Cannabis is a class B drug and illegal in the UK.
Cannabis is a class B drug in the UK. This means that it is illegal to have it, sell it or buy it.
Researchers are looking into Sativex as a treatment for cancer related symptoms and for certain types of cancer.
Scientists also discovered that cannabinoids can:
Word of caution
There has been a lot of interest into whether cannabinoids might be useful as a cancer treatment. The scientific research done so far has been laboratory research, with mixed results, so we do not know if cannabinoids can treat cancer in people.
The plant produces a resin that contains a number of substances or chemicals. These are called cannabinoids. Cannabinoids can have medicinal effects on the body.
The main cannabinoids are:
We need more research to know if cannabis or the chemicals in it can treat cancer.
Why people with cancer use it
The results of one trial showed that Sativex did not improve pain levels. You can read the results of the trial on our clinical trials website.
There are also many cannabis based products available online without a prescription. The quality of these products can vary. It is impossible to know what substances they might contain. They could potentially be harmful to your health and may be illegal.
CBD is only available by prescription in the United States in the form of a drug called Epidiolex. This drug is used to treat refractory epilepsy.
While the research is still very early, experts speculate that CBD may play a role in treating cancer, specifically by slowing tumor growth and inducing the death of cancer cells. CBD may also help manage unpleasant symptoms related to cancer and chemotherapy, such as pain, nausea, and vomiting.
In addition, a mouth spray that contains both THC and CBD (called Sativex) is being investigated for its role in treating cancer pain (especially nerve-related pain) that is poorly controlled by opioids. The drug is currently not available in the United States, but it is available in Canada for treating advanced cancer pain.
Here are a few examples:
As of now, there are only a handful of human studies that have examined CBD's anti-cancer role.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of many compounds (called cannabinoids) found in the marijuana plant Cannabis sativa. CBD is known for its relaxing and pain-soothing effects.
CBD oil is perhaps the most commonly utilized formulation of CBD, as it’s easy to use and allows for a high dose of consumption. However, CBD comes in many other forms—gummies, tinctures, capsules, vapes, and ointments, to name a few.
CBD and Treating Cancer
If CBD is combined with THC (in the form of medical marijuana), other side effects may occur, such as:
With the potentially emerging use of CBD in treating cancer and/or its related symptoms, there are a few issues to consider.
Available only by prescription, Epidiolex contains a highly purified form of CBD, the FDA says. Safety risks include possible liver damage and the potential for adverse reactions when the drug is taken with other medications—potential hazards that the FDA requires be disclosed on its label.
“In its absence, it doesn’t mean something isn’t of value, but it’s much harder to advise its use in patients,” Dr. Markman says. “There’s no regulation. The research just isn’t there yet. The fundamental problem has been, and remains, that you’re talking about a class of drugs that’s been woefully under-researched, and the reason is because it’s illegal under federal law. It’s an incredible situation where you have proclamations by people about how great it is, but we also know about the placebo effect, which is a very important consideration. There have also been multiple studies that have shown potential for harm to the central nervous system and cognition. And there’s an incredible economic incentive to consider.”
Cancer and CBD
The FDA acknowledges the “significant public interest in cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds,” but maintains there are “many unanswered questions about the science, safety, and quality” of CBD products. The agency is engaged in “ongoing efforts” to answer these questions, according to its website.
Danish researchers conducted a review of 22 clinical trials conducted over a 19-year span on the use of cannabis and CBD in adults. They concluded that, while CBD may have “therapeutic effects” on some social and psychiatric disorders, the studies showed “substantial risks of bias” and had varying “methodological weaknesses.”