Daily use of cannabidiol oil may shrink lung tumors

It may be worth exploring the use of cannabidiol oil (“CBD”) as a potential treatment for lung cancer, BMJ Case Reports doctors suggest after treating a lung user whose daily tumor it has been reduced without the aid of conventional treatment.

The body’s own endocannabinoids are involved in a variety of processes, including nerve function, emotion, energy metabolism, pain and inflammation, sleep, and immune function.

Chemically similar to these endocannabinoids, cannabinoids can interact with cell signaling pathways, including cancer cells. It has been studied for use as a primary treatment for cancer, but the results have been inconsistent.

Lung cancer remains the second most common cancer in the UK. Despite advances in treatment, survival rates remain low at around 15% five years after diagnosis. And the average survival without treatment is around 7 months.

The authors of the report describe the case of a woman in her 80s diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer. He also had mild chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), osteoarthritis, and high blood pressure, for which he was taking various medications.

She was a smoker, she got one more pack of cigarettes every week (68 packs / year).

His tumor was 41 mm in size at diagnosis, with no evidence of local or subsequent spread, so it was suitable for conventional treatment in surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. But the woman refused treatment, so she was placed under “surveillance and waiting,” which included regular CT scans every 3-6 months.

These showed that the tumor was progressively shrinking, reducing its size from 41 mm in June 2018 to 10 mm in February 2021, equal to an overall reduction of 76% of the maximum diameter, with an average of 2.4 % per month, according to the authors of the report.

When contacted in 2019 to talk about her progress, the woman revealed that she had been taking CBD oil as an alternative self-treatment for lung cancer since August 2018, shortly after her original diagnosis.

She had done so on the advice of a relative, after seeing her husband struggling with the side effects of radiation therapy. He said he constantly took 0.5ml of oil, usually three times a day, but sometimes twice.

The supplier had reported that the main active ingredients were Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) at 19.5%, cannabidiol around 20% and tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THCA) around 24%.

The supplier also advised that food or hot drinks be avoided when drinking the oil, as otherwise you might feel stoned. The woman said she had reduced her appetite since she took the oil, but that she had no other obvious “side effects.” There were no other changes in prescribed medications, diet, or lifestyle. And he kept smoking all the time.

This is just a case report, with only one other similar case reported, the authors warn. And it’s not clear which of the CBD oil ingredients might have been helpful.

“We cannot confirm the complete ingredients of the CBD oil the patient was taking or provide information on which of the ingredients may contribute to the observed tumor regression,” they point out.

And they highlight: “Although there appears to be a relationship between CBD oil intake and observed tumor regression, we cannot conclusively confirm that tumor regression is due to the patient taking CBD oil. “.

Cannabis has a long “medicinal” history in modern medicine, as it was first introduced in 1842 for its analgesic, sedative, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and anticonvulsant effects. And it is widely believed that cannabinoids can help people with chronic, anxiety and sleep disorders; cannabinoids are also used in palliative care, the authors add.

More research is needed to identify the actual mechanism of action, routes of administration, safe doses, their effects on different types of cancer, and possible adverse side effects when using cannabinoids. “


Newspaper reference:

Liew, KL, et al. (2021) Lung cancer patient who had rejected conventional cancer treatment: could CBD oil self-administration itself contribute to the observed tumor regression ?. BMJ case reports. doi.org/10.1136/bcr-2021-244195.

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