The Effects of CBD on Leukemia
Cannabidiol, popularly known as CBD, is a compound obtained from the cannabis plant (also referred to as hemp or marijuana) through distillation. Although a product of the Cannabis Sativa L. plant, CBD doesn’t have the psychoactive properties that THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) has, which is why hemp extracted CBD that contains federal legal limits of THC (three-tenths of one-percent or less) does not have psychoactive effects.
Although discovered many decades ago, CBD oil has been gaining popularity in the health and wellness sector over the recent past. This is due to the compound’s rich properties that may come in handy in promoting good health. People seek out CBD because of the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) has receptors that process CBD, but what are its effects on leukemia specifically? We really do not know the effects on leukemia as scientific research around luekemia is ongoing.
Leukemia is a type of blood cancer characterized by the development of abnormal white blood cells. Cancer starts in the bone marrow where these cancerous cells mutate and start multiplying in number. White blood cells are responsible for fighting disease-causing microbes, hence vital for a person’s immunity.
The leukemia cells can also be defined as under-developed white blood cells that serve no purpose in the body. The abnormal product of these cells inhibits the production of other vital blood cells, including red blood cells, platelets, etc. This thus can lead to a lower RBC (red blood cell) count, among other complications.
Red blood cells are responsible for transporting food nutrients, oxygen, and other vital components to various parts of the body. Therefore, a low RBC count can put an individual’s health at risk.
Although the cause of leukemia is still unknown, several factors, including genetic, environmental, and lifestyle, may contribute to the condition. According to research, young children contribute to more than 75% of reported leukemia cases.
The most common signs and symptoms of leukemia include increased risk of infections, fever, tiredness, easy bruising and bleeding, bone pain, excessive sweating, and tiny red spots on the skin, among others.
The Effects of CBD on Leukemia
CBD oil has a rich nutritional profile that may help alleviate the symptoms that people with leukemia have identified among their health conditions. Hemp extracted CBD is particularly high in antioxidants, vitamins, proteins, essential fatty acids, flavonoids, terpenes, terpenoids, and minerals, all of which may promote good health.
CBD might also contain properties that have the potential to help, and we support research to find specifics of helping. However, it’s important to remember that studies in this area are still in their infancy and there’s much more to learn about how the effects of CBD might impact leukemia.
Outlined below are some of the ways in which CBD might affect leukemia.
CBD Oil May Help in Apoptosis
Apoptosis is the process by which the body naturally destroys cells (harmful ones in this case) to help maintain a healthy balance. We have identified that our CBDa/CBD formula increases the process of autophagy, which is the bodies way of cleaning out damaged cells in order to regenerate newer, healthier cells. As mentioned earlier, leukemia is a product of abnormal production of immature white blood cells that crowd the lymphatic system and the blood, making it hard for other types of essential blood cells to be developed.
There are studies that show promise that have identified how abnormal cells are produced. In addition to this, CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system enabling, or helping itself to restore to a state of homeostasis. The body already has a process to manage dead cells, and damaged cells, and a healthy lifestyle only helps the body processes.
Cannabidiols might also work with the CB2 receptors in a way that helps the body determine if a cell is useful or detrimental. This again may be helping with the destruction of unhealthy cells.
The interaction of cannabinoids with CB2 receptors may also help the development of healthy white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.
CBD May Provide Nourishment for Healthy Cell Development
CBD in full spectrum extract form may be a good source of essential nutrients/compounds required for healthy cell development. These include B-complex vitamins, flavonoids, essential fatty acids, and proteins . Consuming hemp extracted CBD oil may supplement your intake of many of these nutrients in their full-spectrum form.
Nutrients, especially vitamins and amino acids in their full-spectrum form, may play an important role in the manufacturing of healthy blood cells. According to various researchers and health experts, making these high-quality nutrients available in the body may promote healthy cells.
Therefore, CBD oil may be able to create the right environment.
How Might CBD Help the Side Effects of Leukemia Treatments?
The most common treatment methods for leukemia include bone marrow transplant, targeted therapy, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Most of these treatment options involve the use of toxic compounds that aim at killing the cancerous cells. However, the toxic compounds can also take a toll on other healthy cells.
CBD oil, however, has antioxidative and phytonutrients that may help reduce and alleviate some side effects to treatments. Here are some of the potential benefits of using CBD oil for the side effects associated with leukemia:
CBD oil has a long history of being used as an anti-inflammatory. Cannabinoids might work by reducing inflammation that may be caused by treatments that may be inhibiting CB2 receptors throughout the body and the brain.
This may provide solutions with inflammation and pain relief from treatments, and we always encourage speaking with your doctor about your consumption of hemp extracts (ie; cannabinoids, CBD, CBDa, etc.) and other medications. We have compared full spectrum hemp extracted with dexamethasone a prescription anti-inflammatory, and have identified positive activity with CBDa/CBD as a comparison.
Most patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy reportedly have a low appetite. Most of these treatments cause nausea and vomiting; another aspect that may force a patient not to want to eat.
Taking CBD supplements may increase appetite. This is one reason it may be recommended for those suffering from leukemia should consult their doctor about potential benefits with CBD. A healthy appetite is important as the essential nutrients from food are needed for strength and for healthy cell function.
CBD May Have an Anti-Nausea Effect
As previously mentioned, people undergoing treatments for cancer may experience nausea and even vomiting after undergoing chemotherapy treatments. CBD may, however, be potent enough to help reduce nausea . When using CBD for nausea, you might want to consider the best CBD delivery method for fast action like water soluble versions of CBD.
CBD May Be a Powerful Antioxidant
Full spectrum CBD can be a good source of Vitamins A, B, C, and E, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. These vitamins and other antioxidants might help to expunge and eliminate toxic compounds from body cells and the body in general.
Helps to Reduce Stress
Leukemia, like most other cancers, can take a toll on a person’s psychological health. Stress, however, may exacerbate symptoms. Therefore, it’s important to help keep your stress levels in check.
The increased stress levels may also increase the pain. CBD in your daily routine may help keep your stress levels down. CBD helps by inducing increased production of anandamide, the compound responsible for elevating your moods. Anandamide is also known to trigger a sense of mental relaxation and tranquility.
Methods of Consuming CBD Oil
CBD is a popular product in the health and wellness industry. With CBD’s potential to help the symptoms of various health conditions, users may be confused as to which delivery method is right for them. Outlined below are some of the most common, and preferred, methods of consuming CBD for the symptoms of leukemia.
This is the most popular method of consuming CBD today. Although a popular option, the oral delivery method isn’t fast-acting. Mixing CBD into a carrier, however, improves the absorption rate. CBD can be taken orally through gummies, oils, edibles, and capsules.
This method involves putting the CBD extract under the tongue and allowing it to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream. It is considered to be the most effective and efficient way of delivering CBD into the system. CBD tinctures and CBD sprays are most preferred for this application method.
As the name suggests, this method involves inhaling CBD in a vaporized form. This delivers CBD directly to the bloodstream through the respiratory system. This increases absorption significantly, making it the quickest delivery method when looking to alleviate pain and other symptoms. All you need for this delivery method is a CBD cartridge (refillable), CBD oil extract, and a good quality vape pen. The vape pen needs to be set at a precise temperature to reduce the risk of changing the CBD structure. However, it is important to note that several lung-related illnesses have been linked back to vaping.
CBD oil is applied directly onto the skin and allowed to be absorbed into the bloodstream. While CBD will have a similar effect as with inhaling, it isn’t the most efficient of all. This is because the oil takes time before it can reach the capillaries. That said, topical application is preferred when looking to improve your skin health as well as targeting a localized pain.
CBD and your body’s response to it may be different if you are undergoing treatments for cancer, and you must consult your doctor before using anything outside of their treatments.
When searching for CBD products, it’s advised to look for a high-quality CBD oil, like Tanasi’s patent-pending formula of CBDa and CBD in full spectrum form. Be sure to talk to your doctor to advise you on the best way to consume CBD, dosage, and if it is safe for you, in particular, if with an underlying condition or using other medications. The Tanasi products have not been evaluated by the FDA, and ongoing research is being conducted to identify “WHY” our body responds to CBD.
Cannabis, CBD oil and cancer
Cannabis is a plant and a class B drug. It affects people differently. It can make you feel relaxed and chilled but it can also make you feel sick, affect your memory and make you feel lethargic. CBD oil is a chemical found in cannabis.
- Cannabis has been used for centuries recreationally and as a medicine.
- It is illegal to possess or supply cannabis as it is a class B drug.
- Research is looking at the substances in cannabis to see if it might help treat cancer.
- There are anti sickness medicines that contain man-made substances of cannabis.
What are cannabis and cannabinoids?
Cannabis is a plant. It is known by many names including marijuana, weed, hemp, grass, pot, dope, ganja and hash.
The plant produces a resin that contains a number of substances or chemicals. These are called cannabinoids. Cannabinoids can have medicinal effects on the body.
The main cannabinoids are:
- Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
- Cannabidiol (CBD)
THC is a psychoactive substance that can create a ‘high’ feeling. It can affect how your brain works, changing your mood and how you feel.
CBD is a cannabinoid that may relieve pain, lower inflammation and decrease anxiety without the psychoactive ‘high’ effect of THC.
Different types of cannabis have differing amounts of these and other chemicals in them. This means they can have different effects on the body.
Cannabis is a class B drug in the UK. This means that it is illegal to have it, sell it or buy it.
CBD oil, cannabis oil and hemp oil
There are different types of oil made from parts of the cannabis plant. Some are sold legally in health food stores as a food supplement. Other types of oil are illegal.
CBD oil comes from the flowers of the cannabis plant and does not contain the psychoactive substance THC. It can be sold in the UK as a food supplement but not as a medicine. There is no evidence to support its use as a medicine.
Cannabis oil comes from the flowers, leaves and stalks of the cannabis plant. Cannabis oil often contains high levels of the psychoactive ingredient THC. Cannabis oil is illegal in the UK.
Hemp oil comes from the seeds of a type of cannabis plant that doesn’t contain the main psychoactive ingredient THC. Hemp seed oil is used for various purposes including as a protein supplement for food, a wood varnish and an ingredient in soaps.
Why people with cancer use it
Cannabis has been used medicinally and recreationally for hundreds of years.
There has been a lot of interest into whether cannabinoids might be useful as a cancer treatment. The scientific research done so far has been laboratory research, with mixed results, so we do not know if cannabinoids can treat cancer in people.
Results have shown that different cannabinoids can:
- cause cell death
- block cell growth
- stop the development of blood vessels – needed for tumours to grow
- reduce inflammation
- reduce the ability of cancers to spread
Scientists also discovered that cannabinoids can:
- sometimes encourage cancer cells to grow
- cause damage to blood vessels
Cannabinoids have helped with sickness and pain in some people.
This means a cannabis based product used to relieve symptoms.
Some cannabis based products are available on prescription as medicinal cannabis. The following medicines are sometimes prescribed to help relieve symptoms.
Nabilone is a drug developed from cannabis. It is licensed for treating severe sickness from chemotherapy that is not controlled by other anti sickness drugs. It is a capsule that you swallow whole.
Sativex is a cannabis-based medicine. It is licensed in the UK for people with Multiple Sclerosis muscle spasticity that hasn’t improved with other treatments. Sativex is a liquid that you spray into your mouth.
Researchers are looking into Sativex as a treatment for cancer related symptoms and for certain types of cancer.
How you have it
Cannabis products can be smoked, vaporized, ingested (eating or drinking), absorbed through the skin (in a patch) or as a cream or spray.
CBD oil comes as a liquid or in capsules.
Prescription drugs such as Nabilone can cause side effects. This can include:
- increased heart rate
- blood pressure problems
- mood changes
- memory problems
Cannabis that contains high levels of THC can cause panic attacks, hallucinations and paranoia.
There are also many cannabis based products available online without a prescription. The quality of these products can vary. It is impossible to know what substances they might contain. They could potentially be harmful to your health and may be illegal.
Research into cannabinoids and cancer
We need more research to know if cannabis or the chemicals in it can treat cancer.
Clinical trials need to be done in large numbers where some patients have the drug and some don’t. Then you can compare how well the treatment works.
Many of the studies done so far have been small and in the laboratory. There have been a few studies involving people with cancer.
Sativex and temozolomide for a brain tumour (glioblastoma) that has come back
In 2021, scientists reported the final results of a phase 1 study to treat people with recurrent glioblastoma (a type of brain tumour that has come back). The study looked at Sativex in combination with the chemotherapy drug temozolomide.
Researchers found that adding Sativex caused side effects, which included, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, nausea and headache but patients found the side effects manageable.
They also observed that 83 out of 100 people (83%) were alive after one year using Sativex, compared to 44 out of 100 people (44%) taking the placebo.
However, this phase 1 study only involved 27 patients, which was too small to learn about any potential benefits of Sativex. The study wanted to find out if Sativex and temozolomide was safe to take by patients.
Researchers have now started a larger phase 2 trial called ARISTOCRAT, to find out if this treatment is effective and who might benefit from it. Speak to your specialist if you want to take part in a clinical trial.
Sativex and cancer pain
There are trials looking at whether Sativex can help with cancer pain that has not responded to other painkillers.
The results of one trial showed that Sativex did not improve pain levels. You can read the results of the trial on our clinical trials website.
Cancer and nausea and vomiting
A cannabis based medicine, Nabilone, is a treatment for nausea and vomiting.
A Cochrane review in 2015 looked at all the research available looking into cannabis based medicine as a treatment for nausea and sickness in people having chemotherapy for cancer. It reported that many of the studies were too small or not well run to be able to say how well these medicines work. They say that they may be useful if all other medicines are not working.
A drug called dexanabinol which is a man made form of a chemical similar to that found in cannabis has been trialled in a phase 1 trial. This is an early trial that tries to work out whether or not the drug works in humans, what the correct dose is and what the side effects might be. The results are not available yet. You can read about the trial on our clinical trials database.
Word of caution
Cannabis is a class B drug and illegal in the UK.
There are internet scams where people offer to sell cannabis preparations to people with cancer. There is no knowing what the ingredients are in these products and they could harm your health.
Some of these scammers trick cancer patients into buying ‘cannabis oil’ which they then never receive.
You could talk with your cancer specialist about the possibility of joining a clinical trial. Trials can give access to new drugs in a safe and monitored environment.
The science blog on our website has more information about cannabis and cancer.