CBD, the Endocannabinoid System, and the Fight Against Cancer

CBD As a Potential Weapon in the Fight Against Cancer



CBD's many therapeutic properties are leading research scientists to target the beneficial cannabinoid (cannabidiol) as another weapon in their arsenal in the fight against cancer. In this post, VitaLeaf Naturals takes a detailed look at the latest scholarly cancer research pointing to CBD's immense potential to use the body's natural immune response via the endocannabinoid system, to battle cancer, as well as its therapeutic benefits as a supplement to traditional cancer-fighting treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy,  radiation, and targeted therapy. 

Both clinical and laboratory testing over the past few decades have revealed a host of CBD's therapeutic properties, not to mention the anecdotal testimonials of the many CBD users around the world who have had success treating a broad spectrum of ailments and disorders ranging from anxiety to pain relief. The therapeutic characteristics of CBD which make it such an excellent candidate for battling cancer include:

Professional athletes and celebrities around the globe are endorsing CBD as an alternative to dangerously addictive opioids for pain treatment, and even the FDA has taken an active role in the research concerning CBD as a treatment for seizures in children. Singer Olivia Newton-John has founded the Olivia Newton-John Health and Wellness Center to further CBD research after a 3 decades-long battle with breast cancer in which she endorsed CBD oil as a critical supplement to her cancer treatment, one which combines modern medicines and natural remedies. 

One of the most frequently asked questions about CBD is "Why is it so effective in the treatment of so many ailments and disorders?" The key to understanding how CBD can work against cancer as well as so many other disorders is to understand the incredible endocannabinoid system common to all humans and mammals. 

The Incredible Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

"The discovery of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is the single most important medical scientific discovery ever and will save more lives than the discovery and application of sterile surgical technique."

The statement above has even more impact when we consider that this is the position taken by a noted heart surgeon, Dr. David Allen, in his informative YouTube video about the endocannabinoid system.

Research leading to the discovery of this incredibly important biofeedback communication system began in 1964 when Israeli scientist Raphael Mechoulam was able to isolate the cannabinoids THC (the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol, designated as cannabinoid CB1)and CBD (the non-psychoactive component cannabidiol, cannabinoid CB2)as the 2 active components in cannabis which produced observed effects in the human brain. Further research with rats led to the important discovery of the CB1 and CB2 receptors common in all mammalian brains. This, in turn, resulted in Mechoulam's mapping of the human brain where he discovered that the CB1 and CB2 receptors were the most numerous of all types of neurotransmitters.

In effect, the brains of all humans and mammals are "prewired" to use these cannabinoids, but to what purpose? Mechoulam knew that the sheer volume of these numerous cannabinoid receptors meant that they must play an important role in human physiology. Later, in 1992, the intrepid Israeli researcher discovered that the CB1 and (in 1995) CB2 cannabinoids are naturally synthesized in the human body. In other words, they are endogenous. Hence the term "endocannabinoids". Even a person who has never tried marijuana or CBD oil from hemp already has naturally occurring cannabinoids at work in his system, which is why CBD is considered to be a supplement, similar to important vitamins and minerals which our bodies need for optimal health. When we take supplemental CBD in the form of oils, capsules, or creams we are not introducing any foreign chemical substance to our bodies as with many opiates, analgesics (pain relievers) or other pharmaceutical medications. 

Following these breakthroughs, Mechoulam's research quickly revealed that CB2 receptors were located in the important limbic and paralimbic regions of the brain, areas which control vital functions such as immune response, appetite, memory, sleep, mood regulation, and inflammatory and pain response. CB1 and CB2 receptors were also discovered in systems throughout the body, with the CB2 (cannabidiol) receptors occurring in greater numbers in white blood cells, immune cells, the spleen,  and tonsils. The receptors make up the biocommunication system we now know as the endocannabinoid system, and that system's primary function is homeostasis. When we consider the processes regulated by the endocannabinoid system and its extensive locations of CB2 feedback receptors throughout the body, it's easier to answer the question of why CBD works so well as a therapeutic supplement for such a wide variety of ailments. 

Homeostasis- The Body's Goldilocks Zone

The term "homeostasis" refers to the body's ability to maintain itself in an optimized state which some scientists refer to as "the Goldilocks Zone". It's the self-regulating feedback loop process which keeps an organism functioning properly in its environment, that healthy state of overall well-being when all systems are "go" and everything is just right.

The endocannabinoid system, centered in the most important regulatory regions of the brain with its numerous cannabidiol (CB2) feedback receptors dispersed strategically throughout the body is the system which maintains homeostasis. When the endocannabinoid system is under duress, whether due to fighting disease or infection, recovering from injury, excessive mental or physical stress, or harsh environmental conditions, the body's naturally manufactured supply of endocannabinoids can be deficient for maintaining homeostasis. This is where supplemental CBD has the potential to help, with what some scientists refer to as "raising the CBD baseline." Dr. David Allen refers to the use of supplemental cannabinoids as a technique for "manipulating the endocannabinoid system" to optimize healing and the homeostasis process.

Now that we have a fundamental understanding of how CBD can work in natural harmony with the endocannabinoid system, let's take a closer look at its potential therapeutic benefits, specifically in the fight against cancer. We'll find that CBD has the potential for direct anti-cancer action as well as to treat symptoms and enhance other advanced forms of cancer therapy.

Preclinical Studies on Cannabinoids and Cancer Treatment

Preclinical studies are those preliminary research experiments with mice and rats as the subjects, to discover if a drug, procedure, or treatment is likely to be useful before any testing in humans is performed. The www.cancer.gov website lists the findings of these studies in their report updated in December of 2017. Animal testing and laboratory experiments with cannabinoids are pointing to the significant anti-cancer actions of both cannabinoids, THC, and CBD. As we examine the results we'll discover that all of the therapeutic properties of CBD which we mentioned above will come into play when the target is cancer in its various forms. The long list of potential therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids as part of a cancer treatment regimen  discovered by these scholarly studies includes:

CBD's Anti-Tumor Action

Studies conducted with mice and rats have shown that cannabinoids may inhibit tumor growth in several very effective ways. Results show that the cannabinoids can cause cancer cell death, block cell growth, and block the development of the blood vessels which tumors require for growth. Laboratory results indicate, best of all, that these killing actions against tumor cells occur even as normal cell growth is protected by the cannabinoid action. 

CBD Against Colon Cancer

Research with mice also indicates that CBD's anti-inflammatory action (such as that caused by arthritis) may also protect against inflammation of the colon, potentially reducing the risk of colon cancer. CBD's analgesic action, or pain-killing property, also make it a candidate for treating colon cancer if it occurs as well. 

CBD Against Breast Cancer

CBD has been studied for its effectiveness in treating estrogen receptor positive and estrogen receptor negative breast cancer cells. The powerful cannabinoid was able to cause cell death in both types of cancer cells while having little effect on normal breast cells. Studies with mice on metastasized breast cancer again showed that CBD may lessen the growth, number, and spread of malignant tumors. 

CBD Against Brain Cancer (Glioma Tumors)

CBD's neuroprotective properties may play a role in the treatment of glioma, a type of brain cancer. The National Cancer Institute defines glioma as "A cancer of the brain that begins in glial cells (cells that surround and support nerve cells)". While CBD has been a promising candidate for the treatment of disorders such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, other dementias, and stroke, its neuroprotective properties became apparent in a review of 34 studies focused on glioma tumor models. In all but one study CBD was found to kill glioma cancer cells without causing any harm to normal brain and nerve cells. 

CBD's Potential For Enhancing Other Types of Cancer Treatment

Enhancing Chemotherapy With CBD and THC

Another laboratory study involving the glioma cell model showed that CBD can increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy, again causing cell death without harming normal brain cells. A combination of CBD with a THC cannabinoid drug (Delta-9 THC)and the chemotherapy drug temozolomide used against brain tumors and other types of cancer, showed that the temozolomide's ability to damage the DNA in cancer cells was much improved.

Beyond the preclinical animal studies, the cannabinoids including CBD have been the focus of clinical trials with human cancer patients in an effort to develop techniques for managing the many debilitating side effects of traditional cancer treatments, as well as for effective pain management. The Delta 9-THC, CBD, and temozolomide combination is now being applied in an oral spray in human patients to combat a fast-growing tumor of the central nervous system known as glioblastoma multiforme. 

CBD and Stem Cell Transplantation For Cancer Patients

Stem cell transplantation is a procedure used to restore blood-forming stem cells which have been destroyed by aggressive radiation and high doses of chemotherapy used to combat various forms of cancer. These stem cells are vital since they grow into the three types of blood cells, all of which are required to remain healthy. White blood cells are a critical part of the immune system and help fight infections. Red blood cells distribute oxygen throughout the body. Platelets are necessary for blood clotting and injury recovery.

Some cancer patients undergoing these restorative stem cell transplants can suffer from a debilitating condition known as the graft-vs-host disease, or GVHD. This occurs when the transplanted stem cell attacks normal tissue in the transplant patient. CBD is used to alleviate the symptoms of jaundice, rashes, dry eyes, dry mouth and blisters caused by GVHD. 

CBD to Reduce Nausea, Vomiting, and Pain in Cancer Patients

Nausea and vomiting are among the most common side-effects for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. The ability of CBD to control nausea and reduce vomiting is known as its anti-emetic effect, one which has been known and applied by humans for centuries. The first incident of hemp oil's use for its medicinal value dates way back to 2737 BC, by Emperor Sheng Neng of ancient China.

In the 1970s modern oncologists began to look at the cannabinoids THC and CBD as a more effective way to control rampant nausea and vomiting caused by aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatments in cancer patients. An alternative was sorely needed as the intense symptoms could not always be alleviated with traditional anti-nausea medications. 

CBD reduces nausea and vomiting by interacting with the serotonin receptors in the brain. While THC and CBD used in combination have shown themselves to be very effective in reducing nausea, vomiting, and pain in cancer patients it seems as if the CBD cannabinoid may be the key component. 177 patients were selected for a study reported by Healthline because they were unable to obtain relief from pain with traditional medications. Results of the study showed that those who received both CBD and THC had a significant reduction in pain as compared to those who received only a THC extract by itself. 

VitaLeaf Naturals CBD- Therapeutic Benefits Without Psychoactive Side Effects

While exciting new research continues to reveal the therapeutic benefits of both the THC and CBD cannabinoids in the fight against cancer, as well as discovering the healing potential of CBD across a broad range of common ailments and disorders, there is a critical difference between the two cannabinoid cousins of the Sativa L species.

While hemp and marijuana are both members of the same Sativa L cannabis family the two species are as different today as apples and oranges. Hemp has been cultivated over the centuries for the many practical uses of its fibers, oil, and seeds. As a result, today it is rich in CBD content and THC in hemp is found only at minimal trace levels. As a matter of fact, CBD in marijuana is known to reduce the psychoactive action of THC.

Marijuana, on the other hand, has been bred over the recent past specifically for high THC content for medicinal or recreational purposes and as a result, THC content in today's marijuana has never been higher. While THC and CBD can both be found in marijuana, with that comes to the frequently unpredictable psychoactive side effects producing an undesired mental high. For those who wish to begin a healthy CBD regimen as part of an active lifestyle without having to worry about psychoactive side effects of THC the answer is CBD rich hemp oil.

Pure Organic CBD Products From VitaLeaf Naturals

At VitaLeaf Naturals we've made it our mission to provide the purest, organic CBD products on the market. We use the latest cutting-edge CO2 extraction process to maximize the purity that keeps our CBD customers coming back for more. Our CBD is extracted from non-GMO hemp, carefully cultivated without pesticides, chemical fertilizers, or herbicides. We ensure the purity of all of our organic CBD products with rigorous third-party testing which results in quality CBD products you can rely on for use by the entire family. 

We're happy to have had this opportunity to keep you up to speed on the latest CBD research. If you have any questions concerning your personal CBD regimen or that of your family or pets, please don't hesitate to contact us!

1 comment

  • Where is the hemp grown that is used in your products

    Loreen Adams

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