How CBD Helps Treat Cancer

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Cancer is the general name that is given to a collection of related diseases. These diseases are characterized by the development of abnormal cells that divide uncontrollably. These cells have the ability to infiltrate, spread throughout the body, thereby destroying normal body tissues. Cancer can actually start almost everywhere in the body. Normal human cells grow and divide to form new cells as needed by the body. When normal cells grow old or become damaged, they die and new cells take their place. However, as soon as cancer cells develop, this orderly process breaks down. The cells rather become more and more abnormal and instead of old or damaged cells to die, they survive and new cells form when they are not needed. These extra cells could therefore divide without stopping and could also form growths known as tumors.

Cancer cells differ from normal cells in many ways and that explains why they grow out of control and become invasive. One of the major differences lies in the fact that cancer cells are less specialized than normal cells, and while normal cells mature into very distinctive cell types with specific functions, cancer cells do not. Moreover, unlike normal cells, cancer cells continue to divide without stopping.

The signs and symptoms of cancer often vary depending on the area which is affected. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of cancer include fatigue, lump, changes in weight, skin changes such as yellowing, darkening or redness, changes in bowel or bladder habits, sores that won’t heal, hoarseness, persistent cough, difficulty swallowing, unexplained bruises or bleeding, persistent indigestion or discomfort after eating, persistent muscle or joint pain as well as persistent/unexplained night sweats and fevers. According to scientists, cancers are caused by gene mutations and the risk factors include old age, certain lifestyle choices, environmental factors, family history as well as certain health conditions. Cancer can be cured even though the treatment option depends on the type and stage of the disease. The treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, bone marrow transplant, immunotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted drug therapy as well as clinical trials.

Over the years, scientists have been able to find a link between CBD and cancer. The authors of a study that was conducted in 2015 found a promising link between CBD and cancer. After adjusting for several factors, the findings from this study revealed that CBD users had a 45 percent lower risk of developing bladder cancer.

Researchers had also noted in 2016 that the use of CBD could be promising in the fight against cancer. The authors of this study also revealed that the use of CBD is beneficial in inhibiting the growth of different kinds of tumor cells in both test tubes and animal models. Such findings, however go a long way to buttress the claims that CBD could be effective in the treatment of cancer.

There are also indications that CBD is effective in relieving pain caused by both cancer and its treatment. It is evident that cancer often causes pain as a result of inflammation, nerve injury, or pressure on internal organs. When the pain becomes too severe, it can even be resistant to opioid and other painkillers. CBD on its part indirectly reacts on the CB2 receptors, which could in turn relief widespread pain by reducing inflammation.

CBD is effective in reducing anticipatory nausea and vomiting, which is associated with cancer and certain treatment options such as chemotherapy. There are indications that prescription antiemetics are not helpful for anticipatory nausea, but cannabinoids, including CBD, THC, and CBDA could be effective in alleviating the condition. A study that was conducted by Prof. Linda Parker, a behavioral neuroscientist at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, actually revealed that several phytocannabinoids including THC, CBD, and CBDA alleviate anticipatory nausea in conditioned lab animals. Of course, there is a need for clinical trials to be conducted on humans.

Some scientists have argued that CBD could be a safer alternative treatment for some of the symptoms of cancer since it is not associated with many adverse side effects. Unlike traditional medications for pain management, CBD does not affect the central nervous system. Nonetheless, there is a need for more in depth research on humans, to ascertain the exact extent to which CBD could effectively treat the symptoms of different kinds of cancers.

Sources:

Mayo Clinic
National Cancer Institute
Medical News Today

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