Bill Turnbull’s powerful documentary got plenty of people talking about the various treatment options he tried. One of our expert Clinical Nurse Specialists answers some commonly asked questions.
Q. Can cannabis help cure prostate cancer?
Staying a healthy weight may also mean your prostate cancer is less likely to spread after surgery or radiotherapy. And if you’re having hormone therapy to treat your prostate cancer, your treatment may be less effective if you’re very overweight.
Q. Can changing my diet and keeping physically active help fight prostate cancer?
Why? Well, firstly because there’s strong evidence that being overweight increases the risk of aggressive or advanced prostate cancer.
In addition, CBD may help with the vomiting and nausea associated with chemotherapy. Research shows a link between the body’s endocannabinoid system (the internal receptors that respond to cannabinoids) and the areas of the brain responsible for nausea and vomiting. For those struggling with nausea as part of a cancer treatment, CBD may help to provide some relief.
Before we delve into the specifics of CBD for enlarged prostate (and other prostate issues), we need to define the conditions. For the purposes of this article, we’re going to address the three most common prostate issues that men face:
The term “enlarged prostate” most commonly refers to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). This is a condition where the prostate is enlarged but not affected by cancer. It commonly affects older men and may cause unpleasant symptoms like painful urination, pain in the hips and pelvic area, blood in the urine or semen, painful ejaculation, and frequent urination.
For BPH sufferers, there’s another possible benefit of taking CBD: pain relief. In a comprehensive review of cannabis studies, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found that “there is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids are effective for the treatment for chronic pain in adults.” A University of South Carolina School of Medicine study found cannabidiol to be among the most effective cannabinoids for inflammation.
CBD and Prostate Cancer
Granted much of the research has focused on the whole cannabis plant and the full spectrum of cannabinoids, raising the question as to whether CBD on its own has as much value. While cannabidiol should provide at least some of the desired benefit, here are the factors to consider:
Prostate cancer is the second-most common cancer that men face (the first being skin cancer), impacting about 175 thousand American men each year. Over the past few years, researchers have been looking at cannabinoids as a potential treatment option for people with prostate cancer. A 2013 study found that cannabidiol is particularly effective among cannabinoids as a killer of prostate cancer cells. A growing body of research reinforces this potential. While cannabidiol may not cure prostate cancer, the compound may be effective for helping prevent and treat the disease.
Cannabidiol (CBD) has developed a dedicated following thanks to its perceived effectiveness against anxiety, epilepsy, localized pain, and other conditions. Using CBD oil for issues such as an enlarged prostate is fairly common place, and although research is still limited (and much of the evidence for its efficacy is anecdotal) the popularity of this compound continues to grow. Like THC, CBD is a cannabinoid, an active compound found in cannabis. But unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive, so it doesn’t get the user high.
CBD for Enlarged Prostate (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia)
Some researchers are examining cannabidiol and other cannabinoids as part of a larger treatment for common prostate issues, including prostate cancer and prostate enlargement. Little is known for certain at this point, but researchers have uncovered some intriguing findings.
Not to be confused with an enlarged prostate, prostatitis is a condition commonly caused by a type of bacteria that enters the prostate from the urinary tract; it can also be caused by a sexually transmitted disease like HIV or chlamydia. The condition may be chronic or acute, and it affects people of all ages.
There has been both enthusiasm and caution about cannabis use and cancer. By mid-2015, 23 states had legalized medical marijuana, one of the primary uses being to ease the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation in cancer treatment. As described above, CB1 receptors play a key role in cancer pain relief.
[iv] Sarfaraz S, Afaq F, Adhami VM, Malik A, Mukhtar H. Cannabinoid receptor agonist-induced apoptosis of human prostate cancer cells LNCaP proceeds through sustained activation of ERK1/2 leading to G1 cell cycle arrest.J Biol Chem. 2006 Dec 22;281(51):39480-91.
Cannabis and prostate cancer
There are many stories of people who have used cannabis oil to shrink prostate cancer tumors, and many of the people had success combining the oil with traditional therapies to fight their cancer. The problem with getting hard data and studies is that United States laws make it challenging for clinical studies on the marijuana plant to take place. Plus, there seems to be a lack of funding for the research. The studies that have taken place tend to focus on symptoms (such as pain relief and nausea) rather than the efficacy of the cannabis oil to shrink cancer tumors.
The current state of cannabinoids and prostate cancer
[vi] De Petrocellis L, Ligresti A, Schiano Moriello A, Iapelli M et al. Non-THC cannabinoids inhibit prostate carcinoma growth in vitro and in vivo: pro-apoptotic effects and underlying mechanisms.Br J Pharmacol. 2013 Jan;168(1):79-102.