British doctors say they encountered an unusual case of cancer recovery: a woman in her 60s whose lung cancer began to decrease without any conventional treatment, after she started taking daily doses of CBD / THC oil. While it’s far from clear that the oil actually affected her tumor, doctors argue that cannabis and its main ingredients deserve further research as a possible cancer treatment.
The CBD in CBD oil comes from cannabidiol, one of the two main compounds found in cannabis. These products can also include delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the other major compound responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. CBD oil and similar products are in a murky legal market in much of the world. In the United States, only one medical use of CBD is currently approved, a high-dose version intended to help relieve symptoms in people with certain seizure disorders. But cannabis and CBD oil are permit be sold and used in much of the country, as well as other countries like the UK.
The patient in this case had had a persistent cough for months by the time she saw a doctor in February 2018. In the summer, imaging tests and a biopsy clearly indicated that she had lung cancer, in particular non-small cell lung carcinoma. Even though she smoked and had pre-existing lung problems, doctors felt her case was treatable. But after much discussion, the woman chose to decline options like surgery or radiation therapy. Because of this, the doctors agreed to simply monitor the growth of her cancer with routinely scheduled imaging tests.
Remarkably, the woman’s cancer started to decrease without any intervention from the doctors. Compared to the first imaging taken in June 2018, they estimated that the size of the cancer had decreased by 76% by February 2021. In February 2019, after a year of reduction, doctors spoke to the woman about her results, and she revealed that she had ingested a CBD oil product on the advice of a loved one since June 2018, usually at three doses per day. Other than a reduced appetite, the woman reported no side effects from her diet, and doctors found no other changes in her prescribed medications, diet, or lifestyle (she was advised to stop smoking, but she continued to do so) during this time.
“This case appears to demonstrate a possible benefit from consuming ‘CBD oil’ which may have resulted in the observed tumor regression,” the doctors wrote in their report on the case, published Thursday in BMJ Case Reports.
Some experts outside the UK are skeptical at the moment. In a roundup of comments collection by the Science Media Center, Edzard Ernst, retired professor of complementary medicine at the University of Exeter, noted that “the case reports cannot be considered reliable evidence, and there is currently no Rigorous clinical trial data suggesting that cannabis products alter the natural history of any cancer.
Lead author Kah Ling Liew, a doctor in the Respiratory Department at Princess Alexandra Hospital, told Gizmodo that the woman was still alive and was being actively sought. During her last checkup this year, the cancer did not appear to have made a comeback and has grown so small that they can no longer measure her height through the scans she passes.
Liew and his colleagues are careful to note that they cannot be sure that of the woman the cancer shrinkage was caused by her habit of CBD. But they say they can’t come up with any other plausible explanation at this point either. We know that cancers can sometimes know spontaneous regression, where the tumor suddenly shrinks for no clear reason without treatment, but Liew said this scenario was unlikely.
“Of course, we are unable to confirm the causation of this single case,” she said. “However, spontaneous regressions in such cases are extremely rare. The only difference in this case was the ingestion of “CBD oil”.
Cannabis is already sometimes used to reduce nausea and other symptoms that result from standard treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. But as the team points out, research has been done on the effects of CBD and other cannabinoids on cancer itself, including some showing that they can directly affect the growth and development of tumors. However, they also note that animal studies have been mixed, with some even suggesting that cannabinoids stimulate tumor growth. In the medical literature, they were able to find another similar case, where a person with lung cancer also experienced tumor shrinkage after CBD oil.
In this case, according to the supplier of the product, the female oil contains an equal mixture of CBD and THC. But in the other case, the patient was only taking CBD. The authors are therefore uncertain whether this additional THC may have played a role in the woman’s recovery. At present, many questions remain unanswered, questions that require at least more attention and research, according to the authors.
“CBD / THC deserves further study as a primary or adjunct form for the treatment of cancer, as the treatment itself appears to be minimally invasive,” Liew said. Of course, while CBD / THC might help treat some people’s cancer, the authors wouldn’t expect it to be a cure-all for all cancers in general, given how bad an individual cancer can be. different from another. “There won’t be one treatment that works for every form of cancer,” Liew added.
Whether or not cannabis does something for cancer beyond the nausea relief it can sometimes provide, the authors also believe that more could be done to communicate with patients about alternative treatments they might decide to take. themselves.
“Clinicians should be aware that their patients may be undergoing unconventional and unauthorized treatments without the knowledge of their clinician, and it is always important to consider the patient’s choices when discussing treatment options, that is, that is, be open and honest about the potential benefits and side effects. treatments, ”Liew said.
As for the woman herself, she is naturally happy with her recovery.
“I’m ‘over the moon’ with my cancer going down, which I think was caused by ‘CBD oil’. I tolerate it very well and intend to take this treatment indefinitely, ”she wrote in an accompanying patient perspective.