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.
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.
The supplier had advised that the main active ingredients were Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) at 19.5%, cannabidiol at around 20%, and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) at around 24%.
The supplier also advised that hot food or drinks should be avoided when taking the oil as she might otherwise feel stoned. The woman said she had reduced appetite since taking the oil but had no other obvious ‘side effects’. There were no other changes to her prescribed meds, diet, or lifestyle. And she continued to smoke throughout.
This is just one case report, with only one other similar case reported, caution the authors. And it’s not clear which of the CBD oil ingredients might have been helpful.
“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.
BMJ Case Reports
Method of Research
Subject of Research
Lung cancer patient who had declined conventional cancer treatment: could the self-administration of ‘CBD oil’ be contributing to the observed tumour regression?
Article Publication Date
BMJ 病例報告中的醫生在與一位日常使用者打交道後，在處理了一位在沒有常規治療的情況下肺部腫瘤縮小的患者後，建議進一步探索使用大麻二酚 (‘CBD’) 油作為潛在的肺癌治療方法可能值得進一步探索。
肺癌仍然是英國第二大常見癌症。儘管治療有所進步，但診斷後五年的存活率仍然很低，約為 15%。未經治療的平均生存期約為 7 個月。
報告作者描述了一名 80 多歲的婦女的案例，她被診斷出患有非小細胞肺癌。她還患有輕度慢性阻塞性肺病 (COPD)、骨關節炎和高血壓，為此她正在服用各種藥物。
她的腫瘤在診斷時大小為 41 毫米，沒有局部或進一步擴散的證據，因此適合手術、化療和放療的常規治療。但該婦女拒絕治療，因此被置於“觀察和等待”監測之下，其中包括每 3 至 6 個月進行一次定期 CT 掃描。
報告作者說，這些表明腫瘤正在逐漸縮小，大小從 2018 年 6 月的 41 毫米減小到 2021 年 2 月的 10 毫米，相當於最大直徑總體減少 76%，平均每月減少 2.4%。
當在 2019 年聯繫她討論她的進展時，該婦女透露，自 2018 年 8 月，即她最初的診斷後不久，她就一直在服用 CBD 油作為肺癌的替代自我治療方法。
在親眼目睹她的丈夫與放射治療的副作用作鬥爭後，她是在親戚的建議下這樣做的。她說她一直服用 0.5 毫升的油，通常每天三次，但有時兩次。
供應商曾告知，主要活性成分為 19.5% 的 Δ9-四氫大麻酚 (THC)、約 20% 的大麻二酚和約 24% 的四氫大麻酚酸 (THCA)。
作者告誡說，這只是一個案例報告，僅報告了一個其他類似案例。目前尚不清楚哪些 CBD 油成分可能有幫助。
“我們無法確認患者服用的 CBD 油的全部成分，也無法提供有關哪些成分可能導致觀察到的腫瘤消退的信息，”他們指出。
他們強調：“雖然 CBD 油的攝入量與觀察到的腫瘤消退之間似乎存在關係，但我們無法最終確認腫瘤消退是由於患者服用 CBD 油所致。”
大麻在現代醫學中有著悠久的“藥用”歷史，於 1842 年首次被引入，因為它具有鎮痛、鎮靜、抗炎、解痙和抗驚厥作用。人們普遍認為大麻素可以幫助患有慢性疼痛、焦慮和睡眠障礙的人；作者補充說，大麻素也用於姑息治療。