Recent research on CBD + breast cancer

Recently, I gave a lecture at the senior center in Manchester about CBD. The lecture was very well attended, and the interest and questions were even better! Having the opportunity to help the community is something all of the doctors in our office love to do, and public lectures are one of the ways we serve the community. Also, we have an opportunity to dive into the research a little deeper when we prepare for these talks. Today’s blog post will be centered around a very interesting studying including breast cancer and medical marijuana.

In this study, they found cannabinoids significantly reduce the growth of erbB2-positive (also known as HER2 or neu) breast cancer tumors in a mouse model. This type of breast cancer (many other type of breast cancers not discussed with this study) is known to be more aggressive and metastatic, and less responsive to therapy. HER2 positive breast cancer means there is a gene that is being over expressed that leads to cell proliferation.

The study took mice that were genetically predisposed to HER2 overactivation – aka mice given HER2 positive breast cancer, and then given either THC, CBD, or nothing (control or ‘Veh’) over the course of 100 days and measured many ways during this time period. Below is a Xenograph – the standard of assessing how tumor cells respond to a treatment (usually new potential chemotherapeutics).

That is a pretty remarkable response to CBD and THC treatment compared to doing nothing. Unfortunately this research did not use a chemo-therapy drug for comparison, however we know there are not many chemotherapies that response to HER2+ breast cancers.

To be clear, this article is NOT to be taken that CBD or THC is a proven treatment for breast cancer. It is recommended that a patient with any type of breast cancer works with an oncology team to discuss the best treatment for their case. However, I do believe that CBD/THC products need to begin to be included in human oncology trials. I am confident that this ‘normalizing’, ancient botanical medicine is not going to make things worse in someone’s therapy. Medical marijuana is widely accepted to be a powerful anti-nausea, appetite stimulator, and pain reducer – all common symptoms that challenge patients going through conventional treatments.

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