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Can Cannabidiol Play a Part in Cancer Treatment?

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This article was originally published on CBD Extractions. Click here to view the original article.


After much pre-clinical research, phytocannabinoids like cannabidiol can have anti-tumor and anti-cancer effects. More CBD cancer studies may be needed to substantiate this, but preliminary research is encouraging. Read on to learn how cannabidiol can treat this health condition.

How can cannabidiol help you with cancer?

Endogenous cannabinoids and phytocannabinoids can help regulate cancer-causing signaling pathways. This can be true of the way cancer cells grow and spread.

The clinical uses of THC tend to be controversial because of the mind altering or intoxicating properties of the compound. Conversely, cannabidiol is not intoxicating; It is one of the few well-tolerated hemp compounds. Cannabidiol has been shown to reduce tumor progression in various types of cancer.

A large body of evidence from cell and animal studies demonstrates the diverse anti-cancer properties of phytocannabinoids, which include cannabidiol. CBD rarely has negative secondary effects, can provide significant relief, and is particularly useful when added to THC, said integrative doctor Dustin Sulak.

The researchers are investigating in more detail how cannabidiol could work in synergy with common chemopharmaceuticals. They are also investigating how it is possible to move the phytocannabinoid from the laboratory to the treatment room.

Related: What Are The Differences Between Full Spectrum And Isolated CBD And Why Does It Matter? Click here to learn more.

CBD for chemotherapy side effects

There is also a lot of research supporting the use of cannabidiol as an additive to reduce and prevent the secondary effects of cancer treatments. Peripheral neuropathy is one of the most disruptive effects of certain cancer drugs. Peripheral neuropathy causes numbness, weakness, and pain in the feet and hands. 75% of cancer patients are likely to have it because of some chemotherapy.

Cannabidiol can help prevent this sensitivity from developing. According to a 2014 mouse study, doses of cannabidiol administered prior to a chemo known as paclitaxel prevented the development of nerve sensitivity in rodents. Her nervous system was not harmed, while treatment did not affect the effectiveness of chemotherapy. It would be interesting to know how much CBD oil cancer dose was used as part of this 2014 research.

Another study has shown that cannabidiol not only supports the rodents’ kidneys, but can also reduce cisplatin-induced kidney toxicity. For your information, cisplatin is a type of chemo-drug that has been linked to kidney damage.

Despite all of this, it remains to be seen whether cannabidiol will later be involved in cancer treatment.

Related: Does CBD Get You Up? Click here to core and get the facts.

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There’s NO evidence marijuana or CBD oil treats pain better than placebo, major review finds 

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All smoke and mirrors? There’s NO evidence marijuana or CBD oil treats pain better than placebo, major review finds

  • Twenty studies involving 1.5k people found a placebo reduced pain just as well
  • Expecting to have relief can change the way the body perceives pain signals
  • It comes amid a US cannabis revolution with 37 states legalizing to treat pain

Marijuana and CBD have no effect on pain relief, a major review has found.

Despite pain being one of the most popular reasons for using cannabis, researchers found the products are no more effective than a placebo.

The review looked at more than a dozen studies in 11 countries involving 1,459 people from early 2000s to September 2021.

The researchers said: ‘Our team observed no significant difference between cannabis and a placebo for reducing pain.’

Official figures show around a fifth of marijuana users in the US are prescribed medical cannabis. Estimates suggest a quarter of all Americans use CBD oil, with the main reason being pain (64 percent).

It comes after researchers at Cleveland Clinic found that cannabis users were significantly more likely to suffer pain after surgery.

It comes amid a cannabis revolution in the US with more than half of states legalizing the drug for medical reasons, including the treatment of pain. A total of 21 states have permitted its use recreationally.

Compulsory labeling should be used in the cannabis industry to let users know how much THC they are smoking, experts say

Researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden looked at 20 studies. Most participants were female and between 33 and 62 years old.

The majority of the experiments were carried out in the US, UK and Canada, but data from Israel, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic was also included.

A variety of pain conditions were included, such as nerve damage and multiple sclerosis, as well as a range of cannabis products — THC, CBD and synthetic cannabis — taken via pills, sprays, oils and smoking.

Results showed that pain intensity significantly reduced in response to a placebo, as did cannabis.

The research paper said: ‘Our meta-analysis showed that pain was rated as being significantly less intense after treatment with a placebo, with a moderate to large effect depending on each person.’

It added: ‘In line with general principles of human perception, expectations of (possible) pain relief can modulate sensory processing and thereby reduce the perception of incoming nociceptive signals.’

The review also found that lots of participants could tell the difference between a placebo and cannabis, even though they small, taste and look the same.

If people knew which they were receiving, this could lead them to give a biased judgment on the effectiveness of the treatment.

The study was published in the Journal American Medical Association.

The researchers’ findings corroborated a 2021 meta-analysis which found that studies where neither the researchers or participants know who is receiving the marijuana led to higher placebo responses.

It comes as a multi-state study found that pregnant women who live in US states with loose cannabis laws are substantially more likely to use the drug than women who live in places with more restrictions.

Smoking the drug while expecting puts the unborn baby at risk of premature birth and low birth weight or stillbirth as well as long-term brain development issues.

What are the health risks of marijuana?

About 48million Americans smoke cannabis at least once a year, official estimates suggest.

Marijuana is the third most commonly used drug in the US behind alcohol and tobacco.

This figure is rising as states continue to legalize the drug.

21 US states have legalized the drug for recreational use for adults.

But evidence is also growing over its health risks, particularly for young adults.

Researchers suggest it has the following negative impacts:

  • Brain damage: It can cause a permanent loss of IQ because it hinders brain development and could even have lasting cognition effects in young adults;
  • mental health: It has been linked to increased rates of suicide as well as psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety, although it is unclear if marijuana is the cause;
  • Daily life: Surveys link it to more problems in careers and maintaining healthy relationships;
  • Driving: Those who drive under the influence have slower reactions and less coordination, research shows.

Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.


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Philippines trans-fat ban, Thailand cannabis regulations, Japan organic governance and more

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Trans-fat fight: Philippines to ban all prepackaged processed foods with high trans-fat levels by 2023​

The Philippines government has announced a ban on all prepackaged processed foods containing high trans-fats levels as part of its objective to completely eliminate their presence by 2023.

In 2021 the Philippines laid out guidelines to prohibit the presence of partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) within the food supply, whether these be in edible oils and fats or used in the preparation of processed food products. This has now been expanded to include more guidelines for trans-fatty acids (TFAs) or trans-fats, specifically industrially-produced TFAs (artificial trans fat developed via the partial hydrogenation of oils).

“Studies have consistently shown that there is no safe level of TFA consumption and its intake ha no health benefit, [and] with neighboring countries implementing bans on PHOs and setting mandatory limits on TFA content in food, the Philippines is vulnerable to dumping of TFA-rich food products in the absence of similar regulations,”​ the Philippines Food and Drug Authority (FDA) said via a formal statement.

Cannabis commotion: Thailand tightens use of hemp and CBD in foods three months after decriminalization

The Thai government has announced new regulatory edicts specifying tighter regulatory control over the use of hemp and CBD in food and seasonings, just three months after announcing the decriminalization of cannabis in the country.

In July this year, FoodNavigator-Asia​ reported that Thailand became the first country in South East Asia to formally legalize the use of cannabis for food-related purposes, after the Thai Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) announced that cannabis and hemp were delisted from the Category 5 list of narcotics in the Royal Gazette. This legalized the planting, importing, consumption and also usage of these for use in food products, with the caveat that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content did not exceed 0.2%.

About three months on, MOPH has now issued several new edicts regarding the use of cannabis and hemp and cannabis in foods and seasonings, presumably to tighten regulatory control and ensure that these would not be misused for recreational purposes.

Organic observance: Japan tightens regulations for food imports and certification label sizing​

The Japanese government has implemented tighter regulations for organic food imports, with firms required to appoint specific personnel and use standard organic certification labels to avoid being rejected.

Although the organic food market in Japan is still largely considered an emerging segment, the rise of the health and wellness trend in recent years has delivered a boost to the segment, which was valued at some US$1.8bn as of 2020.

With this rise has come an increase in interest from various international companies to break into Japan’s organic market, and a corresponding increase in organic food imports – this has in turn prompted the local government to implement more stringent regulations to govern the entry of this, as reflected in a recent announcement from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF).

China celeb ban: No celebrity endorsement allowed for health supplements – SAMR​

Health supplements brands are prohibited from engaging celebrities to endorse their products, the Chinese authorities have warned again, in a move which an expert says is targeted at a ‘grey area’ for overseas brands.

The State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) announced the above, alongside six other regulatory bodies, including the Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, National Radio and Television Administration, China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, China Securities Regulatory Commission and the China Film Administration.

Safety over shelf life: Thai consumer concerns over long expiry dates driving demand for clean label ingredients​

Rising awareness among Thai consumers regarding the potential unhealthy connotations associated with long expiry dates is a key factor driving up the demand for clean label food ingredients in the country, according to leading industry experts.

Although the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic generally led consumers worldwide towards an increased preference for foods and beverages that were more affordable and could last longer, the time of panic buying has now passed and Thais seem to be paying more attention to the labels of their purchases.

This has in turn led to rising concerns over long expiry dates, the potential additives in these products conveying these as well as the potential long-term health impacts, according to leading starch firm SMS Group.

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Home Office hampering potential of Scotland’s hemp farmers

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SCOTLAND’S hemp industry is being hampered by excessive regulation, according to industry experts.

Researchers at the University of Aberdeen have highlighted how the crop could birth an economically successful and climate-friendly industry in Scotland.

However, it is currently being hamstrung by strict Home Office legislation and a lack of infrastructure.

The plant is part of the cannabaceae family, which includes species which are cultivated for their use as a psychoactive drug.

Cannabis is classified as a Class B drug in the UK but farmers are able to grow low-THC – the psychoactive substance present within the plant – varieties if they are successful in applying for Home Office permission.

READ MORE: Could hemp help Scotland’s agricultural sector reach Net Zero?

But as Dr Wisdom Dogbe from the University of Aberdeen told The National, farmers are currently subject to a protracted and costly process when attempting to gain a licence.

“It is very difficult to get approval from the Home Office,” he said. “Farmers told us that applying for a license takes so long that by the time it has been approved the growing season is over.

“Then, even when farmers are granted a licence, they need to pay for the government to supervise their farm every three years.

“It’s really difficult for them because choosing to farm a new crop is a risk on its own. When you add policy challenges on top of that, it deters farmers from going into production.”

Dogbe (below) added that the best thing the UK Government could do to foster this burgeoning industry is to “ensure that regulations are not too strict or expensive for farmers and make it easier for them to get a licence.”

The National:

Kyle Esplin is the co-founder of Holistic Highland Hemp, a company which cultivates hemp and sells it in the form of CBD oil – a non-psychoactive chemical substance found in the plant which has numerous medicinal benefits. He echoed Dogbe’s calls for a relaxation in regulations.

He said: “Farmers pay £550 for a three-year licence. But some have found that when they go to renew it, it gets denied.

“Whoever granted the license may have looked at the map and thought ‘great’ but then the person decides whether it gets renewed it has said, for example, that it’s too close to a B-road in terms of visibility.

“So, that’s the approval denied entirely at their discretion, even though the farmer has got a field and can grow it there.

“Then the government will say that in order to grow it the farmer will have to plant 10 meters of wheat all the way around the hemp to try and disguise it. But the pesticides used on wheat can’t be used on hemp so it all becomes unfeasible.

“The whole industry has just been disadvantaged and sidelined.”

READ MORE: Cannabis and Scotland: The surprising crop once a key component of nation’s agriculture

Esplin said this is surprising given the ecological benefits the crop has in terms of carbon-capture and biodiversity. Indeed, according to Dogbe’s research, most farmers gravitate towards the crop because it can improve the health of soil in a fallow year.

He said: “Hemp improves the biodiversity, leaves behind a lot of nutrients and also extracts toxins from the soil. So, from the farmers we spoke to, it seemed that the main reason they wanted to grow hemp was because of the environmental benefits.”

The UK is a net importer of hemp seed and hemp fiber despite ample opportunity for domestic production.

Still, some businesses have forged on in utilizing the crop despite the regulatory challenges.

IndiNature, a company based in the Scottish Borders, has just opened the UK’s first dedicated natural fiber insulation mill which uses industrial hemp in the end product.

IndiTherm is a carbon negative insulation material containing hemp sourced from farms in the UK.

Speaking at the opening of the mill, Scottish Government minister Patrick Harvie welcomed the technology as a sustainable solution to the country’s energy problems.

He said: “Developing climate-friendly solutions to heat and insulate our homes should be seen not only as a challenge which must be met to deliver on our climate obligations, but as a substantial opportunity for the sector and the wider economy.

“I was pleased to visit IndiNature to find out more about their innovative, sustainable insulation products and wish the team every success as it continues to develop, grow and support the acceleration of our green heat industry.”

But Dogbe said that change must occur if the industry is to thrive in Scotland: “Importing these products instead of producing them does not make sense. There is huge potential, the land is available, the soil is good and the weather is right for producing the crop here.

Esplin echoed the call for change and said the regulatory environment of the UK was putting farmers off, particularly when compared to the more lenient approaches to the crop in Europe.

“The biggest hesitation from farmers is not having the developed domestic market for their produce despite overall popularity of the plant,” he said.

“It’s also because they’ve been disadvantaged with the licensing system compared to their European counterparts.

“In Europe, the farmer is able to sell the flower for CBD extraction and the leaves, which get harvested for hemp tea.

“But in the UK, they’re only allowed to use the seed and the stalk; they’re not allowed to use the leaf and the flower. That’s a large part of their potential income being lost.”

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