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Daily Use of CBD Oil May Have Reduced Size of Lung Tumor

Daily Use of CBD/THC Oil May Have Reduced Size of Lung Tumo

Scientists are weighing in on the case of an elderly British woman who treated her lung cancer with CBD.

A new case study published this month details the dramatic regression of an elderly woman’s lung tumor – after both refusing conventional treatment (which she qualified for) and taking daily doses of CBD oil. 

(To be precise, it was CBD with some other cannabinoids, but more on that later.)

Details of the case were published in BMJ Case Reports and, before hearing from the scientists, it’s worth hearing from the woman in question, whom the authors quote in the study. Her statement poignantly speaks to her dread of the side effects associated with conventional cancer treatments:

“I was not very interested in traditional cancer treatments as I was worried about the risks of surgery, and I saw my late husband suffer through the side effects of radiotherapy. My relative suggested that I should try ‘cannabidiol (CBD) oil’ to treat my cancer, and I have been taking it regularly ever since. I am ‘over the moon’ with my cancer shrinking, which I believe was caused by the ‘CBD oil’. I am tolerating it very well and I intend to take this treatment indefinitely.”

Since her tumor did shrink considerably, she obviously has every right to be excited. But are scientists as “over the moon” with the potential implications of her case study? 

Well, it’s a mixed bag. There is definitely a certain amount of excitement over the publication of another case study that details a possible link between cannabinoids and cancer regression. 

However, there is a lot of caution mixed in with the excitement. For example, according to Prof. David Nutt, who holds the Safra Chair in Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London: 

“This is one of many such promising single case reports of medical cannabis self-treatment for various cancers.  Such case reports are biologically credible given the adaptogenic nature of the endocannabinoid system.”  

A single case study does not prove a link between CBD oil and tumor size reduction. But it paves the way for further research into CBD as a possible cancer treatment.

However, he warns that the standard of evidence of a single case study is too low to warrant a change in clinical practice: 

“A case report itself is not sufficient to give any form of proof that one thing caused the other – we need trials for that.  There are some controlled trials already started and more are required to properly explore the potential of medical cannabis in a range of cancers.”

It’s an important point and one worth emphasizing, since alternative cancer treatments have, on the whole, been shown to be less effective than mainstream ones. 

A 2019 study, for example, compared those who received only conventional cancer treatments with those who chose an alternative cancer treatment (such as herbs or acupuncture) along with at least one conventional cancer treatment. 

After studying the results of nearly two million patients, researchers found that those who chose an alternative treatment did not live as long. Also, they had a higher rate of death that, according to the authors of the study, “appeared to be due to delay or refusal of conventional treatment”.

The authors of this newest case study, led by Kah Ling Liew, MD, of Watford General Hospital, Watford, UK, are very aware of the limitations of the case report:

“Although there appears to be a relationship between the intake of ‘CBD oil’ and the observed tumor regression, we are unable to conclusively confirm that the tumor regression is due to the patient taking ‘CBD oil,’ ” they comment.

There’s a good reason that the authors only refer to CBD oil in quotation marks. That’s because, according to the manufacturer of the oil, it contains equal amounts of CBD and THC as well as high amounts of THCA (the acidic precursor of THC, which has also been shown to have medicinal benefits).

This combination of multiple cannabinoids makes it difficult for researchers to know which of the chemicals was doing the heavy lifting in reducing the size of the tumor. The patient’s dosing regimen was also inconsistent, making it difficult to replicate in a future study.

But while the authors are cautious in making any firm conclusions about the relationship between the cannabinoids the woman took and her tumor regression, their concluding sentence speaks to their optimism:

“The potential for cannabinoids to be used as an alternative to augment or replace conventional primary cancer treatments definitely justifies further research.” 

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