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CBD And Cancer Pain: Can CBD Help Relieve Cancer-Related Pain?

CBD And Cancer Pain Can CBD Help Relieve Cancer-Related Pain

Cannabidiol is one of the main compounds of the Cannabis sativa plant. It is an alternative treatment to cure certain medical conditions, including cancer. CBD is used as a complementary therapy to manage the side effects of cancer. Researchers have proven the benefits of CBD in reducing anxiety and chronic pain, but recent studies have shown the effect of CBD in relieving cancer-related pain. Most people aren’t aware of CBD, its functioning, and the benefits of CBD products. The article gives you the complete details of CBD and how it acts in a therapeutic role in cancer.

Explanation of cancer pain

Cancer is a disease characterized by the development of abnormal cells and their growth into other parts of the body. People who are diagnosed with cancer may feel severe pain. Generally, pain is a common symptom of cancer. The pain they experience depends on the type of cancer they have, and the intensity determines the complexity of the disease. People may feel mild pain in the initial stages and it started to get worse as the cancer progress.  The disease itself not only causes severe pain but surgery, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, supportive care therapies, tumors, and diagnostic procedures also cause pain. The pain will continue even after the cancer treatment ends. Compared to older patients, younger patients are more likely to have pain. Patients with severe pain use drugs to get temporary relief from its intensity.

Explanation of cancer pain

An introduction to CBD

Cannabidiol is an important compound in the Cannabis plant. A strain of the cannabis sativa plant contains a good amount of CBD. The benefits of CBD were not found until the discovery of the endocannabinoid system(ECS) in humans in the late 1980s. It regulates psychological functions such as cognition, mood, perception, and sleep. The invention of ECS paved the way for the potential benefits of CBD in the body. Do you know what makes CBD unique from other compounds in the cannabis plant? Cannabis is famous for two compounds such as THC and CBD. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the most prevalent ingredient found in the cannabis plant, which is a psychoactive compound in marijuana. Unlike THC, cannabidiol doesn’t have psychoactive ‘high’ effects. The mild side effects and the effective use of CBD for several health conditions make this chemical unique from other compounds found in the cannabis plant.

Potential benefits of CBD

Reduce stress/anxiety
Improve sleep quality
Reduce chronic pain
Relieve arthritis and joint pain
Reduce neuropathic pain

 How does CBD work in the body?

CBD is one of the popular pharmaceutic products nowadays. It is widely used in medicines, nutritional supplements, and many more. Some clinical research has proven that CBD works in the body by slowing the endocannabinoids that exist in the body. The slowing down helps your body to utilize the ECS more efficiently, thereby body can reduce inflammation in both the immune system and the nervous system. Each property of CBD compound brings several benefits to the body. CBD also impacts dopamine, opioid, and serotonin receptors that regulate pain, anxiety, and mood.

What are the potential benefits of CBD for cancer pain?

CBD is popular among people diagnosed with cancer. Cancer treatments such as radiation therapy, targeted therapy, and supportive care therapies can produce several side effects ranging from nausea and loss of appetite to weight loss. Anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties of CBD compound help to manage symptoms and side effects of cancer. People are using CBD products as a complementary treatment for cancer. Cancer causes severe pain due to several reasons, such as nerve injury, pressure on internal organs, or inflammation. The impact of CBD indirectly influences the CB2 receptors and provides pain relief. A CBD product that contains THC compound may help to stimulate the appetite and reflects antinausea effects. 

What does the research say about the effectiveness of CBD for cancer pain relief?

Several studies support that cannabinoids can reduce tumor growth in animal cancer. A 2019 study has proved that CBD is effective to make glioblastoma cells more sensitive to radiation, without any effect on healthy cells.  California Men’s Health study found that using CBD is effective to reduce the developing risk of bladder cancer. A 2010 research demonstrated the effects of CBD on breast cancer. The study found that using CBD products reduced the risk and symptoms of breast cancer.

 There are a few studies conducted based on ‘The effectiveness of CBD for cancer pain relief in humans. No large scale-studies have shown the benefits of CBD for the treatment of people with cancer. Some studies show that CBD, together with THC can relieve pain, anxiety, or insomnia. A specific study related to the effectiveness of CBD in people with cancer hasn’t been conducted. Although CBD shows positive effects on cancer management in some preclinical studies, mechanistic studies on the effectiveness of CBD’s anticancer effects are still limited.   

What does the research say about the effectiveness of CBD for cancer pain relief

 Types of cancer pain 

There are different types of cancer pain. The pain, where it feels determines the type of cancer a person has. Following are some types of cancer and their causes. 

Nociceptive pain

Nociceptive pain occurs due to damaged body tissue. There are two types of physical pain, such as nociceptive and neuropathic pain. Different types of injuries can cause nociceptive pain including cuts, Burns, Fractures, broken bones, bruises, arthritis, sprains, etc. 

Neuropathic pain

Neuropathic pain is different from Nociceptive pain. It occurs due to damage to nerves or the nervous system. The symptoms of neuropathic pain vary, such as shooting, burning, numbness, and tingling. The pain may occur at various levels of the nervous system- the peripheral nerves, the brain, and the spinal cord.  Several factors can influence Neuropathic pain, and it occurs as a result of certain health conditions such as HIV or AIDS, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, alcoholism, joint problems in the spine, etc. 

Breakthrough pain

People who have chronic pain from fibromyalgia, arthritis, and cancer may experience sudden increasing pain. This condition is known as breakthrough pain. As the name suggests, it lasts for a short time. The level of pain range from mild to severe. Breakthrough pain usually comes as a result of stress, illness, and certain activities, such as coughing, exercising, etc. breakthrough condition also occurs as a symptom of a new condition called pain flare. People who are taking regular medicines for chronic pain might have experienced breakthrough pain.

Phantom pain

Phantom pain is a sensitivity that individual experiences relating to an organ or a limb that is not physically part of the body. You have the perception that your organ is removed from the place that’s no longer there. The pain is real and it can involve non-limb body parts that have been removed like breasts, tongue, nose, teeth, eyes, penis, end even the parts of the intestinal tract. The sensation of phantom pain may vary depending on the person. So it couldn’t have specific symptoms. However, most people have experienced burning, shooting, cramping, throbbing, tingling, etc. Researchers don’t exactly know the reason behind phantom pain. A treatment called mirror therapy can reduce the level of phantom pain. 

How can CBD relieve different types of cancer pain?

 CBD gained high popularity during these years because it offers several health benefits. Researchers have found that the compound can help to manage some cancer symptoms and the side effects of the treatment. Therefore, it is used as a complementary therapy to different types of cancer pain. As aforementioned, some of the clinical studies proved that the use of CBD and THC is effective to prevent certain symptoms of breast cancer, bladder cancer, etc. An older study conducted in the united states proved that the use of cannabis did not increase the risk of tobacco-related cancers. A 2015 study found that the participants who used cannabis had a lower risk of developing bladder cancer. 

Current treatments for cancer pain

There is tremendous progress in the medical field over the last few decades. But cancer remains one of the most horrific diagnoses for anybody due to its almost inevitable futility. However, several treatments are available to reduce the pain and symptoms of cancer. Following are some of the treatments for cancer pain.

  • Pain relievers

Mild to moderate level pain can be prevented using pain relievers such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, etc. in addition, antidepressants, steroids, and anti-seizure drugs help relieve cancer pain. 

  • Medications derived from opioids

Opioids have a vital role in the treatment of cancer pain. It is used as medicine to treat mild to moderate levels of cancer pain. It helps to give a sudden relief from the pain, but you may need to use the medicines more often. Opioids such as morphine and oxycodone are the most used type of medicines derived from opium.  

  • Procedures

In some cases, a nerve procedure is used to block the pain signals from being sent to the brain. A numbing medicine is injected into the nerve to function the procedure. 

  • Therapies

There are different therapies are available to treat cancer pain. The type of therapy that is decided depends on the type of cancer you have and how advanced it is. In most cases, people have a combination of therapies ranging from chemotherapy to radiation therapy. 

How CBD can be used in conjunction with traditional cancer pain management

CBD is used as an alternative option for conventional cancer pain management. Human trials have shown that the two types of cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are effective to reduce inflammation and cancer pain. But taking CBD or other supplements along with your traditional medicines is harmful to your health. If you are decided to take any CBD supplements, take suggestions from your oncologist first.

 Risks and Side Effects of CBD

As you all know Cannabinoids are one of the essential compounds found in the cannabis sativa plant. It offers several benefits to neuro pain, nociceptive pain, cancer, etc. However, FDA approved only one CBD product named Epidiolex. The product is used to treat two types of epilepsy. Some clinical studies have shown that the use of CBD products is effective in the treatment of diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, etc. But there is limited evidence to support the benefits of CBD.

Similar to other drugs, CBD product has also side effects. But compared to other drugs,  it has mild to moderate levels of side effects. Some of the possible side effects include irritability, fatigue, nausea, dry mouth, lightheadedness, diarrhea, etc. In rare cases, it may damage your liver.  The regular use of CBD products may increase the level of blood thinning. People who take high doses of CBD may show abnormalities in liver-related blood tests. When comes to safety concerns, CBD is marketed as a supplement and FDA does not regulate any safety of these dietary supplements. So you should talk with your doctor before you use any CBD  products. 

Interactions with other medications

Taking CBD with other medications has similar side effects, and it can double the level of side effects. For example, taking CBD along with other prescription medications can cause sleepiness. It can lead to increased sedation and tiredness. CBD has the potential to interact with many products, such as herbal products, prescription medications, etc. Some medications should never be taken with CBD products. The interaction with other drugs can boost the possible side effects of both medicines. People who decide to take CBD products should always consult their doctor.  People who use regular medications for liver disease, kidney disease, and heart issues should take extra care before using any CBD products. 

Safety concerns for cancer patients

If you are planning to take any CBD products for reducing cancer pain, always talk to your doctor first. Because some studies have shown that CBD might interfere with drug interaction which makes cancer treatment less effective. Therefore, it’s better to talk with your physician about the efficacy of CBD in cancer treatment.


CBD has an increasing demand in the market due to its various health benefits. When it comes to cancer treatment, CBD products are used to relieve cancer pain and some symptoms. But there is limited research showing the positive side of CBD in cancer treatment. More research is needed to analyze the significance of CBD in relieving cancer pain. If you are considering any CBD supplements, seek advice from health practitioners. 

Dr. Edward Zelman

Dr. Edward Zelman

Dr. Edward Zelman is a distinguished and highly respected medical professional who has dedicated his career to the field of general medicine. With a profound commitment to patient care and a wealth of knowledge acquired over decades of practice, Dr. Zelman has earned a reputation as a trusted healthcare provider in his community. With a career defined by excellence and an unwavering commitment to the betterment of his patients and the broader community, Dr. Edward Zelman stands as a pillar of the medical field, dedicated to the principles of healing and compassionate care. At present, Dr. Edward Zelman is researching safe and effective natural remedies that can restore as well as maintain the youthful functioning of the body.

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