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CBD and growing scientific research

The number of scientific studies and research going into CBD and medical cannabis continue to grow and develop by the day. As we see more capital pour into the sector, the level of research and backing for scientific study increases. The expected regulation and further FSA Novel Foods guidance which is imminent, should also help to build trust and increased scientific rigour to the industry.

So whilst we keep a close eye on developments moving forward it’s worth looking into some of the key clinical findings from current high level research. Most of the research highlighted below is based on CBD oils rather than the likes of other CBD edibles or topicals of which you can find our list of CBD oils of varying strengths and flavours here.

One impressive case study from the BMJ recently had the following heading: 

“Daily use of cannabidiol (‘CBD’) oil may be linked to lung cancer regression”

It may be worth exploring further the use of cannabidiol (‘CBD’) oil as a potential lung cancer treatment, suggest doctors in BMJ Case Reports after dealing with a daily user whose lung tumour shrank without the aid of conventional treatment.

The body’s own endocannabinoids are involved in various processes, including nerve function, emotion, energy metabolism, pain and inflammation, sleep and immune function. We have another blog post focused on helping you to understand the Endocannabinoid system here.

Chemically similar to these endocannabinoids, cannabinoids can interact with signalling pathways in cells, including cancer cells. They have been studied for use as a primary cancer treatment, but the results have been inconsistent.

Lung cancer remains the second most common cancer in the UK. Despite treatment advances, survival rates remain low at around 15% five years after diagnosis. And average survival without treatment is around 7 months.

The report authors describe the case of a woman in her 80s, diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer. She also had mild chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), osteoarthritis, and high blood pressure, for which she was taking various drugs. 

She was a smoker, getting through around a pack plus of cigarettes every week (68 packs/year).

Her tumour was 41 mm in size at diagnosis, with no evidence of local or further spread, so was suitable for conventional treatment of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. But the woman refused treatment, so was placed under ‘watch and wait’ monitoring, which included regular CT scans every 3-6 months.

These showed that the tumour was progressively shrinking, reducing in size from 41 mm in June 2018 to 10 mm by February 2021, equal to an overall 76% reduction in maximum diameter, averaging 2.4% a month, say the report authors.

When contacted in 2019 to discuss her progress, the woman revealed that she had been taking CBD oil as an alternative self-treatment for her lung cancer since August 2018, shortly after her original diagnosis.

She had done so on the advice of a relative, after witnessing her husband struggle with the side effects of radiotherapy. She said she consistently took 0.5 ml of the oil, usually three times a day, but sometimes twice. 

“We are unable to confirm the full ingredients of the CBD oil that the patient was taking or to provide information on which of the ingredient(s) may be contributing to the observed tumour regression,” they point out.

And they emphasise: “Although there appears to be a relationship between the intake of CBD oil and the observed tumour regression, we are unable to conclusively confirm that the tumour regression is due to the patient taking CBD oil.”

Cannabis has a long ‘medicinal’ history in modern medicine, having been first introduced in 1842 for its analgesic, sedative, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and anticonvulsant effects. And it is widely believed that cannabinoids can help people with chronic pain, anxiety and sleep disorders; cannabinoids are also used in palliative care, the authors add. 

“More research is needed to identify the actual mechanism of action, administration pathways, safe dosages, its effects on different types of cancer and any potential adverse side effects when using cannabinoids,” they conclude.

Another research paper cited by the BMJ looking at medical cannabis or cannabinoids for chronic non-cancer and cancer related pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised clinical trials and found the following conclusion:

“Moderate to high certainty evidence shows that non-inhaled medical cannabis or cannabinoids results in a small improvement in pain relief, physical functioning, and sleep quality among patients with chronic pain, along with several transient adverse side effects, compared with placebo.” 

Chronic pain is no doubt one of the most difficult issues to deal with, so for some positive findings on the uses of cannabinoids is very pleasing. As scientific studies increase we hope these findings grow and help match up to the huge anecdotal evidence in the community and millions of consumers worldwide that take CBD to help with the likes of anxiety, sleep, pain, mood enhancement amongst other things. As always if you have questions please get in touch or see what we have to offer at 

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