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Cbd oil for breast cancer uk

3 Ways Cannabis Oil Helps Fight Breast Cancer

More than 60 peer-reviewed studies on medical marijuana were conducted between 1990 and 2014 for conditions ranging from breast cancer to Parkinson’s disease. The vast majority of these studies (68.3%) found marijuana had medicinal benefits, 23.3% were inconclusive, and only 8.3% yielded negative results. Medical marijuana is beneficial in its various forms, and marijuana and cannabis oil may have to the potential to fight breast cancer and other diseases.

In the U.S., 44 states have medical marijuana laws on the books, which means 85% of the country should have access to medicinal cannabis for treating a wide range of debilitating conditions. In reality, the laws governing this vary greatly by state and obtaining medical marijuana is difficult, if not impossible, in many of the 44 states due to the way the laws are written. Moreover, marijuana is still illicit on a federal level and legislation dating back to 1937 needs to be rewritten.

Forms of Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana is available in many different forms:

  • Joints smoked like illicit marijuana
  • It is also available to vape
  • Edibles such as tea, cookies, popcorn, crackers, nut mixes, lollipops, ice cream, gummy bears, chocolate bars, chews, and many other kinds of food.
  • Sublingual sprays
  • Tinctures
  • Transdermal patches
  • Topical ointment

Each method has its own pros and cons so it is important to talk to your physician about what form will work best for your specific medical condition.

What is Cannabis Oil?

Cannabis oil is a thick, sticky, resinous substance extracted from the cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica). Cannabis oil is obtained by separating the resins from cannabis flowers using a solvent extraction process. Cannabis oil is the most concentrated and potent of the three main cannabis products, the other two being the actual cannabis flower (marijuana) and resin (hashish).

Like marijuana, cannabis oil contains two primary ingredients: the high-inducing THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and cannabidiol (CBD), the second most active ingredient in marijuana. Typically, oils marketed for medicinal uses contain much less THC than an average joint, however, both THC and CBD are touted for their curative powers. Unlike medical marijuana,cannabis oil is legal in all 50 states, so long as it does not contain THC.

High quality cannabis oil can be used medicinally via several methods:

  • Orally
  • Vaporized
  • As a suppository
  • Applied topically

Cannabis Treatment: Breast Cancer

Cannabidiol and its related cousin chemicals, all broadly called cannabinoids, show some benefits for reducing chemotherapy-related pain and other symptoms like vomiting and nausea in patients. Other research has shown cannabinoids can uniquely target and kill cancer cells and anecdotal cases speak to supposedly miraculous recoveries from cancer as a result of using cannabis oil.

Unfortunately, some people with cancer have been scammed, taking cannabis oil sold illegally through drug dealers. Research does not show any evidence cannabis oil is a cure, and moreover, cannabis oil sold illicitly on the street is often contaminated with dangerous ingredients and may not even contain any THC or CBD. So the question remains, does cannabis oil have any benefits for breast cancer patients? Here is a look at three potential uses of high quality cannabis oil for breast cancer.

1. A research study showed CBD inhibits a gene called Id-1.

Researchers believe Id-1 triggers the metastatic process responsible for spreading cells from the original breast tumor to other parts of the body such as the brain and lungs. “This is the first evidence that a cannabinoid can target the expression of an important breast cancer metastasis gene,” said Manuel Guzman, a Spanish expert on cannabinoids and cancer. He described the California study as giving “preliminary insight into the question of whether CBD could be used clinically to treat metastatic breast cancer.” The experiments in this study were conducted in cultured cells, therefore animal model research is the next step to determine if cannabis oil has the potential for treating metastatic breast cancer.

Moreover, Id-1 is just one of many genes involved in breast cancer metastasis, so future research also needs to examine the impact of CBD on other metastasis genes.

2. CBD oil may help slow or stop the spread of cancer.

A California woman received a grim diagnosis of an aggressive form of breast cancer called HER2-positive, already in late stages and metastasized to her lungs. She was told she only had 18 months to two years to live. She used three different homemade herbal remedies containing high amounts of CBD. She made the concentrate out of marijuana plants using low enough temperatures to retain the medical benefits of the CBD, while minimizing the psychoactive effects of the THC. The end results were a salve applied topically to her breast, a tincture she drank as a tea in the morning, and a high-potency oil kept in a syringe for measurement purposes, administered through a suppository. The latter allowed the medicine to be absorbed more efficiently. Within five weeks of treatment, a scan showed her lymph nodes were clear and the tumors were basically gone. Her homemade CBD treatment resulted in halting the spread of an especially aggressive form of breast cancer. Although this story is anecdotal, it speaks to the potential of CBD for treating breast cancer.

3. Cannabis is useful in combatting multiple cancer-related symptoms including anorexia, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, pain, insomnia, and depression.

The safety of cannabis is acceptable with generally tolerable and short-lived side effects. Preclinical data suggest cannabinoids are effective in treating and preventing chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. Preclinical data indicate cannabinoids may directly impart anti-tumor activity, possibly most notably in central nervous system malignancies. While anecdotal evidence is promising regarding the curative effects of CBD for breast cancer, large-scale clinical studies are needed to test this hypothesis.

Suggested CBD Oils:

  • Pure Organic Wintermint CBD Oil – 750 mg
  • Pure Organic Wintermint CBD Oil – 3000 mg

Suggested Capsule forms of CBD Oil:

Do you know someone who has used Cannabis Oil? Was it helpful? Tell us in the comments below!

It’s irresponsible to post anecdotal stories as proof. Anecdotal stories have led to all kinds on crazy treatments of breast cancer over the years. You would be shocked to know what treatments were touted based on single experiences. Anecdotal stories should be removed.

CBD oil it’s good for dense breast tissue ? Please help I need your kindheart advice about my problem . Thank you and God bless us all.

Thank you for sharing and spreading awareness! Cannabis is really indeed magical. As studies progress, it unfolds a lot of possible uses and applications in science and medicine. I hope this could be the future treatment of a lot of diseases.

CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is the second most common of the active ingredients of cannabis (marijuana). While
cbd for pets is an integral part of medical marijuana, it originates directly from the hippopotamus, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant. While CBD is part of marijuana (one of the hundreds), it does not in itself cause a “high”. According to a report from the World Health Organization, “CBD has no effects suggesting abuse or dependence. So far, there are no signs of public health problems associated with the use of pure CBD.

wow! I didn’t know that cannabis can also help cure cancer disease. it’s so amazing how cannabis works in different types of diseases.

Of course, on the first place 68.63% of the studies prove that marijuana has medicinal benefit that many people can people get through it. Like marijuana, cannabis oil contains marijuana active ingredients.

Thank you for sharing your article on cannabis oil as a treatment for breast cancer. It’s interesting to know how preclinical data shows how cannabis is effective in treating and preventing cancer-related symptoms like chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, pain, insomnia, and depression. Although more tests and clinical studies are needed, just like you said, it may be something worth a try and looking into. I can only imagine how much pain a person in chemotherapy goes through every time. We’d be looking out for more updates and studies on this subject. Thank you for sharing!

Excellent article! I cannot believe cannabis oil can impact on cancer survival. Would love to hear more about this!

After an ultrasound and mammogram, I was diagnosed in Feb/17 with stage 3A breast cancer with lymph node involvement under my right arm. I did have a double mastectomy and removal of cancerous lymph nodes under my right arm, but I refused chemo, radiation and hormone suppressants. I knew I needed my immune system to stop my cancer spread, even with the removal of the lymph nodes. I’m not sleeping well. I have nerve damage from removal of my lymph nodes under my arm and scar tissue on my chest from the mastectomy. A lesion has been found on my cervix and I’m due for an MRI mid-June this year. I’m about to start taking high CBD 20:1 MCT oil, 1/2 tsp morning and evening. I’m hopeful that it will help me sleep and help with the pains from my mastectomy, at least. Any other benefit of stopping spread or healing would be an absolute blessing. Great forum, thanks to all who shared. I feel alone on this most of the time.

Hi Patti. Just read your post from a last year. I’m in a similar position now – seeing oncologist in a few weeks, but feel quite confident in refusing chemo and hormone suppressants. I was just wondering how you are getting on? I really do hope you are doing well. Would be great to hear from you if you have a chance. Best wishes Trish

Question about tamoxifen and interactions with cannabis – wondering if a topical CBD would interfere with the use of tamoxifen for my mom and her breast cancer?

Hi Carey, We would recommend that she ask her doctor to be certain. Best of luck to her with her treatments and I hope that all is going well!

I was so surprised! “A research study showed CBD inhibits a gene called Id-1. Researchers believe Id-1 triggers the metastatic process responsible for spreading cells from the original breast tumor to other parts of the body such as the brain and lungs. ” Thanks for sharing!

I was diagnosed with Lymphoma T-Cell cancer in April 2018. I have gone thru 5 CHOP treatments of chemo. I got congestive heart failure from it and could not continue thru the 6th and final chemo. Turns out after a PET scan, ne lymph node in my neck was still there. All others in my body were gone. Now I have started a second, less strong chemo treatment. I was told that if I didn’t take this chemo, I could be dead before Christmas. I’m scared! Do this kind of Cannabis oil work for
lymph node T-Cell??

Carole, I am so sorry to hear about your test results. I can only imagine how scary this must be for you. Please don’t allow your doctor’s words to discourage you. Doctors can make guesses on how long you might live with your condition, but they cannot predict the future. I’ve seen so many that have been flat out wrong over the years. individuals who had 6 months to live but were still around 10 years later. Statistics cannot predict individual outcomes. It’s so important to hold on to hope and faith. Alternative therapies (such as CBD oil) can be used in conjunction with your regular medical treatments but should not be used in place of them. In other words, CBD oil should be viewed as a supplement to your ongoing treatments but should never be considered the treatment itself. Here’s a guide on using Cannabis Oil During Cancer Treatments that should answer most of your questions. As always, we recommend consulting with your doctor before using this product or others. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

In January 2018 I was diagnosed with stage 2a breast cancer. I was told the tumor was 1.5 to 2 cm in size. My brother had a homemade cannibus oil and I had ordered suppositories. Since I have never use marijuana in any form the suppositories were to be a better option. I started using it in mid January and eating a diet that included lots of carrots, broccoli, eating tomatoes and tomatoe soup and a list of other foods that were to stop the breast cancer cells. My surgery was on Jan. 31st because I wanted the tumor out of me. the pathology report came back and the tumor was .07cmx.08cmx.05cm. one-fourth the size. So what did it? Or were the other two just wrong? Not sure but I am trying a way to get me the CBD oil that I can use on a daily basis.
I would like to know the doses?

I’m so curious to hear what ratio and dosage you took. I was diagnosed with triple positive Stage 1a invasive ductal carcinoma of the left breast 2 weeks ago- no node involvement yet. They want me to do 6 rounds of chemo and Herceptin- type drugs (those for a full year), plus a partial mastectomy after that, plus radiation. I started taking pure CBD before bed but am really interested in using a THC/ CBD blend to help control/ shrink the tumor. I’d so appreciate any advice!

I was diagnosed with HER2 positive breast cancer that was in my lymph nodes. After I started my regimen of weed my scans are clear and I had no bad side affect from chemo. I think marijuana has cured my breast cancer and will stop it from spreading!! I am 33 years old and cancer free!! I am forever grateful to this plant for helping me and giving me more years with my 6 year old daughter!

Hi Brit,
Congratulations on being a survivor! I’m also HER2 positive luckily it didn’t spread. Can you provide more detail what your regimen consists of? I’m very interested but just don’t know how to go about this. Thank you!

Britt,
Could you go into specifics on your Regimen for treatment. How long did it take you to build up to your dose?
Other sources I have found recommend taking an amount equal to a grain of rice 3 times a day and double that every 4 days until you get to 1 gram a day. Then continue for 60 days. If the cancer is gone by then you want to reduce the amount .25 gram and continue to take for a while until you feel like your free.
If you have a medical card in Colorado you can purchase the oil at a dispensary. They sell it for recreational but it’s not strong enough, you need the full FECO. It’s not that hard to make if you have quality flower.

I would like to know more about the CBD oil and THC,what is safe,the best way to take,how much to take and where to purchase safety to receive the right oil.Had breast cancer in 1992 and came back,just had both breast removed 6-1-17 and 4 high doses(two different kinds combined) chemo treatments.In severe pain daily from bone pain(neck,spine,hips,feet,just about every bone in my body.Surgeon I see said I can not have surgery because my back and neck is so bad that I could be paralyzed and he told me not to let anyone operate on it,this is what he specializes in but refuses to operate because of the danger.Just fell and broke my hip in two places(3 months after finishing chemo.I take 10mg of Norco(allowed only 4 within 24 hours,still hurt Day and night.please if there’s something better and safer would rather not take Norco because if I stay up on my feet after taking i still am in bad pain.Tired of not able to do anything just because of so much pain,other wise I could do more.

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5hisnisna great topic to discuss and I read all the requests for help from people being diagnosed with various Cancers. In the UK Cannabis oil is still illeagle, but it isn’t in Canada, I would suggest that you visit a Canadian forum as the users there will have more advice on how to administer the oil the best way for you

Also, take a look on you tube under Sacred Plant, it’s American but really interesting.

My theory of why CBD oil cures some diseases is different from others’. Since the pathogen mentioned below can cause all those diseases, and since CBD kills that pathogen (CBD is the plants’ natural defense against that type of microorganism), then that’s how it works.

Some online documents state this cancer-causing, mental illness-inducing airborne pathogen is not zoonotic. That’s wrong! It’s carried and shed by bats in their feces. And healthy people can get it, too.

My coworkers and I, all immunocompetent, got Disseminated Histoplasmosis from roosting bats, that shed the fungus in their feces. The doctors said we couldn’t possibly have it, since we all had intact immune systems. The doctors were wrong.

More than 100 outbreaks have occurred in the U.S. since 1938, and those are just the ones that were figured out, since people go to different doctors. One outbreak was over 100,000 victims in Indianapolis. 80-90+% of people in some areas have been infected, and it can lay dormant for up to 40 years in the lungs and/or adrenals.

This underdiagnosed airborne infectious disease mimics the flu and can cause malignancies, precancerous conditions, rheumatological diseases, connective tissue diseases, heart disease, autoimmune symptoms, inflammation, adrenal insufficiency, seizures, migraines, hydrocephalus, hallucinations, etc. and is often undiagnosed/misdiagnosed in immunocompetent people.

It’s known to cause hematological malignancies, and doctors claim leukemia patients go into remission when given antifungal. My friend in another state who died from lupus lived across the street from a bat colony. An acquaintance with alopecia universalis and whose mother had degenerative brain disorder has bat houses on their property.

Researchers claim the subacute type is more common than believed. It’s known to at least “mimic” autoimmune diseases and cancer and known to give false-positives in PET scans. But no one diagnosed with an autoimmune disease or cancer is screened for it. In fact, at least one NIH paper states explicitly that all patients diagnosed with sarcoidosis be tested for it, but most, if not all, are not. Other doctors are claiming sarcoidosis IS disseminated histoplasmosis.

What if this infection, that made me and my coworkers so ill, isn’t rare in immunocompetent people? What if just the diagnosis is rare, since most doctors ignore it?

Older documents state people who spend a lot of time in a building with roosting bats, in caves, working as landscapers, construction workers, pest control workers, etc. are known to get Disseminated Histoplasmosis, but the info appears to have been lost, for the most part. And now bat conservationists encourage people to leave bats in buildings/homes. What a terrible mistake they’ve made.

This pathogen parasitizes the reticuloendothelial system/invades macrophages, can infect and affect the lymphatic system and all tissues/organs, causes inflammation, granulomas, and idiopathic (unknown cause) diseases and conditions, including hematological malignancies, autoimmune symptoms, myelitis, myositis, vasculitis, panniculitis, dysplasia, hyperplasia, etc. It causes hypervascularization, calcifications, sclerosis, fibrosis, necrosis, eosinophilia, leukopenia, anemia, neutrophilia, pancytopenia, thrombocytopenia, hypoglycemia, cysts, abscesses, polyps, stenosis, perforations, GI problems, hepatitis, focal neurologic deficits, etc.

Many diseases it might cause are comorbid with other diseases it might cause, for example depression/anxiety/MS linked to Crohn’s.

The fungus is an Oxygenale and therefore consumes collagen. It’s known to cause connective tissue diseases (Myxomatous degeneration?), rheumatological conditions, seizures, and mental illness. Fungal hyphae carry an electrical charge and align under a current. It causes RNA/DNA damage. It’s known to cause delusions, wild mood swings (pseudobulbar affect?), and hallucinations. It’s most potent in female lactating bats, because the fungus likes sugar (lactose) and nitrogen (amino acids, protein, neurotransmitters?), releasing lactase and proteinases to obtain them. What about female lactating humans…postpartum psychosis (and don’t some of these poor women also have trouble swallowing)? The bats give birth late spring/summer, and I noticed suicide rates spike in late spring/early summer. It’s known to cause retinal detachment, and retinal detachments are known to peak around June-July/in hot weather. A map of mental distress and some diseases appear to almost perfectly overlay a map of Histoplasmosis. Johns Hopkins linked autism to an immune response in the womb. Alzheimer’s was linked to hypoglycemia, which can be caused by chronic CNS histoplasmosis. Cancer is known to occur more often near rivers than in mountains or deserts, just like this infection.

The bats eat moths, which are attracted to blue and white city lights that simulate the moon the moths use to navigate. Bats feed up to 500 feet in the air and six miles away in any direction from their roost, but not when it’s raining or when the temperature is less than approximately 56° F. The fungus can grow in bird feces, but birds don’t carry it because their body temperature is too high, killing the fungus.

I believe the “side effects” of Haldol (leukopenia and MS symptoms) might not always be side effects but just more symptoms of Disseminated Histoplasmosis, since it causes leukopenia and MS symptoms. What about the unknown reason why beta receptor blockers cause tardive dyskinesia? The tinnitus, photophobia, psychosis “caused” by Cipro? Hypersexuality and leukemia “caused” by Abilify? Humira linked to lymphoma, leukemia and melanoma in children? Disseminated Histoplasmosis is known to cause enteropathy, so could some people thought to have nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug enteropathy have it and taking NSAIDs for the pain/inflammation it causes, and the NSAIDs aren’t the actual culprit?

From my experience, I learned that NO doctor, at least in DFW, will suspect subacute and/or progressive disseminated histoplasmosis in immunocompetent people. Some doctors, at least the ones I went to, will actually REFUSE to test for it, even when told someone and their coworkers have all the symptoms and spend a lot of time in a building with bats in the ceiling. Victims will be accused of hypochondriasis. (My doctors told me only farmer’s get it, it’s only in bird feces, and it only infects the lungs. wrong, wrong, and wrong!) In fact, the first doctor to diagnose me was a pulmonologist, and the only reason he examined me was to try to prove that I didn’t have it, when I really did. No doctor I went to realized bats carry the fungus. And NO doctor I went to in DFW, even infectious disease “experts,” understand the DISSEMINATED form, just the pulmonary form, and the only test that will be done by many doctors before they diagnose people as NOT having it is an X-ray, even though at least 40-70% of victims will have NO sign of it on a lung X-ray. It OFTEN gives false-negatives in lab tests (some people are correctly diagnosed only during an autopsy after obtaining negative test results) and cultures may not show growth until after 6-12 weeks of incubation (but some labs report results after 2 weeks).

One disease of unknown cause that could be caused by Disseminated Histoplasmosis: I suspect, based on my and my coworker’s symptoms (during our “rare” infectious disease outbreak) and my research, that interstitial cystitis and its comorbid conditions can be caused by disseminated histoplasmosis, which causes inflammation throughout the body, causes “autoimmune” symptoms, and is not as rare as believed. I read that “interstitial cystitis (IC) is a chronic inflammatory condition of the submucosal and muscular layers of the bladder, and the cause is currently unknown. Some people with IC have been diagnosed with other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, allergies, and Sjogren’s syndrome, which raises the possibility that interstitial cystitis may be caused by mechanisms that cause these other conditions. In addition, men with IC are frequently diagnosed as having chronic nonbacterial prostatitis, and there is an extensive overlap of symptoms and treatment between the two conditions, leading researchers to posit that the conditions may share the same etiology and pathology.” Sounds like Disseminated Histoplasmosis, doesn’t it?

My coworkers and I were always most ill around April/May/June, presumably since the Mexican Free-tail bats gave birth in Texas during May (and the fungus was most potent), and fall/Thanksgiving to December, for some unknown reason (maybe migrating bats from the north?). We had GI problems, liver problems, weird rashes (erythema nodosum, erythema multiforme, erythema marginatum/annulare, etc.), plantar fasciitis, etc., and I had swollen lymph nodes, hives, lesions, abdominal aura, and started getting migraines and plantar fasciitis in the building, and I haven’t had them since I left. It gave me temporary fecal incontinence, seizures, dark blood from my intestines, tinnitus, nystagmus, blurry vision/floaters/flashes of light, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, isolated diastolic hypertension, what felt like burning skin, various aches and pains (some felt like pin pricks and pinches), tingling, tremors, “explosions” like fireworks in my head while sleeping, and temporary blindness. Suddenly I was allergic to Comice pears (latex fruit allergy or oral allergy syndrome?). I had insomnia (presumably from the fungus acidifying the blood, releasing adrenaline) and parasomnias. It felt like strong bursts of electrical shocks or steady electrical currents in my body, which now feel like low electrical currents at times, mostly at night. I suddenly had symptoms of several inflammatory/autoimmune diseases, including Fibromyalgia, Sarcoidosis, ALS, MS, Sjogren’s syndrome, etc. that have disappeared since leaving the area and taking nothing but Itraconazole antifungal.

No one, including doctors (we all went to different ones), could figure out what was wrong with us, and I was being killed by my doctor, who mistakenly refused to believe I had it and gave me progressively higher and higher doses of Prednisone (2 years after I already had Disseminated Histoplasmosis) after a positive ANA titer, until I miraculously remembered that a visiting man once told my elementary school class that bats CARRY histoplasmosis. So much of it that they evolved to deal with the photophobia and tinnitus it causes by hunting at night by echolocation. There’s a lot more. I wrote a book about my experience with Disseminated Histoplasmosis called “Batsh#t Crazy,” because bats shed the fungus in their feces and it causes delusions and hallucinations, I suspect by the sclerotia fungal mycelia can form emitting hallucinogens (like psilocybin and dimethyltryptamine) along with inflammation in the CNS. (Schizophrenics have 2X of a chemical associated with yeast, part of the fungal life cycle.)

Thank you for your time,

P.S. Doesn’t this infection share all the same symptoms with Gulf War Syndrome?

Can cannabis oil stop my breast cancer returning?

Health claims surrounding cannabis products frequently hit the news. But is there any evidence that they could reduce the risk of breast cancer coming back?

Breast Cancer Care’s Helpline often gets calls from people who are worried about their breast cancer returning after treatment, and who want to know if they can do anything to help.

Medical cannabis and cannabis oils have been in the news a lot recently. While these stories haven’t been about cancer, it’s clear some people believe cannabis could have anti-cancer properties.

However, despite ongoing research in this area, there’s no reliable evidence that any type of cannabis is an effective treatment for cancer.

What are cannabinoids?

Cannabis contains ingredients called cannabinoids. Two of these are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).

THC is the chemical responsible for most of the effects that cannabis has on the mind or behaviour. CBD doesn’t cause these effects.

Some people think that cannabinoids like CBD may have health benefits.

Can cannabinoids be used to treat cancer?

According to Cancer Research UK: ‘Many hundreds of scientific papers looking at cannabinoids and cancer have been published, but these studies simply haven’t found enough robust scientific evidence to prove that these can safely and effectively treat cancer.’

The problem is that almost all these studies have been carried out either on cancer cells in the laboratory or on animals. And what works in the laboratory or in animals doesn’t necessarily have the same effect in the human body.

The chemicals used in these studies are also very different to the cannabis oils and products available to buy.

While a quick Google search will uncover examples of people who claim to have treated their cancer using cannabis oil, it’s not possible to draw conclusions from individual stories like these.

In order to properly assess the effects of cannabinoids on cancer, large clinical trials are necessary.

Is cannabis oil illegal?

According to the NHS website: ‘Many cannabis-based products are available to buy online, but their quality and content is not known. They may be illegal and potentially dangerous.’

Some cannabis-based products, such as hemp oil, can be bought legally as supplements from health food stores. However, there’s no guarantee that these products have any health benefits.

As the NHS website states: ‘Health stores sell certain types of ‘pure CBD’. However, there’s no guarantee these products will be of good quality. And they tend to only contain very small amounts of CBD, so it’s not clear what effect they would have.’

A very small number of people may get medical cannabis on prescription, for example if they have a severe form of epilepsy, or vomiting or nausea caused by chemotherapy. However, this likely to be the case only if other treatments have been tried first.

Dealing with worries about recurrence

Most people worry about breast cancer coming back (recurrence). These worries are normal, and the fear and anxiety usually lessens with time.

Knowing how to continue to be breast and body aware after treatment and the symptoms you should report can help manage your feelings of uncertainty.

The treatment you received will have been given to reduce the risk of the breast cancer coming back at its original site or elsewhere in the body.

Everyone copes with worries about recurrence in their own way, and there are no easy answers. But keeping quiet about them is probably not the best approach.

Breast Cancer Care’s Forum lets you share your worries with other people in a similar situation to you.

You can also read our tips on coping with anxiety and find suggestions in BECCA, our free app that helps you move forward after breast cancer treatment.

Cannabis, cannabinoids and cancer – the evidence so far

Few cancer topics spark as much online debate as cannabis.

The bottom line is that right now there isn’t enough reliable evidence to prove that any form of cannabis can effectively treat cancer in patients. This includes hemp oil, cannabis oil or the active chemicals found within the cannabis plant (cannabinoids) – whether natural or man-made.

Many researchers worldwide are actively investigating cannabinoids, and Cancer Research UK is supporting some of this work. These studies use highly purified chemicals found in the cannabis plant, or lab-made versions of them, and there is genuine interest in these as potential cancer treatments. But this is very different to street-bought cannabis and hemp oil available online or on the high street, for which there is no evidence of any impact on cancer.

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Cannabis is still classified as a class B drug in the UK, meaning that it is illegal to possess or supply it. Cancer Research UK can’t comment on the legal status of cannabis, its use as a recreational drug, or its medical use in any other diseases. But we are supportive of properly conducted scientific research into cannabis and its derivatives that could benefit cancer patients.

Unfortunately, there are many unreliable sources of information about cannabis, particularly online. This post contains up-to-date, evidence-based information on cannabis and cancer, so with lots to cover, this is a long article. To help you find what you’re interested in, follow the links below to different sections. Or read on for everything you need to know about cannabis and cancer.

Cannabis and cannabinoids – what are they?

Cannabis is a plant known by many names, including marijuana, pot, grass, weed, hemp, hash or dope.
The plant produces a resin that contains complex chemicals called cannabinoids.

The two main cannabinoids are:

  • Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – a psychoactive substance that can affect how the brain works, creating a ‘high’ feeling.
  • Cannabidiol (CBD) – may relieve pain, lower inflammation and decrease anxiety without any psychoactive effects.

Cannabinoids lock on to molecules on the surface of cells called cannabinoid receptors. As well as cannaibinoids found in plant resin, our body produces cannabinoid chemicals – called endocannibinoids – which also attached to these receptors. These receptors are involved in many processes throughout the body, from appetite to the sensation of pain.

Through many detailed experiments – summarised in this Nature Reviews Cancer article – scientists have discovered that both natural and synthetic cannabinoids have a wide range of effects on cells, which is why there’s interest in if cannabis can treat diseases like cancer, as well as help relieve side effects.

Can cannabinoids treat cancer?

Many hundreds of scientific papers looking at cannabinoids and cancer have been published so far, but these studies simply haven’t found enough robust scientific evidence to prove that these can safely and effectively treat cancer.

Research is still ongoing though, with hundreds of scientists investigating the potential of cannabinoids in cancer and other diseases as part of The International Cannabinoid Research Society. And in 2015 the scientific journal Nature published a supplement of review articles about various aspects of cannabis. It’s free to access.

Much of the research into cannabinoids and cancer so far has been done in the lab

Claims that there is solid “proof” that cannabis or cannabinoids can cure cancer is highly misleading.

This is because virtually all the scientific research investigating whether cannabinoids can treat cancer has been done using cancer cells grown in the lab or animals. While these studies are a vital part of research, providing early indications of the benefits of particular treatments, they don’t necessarily hold true for people.

So far, the best results from lab studies have come from using a combination of highly purified THC and cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabinoid found in cannabis plants that counteracts the psychoactive effects of THC. But researchers have also found positive results using man-made cannabinoids, such as a molecule called JWH-133.

There have been intriguing results from lab experiments looking at a number of different cancers, including glioblastoma brain tumours, prostate, breast, lung, and pancreatic cancers. But the take-home message is that different cannabinoids seem to have different effects on various cancer types, so they are far from being a ‘universal’ treatment.

There’s also evidence that cannabinoids have unwanted effects. Although high doses of THC can kill cancer cells, they also harm crucial blood vessel cells. And under some circumstances, cannabinoids can encourage cancer cells to grow, or have different effects depending on the dose used and levels of cannabinoid receptors present on the cancer cells.

Cannabis in clinical trials

To robustly test the potential benefits of cannabinoids in cancer, clinical trials in large numbers of people with control groups of patients – who aren’t given the treatment in question – would be needed.

A few small clinical trials have been set up to test the benefits of cannabinoids for people with glioblastoma multiforme. Results published from a pilot clinical trial where 9 people with advanced, incurable glioblastoma multiforme – the most aggressive brain tumour – were given highly purified THC through a tube directly into their brain showed that THC given in this way is safe and doesn’t seem to cause significant side effects. But as this was an early stage trial without a control group, it couldn’t show whether THC helped to extend patients’ lives.

And a second clinical trial, supported through our Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) Network, tested whether Sativex (nabiximols), a highly purified pharmaceutical-grade extract of cannabis containing THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids could treat people with glioblastoma multiforme brain tumours that have come back after treatment.

In 2021, scientists reported the final results of this phase 1 study to treat people with recurrent glioblastoma with Sativex in combination with the chemotherapy drug, temozolomide. Researchers found that adding Sativex (patients were allowed to choose the amount they took) had acceptable levels of side effects, which included vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, nausea and headache. They also observed that more patients were alive after one year using Sativex (83%) compared to those taking the placebo (44%). However, this phase 1 study only involved 27 patients, which was too small to confirm any potential benefits of Sativex, and was intended to find out if it was safe to take by patients.

This trial is being extended into phase 2 (known as ARISTOCRAT) to explore if this treatment is effective and which patients are most likely to respond to this treatment. If the trial is , it is set to launch at 15 NHS hospitals in 2022, with over 230 patients to be recruited. To find out more about this work, you can listen to our podcast – That Cancer Conversation – where we hear from Professor Susan Short, one of the researchers leading this study.

We’ve also supported a trial that’s testing the benefits of a man-made cannabinoid called dexanabinol in patients with different types of advanced cancer. The trial finished recruiting in 2015 and researchers established a safe dose of the drug, but further development of the drug was stopped due to a lack of evidence around the drug’s effectiveness. Full trials results are yet to be published.

Unanswered questions

There are still many unanswered questions around the potential for using cannabinoids to treat cancer. It’s not clear:

  • which type of cannabinoid – either natural or synthetic – might be most effective
  • what kind of doses might be needed
  • which types of cancer might respond best to cannabinoids
  • how to avoid the psychoactive effects of THC
  • how best to get cannabinoids, which don’t dissolve easily in water, into cancer cells
  • whether cannabinoids will help to boost or counteract the effects of chemotherapy

These questions must be answered for cannabinoids to be used as safe and effective treatments for cancer patients. It’s the same situation for the many hundreds of other potential cancer drugs being developed and tested in university, charity and industry labs all over the world.

Without doing rigorous scientific research, we will never sift the ‘hits’ from the ‘misses’. If cannabinoids are to get into the clinic, these hurdles first need to be overcome and their benefits proven over existing cancer treatments.

Can cannabis prevent cancer?

There is no reliable evidence that cannabis can prevent cancer.

There has been some research suggesting that endocannabinoids (mentioned earlier) can suppress tumour growth, and in experiments where mice were given very high doses of purified THC, they seemed to have a lower risk of developing cancer. But this is not enough solid scientific evidence to suggest that cannabinoids or cannabis can cut people’s cancer risk.

Does smoking weed cause cancer?

The evidence is a lot less clear when it comes to whether cannabis can cause cancer.
This is because most people who use cannabis smoke it mixed with tobacco, a substance that we know causes cancer. In the UK, more than three quarters of people who smoke weed reported normally mixing it with tobacco.

This makes it hard to disentangle the potential impact of cannabis on cancer risk from the impact of the tobacco. As of 2021, we can’t be sure whether the increased risk is due to tobacco or whether cannabis also has an independent effect.

We do know from decades of evidence that there is no safe way to use tobacco – it’s addictive and harmful for your health. People who smoke weed mixed with tobacco increase their risk of cancer and other conditions. Tobacco also contains the very addictive substance nicotine. This means people who regularly smoke weed mixed with tobacco may find it harder to stop.

> Read about the free support and quitting tools available to help you to stop smoking for good on our website.

Can cannabis relieve cancer symptoms like pain or sickness?

There’s good evidence that cannabinoids may be beneficial in managing cancer pain and side effects from treatment.

As far back as the 1980s, cannabinoid-based drugs including dronabinol (synthetic THC) and nabilone were used to help reduce nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. But there are now safer and more effective alternatives and cannabinoids tend to only be used where other approaches fail.

In some parts of the world, medical marijuana has been legalised for relieving pain and symptoms (palliative use), including cancer pain. But one of the problems with using herbal cannabis is managing the dose. Smoking cannabis or taking it in the form of tea often provides an inconsistent dose, which may make it difficult for patients to monitor their intake. So, researchers are turning to alternative dosing methods, such as mouth sprays, which deliver a reliable and regulated dose.

Large-scale clinical trials in the UK have been testing whether a mouth spray formulation of Sativex (nabiximols) can help to control severe cancer pain that doesn’t respond to other drugs. Results from these didn’t find any difference in self-reported pain scores between the treatment and the placebo.

Cannabinoids may also have potential in combating the loss of appetite and wasting (cachexia) experienced by some people with cancer, although so far clinical evidence is lacking. One clinical trial comparing appetite in groups of cancer patients given cannabis extract, THC and a placebo didn’t find a difference between the treatments, while another didn’t show any benefit and was closed early.

Is Cancer Research UK investigating cannabinoids?

Cancer Research UK has funded research into cannabinoids, notably the work of Professor Chris Paraskeva in Bristol investigating the properties of cannabinoids as part of his research into the prevention and treatment of bowel cancer. He has published a number of papers detailing lab experiments looking at endocannabinoids as well as THC, and written a review looking at the potential of cannabinoids for treating bowel cancer.

We also support Dr Laureano de la Vega, a Cancer Research UK Fellow at the University of Dundee, who in 2019 started to explore if CBD can limit cancer’s ability to spread, using lung and triple negative breast cancer cells grown in the lab.

We’re also involved in the only 2 UK clinical trials of cannabinoids for treating cancer, mentioned above, through our national network of Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres.

Our funding committees have previously received other applications from researchers who want to investigate cannabinoids but these failed to reach our high standards for funding. If we receive future proposals that meet these stringent requirements, then there is no reason that they wouldn’t be funded, assuming we have the money available.

Unfortunately, some scammers are using the email address [email protected] and claiming to be based at our head office, tricking cancer patients and their families into handing over money for “cannabis oil”, after which they receive nothing in return. This is a scam and has nothing to do with Cancer Research UK or our employees, as we wrote about in 2015. If you believe you have been a victim of this fraud, please contact the police.

“It’s natural so it must be better, right?”

There’s no doubt that the natural world is a treasure trove of biologically useful compounds, and there are countless examples where these have been harnessed as effective treatments.

Numerous potent cancer drugs have also been developed in this way – purifying a natural compound, improving it and testing it to create a beneficial drug – including taxol, vincristine, vinblastine, camptothecin, colchicine, and etoposide. But although these purified drugs in controlled high doses can treat cancer, it doesn’t mean that the original plant (or a simple extract) will have the same effect. So, although cannabis contains certain cannabinoids, it doesn’t automatically follow that cannabis itself can treat cancer.

“But it worked for this patient…”

Doctors sometimes publish case reports about extraordinary or important observations they have seen in their clinic. For example, there is a published case report of a 14-year old girl from Canada who was treated with cannabis extracts (also referred to as “hemp oil”). But very little reliable information can be taken from a single patient treated with what’s an unknown mix of cannabinoids outside of a controlled clinical setting.

There are also many videos and anecdotes online claiming that people have been completely cured of cancer with cannabis, hemp/cannabis oil or other cannabis derivatives.

Despite what these sources may claim, it’s impossible to tell whether these patients have been ‘cured’ by cannabis or not. There is usually no information about their medical diagnosis, stage of disease, what other cancer treatments they had, or the chemical make-up of their treatment. These sources also only publish the “success stories”, and don’t share how many people who used cannabis or its derivatives had no benefit, or worse, were potentially harmed.

Robust scientific studies describe the detail of experiments and share the results – positive or negative. This is vital for working out whether a potential cancer treatment is truly safe and effective, or not. And publishing this data allows doctors around the world to judge the information for themselves and use it for the benefit and safety of their patients.

This is the standard to which all cancer treatments are held, and it’s one that cannabinoids should be held to, too.

Dr Wai Liu at St George’s University is researching cannabis and cannabinoids for treating cancer to build up the evidence. He is happy to collect individual stories from UK patients and can be contacted by email. In the US, the Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine gathers similar stories for their Best Case Series.

“What’s the harm? There’s nothing to lose.”

If someone chooses to reject conventional cancer treatment in favour of unproven alternatives, including cannabis, they may miss out on treatment that could save or significantly lengthen their life. They may also miss out on effective symptom relief to control pain or other problems.

Many of these unproven therapies are also expensive, and aren’t covered by the NHS or medical insurance. In the worst cases, an alternative therapy may even hasten death.

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Although centuries of human experimentation tell us that naturally-occurring cannabinoids are broadly safe, they are not without risks. They can increase heart rate, which may cause problems for patients with pre-existing or undiagnosed heart conditions. They can also interact with other drugs in the body, including antidepressants and antihistamines. And they may also affect how the body processes certain chemotherapy drugs, which could cause serious side effects.

Cannabis is an illegal (class B) drug in the UK and there are further risks associated with using black market or home-made preparations, particularly cannabis oil, such as toxic chemicals left from the solvents used in the preparation process.

There are also many internet scams by people offering to sell cannabis preparations. As well as the risk of getting something with completely unknown chemical or medicinal properties and unknown effectiveness, scammers are tricking cancer patients and their families into handing over money for “cannabis oil” which they then never receive.

We understand the desire to try every possible avenue when conventional cancer treatment fails. But there is little chance that an unproven alternative treatment bought online will help, and it may well harm. We recommend that cancer patients talk to their doctor about clinical trials that they may be able to join, giving them access to new drugs in a safe and monitored environment.

“Are cancer charities hiding cannabis as a cure?”

We’ve blogged previously about how unjust this is to the thousands of scientists, doctors and nurses working as hard as they can to beat cancer, and to the many thousands of people in the UK and beyond who give up their time and money to fund our work.

History shows that the best way to beat cancer is through rigorous scientific research. This approach has helped to change the face of cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment, leading to survival doubling over the past 40 years.

As a research-based organisation, we want to see reliable scientific evidence to support claims made about any cancer treatment, be it conventional or alternative. This is vital because lives are at stake. Some people may think that a cancer patient has nothing to lose by trying an alternative treatment, but there are big risks.

“Big Pharma can’t patent it so they’re not interested.”

Some people argue that the potential of cannabinoids is being ignored by pharmaceutical companies, because they can’t patent the chemicals naturally occurring in cannabis plants. But there are many ways that these compounds can be patented – for example, by developing more effective lab-made versions or better ways to deliver them.

Other people argue that patients should be treated with ‘street’ or homegrown cannabis preparations, and that the research being done by companies is solely to make money and prevent patients accessing “the cure”.

But the best chance of ensuring that the potential benefits of cannabinoids – whether natural or man-made – can be brought to patients is through research using quality-controlled, safe, legal, pharmaceutical grade preparations containing known amounts of the drugs.

This requires time, effort and money, which may come from companies or independent organisations such as charities or governments. And, ultimately, this investment needs to be paid back by sales of a safe, effective new drug.

It’s true that there are issues around drug pricing and availability and we’re pushing for companies to make new treatments available at a fair price. We would hope that if cannabinoids were to be shown to be safe and effective enough to make it to the clinic, they would be made available at a fair price for all patients who might benefit from them.

“Why don’t you campaign for cannabis to be legalised?”

Cannabis is classified as a class B drug in the UK, meaning that it is illegal to possess or supply it.

Cancer Research UK does not have an organisational policy on the legal status of cannabis, its use or abuse as a recreational drug, or its medical use in any other diseases. But we are supportive of properly conducted scientific research into cannabis and its derivatives that could benefit cancer patients and we will continue to monitor developments in the fields and evidence as it emerges.

In summary

Right now, there simply isn’t enough evidence to prove that cannabinoids – whether natural or synthetic – can effectively treat cancer in patients, although research is ongoing. And there’s certainly no evidence that ‘street’ cannabis can treat cancer.

We’re supportive of properly conducted scientific research into cannabis and its derivatives that could benefit cancer patients. Many researchers are actively exploring this approach, and Cancer Research UK is supporting, and will continue to support, scientifically robust research into cannabis and cannabinoids that reaches the high-quality standards set by our funding committees.

References and further reading:

  • CancerHelp UK – Does smoking cannabis cause cancer?
  • CancerHelp UK – Is cannabis a treatment for brain tumours?
  • CancerHelp UK – Twotrials of Sativex for cancer-related pain
  • National Cancer Institute (US) – Information about cannabis and cannabinoids for cancer patients
  • National Cancer Institute (US) – Information about cannabis and cannabinoids for health professionals
  • Velasco, G., Sánchez, C. & Guzmán, M. (2012). Towards the use of cannabinoids as antitumour agents, Nature Reviews Cancer, 12 (6) 444. DOI: 10.1038/nrc3247
  • Sarfaraz, S. et al (2008). Cannabinoids for Cancer Treatment: Progress and Promise, Cancer Research, 68 (2) 342. DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-07-2785
  • Guindon, J. & Hohmann, A.G. (2011). The endocannabinoid system and cancer: therapeutic implication, British Journal of Pharmacology, 163 (7) 1463. DOI: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01327.x
  • Engels, F.K. et al (2007). Medicinal cannabis in oncology, European Journal of Cancer, 43 (18) 2644. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejca.2007.09.010
  • Twelves, C., Sabel, M., Checketts, D. et al (2021). A phase 1b randomised, placebo-controlled trial of nabiximols cannabinoid oromucosal spray with temozolomide in patients with recurrent glioblastoma. British Journal of Cancer 124, 1379–1387. DOI: 10.1038/s41416-021-01259-3
  • Cannabinoids in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting – Todaro (2012) Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network
  • Bowles, D.W. et al (2012). The intersection between cannabis and cancer in the United States, Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology, 83 (1) 10. DOI: 10.1016/j.critrevonc.2011.09.008
  • Hall, W., Christie, M. & Currow, D. (2005). Cannabinoids and cancer: causation, remediation, and palliation, The Lancet Oncology, 6 (1) 42. DOI: 10.1016/S1470-2045(04)01711-5 . , Wai Liu, The Conversation

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Comments

Until you’re a terminal cancer patient you just wont understand the desperation to live as long as possible, even if it were mere days extra time. I would try anything for extra time with loved ones.
I can’t believe there isn’t more research into cannabis and cancer. And for those that say “well it doesn’t work for everybody” guess what conventional cancer treatment doesn’t either.
Stage 4 cancer = no cure, terminal in most cases.

Why is it that charities raking in millions every year can find the evidence of cannabis for not treating cancer but cant find the overwhelming evidence that it can and does treat cancer ?

Great reading I have lung cancer I’m being treated with chemo now and would be interested in a trail it’s small cell lung cancer

Without full spectrum cannabis oil my life around a year into breast cancer I doubt I would be here now

It has enabled me to come off opioids and live a semi normal life

It sickens me to think drs happily give out meds that are killing people but won’t give out a herb that has O deaths yes Zero

I have even contacted professor Mike barns pleading with him to help me find a trial but guess what not one in the uk

The fact cannabis is illegal in this county is all political and NOTHING to do with our health

It’s about time charity’s like yours start campaigning for us, most of us medical cannabis users are spending far to much on it in order to feel well I echo what another commenter said that all stage 4 should be at least offered cannabis as an alternative

Also why can’t the hospital doctors give medical cannabis too relieve sickness and pain of cancer it’s cruel

I think that medical cannabis should be given too all stage 4 cancer patients that are told it’s aggressive and treatment wont help under medical care it could be done safely then with trial an error they will know if it works legalise cannabis for the sick wake up Boris

Thank you for sharing this amazing blog. It is easy to learn and understand. It’s a truly useful blog.

“Why don’t you campaign for cannabis to be legalised?” Your answer was ridiculous that’s all you said was that it’s illegal to possess or buy or what ever I think the question was why won’t you campaign to have it legal so then it can be tested more . Don’t beat around the bush ( No pun intended) just say it’s not worth the effort for the money you would have to spend .

this blog post is very perfect and has a lot of very vital info, thanks so much for this work

We’ve recently seen stories in the press claiming that the US government has “admitted that cannabis kills cancer” (for example, this one in the Metro), based on the observation that pages on the US National Cancer Institute information website carry details of the current scientific evidence around the effects of cannabis and cannabinoids on cancer cells in the lab and animal models.

The first thing to point out is that the NCI’s cancer information website is an independent resource for doctors and the patients, and is not a statement of NIH, NCI or US government policy.

Furthermore, the information on these pages isn’t new, nor is it an ‘admission’ of any kind: the scientific evidence about cannabis, cannabinoids and cancer, which these media stories are referring to, has been openly published on the NCI’s website for several years – for example, see this page from the same section of the NIH website on cannabis and cannabinoids from 2011, accessed via the internet archive.

We often see websites with long lists of scientific papers claiming that cannabis is a “cure” for various cancers. However, when we look at the detail of the data and the experimental detail of the research, it becomes clear that although they may be interesting and build evidence to show that cannabinoids may one day bring benefits for cancer patients, they are far from being a cure.

The main point to realise is that virtually all these studies have been done in cancer cells grown in the lab or in animals. These are quite artificial systems and are much less complex than a real cancer growing in a patient.

For example, most experiments with cells grown in the lab use cancer cells that were originally taken from a tumour many years ago, but have been grown for a long time in the lab – known as cell lines. One problem with such cells is that they are all very similar on a genetic and molecular level, but we know that in real cancers, the cells can be very different from each other and respond in different ways to treatments. Also the usual way of testing cannabinoids in animals has been done by transplanting cancer cells (either mouse or human) into mice. Usually only a small number (5-20) will be used for each experiment.

There’s growing evidence that these particular kinds of models (known as xenografts) aren’t as good at suggesting a treatment could work, compared to more sophisticated genetically engineered animals, as they don’t accurately represent the situation in real tumours. So although these kinds of experiments can point towards useful approaches, as well as revealing the underlying molecular ‘nuts and bolts’ of what’s going on, they can’t tell us if something will definitely treat cancer effectively and safely in human patients. They do not “prove that cannabis cures cancer”, as the headlines would have us believe.

Put simply, Petri dishes are not people. Most chemicals that show promise in lab or animal experiments turn out not to work as well as hoped when tested in patients. These kinds of human studies, known as clinical trials, are the only way we can really know if a cancer treatment is effective. There’s more about clinical trials on our website: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-help/trials/types-of-trials/

It’s also important to think about what’s being claimed when people use the word “cure”. To most people, including us, this means that a cancer is completely treated and does not come back. When we look at the data in the papers listed below, none of them come close to showing these kinds of results. For the experiments involving cells grown in the lab, a proportion of the cells are killed or stop growing, but some of them carry on. Similarly in animal experiments, there is no data that shows a 100 per cent success rate for cannabinoids. For example, most mice treated with cannabinoids will still have tumours, although the cancers may be growing more slowly and spread less in some of them.

This isn’t just true for cannabinoids – it’s true for virtually all cancer drugs used today. Cancer is a very complex biological problem – there are hundreds of different types of cancer, each with important molecular and genetic differences. There’s good evidence to show that every individual’s cancer is as unique as they are, and that tumours can evolve and change within the body to become resistant to treatments.

We know that cancer drugs don’t work for everyone all the time – that’s why there’s so much effort going on to find more effective treatments – but it’s vital that doctors have a solid body of evidence showing how well the treatments they’re using are likely to work. If you or someone you loved were going to take any kind of drug, would you be happy if it had only been tested in very high doses on cancer cell lines grown in the lab, or in mice injected with cancer cells? Or would you want to know that it had been trialled in large numbers of people, and there was good data on how effective it is, whether it’s safe in the dose given, what the side effects are, and the proportion of people that can be expected to get better?

This kind of evidence can only come from a combination of lab studies leading to clinical trials. At the moment, while there are hundreds of interesting lab studies of cannabinoids (just some of which are included in the list below) there is only one clinical trial that has been published. So for now, cannabinoids, whether natural or synthetic, are a very long way from being what we would describe as a “cure” for any type of cancer.

We’ve looked at each of the papers in one of the commonly-seen lists (for example, here), and noted down the kinds of experiments they are. Many of them are available as open access papers, so it’s possible to look at the data for yourself. Hopefully this is a useful explanation of the kind of scientific research that is currently ongoing into cannabinoids and cancer, and the process of gathering evidence to show whether a potential cancer therapy works.