September 06, 2022

The Big C: 7+ Things To Know About CBD Oil & Cancer

While the overall rate of cancer in the US is going down, it’s still a common condition. In fact, here are a couple of numbers to put it into perspective for you:

  • In 2017, about 5.5% of Americans had some form of cancer.(1)
  • Nearly 39.5% of men and women will get a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime.(2)

Given that this disease touches so many lives, it’s understandable that medical and research communities are always looking for better — as in safer, more effective, cheaper, more accessible, etc. — ways to prevent and treat cancers. Could CBD be an integral part of next-gen cancer therapies?

What Is Cancer?

Cancer is basically cells gone wild. But not just any cells. Cancer develops when abnormal cells grow and reproduce in an uncontrolled manner. Oftentimes, these diseased cells spread to other parts of the body and/or clump together to form a malignant (cancerous) tumor.

Types Of Cancer

There are many kinds of cancer. So, pretty much anywhere in the body could, theoretically, get the cancer. Among the most common forms of the condition are:(3)

  • Bladder cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Colorectal cancers
  • Endometrial (uterine) cancer
  • Kidney cancers
  • Leukemias
  • Lung cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (lymphatic system)
  • Prostate cancer
  • Skin cancers

Causes Of & Risk Factors For Cancer

Similarly, there are many potential causes of and risk factors for cancer. These may include:(4)

  • Age
  • Alcohol use
  • Certain viral or bacterial infections (e.g., HPV)
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Exposure to certain chemicals
  • Genetics
  • History of having cancer
  • Hormones
  • Obesity
  • Overexposure to the sun
  • Poor diet
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Smoking

Common Mainstream Cancer Treatments

Fortunately, a variety of treatments are available. Depending upon the nature and severity of the illness, a doctor may recommend one or more therapies.

Conventional Care

Surgery, Chemotherapy, radiation, and targeted drug therapy are the current standards.(5)

These treatments can be very effective. But, they are often dogged by a litany of issues, like:

  • Having dangerous or unbearable side effects
  • Damaging tissues around the cancer
  • Being expensive or hard to access

Complementary & Alternative Care

For these reasons — and more — a lot of people look to what’s referred to as Complementary and Alternative Medicine, or CAM. CAM are therapeutic products and practices that aren’t part of the standard medical approach to cancer treatment.(6)

Examples of CAM for cancer might include:

  • Massage
  • Herbal supplements (like CBD oil!)
  • Yoga
  • Nutrition
  • Counseling

The main goals of CAM are to:

  • Treat or cure a patient’s cancer
  • Help patients cope with other treatment components and their side effects
  • Alleviate physical complications that result from the cancer (like pain)
  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Generally improve overall well-being and quality of life

So, let’s see how and where CBD fits in to all this….

How’s CBD Work In The Body?

Thanks to your endocannabinoid system (ECS), CBD and other cannabinoids are able to work with your body. Everyone has an ECS, which consists of a vast, throughout-your-body network of endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes.

This glorious ensemble enables CBD and the brain to communicate and execute instructions that help your body operate. The ECS plays a big and active role in regulating many of the body’s processes and functions — like immunity, inflammatory response, sleep, metabolism, mood, and so on.

Cancer, The ECS & CBD

In terms of cancer specifically, how CBD and the ECS engage to combat cancer isn’t fully understood.(7,8)

However, studies suggest there may be a correlation between the ECS and tumor aggressiveness. The thought is that, because of cannabinoids, the ECS’s receptors and enzymes may influence cancer cell and tumor growth, death, and blood supplies.

CBD vs Cancer: 7 Important FAQs

OK, so now you have some broad knowledge of cancer, CBD, and the ECS floating in the background. Let’s now narrow the focus and zero in on some specific tidbits.

#1 Can CBD Help Prevent Cancer?

There are two pieces to this question, so we’ll break it apart for you.

Don’t Have Cancer

Studies are investigating CBD’s ability to directly prevent cancer. But, we just don’t know yet.

That said, data does support the ability of CBD to help reduce some cancer risk factors, which means it could indirectly help prevent cancer. For instance, CBD may facilitate healthy weight management, reduce chronic inflammation, or quell pain so exercising is possible.(9)

Have Cancer

A ton of research has been done on CBD’s effect on existing cancers. There are some inconsistencies with the data but, overall, it indicates that CBD may inhibit the proliferation of cancer. Meaning CBD may help prevent existing cancer or tumors from growing or spreading.(8)

#2 Can CBD Be Used For Cancer Patients?

Yes, maybe. If a cancer patient and his or her doctors deem it appropriate, CBD can dovetail nicely into a care plan. CBD can interact with some medications and may not be advisable before surgery, so it’s really important to talk through using CBD oil products with a medical expert.

#3 How Might CBD Help Those With Cancer & Does CBD Help Chemo Symptoms?

Many people with cancer use CBD to help manage cancer symptoms and the side effects of treatment. This is because CBD is known to:

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Alleviate many kinds of pain
  • Aid sleep
  • Lower stress and anxiety levels
  • Lessen nausea and vomiting

Cancer treatments often crush one’s desire to eat. THC has proven effective at stimulating appetite. So, broad- or full-spectrum CBD could be beneficial.

#4 Is CBD Oil An Effective Cancer Treatment & Can CBD Reduce Tumors?

It’s really too early to say how effective CBD is against cancer. Initial lab, animal, and small-scale human studies are underway — what we’re learning is encouraging but not conclusive yet. So far, researchers have found that CBD may do things like:(10)

  • Fight tumors
  • Make some cancer drugs more bioavailable
  • Cause cancer cells to die
  • Make cancer cells more sensitive to treatments

#5 Is CBD Safe For People With Cancer?

For healthy adults who consume it responsibly, CBD is OK. CBD considered non-toxic and well-tolerated. Side effects are usually few, mild, and temporary. True allergic reactions are rare.

How cancer and cancer treatments impact CBD’s safety isn’t known. Some studies imply that CBD could alter the way the body processes certain cancer meds.(11) This just underscores the need for those with cancer to consult with a doctor before starting on a CBD regimen.

#6 What’s The Best CBD Oil For Cancer?

Let’s examine this from three different angles….

FDA-Approved CBD-Inclusive Drugs

First, let’s be clear. Currently, there aren’t any FDA-approved CBD-based drugs for cancer. Researchers are looking into using FDA-approved cannabis-based drugs like Epidiolex and Sativex for cancer.(12)

Medicinal CBD

Medical-grade cannabis — like marijuana-derived CBD or high-THC hemp CBD — is available in some form in most states. It may be worth checking into local regulations and speaking with healthcare pros if this is of interest.

CBD Oil Products

Switching gears to OTC hemp-derived CBD oil products that are federally legal. You have seemingly limitless options.

The key thing to remember is that there is no one “best” CBD oil formulation. What’s best for one person may not be the pinnacle of greatness for another. Your optimal CBD is based on your needs and preferences:

  • What are you trying to accomplish with CBD?
  • What lifestyle or other considerations must you factor in?
  • What CBD products will you actually use?

Once dialed in to the type of CBD and preparation that’s a good fit, the best CBD is:

  • Made from organic American hemp.
  • Free of junky or weird additives, binders, fillers, etc.
  • Nanotized for optimum bioavailability.
  • Tested by an independent third-party lab for purity and potency.
  • Sold by a reputable retailer.

#7 What’s Next In The World Of CBD & Cancer?

There’s so much going on in the research realm.

As of right now (June 2022), there are at least 22 clinical trials ramping up or underway according to the website(12). These studies are looking into potential roles and results of CBD for all kinds of cancers — such as breast, lung, colorectal, and pancreatic. The trials are hoping to increase our understanding of how CBD might be able to treat the disease, ease chemo side effects, quell related pain and anxiety, and more.

CBD & Cancer, So Now You Know

Cancer is a common health condition. While there are effective conventional treatments available, there may also be a place for complementary and alternative therapies.

Enter CBD. Currently there aren’t any FDA-approved CBD-based drugs for cancer. But, promising scientific evidence suggests that CBD has anticancer properties. Plus, CBD’s ability to relieve pain and anxiety are well established and could make coping with cancer easier.

If you’re interested in exploring the use of CBD for your cancer, you should discuss it with your doctor. Together, you can determine if it’s a good idea to incorporate into your care plan. Assuming your doc is on-board, be sure to only use the purest, highest-quality, most-bioavailable CBD oil products.



  1. Roser, M, et al. (2015). Cancer. Our World in Data.
  2. (2020). Cancer Statistics. National Cancer Institute.
  3. Frothingham, S. (2019). The 13 Most Common Cancer Types. Healthline Media.
  4. Fayed, L. (2021). Do You Know the Leading Causes and Risk Factors of Cancer? Verywell Health.
  5. (2022). Cancer treatments. MedlinePlus.
  6. (2022). Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). National Cancer Institute.
  7. Dariš, B, et al. (2019). Cannabinoids in cancer treatment: Therapeutic potential and legislation. Bosnian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences.
  8. Śledziński, P, et al. (2018). The current state and future perspectives of cannabinoids in cancer biology. Cancer Medicine.
  9. Hazlegreaves, S. (2020). CBD oil and cancer: What the research shows. Open Access Government.
  10. Nall, R. (2021). Does CBD oil work for cancer? Medical News Today.
  11. (2020). Is CBD Safe for People With Cancer? Cancer.Net.
  12. (2022). Search of: cbd | cancer - List Results.

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