How CBD Imparts Anti- Cancer Effects?


Since the discovery of medical and therapeutic benefits of cannabidiol by modern medicine, there has been an interest in its potential anti-cancer properties. Because of this, multiple researches are conducted focusing on its efficacy for different forms of cancer. Also, researches that looked at its broader application have labelled it as “anti-proliferative” and “anti-angiogenic” due to multiple reasons. Besides, it is also useful in managing symptoms associated with cancer treatments such as nausea and vomiting due to its anti-emetic properties. So how is CBD for cancer imparts its effects?

What Is The Potential Of CBD As An Anti-Cancer Drug?

Research has shown that CBD selectively and strongly inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells, and this is assumed due to its activation of the TRPV1 receptor. Also, one of the reasons for cancer is oxidative stress and as a result, it indirectly activates CB2 receptors that are involved with the immune system. It is effective as a potent inhibitor preventing the proliferation of breast cancer cells. Interestingly, it down-regulates the expression of genes that are responsible for cell proliferation, migration and invasion of different types of cancer cells. Besides, it has anti-tumour properties in gliomas i.e. tumours having glial origin and hence it is effective in reducing tumour aggressiveness as well.

How CBD Inhibits Angiogenesis?

A 2010 study has shown CBD to have good anti-angiogenic property, i.e. preventing new blood vessel formation in tumours and thereby inhibiting its growth. This is achieved through multiple mechanisms, similar to it being a pleiotropic drug. Firstly, cannabidiol attaches to CB1 and CB2 receptors, inhibits the survival and migration of vascular endothelial cells as part of its anti-angiogenic action. Because of this, it decreases vascular thickness in tumour cells and reduces their formation. Besides, it also suppresses the production of pro-angiogenic factor along with inducing apoptosis i.e. programmed cell death of the endothelial cells.

How CBD Inhibits Cancer Cell Invasion?

It has been found in studies that invasion of human lung cancer cells and human cervical cancer cells was reversed by antagonists to CB1, CB2 receptors as well as TRPV1 receptors when they used CBD.  In addition to this, the anti-invasive nature of CBD is due to its up-regulation of Tissue Inhibitor of Matrix Metalloproteinases (TIMP-1). These are some of the novel mechanisms through which cannabidiol is useful as a therapeutic option for highly invasive cancers in humans.

How Is CBD Useful As An Antineoplastic Agent?

An antineoplastic agent is something that stops or inhibits the development of a neoplasm or a tumour and CBD has good antineoplastic effects. This is because, in-vitro studies of glioma cells have shown that it reduces mitochondrial oxidative metabolism and resulting in its anti-proliferative effect. Hence, there is a very high potential use of CBD as an antineoplastic agent in cancer treatment.

How CBD Is Useful In Treating Breast Cancer?

CBD is useful in the treatment of human breast cancer by its inhibition of the invasion and proliferation through the differential modulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (EKR) pathways. This causes the down-regulation of the expression of the ID1 gene responsible for human breast cancer.

How CBD Inhibits Prostate Carcinoma Growth?

Prostate carcinoma is going to be a major life-threatening disease for men according to the WHO, and it is predicted to double in the next 30 years. Research has shown that activation of CBD cannabinoid receptor induces apoptosis of prostate carcinoma cells. CBD increases levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS)  along with inhibition TRPM8 pathways helps in its use for treating prostate carcinoma. Besides, a study has shown that plant derived cannabinoids, especially CBD are very good inhibitors of prostate carcinoma cells in-vitro.

How CBD Is Useful As A Chemopreventive Agent In Colon Cancer?

A study has shown the chemopreventive effects of CBD reduce colon cell proliferation through different mechanisms. This is important because colon cancer affects millions of people in western countries and cannabidiol is safe due to it being non-psychotropic. This is achieved through multiple pathways, CBD protects the DNA from oxidative damage, increases endocannabinoid levels and reduced proliferation of cells. Hence, there is potential for its use in the treatment and prevention of colon cancer in humans.

How Is CBD Useful As An Antiemetic Drug?

Evidence has shown that the manipulation of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) controls nausea and vomiting in humans. CBD is known to enhance this system and hence it is useful as an effective antiemetic drug without any kind of side effect. Humans and animals vomit as an immune system reflex to throw out toxic substances that enter the body. In cancer patients, the chemicals used in chemotherapy increase toxic levels in the body making them feel nauseous and vomiting. Administering CBD for cancer in the form of oil will help to manage these symptoms, along with improving their appetite. These two combined improves the overall health and general well being of cancer patients.

It is obvious from the above discussion that scientists use CBD for cancer as a potential alternative drug without side effects.