April 7, 2021

Can THC and CBD Oil Effectively Fight Cancer Cells?

Written by - Mallory Milne

minute read

Cancer isn’t one size fits all. It’s a disease that can affect anyone, at any time, young or old, healthy or not. Cancer is also the 2nd leading cause of death in the world, and can be incredibly hard to treat due to the spreading nature of it.

We have come a long way with medical research. Once deadly diseases have been either eradicated or close to it thanks to the scientists and researchers who put in the time and effort it took to make these things happen.

Be it in the form of vaccines or antibiotics, chemotherapy or other medical treatments, it can be said without a doubt that without these people in the medical field doing the work they are doing, countless lives would have been lost throughout the years

There’s still one thing that persists no matter what medical breakthroughs have occurred.


But what exactly is cancer? And can you really fight it using THC and CBD oil?

Fighting A Disease With Endless Names Using THC And CBD OIl

Prostate, Breast, Brain, Stomach, Skin. These are just some of the different types of cancer that are out there. Trust me when I say that I could list a lot more. Depending on how it’s classified, around 200 different types of cancer can occur in humans.

As defined in the dictionary, cancer is “a disease caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in a part of the body.”

Our bodies are made up of an incredible amount of cells. In a normal state, one’s cells naturally grow, divide, and make new cells. Signals are sent to our cells, telling them when to do all of this. When a cell gets old or damaged, it’s replaced by a healthy new cell.

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What happens when these signals get messed up is what leads to cancer. Old, damaged cells should have died instead of growing and dividing, causing more and more unhealthy cells to build up. This can cause tumors that can be cancerous(malignant) or non-cancerous(benign).

Benign cells generally stick to the location in which they formed. It couldn’t be more different when it comes to malignant. These damaging cells can spread anywhere in the body and invade soft tissues and muscle like nobody’s business.

Even if the cancer is successfully removed, it may come back due to cells migrated elsewhere in the body. These cells can travel through the bloodstream or lymphatic system, wreaking havoc as they go. This is the main reason why it is so hard to treat.

It all starts with just one abnormal little cell.

What Causes Cancer In The First Place?

Many things cause cancer. Every day, no matter where we go or what we do, we are exposed to all sorts of toxins. These toxins are in the air we breathe, the foods we eat, and the water we drink.

Your car omits toxins. Your food is grown with pesticides to keep bugs from eating or destroying the crops. Your water, while filtered, comes from the ground that the pesticides are used on. Just a few examples of some that you are exposed to regularly.

Along with the environmental factors that can cause cancer there are many others:

  • Genetics, age, gender
  • Carcinogens – such as cigarettes, asbestos, tar, some plastics, hydrocarbons
  • Lifestyle – excessive smoking, alcohol and drug use, overexposure to UV light and tanning beds
  • Bacteria and Viruses – HPV(human papillomavirus) and EBV(Eppstein-Barr Virus) are two such viruses that can contribute to cancer.
  • Radiation
  • Certain medications and hormones

Regardless of what causes it, any cancer can have a devastating effect on the individual and their loved ones.

Cancer is treated in several different ways. How far advanced the cancer is, and the type will affect treatment options are available as well.

Some treatment options may include surgery to remove it, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, hormone therapy, or targeted therapy. Each of these is different in the approach they take in treating cancer.

Along with the effects that cancer has on the body, some treatment options can come with some extremely nasty side effects. Chemotherapy, in particular, can make you lose your hair, lose your appetite, cause nausea and vomiting, make you bruise easier,  cause extreme exhaustion, and more.

There may be another option when it comes to fighting cancer, and it’s in the form of cannabinoids.

Cannabinoids… A Natural Approach To Fighting Cancer?

When it comes to using cannabinoids, one must first understand exactly what they are and how they work. We cover this in a previous article, which you can check out here, but I’ll provide a quick breakdown here as well.

In every human exists an Endocannabinoid System. This system is located throughout the body, brain, and nervous system and contains cannabinoid receptors that CBD and THC bind to. Cannabidiol(CBD) binds to the CB-2 receptor, while Tetrahydrocannabinol(THC) binds to the CB-1 receptor.

Scientists don’t fully understand the entire role of the Endocannabinoid System yet, and much of the research being conducted today is into the therapeutic applications of both CBD and THC. Both cannabinoids have shown incredible promise in several different areas.

The Endocannabinoid System directly impacts our Endocrine System, which is in control of all the different hormones our bodies produce. It also impacts numerous other systems in the body, which gives you a bit of an idea of how adding cannabinoids to your daily routine may be beneficial.

In light of recent research, it’s now thought that fibromyalgia and some other disorders result from an endocannabinoid deficiency. Our bodies naturally produce its own cannabinoids, and when you lack in that area, or it isn’t producing enough, you can face a wide variety of issues.

Who Is Rick Simpson?

If you read the news a lot, or are just interested in CBD oil in general, you’ll likely have seen by now the claims that it can fight cancer. While the research behind this is promising, it is still very much in the early stages, and much more research still needs to be done.

Because of this, it is not advised to veer away from traditional cancer-fighting methods and rely only on these cannabinoids, but it can certainly be added to the treatment.

One famous case in particular, revolves around Rick Simpson.

Rick Simpson suffered a serious head injury on the job in a hospital boiler room in 1997. At the time, he was working to cover up asbestos on the hospital’s pipes with aerosol glue, and due to the poorly ventilated conditions and toxic fumes, he fell from his ladder.

For years after, he suffered from dizziness and tinnitus(ringing in the ears). The medications that he was using to treat his symptoms had little effect and made some symptoms worse.

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After watching a documentary about the possible benefits of cannabis, he approached his doctor about it, but it was shot down as a possible avenue of treatment. Rick was determined to try it, however, and acquired the cannabis himself.

It worked to alleviate some of the symptoms he was experiencing, but then in 2003, Rick noticed a few bumps on his arm that refused to go away. Upon further testing, the doctor confirmed that it was basal cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer.

Upon reading further studies and his own success in treating other issues with cannabis, he started to treat the bumps on his arm with concentrated cannabis oil. The growths disappeared after four days.

Rick was convinced and now on a mission to provide this cannabis oil to others at no cost. He has since helped over 5000 people with his oil.

Being a Canadian, and with the laws the way they were at the time, Rick didn’t have it easy. He was subjected to multiple raids at his home and had thousands of marijuana plants cut down and confiscated. To this day, Rick continues to share his discovery with the world and help others along the way.

There’s no way to verify Rick’s claims that the oil was responsible for his skin cancer disappearing, but it has gained momentum in the CBD world, and rightfully so.

So Where’s The Actual Research?

In this study conducted in Spain, research showed that pure THC extract had the effect of triggering anti-tumor responses in the body. This response was raised when they added in the whole plant extract, and not just the THC. This is known as the “Entourage Effect,” where all the parts work to boost each other and provide more relief than just any one part by itself.

In another study done on 9 subjects with glioblastoma multiforme, a brain tumor, THC was introduced directly to the tumor in the brain by way of an infusion catheter. This form of brain cancer is lethal and forms very rapidly. All subjects showed some improvement, with reduced tumor cell proliferation.

Here’s a study showing results in reducing primary tumor mass and CBD’s effectiveness for breast cancer in mice. Another one dealing with breast cancer can be found here. It focuses on the Id-1 gene, which is found active in many aggressive cancers. CBD can effectively inhibit this gene.

This article has an incredible amount of information regarding the current applications and studies being done on cannabinoids and their uses in treating cancer.

These are just a few of the studies that have been conducted on cannabinoids and cancer. There are others as well. One thing is certain; it’s going to take a lot more research before it is widely accepted in the world of medicine.

One of the biggest issues with using chemotherapy to fight cancer is that it doesn’t differentiate between healthy and unhealthy cells. It attacks both, which can lead to some pretty awful side effects. Treatment with cannabinoids shows none of these effects and has been shown to only attack the unhealthy cells.

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Not only does all this research show that the cannabinoids THC and CBD can help to fight cancer, but they are also used to combat the effects of chemotherapy, namely THC in this case.

THC has been prescribed for some time now for patients that are undergoing chemotherapy treatment. It has several different effects, including:

  • Relief from nausea and vomitingStudies have shown that cannabinoids, THC in particular, reduce nausea and vomiting in patients
  • Pain relief – Different studies have been done in this area, with mixed results due to the studies’ widely varying models. More research in the area is needed, but the overall results are promising.
  • Appetite stimulant – You’re probably familiar with the term “the munchies.” THC has been shown to help increase the appetite, making a major difference in the quality of life in a cancer patient.

One of the biggest drawbacks of using THC is the “high” that comes with it. Higher amounts can be more sedating than one would like and cause other unwanted side effects, like paranoia, dry mouth, anxiety, and more.

There is good news on that aspect, though. CBD works to effectively block the receptors that THC binds to within the Endocannabinoid System, reducing the mind-altering effects that it can produce.

The Future Of THC and CBD Oil For Cancer Treatment

There are still so many unknowns in cannabinoids and their potential use in the medical field. Here are a few of the prescription medications that contain cannabinoids that have been developed for use.

Marinol is made with a synthetic version of THC and is FDA approved to treat nausea and vomiting. Cesamet is another brand by a different pharmaceutical company that is similar in nature and used to treat nausea.

Sativex is yet another and contains both CBD and THC. It is prescribed for epilepsy, MS, nerve pain, and cancer-related pain.

All of these are accessed only by a prescription from your doctor, but there are alternatives if you cannot go this route.

The majority of the world’s CBD oil comes from the industrial hemp plant, which is naturally very low in THC. Legally in many places, there can be no more than 0.3%THC(USA), and in some areas, it is even less than that. In the UK, for example, CBD oil or products can contain no more than 0.2%THC.

Unfortunately, if higher THC levels are what you are looking for, and if you don’t live in an area where marijuana, and THC, are legal, then you are going to have a hard time getting your hands on it from other sources.

The CBD industry is currently unregulated, and no one quite knows just yet what the regulations will look like when they come into play. The FDA is holding its first hearing concerning CBD on May 31/2019. While it will take a long time to get regulations fully nailed down, the fact that it is happening is a good thing.

One part was a little concerning in the article, however, and that is where they detail that if an ingredient is first developed into a drug(like Sativex), it can no longer be used in any foods or supplements. This puts the entire industry at risk if it decides to uphold this, but only time will tell.

If you’re looking to purchase ANY CBD oil, make sure you’re following the guidelines that have been set out to ensure you are getting a product that doesn’t contain any toxins or pesticides and has the amount of CBD/THC in it that the company claims.

All of the companies on our recommended list uphold strict organic growing and manufacturing standards, and each one of them provides comprehensive, transparent testing on their products, so you know you’re getting the real deal when you order from any of them.

About the author 

Mallory Milne

Mallory is a mom of two, as well as the main content writer and owner of CBD Handle. She has been a consumer advocate and CBD user since 2018, and strives to relay accurate, easy to understand information and to educate others on the health benefits of CBD.


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