Cannabinoids Associated With Anti-Cancer Activity

STOKE-ON-TRENT, UNITED KINGDOM — The administration of cannabidiol (CBD) is associated with anti-cancer responses in human subjects, according to a pair of recently published case studies.

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.”

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.

Full text of the study, “Striking lung cancer response to self-administration to cannabidiol: A case report and literature review,” appears in Medical Case Reports. Full text of the 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.

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