil for a month and in the absence of any other identifiable lifestyle, drug or dietary changes. Further work is needed both in vitro and in vivo to better evaluate the various mechanisms of action of CBD on malignant cells, and its potential application in the treatment of not only lung cancer but also other malignancies.”
The full abstract states:
In spite of new drugs, lung cancer is associated with a very poor prognosis. While targeted therapies are improving outcomes, it is not uncommon for many patients to have only a partial response, and relapse during follow-up. Thus, new drugs or re-evaluation of existing therapies used to treat other non-malignant diseases (drug repurposing) are still needed. While this research both in vitro and in vivo is being carried out, it is important to be attentive to patients where the disease responds to treatments not considered standard in clinical practice. We report here a patient with adenocarcinoma of the lung who, after declining chemotherapy and radiotherapy, presented with tumour response following self-administration of cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive compound present in Cannabis sativa. Prior work has shown that cannabidiol may have anti-neoplastic properties and enhance the immune response to cancer. The data presented here indicate that cannabidiol might have led to a striking response in a patient with lung cancer.
In the second study, Brazilian investigators described the use of CBD in two 38-year-old patients with brain cancer. Their use of CBD in additional to traditional anti-cancer treatment was associated with a “significant improvement” in clinical outcomes and a lack of disease progression for two years. Authors concluded, “These observations are of particular interest because the pharmacology of cannabinoids appears to be distinct from existing oncology medications and may offer a unique and possibly synergistic option for future glioma treatment.”
A 2017 study assessing the concurrent use of CBD and Temozolomide (TMZ) in 21 patients with glioma reported that subjects provided CBD lived, on average, 45 percent longer than those treated with TMZ only.
Although cannabinoids have well-established anti-cancer activity in preclinical models, scientists have generally failed to assess these properties in controlled, clinical trials.
The full text of the first study, “Striking lung cancer response to self-administration to cannabidiol: A case report and literature review,” appears in Medical Case Reports. The full text of the second study, “Clinical outcome and image response of two patients with secondary high-grade glioma treated with chemoradiation, PCV, and cannabidiol,” appears in Frontiers in Oncology. Additional information on cannabinoids and cancer appears online.