Increasing research is showing promising results in the role of Cannabidiol (CBD) in cancer prevention, remission, and treatment. Both in vitro (Laboratory) and in vivo (animal studies) as well as an increasing body of evidence developing in human reports, is showing such tremendous benefits as an anti-cancer agent (especially breast and brain cancer) that it can’t be ignored. CBD is urgently gaining attention from big pharma and governmental agencies (Cancer.org, National Cancer Institute, American Association For Cancer Research, NCBI, NIH and affiliates, etc.) who are allocating billions of research dollars to prove safety and efficacy to meet the stringent FDA standards. Scientific-based quality research continues to show a plethora of evidence that CBD has a great potential to improve our wellness in regard to prevention healing/recovery and extension of life.
In a recent NCBI abstract, they share the following… Over the past years, several lines of evidence support an anti-tumor effect of cannabinoids, synthetic agonists, and endocannabinoid transport or degradation inhibitors. Indeed, cannabinoids possess anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effects and they are known to decrease tumor neovascularization, cancer cell migration, adhesion, invasion and metastasizing. However, the clinical use of Δ(9)-THC and additional cannabinoid agonists is often limited by their unwanted psychoactive side effects, and for this reason interest in non-psychoactive cannabinoid compounds with structural affinity for Δ(9)-THC, such as cannabidiol (CBD), has substantially increased in recent years. The present review will focus on the efficacy of CBD in the modulation of different steps of tumorigenesis in several types of cancer and highlights the importance of exploring CBD/CBD analogues as alternative therapeutic agents.
Dr. Adams is an Oncologist and answers the following during an interview for Endoca.com
Does cannabis prevent cancer?
Dr. Adams says that there’s no such thing as a complete cancer preventative but acknowledges that risk can be reduced by using cannabis since it is an antioxidant as well as an anti-inflammatory. He also believes that it’s possible for cancer cells to be killed off before they develop into full-blown tumors, referring to test tube research that showed that this might be possible. Although he’s dubious about cannabis cancer cure, he says he’s quite excited at the idea that it can reduce the chance of cancer developing.
The Doctor’s Advice
Dr. Adams says that cancer patients should try cannabis by all means, but warns that discontinuation of regular treatments is a dangerous step. He says that most of the stories we hear about miracle cancer cures from cannabis come from people who still kept going with their regular medication. As a result, it can’t be said for sure that cannabis actually worked as a cancer cure. CBD oil results in cancer treatment just aren’t clear enough to gauge whether it helps kill cancer, but he adds that it certainly can’t cause harm or make cancer worse.
Breast Cancer Research
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in women in the United States. Conventional treatment options are often limited by toxicity or acquired resistance, and novel agents are needed.
The following summarizes 2 research articles published by the American Association for Cancer Research/ Molecular Cancer Therapeutics (mct.aacrjournals.org) that found that CBD inflicts programmed cell death in breast cancer cells.
In the article published by Shivastava, et all. they summarize by saying “we showed that CBD, a plant-derived cannabinoid, preferentially kills breast cancer cells by inducing ER stress, inhibiting mTOR signaling, enhancing ROS generation, and mediating a complex balance between autophagy and mitochondria-mediated apoptosis in MDA-MB231 breast cancer cells. These findings support the continued exploration of CBD as an alternative agent for breast cancer treatment”
“We analyzed the effects of the Cannabis sativa constituent, cannabidiol (CBD), a potent, natural compound with reported activity in breast cancer cell lines, We found that CBD inhibited the survival of both estrogen receptor-positive and estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer cell lines and induced apoptosis in a concentration-dependent manner. Moreover, at these concentrations, CBD had little effect on MCF-10A cells, nontumorigenic, mammary cells. These data enhance the desirability of CBD as an anticancer agent, because they suggest that CBD preferentially kills breast cancer cells, while minimizing damage to normal breast tissue.”
The authors of these papers explain that CBD coordinates apoptosis and autophagy, resulting in the death of breast cancer cells. Apoptosis (cell suicide) plays a vital role within our bodies. It is a form of cell death that facilitates the elimination of old and unhealthy cells without the release of harmful substances. Autophagy (cell recycling) is another normal physiological process by which the body breaks down unwanted cells. It maintains our homeostasis, or balance, by aiding the degradation of old cells and the formation of new ones.
CBD is showing much promise with brain cancer as well. According to health researchers from Cancer.gov website “A laboratory study of cannabidiol (CBD) in human glioma cells showed that when given along with chemotherapy, CBD may make chemotherapy more effective and increase cancer cell death without harming normal cells.”
If CBD continues to shine in the laboratory as research continues, it holds the potential to augment or even replace conventional treatments, such as chemotherapy, which often cause significant harm to healthy cells and may catalyze undesirable and potentially devastating side effect.
Biochemist and Cancer Survivor, Dennis Hill, on How CBD Fights Cancer
Reset.me contacted biochemist Dennis Hill, who successfully treated his own cancer using cannabis, to find out more about CBD and how it interacts with the human endocannabinoid system:
“CBD is a metabolic sibling of THC, in that they are alike in many ways but are also different in important properties,” explains Hill via email. “First we see that CBD has no psychotropic effects and there are few CB2 receptors in the brain and peripheral nerves. There appears to be a broader therapeutic profile associated with CBD, which is listed here [See chart below].”
“One of the most important health benefits of cannabinoids is their anti-inflammatory property,” Hill continues. “In this, they are strong modulators of the inflammatory cytokine cascade. Numerous disease states arise out of chronic inflammation; such as, depression, dementias including Alzheimer’s, cancer, arthritis and other autoimmune disorders…
“Cannabinoids, being immunomodulators, interrupt the cytokine inflammatory cascade so that local inflammation does not result in tissue pathology. Thus we are spared morbid or terminal illnesses. If our own endocannabinoid system can maintain metabolic homeostasis and even cure serious disease, why are we plagued by illness?
“We know that the body produces only small amounts of anandamide and 2-AG — enough to maintain the body but not enough to overcome chronic stress, illness, injury, or malnutrition. Cannabis is the only plant we know of that produces phytocannabinoids that mimic our own endocannabinoids. One of the great benefits of this mimetic medicine is that cannabinoids are essentially natural to our biology and do no harm to our tissues and systems.
“It is well known that most diseases of aging are inflammatory in origin, thus making cannabis the best anti-aging supplement we could take to avoid arthritis, dementia, hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis, and cancer. This is our key to good health and long life.”
The other cannabinoid we know is effective in killing cancer cells is cannabidiol (CBD). The primary job of CBD in the cancer cell is to disrupt the endoplasmic reticulum through wrecking of the calcium metabolism, pushing calcium into the cytosol. This always results in cell death. Another pathway for CBD to effect cancer cell death is the Caspase Cascade, which breaks down proteins and peptides in the cell. When this happens the cell cannot survive. Again, these processes are specific to cancer cells, no normal cells are affected.
How did this pathway come to be? Why is it that the body can take a simple plant enzyme and use it for healing in many different physiological systems? This endocannabinoid system exists in all animal life, just waiting for it’s matched exocannabinoid activator.
This is interesting. Our own endocannabinoid system covers all cells and nerves; it is the messenger of information flowing between our immune system and the central nervous system (CNS). It is responsible for neuroprotection, and micro-manages the immune system. This is the primary control system that maintains homeostasis: our wellbeing.
Just out of curiosity, how does the work get done at the cellular level, and where does the body make the endocannabinoids? Here we see that endocannabinoids have their origin in nerve cells right at the synapse. When the body is compromised through illness or injury it calls insistently to the endocannabinoid system and directs the immune system to bring balance. If these homeostatic systems are weakened, it should be no surprise that exocannabinoids perform the same function. It helps the body in the most natural way possible.
To see how this works we visualize the cannabinoid as a three dimensional molecule, where one part of the molecule is configured to fit the nerve or immune cell receptor site just like a key in a lock. There are at least two types of cannabinoid receptor sites, CB1 (CNS) and CB2 (immune). In general CB1 activates the CNS messaging system, and CB2 activates the immune system, but it’s much more complex than this. Both THC and anandamide activate both receptor sites. Other cannabinoids activate one or the other receptor sites. Among the strains of Cannabis, C. sativa tends toward the CB1 receptor, and C. indica tends toward CB2. So sativa is more neuroactive, and indica is more immunoactive. Another factor here is that sativa is dominated by THC cannabinoids, and indica can be higher than sativa in CBD (cannabidiol).
It is known that THC and CBD are biomimetic to anandamide and AG-2, that is, the body can use both interchangeably. Thus, when stress, injury, or illness demand more from endogenous anandamide than can be produced by the body, its mimetic exocannabinoids are activated. If the stress is transitory, then the treatment can be transitory. If the demand is sustained, such as in cancer, then treatment needs to provide sustained pressure of the modulating agent on the homeostatic systems.
Typically CBD gravitates to the 5-HT1A and Vanilloid receptors. CBD stimulates production of anandamide and AG-2, endogenous cannabinoids that are agonists for CB-1 and CB-2 receptors. From there, immune cells seek out and destroy cancer cells. Interestingly, it has been shown that THC and CBD cannabinoids have the ability to kill cancer cells directly without going through immune intermediaries. THC and CBD hijack the lipoxygenase pathway to directly inhibit tumor growth. As a side note, it has been discovered that CBD inhibits anandamide re-uptake. Here we see that cannabidiol helps the body preserve its own natural endocannabinoid by inhibiting the enzyme that breaks down anandamide.
Research shows that THC is metabolized to 11-Hydroxy-THC in the liver after oral consumption. We also know that 11-Hydroxy-THC is more potent than THC. This suggests that cannabis via smoking, or suppository is weaker clinically than oral since it misses the first-pass in the liver to convert. If you want to avoid the mental effects, use 1:1 THC:CBD. The CBD knocks out the mental effect while maintaining potency of the cannabis extract. My opinion is that oral cannabis extract with equal parts THC and CBD is the ideal cancer killer without the mental effects. The cannabinoids work in concert to kill cancer; this is known as the entourage effect; THC disrupts the cancer cell mitochondria, and CBD disrupts the cell’s endoplasmic reticulum, bringing certain cell death.
Also good to know that hydroxy-THC has a stronger mental effect than unmodified THC. If the cannabis oil has not been decarboxylated (to delete the acidic carboxyl radical), then there will be no effect of the THC. This is the most important issue is using cannabis to kill cancer. Without decarboxylation, the THC cannot fit the CB1 receptor on the cancer cell to cause cell death.
In 2006, researchers in Italy showed the specifics of how Cannabidiol (CBD) kills cancer. CBD stimulates what is known as the Caspase Cascade, that kills the cancer cell. First, let’s look at the nomenclature, then to how Caspase kills cancer. Caspase in an aggregate term for all cysteine-aspartic proteases. The protease part of this term comes from prote (from protein) and -ase (destroyer). Thus the caspases break down proteins and peptides in the moribund cell. This becomes obvious when we see caspase-3 referred to as the executioner. In the pathway of apoptosis, other caspases are brought in to complete the cascade.
Even when the cascade is done and all the cancer is gone, CBD is still at work healing the body. Cannabidiol also shuts down the Id-1 gene; a gene that allows metastatic lesions to form. Fundamentally this means that treatment with cannabinoids not only kills cancer through numerous simultaneous pathways (the entourage effect), but prevents metastasis. What’s not to like. One researcher says this: CBD represents the first nontoxic exogenous agent that can significantly decrease Id-1 expression in metastatic carcinoma leading to the down-regulation of tumor aggressiveness.
This brief survey touches lightly on a few essential concepts. Mostly I would like to leave you with an appreciation that nature has designed the perfect medicine that fits exactly with our own immune system of receptors and signaling metabolites to provide rapid and complete immune response for systemic integrity and metabolic homeostasis.