If you have prostate cancer, you may wonder whether marijuana can help treat it or relieve symptoms. Here’s what research shows. Studies have shown that CBD may have several benefits for cancer patients. This article highlights the most important effects of CBD on cancer symptoms along with the best brands that sell CBD oil in 2020. We want to stop prostate cancer being a killer. We fund groundbreaking research, drive improvements in treatment, and fight injustice in care.
Can Medical Marijuana or CBD Help With Prostate Cancer?
Medical marijuana is often used to treat conditions such as chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and Crohn’s disease. Though it’s been studied, there’s not a lot known about whether it can help treat cancer, particularly prostate cancer. Here’s what science does show.
THC vs. CBD: What’s the Difference?
The major components of marijuana are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). These are known as cannabinoids. THC is what gets you high. CBD does not get you high. Rather, it gives you a mellow, comfortable feeling.
Can Medical Marijuana Treat Prostate Cancer?
There are very well established treatments for prostate cancer that include testosterone blockers, radiation, and surgery as well as other medications. Cannabinoids have been shown to have some activity against prostate cancer in the lab and in mice. But it is not recommended for prostate cancer treatment.
Like other chemicals, these cannabinoids can bind to a part of a cell known as a cell receptor and then influence the cell’s behavior. Cell receptors that bind to cannabinoids fall into two categories:
- CB1. These receptors are mostly found in the brain and responsible for the potentially pain-relieving properties of marijuana.
- CB2. These receptors are in the cells of the immune system and blood-forming organs, and may also be in other tissues. When scientists stimulate these receptors with cannabinoids, they’ve been able to kill cancer cells from a variety of human tumors, including brain cancer, lymphomas, and breast cancer.
Research suggests that these cannabinoids help regulate cell growth. They also seem to prevent the growth of cancer cells by making them less likely to survive, grow, spread, and stick to other cancer cells. This means that they may be able to treat many different kinds of cancer, including prostate cancer.
It’s thought that marijuana specifically targets tumor cells but doesn’t really target non-tumor cells. This means that it may be less toxic to the body than other forms of treatment, like chemotherapy.
Research also shows that prostate cancer cells have higher levels of both CB1 and CB2 receptors than normal cells. This means that these cancer cells might be more attracted to cannabinoids than normal cells. Laboratory studies have shown that when these cells are treated with cannabinoids, three things happen:
- The cells are more likely to die.
- Androgen receptor activity on the prostate cancer cell surface decreases. This is important because prostate cancer is fueled by androgens, which are male hormones.
- THC and CBD discourage the formation of tumor blood vessels, which prostate cancer cells need to feed and grow.
One Spanish study found that when cannabinoids were added to three different types of human prostate cancer cells, they slowed the growth of all of them. In fact, the cannabinoids that targeted CB2 were able to kill prostate cancer cells by triggering apoptosis, aka cell death by suicide.
The researchers then transplanted one type of human prostate cancer cell, an aggressive form of cancer known as PC-3, into mice. They divided the mice into three groups: one treated with salt water, one with a cannabinoid, and the third with the same cannabinoid plus a chemical that blocked its effects on CB2. The mice who received the cannabinoid alone experienced a significant reduction in tumor growth compared to the other two groups.
These studies have only looked at prostate cancer cells grown in laboratories or in mice. There are no studies looking at how cannabinoids work in humans, so we don’t know if they would work the same way in people. It’s also unclear exactly how cannabinoids prevent prostate cancer cells from getting bigger or dividing.
Can I Use Medical Marijuana to Relieve Symptoms From Prostate Cancer Treatment?
Research shows that medical marijuana may help with:
- Cancer-related pain. It can help with severe pain, especially if it’s used with opioids. The combination may decrease pain signals in the brain as well as inflammation.
- Neuropathy. This is a feeling of weakness, numbness, tingling, or burning in the hands or feet due to nerve damage. It’s a common side effect of chemotherapy. Animal studies show that cannabinoids can help relieve some of the symptoms, but human studies are mixed.
- Nausea and vomiting. Dronabinol and nabilone are synthetic cannabinoids the FDA approved for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. There isn’t research on other forms of marijuana such as smoking, vaping, or CBD oil.
- Weight loss. Some research shows that THC may help ramp up appetite and slow down weight loss in people with advanced cancer.
Is It Safe to Use Medical Marijuana or CBD Oil With Prostate Cancer?
There are some risks. These include:
- Loss of control over movement, disorientation, and feelings of anxiety or paranoia. carries health risks since it contains many of the same substances found in tobacco smoke.
- Unpredictability. Marijuana plants come in different strains with different levels of active compounds. This makes it harder to predict how you’ll respond to it.
How Can You Get CBD and Medical Marijuana?
You may also have heard of CBD oil. It’s sold everywhere from your grocery store to vitamin shops. It doesn’t contain THC, the ingredient in marijuana that gets you high. CBD is usually sold as an oil, but you can also find it as an extract, a vaporized liquid, edibles like gummies, in foods, in drinks, and in beauty products. Remember, CBD is not regulated by the FDA, so it’s also hard to know how much CBD you’re getting. One study of 84 CBD products found that more than a quarter contained more CBD than was on the label, and some products even contained THC.
The only medical marijuana product approved by the FDA is a prescription oil called Epidiolex to treat epilepsy. There’s no research to suggest it can treat prostate cancer or relieve cancer treatment-related symptoms. It also may cause side effects like:
- Dry mouth
- Loss of appetite
It may also interact with other medications you take, like blood thinners. Talk to your doctor to make sure you don’t have any medical conditions that make using it unsafe.
If you’re considering using medical marijuana, check your state regulations. If it’s legal, you should be able to purchase it at a medical dispensary.
Harvard Health Publishing: “Pot for the Prostate,” “CBD Products Are Everywhere, but Do They Work?”
International Journal of Molecular Sciences: “Cannabinoids and Prostate Cancer: A Systematic Review of Animal Studies.”
British Journal of Pharmacology: “Non-THC Cannabinoids Inhibit Prostate Carcinoma Grown in Vitro and in Vivo: Pro-apoptotic Effects and Underlying Mechanisms.”
British Journal of Cancer: “Inhibition of Human Tumor Prostate PC-3 Cell Growth by Cannabinoids R(+)-Methanandamide and JWH-015: Involvement of CB2.”
CBD Oil for Cancer: Can Cannabis Oil Be Used as a Cure & Treatment?
It’s challenging to find a place that wouldn’t stock CBD today, at least in its traditional oil form. CBD oil has taken the United States by storm, driving the attention of doctors, researchers, and media outlets across the world. Universities are starting their research on the possibility of treating a variety of health conditions with CBD, including cancer.
As CBD continues to change the public perception of cannabis, more people than ever are turning to CBD oil as a natural alternative for their ailments. In this article, we’re going to shed light on scientific research concerning the potential use of CBD oil for cancer and its symptoms.
We’ll also provide our list of recommended CBD oils that could potentially help individuals on their way to safe recovery.
CBD Oil for Cancer-related Symptoms
There is limited research into CBD’s potential as a treatment for cancer and its symptoms. The FDA refuses to acknowledge CBD oil as a treatment for cancer; there’s only one pharmaceutical containing cannabidiol — its name is Epidiolex. However, Epidiolex is reserved for epilepsy patients, not those struggling with cancer.
If you want to use CBD oil for cancer, make sure to make an appointment with a doctor first; doing so will give you a fuller image of how CBD oil could help your treatment.
While CBD isn’t a cure-all, it can surely help you ease several of its symptoms as well as some adverse reactions to chemotherapy and radiation.
Here’s what studies have found when it comes to using CBD oil for cancer.
Researchers have proposed CBD as a natural resource to reduce nausea and vomiting due to how it interacts with the brain. Many patients regularly use cannabinoids to calm the uncomfortable sensation of nausea as an unwanted effect of chemotherapy, radiation, and anti-cancer medications. Moreover, CBD regulates serotonin levels, which can reduce the stimulation in the brain’s area responsible for vomiting.
In a 2015 study conducted by Care By Design, most patients who took CBD oil for pain and inflammation reported improvements in their symptoms. CBD acts on specific pathways in the brain that may reduce inflammation and block pain signals. Pain is one of the most troubling symptoms of cancer — and a side effect of chemotherapy — so these are very promising results for those suffering from cancer.
Fatigue and Sleep Disturbances
CBD is an adaptogen, meaning they can help the body maintain homeostasis within the body without negatively impacting its functioning as well as making any changes in the brain structure. Adaptogens are also classified as smart molecules because they can act exactly where they are needed to promote balance and strengthen regeneration processes, such as neurogenesis. When cancer patients suffer from a lack of sleep, CBD may help ease some of the stress and anxiety that are often associated with this condition. This can help the body regulate its sleep cycles.
CBD may also help target the specific processes in the body to provide it with enough energy and vitality, which can be useful for cancer patients after chemotherapy. On top of the above, it can also improve focus. Some scientists refer to CBD as “the boy scout molecule” because it always reaches the right target in any given situation.
Loss of Appetite
Although some individuals report appetite suppression after using CBD, it turns out it may have an opposite effect on others. When CBD reaches specific receptors in the brain, it can improve your appetite. And since the majority of cancer patients suffer from loss of appetite, this particular trait of CBD oil may come in handy when it comes to helping the body’s needs for nourishment, which the body needs throughout the disease and after radiation.
Can CBD Oil Help Cure Cancer?
There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence floating online from people claiming they have been cured of cancer by using cannabis. Scientific research performed on animals has shown that CBD can shrink tumors and stop them from spreading. For example, a research paper from 2011 showed that the stimulation of cannabinoid receptors through a mix of cannabinoids and fatty acids could potentially relieve prostate tumors.
Another study published in Plus One highlighted CBD’s anti-cancer properties to trigger a process of apoptosis — the death of cancerous cells — preventing tumor growth by reducing the number of certain proteins that are involved in the spread of malignant cells. The researchers concluded that they would recommend CBD as an anti-cancer agent due to its safety and lack of life-threatening side effects.
We’ve also visited the Cure your Own Cancer site, where patients provide their testimonials about their success in treating cancer with cannabis oil. The website was founded by a young activist Lincoln Horsley and it shares a lot of free information about cannabis, cancer, and how products like CBD oil can be used to support individuals on their way to recovery.
With all that said, using CBD oil for cancer isn’t an approved treatment because there haven’t been many human trials regarding this issue. Therefore, consumers must keep in mind that while anecdotal evidence about CBD oil and cancer is very optimistic, it must be scientifically investigated before being approved as a treatment method.
Best CBD Brands for Cancer Aid
The following compilation is a summary of CBD oils that we’ve selected after analyzing over 40 brands from local stores and online retailers. They have been evaluated according to the quality criteria such as hemp source, extraction methods, third-party testing, and customer service.
1. Royal CBD (Most Potent)
Get 15% off all Royal CBD products. Use code “CFAH” at checkout.
|Potency||250 mg –2500 mg|
|Available Flavors||Natural, Berry, Mint, Vanilla|
|CBD per serving||8.3 mg – 83.3 mg|
Why Royal CBD is the Best CBD Oil for Cancer
My story with Royal CBD started about two years ago when we first read about them in one of our news briefs. They attracted us with the simplicity of their product selection, with only a few full-spectrum CBD oils available for sale. After two years, the company has grown by miles and expanded its line with capsules, gummies, and topicals — also adding a high-potency option to their oils.
Since then, Royal CBD oil has been our number one product.
Royal CBD oils come in four different potency options, including 250 mg, 500 mg, 1000 mg, and 2500 mg. You can choose from flavors like Mint, Berry, and Vanilla, save for the highest strengths, which only comes in the unflavored version. These are full-spectrum products, meaning they were made using the whole plant and contain all the non-psychoactive cannabinoids and terpenes originally found in hemp. I’ve noticed the best results when it comes to nausea and pain relief using the 2500 mg bottle. The oil has also helped calm my anxiety and improved sleep.
Note: Royal CBD is only available online; you won’t find it in any local store, although their online shop offers great discounts and a loyalty program that lets you save money on their products.
- Sourced from locally grown organic hemp
- Extracted with supercritical CO2
- Contains full-spectrum CBD
- Available in 4 potencies and flavors
- Up to 2500 mg of CBD per bottle
- Only available online
2. Gold Bee (Best Flavor)
|Potency||1200 mg – 2400 mg|
|Available Flavors||Natural, Kiwi, Lychee|
|CBD per serving||40 mg – 80 mg|
About Gold Bee
Gold Bee is a Nevada-rooted brand that focuses on making honey-flavored CBD extracts. The company has developed its own blend of high-CBD strains in partnership with local growers from Colorado. These plants are grown from non-GMO seeds in healthy soils and without growth boosters or pesticides.
Aside from the premium quality of ingredients, I believe this brand deserves much appreciation for how they mix CBD with honey. The flavor is surprisingly natural and masks the earthy hemp aftertaste that you get from full-spectrum CBD oil.
About the effects, I noticed similar results with my anxiety and pain to what I got from Royal CBD oil, but due to the lack of high-potency oil in its selection, I’ve decided to give the guys at Gold Bee second place.
However, if low-to-moderate doses of CBD work for you, this is one of the best brands to purchase CBD oil from.
- Made from US-grown organic hemp
- Infused with full-spectrum CBD
- Up to 80 mg CBD/mL
- Decent potency range for beginners
- Third-party tested for potency and purity
- Delicious honey + kiwi and honey + lychee flavor
- No low-potency oils in their collection
3. CBDPure (Best Transparency)
|Potency||100 mg –1000 mg|
|CBD per serving||3.3 mg – 33 mg/mL|
CBDPure specializes in making mostly low-potency CBD oil. Recently, the brand has added a 1000 mg potency to their collection, which we simply couldn’t miss.
One interesting thing about CBDPure is that its low-potency oils work better than some high-potency products I’ve tried so far. For me, CBDPure is a textbook example of how to make top-of-the-shelf full-spectrum extracts. The effects were very similar to what I’ve experienced with the other two companies in this ranking.
CBDPure is my third-best pick on this list because both Royal CBD and Gold Bee offer a better price/quality ratio.
- Made from organic Colorado-grown hemp
- Extracted with supercritical CO2
- Lab-tested for CBD content and purity
- Contains full-spectrum CBD
- 90-day return policy
- Only two types of product available
- Low strength
- More expensive than the competition
4. Hemp Bombs (Best CBD Isolate)
|Potency||125 mg – 4000 mg|
|Available Flavors||Natural, Acai Berry, Orange Creamsicle, Peppermint, Watermelon|
|CBD per serving||4 – 133 mg/mL|
About Hemp Bombs
Hemp Bombs is an American manufacturer that produces CBD oil made from 99% pure isolate. The company offers an extensive range of CBD extracts, offering up to 4000 mg of total CBD. This CBD oil is an excellent choice for cancer patients who, for some reason, want to avoid any THC in their oil. Full-spectrum products contain 0.3% THC or less, which isn’t enough to get anyone high, but CBD isolate is 100% THC-free.
CBD isolate is also odorless and flavorless, so it’s a good alternative for those who have problems with holding full-spectrum extracts in their mouth. That being said, there’s no synergy from other cannabinoids and terpenes, so Hemp Bombs may not be the best choice for those looking for the entourage effect in cannabis.
- Sourced from organic hemp
- Extracted with supercritical CO2
- Available as broad-spectrum or isolate
- Third-party tested for CBD and purity
- Up to 4000 mg of total CBD
- 5 strengths to choose from
- Infused with synthetic flavorings
- No synergy from other cannabinoids and terpenes
- Most people don’t need such high-potency oils in their routine
5. CBDistillery (Best Price)
|Potency||250 mg – 5000 mg|
|Potency||8.3 – 166 mg/mL|
CBDistillery is one of the largest CBD companies in North America. The brand was launched by a group of Colorado citizens based on a mutual goal to supply consumers with affordable products that still match the highest quality standards. CBDistillery’s products are available in an extremely wide range of potencies, from 250 mg to a whopping 5000 mg of CBD per bottle. The highest potency contains 166 mg of CBD in each milliliter, which is enough to get yourself a few month’s worths of supplies.
You can also choose which type of CBD extract you want in your oil because CBDistillery offers both full-spectrum and broad-spectrum extracts (pure CBD oil). In the broad-spectrum variant, THC has been completely removed after initial filtration, but the other cannabinoids and terpenes from hemp have been preserved.
CBDistillery has scored the last place in your compilation of the best CBD oils for cancer due to their hemp sourcing practices — the plants used by the company are non-GMO but not certified organic.
- Available as full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD
- Extracted with CO2
- 5 strengths to choose from
- Up to 166.6 mg of CBD per bottle
- Third-party tested for potency and purity
- Very affordable
- Their hemp isn’t organic
- No flavored options
What is CBD?
CBD is one of over 100 compounds in cannabis plants, which are categorized as cannabinoids. Unlike its psychoactive cousin THC, CBD can’t make you feel high. However, it still offers a plethora of benefits for our health.
It turns out that all mammals have an endocannabinoid system (discovered in the 1990s), which is a prime self-regulatory network composed of cannabinoid receptors and neurotransmitters known as endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are chemical messengers that are released to maintain homeostasis in the body, which is a state of equilibrium between all bodily functions, such as pain signaling, appetite, sleep cycles, immune function, emotional processing, and more.
CBD acts as a modulator, meaning it signals the endocannabinoid system to produce and maintain more of its native cannabinoids to help them effectively maintain the balance within the body.
CBD can also help the endocannabinoid system regain its proper functioning when homeostasis has been disrupted. Through the said signaling, it can promote the formation of healthy cells in the body while turning on the process of apoptosis — the destruction of malignant cells.
People use CBD for a wide range of health problems, from common anxiety to inflammatory conditions and severe chronic diseases, such as osteoarthritis, epilepsy, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and cancer.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is a liquid extract that contains high concentrations of CBD. It is made using hemp flowers, the resinous part of the plant. After initial extraction, CBD oil usually undergoes filtration to dump the redundant plant material and suspend the extract in a food-grade carrier oil, such as hemp seed oil or MCT oil.
CBD oil comes in glass bottles with a dropper attached for easier and precise dosing. To take CBD oil, you need to use the dropper to measure out the dose and place the oil beneath your tongue, allowing it to sit there for about one minute to let it absorb through special membranes in the mouth. You can swish it around the mouth to increase the surface area and increase the oil’s bioavailability.
Is CBD Oil Legal?
CBD can be produced from hemp and marijuana, so it’s understandable that you may have questions about its legality.
Marijuana-derived CBD oil will contain a considerable amount of THC, which crosses the legal 0.3% barrier. Such products can get the user high and are legal only in states that legalized recreational marijuana use. In states with a medical marijuana program, you can apply for a medical marijuana card to purchase marijuana-derived CBD oil from one of the state-licensed dispensaries.
Hemp is legal on the federal level because it contains up to 0.3% THC, which can do anything but produce a psychoactive buzz. In 2018, hemp was removed from the list of controlled substances. Hemp-derived CBD oil can be found over the counter in pharmacies, dispensaries, fitness studios, local health stores, and online. It’s a plant-based supplement, so you don’t need a prescription for it.
Final Thoughts on Using CBD Oil for Cancer
Researchers agree that cancer patients could benefit from CBD oil to some extent, but there is still much we don’t know about the exact mechanism behind its anti-cancer potential. Therefore, it’s too early to draw any conclusions.
Fortunately, CBD has garnered much attention from the medical community lately, and scientists are willing to further investigate its effects on cancer, its symptoms, and the side effects of chemotherapy. For instance, the Spanish Observatory on Medical Cannabis is aggressively researching cancer treatment with cannabis extracts, regularly posting their findings on its website.
If you want to try CBD oil to support your well-being during your cancer treatment and ease some of the uncomfortable side effects of chemotherapy, consult your doctor about it, and above all, always buy your CBD oil from a reputable source that can provide premium-quality ingredients proven by lab-testing reports.
Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.
‘Can CBD oil treat prostate cancer?’ and other questions from Bill Turnbull’s documentary
Bill Turnbull’s powerful documentary got plenty of people talking about the various treatment options he tried. One of our expert Clinical Nurse Specialists answers some commonly asked questions.
- Advanced prostate cancer
RIP Bill Turnbull
January 1956 – August 2022
Did you see Bill Turnbull: Staying Alive on Channel 4? It’s a powerful documentary that follows the TV presenter and journalist currently living with advanced prostate cancer as he goes through chemotherapy, tries diets and complementary therapies, and speaks to others with the disease, including Stephen Fry.
Many of you had questions and comments about the show. Here, one of our Specialist Nurses, Sophie, answers some commonly asked questions.
Q. Can cannabis help cure prostate cancer?
At the moment, we don’t know if cannabis can help treat prostate cancer. Some studies have looked at the effect of chemicals in cannabis, called cannabinoids, on prostate cancer cells. There are two main cannabinoids that have been investigated – THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). The studies found that cannabinoids may stop prostate cancer cells from growing and dividing, cause prostate cancer cells to die, and stop prostate cancer cells from invading other tissues and spreading.
But these studies have only looked at prostate cancer cells grown in laboratories or in mice. There’s a long way to go in understanding whether there might be similar effects in patients. Cells can behave very differently in humans, so we need clinical trials in humans to see if cannabinoids could be used to treat prostate cancer. We also don’t yet understand the mechanism by which the cannabinoids prevent prostate cancer cells from growing or dividing either.
Also, cannabinoids can have side effects that are unpleasant or even harmful. It’s important to remember that the cannabinoids used in studies are made in a laboratory and are only one of many chemicals that are found in cannabis. Street-bought (recreational) cannabis contains chemicals that can cause you to hallucinate and could harm your mental health.
There’s some evidence that cannabis-based medicines can help with long-term pain, including pain caused by cancer. Currently doctors in the UK can only prescribe cannabis-based medicines to treat nausea or vomiting caused by chemotherapy – when other medicines haven’t worked. Cannabis-based medicines aren’t available to treat cancer-related pain unless you’re taking part in a clinical trial. If you’re interested, your doctor should be able to tell you about any clinical trials that might be suitable. You can also search for clinical trials at www.bepartofresearch.nihr.ac.uk
It’s important to remember that it’s illegal to grow or sell cannabis in the UK. It’s also illegal to have any cannabis-based products, unless a doctor has prescribed them for medicinal use. CBD oil is legal, but only if it contains extremely low levels of THC (less than 0.2%). However, there’s little evidence to suggest CBD oil benefits cancer patients and there are still a lot of unanswered questions.
Q. Can changing my diet and keeping physically active help fight prostate cancer?
This is a topic people often call us about. Eating healthily, being physically active and staying a healthy weight is important for general health, but can be especially important for men with prostate cancer.
Why? Well, firstly because there’s strong evidence that being overweight increases the risk of aggressive or advanced prostate cancer.
Staying a healthy weight may also mean your prostate cancer is less likely to spread after surgery or radiotherapy. And if you’re having hormone therapy to treat your prostate cancer, your treatment may be less effective if you’re very overweight.
If you’re experiencing side effects from prostate cancer treatment, such as weight gain, bone thinning or hot flushes from hormone therapy, bowel problems or urinary problems, making changes to your lifestyle may also help you manage them.
Our diet and physical activity factsheet is a great resource we often recommend to people with questions.