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Cannabinoids and cancer: What does the research say?

CBD oil has long been used for its various therapeutic effects, but what about its effect on cancer? Read what our founder Carlos Vera has written, to find out more about what the research shows.

CBD oil is a type of cannabinoid derived from cannabis. Although there is ongoing controversy surrounding CBD due to the recreational use of marijuana and the side effects that result from it, there is also a growing awareness of the various benefits of CBD. Unlike the cannabinoid THC, CBD does not create the 'high' feeling of intoxication and has been implicated in many therapeutic uses, ranging from the mental to the physical. Some of the possible medical benefits of CBD oil are the relief of anxiety and stress and the relief of pain, both chronic and muscular. CBD may even have neuroprotective effects.

Cancer is the growth and spread of abnormal cells, and is one of the most common non-communicable diseases in modern society. These abnormal cells can be malignant or tumour cells and can destroy body tissue by spreading and invading it. Although there are over 100 different types of cancers, some of the most common are breast, skin, colon and prostate cancers. The high prevalence rate of cancer worldwide leads to an equally high mortality rate: approximately one in six deaths is attributed to cancer. Identifying and developing effective treatments for the prevention and subsequent side effects of cancer is therefore of paramount importance.

Studies on cancer and CBD oil

Many of the studies investigating the relationship between CBD and cancer involve mice or human cells in the laboratory. Therefore, research is still in its infancy, and more studies specific to people with cancer are needed before conclusive statements can be made. Ongoing research on CBD and cancer mainly focuses on two categories. Firstly, whether CBD can slow or even stop cancer growth, and secondly, whether CBD can alleviate some of the side effects of cancer and its treatment, such as pain, nausea and anxiety.

Cannabinoids have the potential to be used as anti-inflammatories for skin conditions, with possible anti-cancer effects. Skin inflammation often leads to an increased risk of skin cancer due to increased pro-inflammatory cytokines and activation cascades, among other factors. Studies have confirmed this by showing that inflammatory cytokines, proteases and chemokines are involved in the survival and invasion of skin cancer cells. SKIN CANCER.

Cannabinoids have been shown to combat this and to produce anti-inflammatory effects, acting as protective agents in neuroinflammatory disorders, making them an excellent candidate for the treatment of SKIN CANCER.

A 2014 study looked at experimental models of colon cancer in vivo and suggested that CBD can inhibit the proliferation of colorectal cancer cells, and had no effect on the cells' ability to grow. healthy cells. Similarly, a study in 2019 showed that CBD induces apoptosis by up-regulating several anti- and pro-apoptotic proteins, decreasing total tumour volume.

In women, breast cancer is a leading cause of death and the most common cancer worldwide. Cannabinoids have been shown to have a modulatory effect on hormone-sensitive breast cancer cells, being involved in receptor-dependent and receptor-independent regulation of invasion and proliferation, both crucial features of breast cancer growth. cancer. In particular, CBD was shown to trigger the activation of the intrinsic apoptotic pathway present in breast cancer cells, leading to cell death. The study in 2011 also highlighted CBD's role in the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). This process is crucial, as inhibition of ROS blocks the activation of autophagy and apoptosis, which means that damaged cells can be eliminated and cell death can occur in diseased cells.

Lung cancer is another cancer with a high prevalence and mortality rate worldwide. Ninety percent of lung cancers can be attributed to smoking, among other factors, such as exposure to chemicals or radiation. A study recently demonstrated that cannabinoid receptor expression levels are a potential marker of survival in patients with non-small cell lung cancer. CBD was also able to inhibit the expression and growth of epidermal growth factor receptors on lung cancer cells.


Diets high in fat and cholesterol often lead to obesity, a major risk factor for cancer. When it comes to CBD and lowering cholesterol levels, studies are divided.

A study that tested mice claimed that CBD increased cholesterol levels in wild-type mice, but not in lab-bred mice. This was because blood cholesterol levels were already elevated in the lab-bred mice, so overall, CBD was shown to increase cholesterol levels in wild-type mice.

. However, because this study involved mice, more research is needed to investigate the relationship of CBD to cholesterol levels in humans.

On the other hand, a study in 2011 described the possible link between CBD consumption and genes related to cholesterol metabolism, suggesting that CBD treatment may regulate cholesterol homeostasis in microglial cells.

Blood pressure

Persistent high blood pressure is often associated with an increased risk of certain types of cancer, such as lung, oral and colon cancer. Research appears to be a little more conclusive with regard to lowering blood pressure. In a study 2017 study involving nine male volunteers, who were given either 600 mg of CBD or a placebo. Cardiovascular parameters were then monitored. The results showed that acute administration of CBD reduces blood pressure at rest and blood pressure in response to a stress stimulus.

Because CBD is a vasodilator, it can cause the arterial walls to relax, allowing vasodilation to occur in the blood vessels. This allows blood to flow more easily, subsequently lowering the pressure required for circulation and reducing the blood pressure.


Chronic inflammation is implicated in cancer growth, as cell damage can occur over time, subsequently affecting the way cells divide and grow. This, in turn, can affect the presence and growth of tumours. In addition to its effects on skin inflammation, CBD can act as an effective anti-inflammatory agent for arthritis, vascular inflammation and nerve tissue inflammation.

Cannabinoids, including CBD and CBG, present in our Blance Oil, have been shown to suppress inflammatory responses, reducing the symptoms of diseases involving inflammation. This is due to the properties of cannabinoids regulated through pathways involving suppression of cytokines at inflammatory sites and activation of apoptosis in immune cells. Therefore, CBD may be a beneficial preventative treatment for cancers that affect chronic inflammation within the body by inhibiting the growth of the tumour.


Obesity is often linked to cancer due to several factors. Obese individuals tend to have increased insulin and insulin growth factors, which may contribute to the development of some cancers. These individuals are also more likely to have low-level inflammation, which is associated with an increased risk of many cancers. Although obesity is mainly controlled by lifestyle factors, such as a healthy diet and sufficient exercise levels, many studies have investigated the relationship between obesity and cannabinoids, including CBD. CBD has been shown to affect weight loss and weight gain, as one of the main side effects of CBD treatment is a change in appetite, both increased and decreased.

From a study cross-section of CBD oil users, about 6.5% found to have increased hunger as a side effect while animal studies showed that CBD influenced metabolic rate and reduced food intake. This was due to the interaction between CBD and the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain and lymphatic tissue, because the receptors play crucial roles in food intake and the body metabolism. Despite these findings, research is still relatively limited, and more human studies are needed before definitive statements can be made.

CBD oil as a treatment for cancer side effects

Perhaps one of the most challenging stages of patient care required for people with cancer is dealing with the numerous side effects of the cancer disease itself and subsequent treatments. Cancer treatment options are very broad, but may include hormone therapy, immunotherapy and chemotherapy. These treatments are very taxing on the body and often cause a host of side effects, such as insomnia, nausea, decreased appetite and chronic pain.


Insomnia can be triggered by certain medications, which can disrupt the natural sleep-wake cycle. This can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue, with increased feelings of anxiety, as insufficient sleep is often linked to poor mental health. CBD may help promote feelings of insomnia in individuals taking cancer drugs, thereby regulating their circadian rhythm. A wide-ranging study case study published in 2019 looked at whether CBD could reduce anxiety and improve sleep in 72 individuals. After one month of consuming one CBD capsule a day, around 67% of patients reported better sleep and 80% reported decreased anxiety levels.

The main reason for this mechanism is the relationship between cannabinoids such as CBD and how they can interact with the body's endocannabinoid system. This system regulates a number of processes, such as sleep, mood and memory. When activated, a number of benefits can occur, such as increased muscle relaxation and stabilisation of the state of mind.


Loss of appetite, lack of appetite and nausea are some of the most common side effects of cancer treatment. Long-term appetite complications can be detrimental to the patient, as they may lead to insufficient nutrient intake and fatigue due to muscle loss. Most studies investigating the relationship between CBD and appetite have mixed data, with some showing a weight gain and others a clear weight loss. Although research is inconclusive, one thing is certain: these effects on hunger and appetite vary according to the individual, their genetics and the type of CBD product used.

The relationship between CBD and nausea seems to be more straightforward. An investigation 2011 suggests that CBD and its interaction with the endocannabinoid system lead to the regulation of vomiting and nausea in both humans and animals.


Chronic and persistent pain can be very debilitating to a cancer patient's quality of life. Research on topical CBD products such as CBD oil and its effects on pain management has been promising, with many recent studies showing the role of CBD oil in reducing inflammation and general discomfort due to various health conditions such as cancer.

A 2018 review looked at studies conducted between 1975 and 2018 to assess how CBD works to relieve chronic pain. It examined a range of pain conditions, including neuropathic pain and cancer pain. It concluded that CBD was effective in general pain management across the field, with little or no side effect.

Final reflections

Overall, while research has been promising, CBD treatment for cancer is still in its early stages. Cancer is a very complex disease, with many risk factors and complications that can arise throughout diagnosis and treatment. The formation of tumour cells in the body also involves many regulatory processes, such as cell division, cell death and metabolism.

Although studies have shown promising results for CBD in reducing several key risk factors for cancer, such as inflammation and blood pressure, the results are not yet conclusive for cancer prevention. On the other hand, CBD as an aid for the side effects of cancer treatment has grown in popularity in recent years. As this field of research continues to grow, the use of these products, including CBD oils, for common side effects of cancer, such as pain and insomnia, can be expected to increase. Further research is needed, especially with human participants rather than animal models.

Written by:
Carlos Vera

Carlos Vera

CEO & Founder

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