Part A: Some basic information on cancer.
The following is a list of the most common cancers:
- Breast cancer
- Lung cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Colon and rectum cancer
- Skin melanoma
- Bladder cancer
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Kidney and renal pelvis cancer
- Endometrial cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Liver cancer
The medical fraternity has studied the disease in great depth so let me give an outline of the main points. This should help when we focus on some areas of research.
What is a cancer? It can occur virtually anywhere in the body and typically is called a tumor when cells in solid tissue begin to divide and grow unrestrainedly. A cancerous tumor will then very likely journey to other areas of the body via the blood and lymph systems.
The good news is that not all tumors are malignant and if the tumor is benign it will not proliferate. However, a malignant tumor is very invasive and often spreads very rapidly.
Where the malignant tumor is found in an organ, a muscle or a bone it is called a sarcoma and where it is found in the tissues covering such organs as the liver, it is called a carcinoma.
Clearly cancers of the blood, Leukemia and Lymphoma and their relative, multiple myeloma, are tangibly different.
I, Maximus, your Mentor
Without question, I am elderly. I have a degree in science and a lifelong interest in philosophy, particularly the classicists, architecture, and cosmology. My happiest and most fruitful days were spent in command of a ship.
Should you be interested to know more, please click on the Home Page.
Part B: Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Cancer
There has been a prodigious surge in research in recent years into cannabinoids and their prospective potential as a treatment for cancer.
I would first like to take a general look at the above subject because that is how researchers behave. Often, they prefer to study the subject in its entirety first, and then perhaps converge in onto a specific. This is what I shall do – look first at the cannabinoids in general and then at CBD.
Cannabinoids, in any event, is where I suspect the majority of scientists wish to work. After all, THC, alas its reputation sullied by decades of abuse by the public – lies at No. 3 in the US after alcohol and tobacco, as the most abused drug. It still however, offers exciting research for the scientist. And remember there are >100 cannabinoids.
Are cannabidiols (CBD) and cannabinoids (CB) dissimilar compounds?
Many of you will of course know the difference already. CBD is itself a cannabinoid and one of 113 other cannabinoids (please see later under ‘phytocannabinoid’). It is one of two most prolific sources of CB found in cannabis, the other being THC or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, and more commonly known as marijuana. Typically, cannabis grown to source CBD would be called Hemp and cannabis used for THC would be called marijuana. THC is a narcotic and its somewhat plainer cousin is not. Nevertheless, the plain cousin has a most astonishing disposition which you will discover later in this essay.
Incidentally, and very importantly please note that CBD and hemp seed oil are two entirely different compounds and the hemp seed shows none of the amazing health benefits that CBD does.
Some other Cannabinoids that have been studied, and remember there are 113 of them, are (please also see next paragraph, ‘phytocannabinioids’) :
- THC-acid (THCA)
- CBD-acid (CBDA)
- Cannabigerol (CBG)
- Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA)
- Cannabichromene (CBC)
- Cannabichromenolic acid (CBCA)
- Cannabichromevarin (CBCV)
- Cannabichromevarinolic acid (CBCVA)
- Cannabidivarin (CBDV)
- Cannabidivarinolic acid (CBDVA), and
- Cannabinol (CBN)
You will certainly come into contact with the term phytocannabinoid – normally, I simply call them cannabinoids because they are all plant based from cannabis and the synthetic, laboratory manufactured cannabinoids are excluded.
One hundred and thirteen phytocannabinoids are obtained from the cannabis plant. Including of course, CBN and THC. The phytocannibinoids are in communion and cohere with each other, together with terpenes and flavonoids to give a marvelous source for research and study.
Cannabis – Marijuana (THC)
Cannabis first appeared in US medical inventories from about 1851 through the work of William B. O’Shaughnessy an Irish born doctor. It was used to treat any condition where there was pain, and the tincture would have been used for virtually any ailment.
About 90 years later, cannabis was removed from all lists in the US National Dispensary. This would have been essentially because of the pressure by the burgeoning middle class to restrict the use of marijuana by the lower classes. Unfortunately, this then had a knock-on effect of limiting the research into the medical use of cannabis. Researchers believe that it retarded scientific investigation for 50 years, at least.
Research into cannabinoids and their anticancer influence
Cannabinoids have been shown to exhibit antineoplastic qualities, ie the ability to stop the growth of tumors. One of the first pieces of research in this area was published in 1975. A number of different cannabinoids were examined – chiefly THC, cannabiclol (CBL), cannabinol (CBN) as well as CBD. This is significant because as we already know – tumors are essentially the embodiment of cancer itself. The antitumor effect, ie antineoplasty, is the focus of much research.
When treating cancer patients with cannabinoids, the focus, unquestionably, has historically always been on palliative care. Cannabinoids have been shown, over many years, to help with pain and nausea and improve sleep. But scientists have long believed that cannabinoids have something more to offer.
We already know from cell culture and research on small mammals that cannabinoids exhibit an antitumor feature. Let’s look a little in that direction.
Cannabinoids are able to stimulate the endocannabinoid system by acting on the CB1 and CB2 receptors. This action has been shown to decrease pain and reduce inflammation. But remember cannabinoids do not work directly through them, so how can this be demonstrated? Please see the chapter, later, on endocannabinoids.
A very interesting piece of research was carried out with a group of Endometrial cancer patients and a healthy control group. The aim was to establish a link between the cancer and the receptors expression in the ECS. Scientists use the word ‘expressed’ to mean created, in this case, from instructions in the cell DNA. In that way we would be able to assess, in a circuitous fashion, the link we desired to find.
But first some background to endometrial cancer. It has been found that it very often appears after menopause. Vaginal bleeding not linked to a period is often the first sign. Other manifestations are pain when urinating and pain during intercourse. This is of consequence because the unrestrained growth of the cancer cells causes them to assail other parts of the body. Endometrial carcinoma, to give it its proper name, is cancer of the endometrium – the lining of the uterus.
Tissue samples were obtained from a group of cancer patients and a control group to evaluate the role that the ECS played. Here we were interested in the role of estrogen too because it manages the anatomical state, both healthy and cancerous. The objective was to demonstrate that there would be a link between the expression of receptors – in this case CB2 and its Ligand, clearly we would look to an increased expression.
Immunohystochemical analysis showed that CB2 was overexpressed solely in malignant endometrial cells. Plus CB2-overexpressing AN3CA cells showed a marked depletion in cell energy compared to maternal AN3CA cells. To a layman, this may not appear to provide much but that is not so. The overexpression demonstrated a strong link between the endometrial cells, CB2, and the overall ECS. Plus the depletion in cell energy would have been an important detail.
Continuing our study of tumor activity. Let us look at Glioblastoma. This is an extrordinarily savage brain cancer with high mortality and a poor prognosis. Are Cannabinoids able to accomplish much in this situation?
Interestingly, of the two cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, CB1 receptors are known to be present in the central nervous system (CNS) ie the brain and spinal column, whereas CB2 are found principally on immune cells. Consequently, one might assume that CB2 expression would be minimal
A group of glioblastoma patients were appraised immunohistochemically, for CB1 and CB2 expression (Dumitru CA, Sandacioglu IE, Karsak M, 2018).
As in the previous research this quantification of expression is important step in the process. Also, one should not forget, as we have seen above, to lose sight of the fact that cannabinoids do not work directly through the receptors.
Additionally, the endothelium ie the blood cells that cover the inner surface of the blood vessels were also involved and were especially pinpointed. They were used as a supplementary measure of the apoptis of tumor cells.
Results and Conclusions
In the Endometrial carcinoma study, Immunohystochemical analysis showed that CB2 was overexpressed solely in malignant endometrial cells. And in the Glioblastoma study again vigorous expression occurred.
As an aside, the one thing I love about these researchers is the marvelously creative and complex language they have evolved. There are sublime compound words like angiogenesis, immunocytochemically, neoangiogenesis that roll smoothly, yet sweetly off the tongue.
The results were gratifying because a significant percentage of CB2 receptors were present in the cells indicating vigorous expression in glioblastoma and in endothelia.
From the results achieved, it could be interpreted that in the words of the researchers, “there are strong indications that diminished tumor growth, in concert with cannabinoids, is associated with CB2 actuation”. This information, to the researchers, would have been particularly beneficial.
As an addendum to the two studies carried out above, it is of principal significance to make note of the fact that cannabinoids may also exercise their antitumor influence in an autonomously manner without the help of the CB receptors. This has been shown in research in pancreatic cancer using MIA PaCa-2. This is a cell line used frequently in pancreatic cancer studies.
Part C: CBD and Cancer
This chapter is focused on CBD. In Part B, we looked at brain cancer and CB, here we will again look at brain cancer but, this time centered exclusively on CBD. A host of studies indicate that CBD may offer a cornucopia of benefits for mankind. It is of significance that a government agency, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and one of the world’s foremost medical research centers, has a patent on CBD confirming its “significant and antioxidant and neuroprotective properties”. Which makes CBD ideal for treating a range of neurological diseases and disorders like:
- Dementia in general
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Brain tumors
- Head trauma
One of CBD’s important advantages is that, unlike THC, it is not psychoactive ie narcotic. So when given to patients suffering from the above, it will not impede cognitive functions. This is obviously critical because they are all neurological disorders. Please note the link between the above (brain tumors) and the focus of this study ie CBD and cancer.
I should like to lead into this chapter with a really marvelous story about CBD. In the second chapter we had discussed Cannabinoids and Cancer and it was certainly a chapter containing massive amounts of research and scientific language. Remember there is a difference between CBD which scientifically is called cannabidiol and cannabinoids. Cannabidiol is part of the cannabinoid family which includes THC, or what we normally term marijuana. Science really does not like to differentiated between the cannabinoids and quite objectively, I agree. However, cannabidiol (CBC) as a focus is quite acceptable and most importantly, it is tolerable because it is not a narcotic and therefore acceptable in many countries in the world.
Brain Cancer and CBD
Frontal Lobe Tumor
This is a story about the apparently remarkable efficacy of CBD and how it changed the life of a Basingstoke, Hampshire businessman, George Gannon, 30.
With my own experience of CBD, and as mentor to so many people, I believed it vitally important to follow this story up.
George had been living in Koh Pangang with his girlfriend Natalie in Thailand since 2014, and in October 2018, he was diagnosed with a malignant frontal lobe tumor.
His first decision was to have the tumor removed at a Thai hospital in Koh Samui. This cost £3,500 – at todays exchange rate (11-03-2019) that works out to $4,526. There is no information how successful it was but one can surmise that it was ineffective because when he got back to the UK in December 2018, he was told that the cancer was terminal. Understandably, surgery in this area of the brain is very demanding, for instance, the brain’s language centre, Broca’s area, is located in the left frontal lobe. Also, to compound the bad news he was told that there were actually twelve tumors in his brain. That was when he started taking CBD. The cost of the CBD is £1,200 per month ($1,551).
Serendipitously all has now changed – in February he stopped chemotherapy and in March, after an MRI scan, the tumors were reported to have ceased growing.
By August 2019, he was virtually cancer free. There has been no further information but I can assure you that I shall keep a watch on his progress. My own, small knowledge of the disease, is that even if cancer does leave you – it has a tendency to make a return visit and when it does come, it is terribly savage. My very best wishes to George and Natalie, may he be an exception and I wish him joy.
Grade IV Glioblastoma
Glioblastoma is normally fatal, especially when rated IV, so it is extremely serious. The survival rate at this stage is given by doctors as being about 14 to 16 months. Normal practice is for a maximal resection of the tumor, which is doctors talk, for the surgical removal of the maximum amount of the tumor. The operation is then followed by radio chemotherapy.
A study was carried out by the International Institute of Anticancer Research (Likar R1, Koestenberger M1, Stultschnig M2, Nahler G3 ,2019),where a group of patients with Glioblastoma IV were given CBD after receiving the maximal resection and radio chemotherapy described above. The dose per day was almost ten-times what I would consider, looking at my Dosage Chart, as a heavy dose – but remember, we are dealing with Glioblastoma here.
What is gratifying in this case to see is that when the article was written, more than 22 months had elapsed since the start of the CBD therapy and only one patient had passed away. We know that CBD does impede the growth of tumors in general so when it can also impede a Glioblastoma IV – it shows progress in the right direction.
Prostate Cancer and CBD
WHO predicted in 2009 that deaths from prostate cancer would most likely double over the next 30 years.
In the British Journal of Pharmacology, with reference to a study in Italy, (De Petrocellis L, Ligresti A, Schiano Moriello A, Iappelli M, Verde R, Stott CG, Cristino L, Orlando P, Di Marzo V. 2013). The study was made of prostate carcinoma in vitro and in vivo ie out of the body – in the laboratory and within the body – in patients. A number of cannabinoids were tested including CBD which was found to notably impede cell viability. In doctor speak this is good because it means the cancerous cells were impeded from growing. Additionally, the CBD also induces apoptosis or cell death of the cancer cells.
The conclusion of the study was that the results supported further clinical testing of prostate carcinoma and the impact of CBD on the disease.
Breast Cancer and CBD
Research published in the International Journal for Molecular Sciences in 2019 gives heartening news of the progress of CBD and other Cannabinoids (CBs) when treating breast cancer.
It has been mentioned so frequently by scientists that CBs, which of course includes CBDs, are used in the palliative treatment for nausea and neuropathic pain. Even for anorexia, which is little known by the general public.
The conclusions of the study were that CBs have already been given to patients at an advanced phase in their illness, and shown to be effective, but that CBs may also impede the growth of the tumor.
We of course, not being scientists might ask, “Why is this so?”
You may remember how previously we talked of “agonists” and how CBs are agonists. We also know that the results of CBs on signaling pathways via receptors CB1 and CB2, both are by now familiar to us.
What is extremely interesting is that CBD is an inverse
agonist. Like the orthodox agonist it binds with CB1 and CB2 but then steadies them, so-to-speak, and thereby reduces their activity.
As we have seen before in other cancers, again here in breast cancer, CB1 is moderately expressed but CB2 is highly expressed and this is related to the aggressiveness of the tumor. This change of expression is significant because the transcription rate would be affected by the toxic nature of the tumor.
CBs stop cancer cell growth in breast cancer and as in the prostate cancer study above, CBD also instigates apoptosis or cell death of the cancer cells.
Part D – Conclusion
Writing this essay has been, for me, a most satisfactory experience. Researching the complications that cancer assembles was staggering and renewed my admiration for the medical profession, particularly the undervalued researchers, and of course the patients.
I have said nothing in the post about the best CBD to take. That is simple, should you have read any of my other posts. It is CBDPure – the finest in the land. I have written an essay devoted to it, and be so kind to click on it, titled, “Your CBD Mentor: CBDPure Oil”.
Finally, my very best wishes to you all, particularly if you are a cancer sufferer or survivor. CBDPure could change your life, as it has mine.
Part E – Bibliography.
1. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience. Dumitru et al. Cannabinoids in glioblastoma therapy: new applications for old drugs.
2. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Kisková et al. Future aspects for cannabinoids in breast cancer therapy.
3. Harvard Health Publishing. Pot for Prostate.
4. British Journal of Pharmacology. De Petrocllis et al, 2013. Non-THC cannabinoids inhibit prostate carcinoma growth in vitro and in vivo: pro-apoptic affects and underlying mechanisms.
5. Indian Journal of Urology. Ramos and Bianco. Basic science perspective and potential clinical applications.
6. Concomitant Treatment of Malignant Brain Tumours with CBD – A Case Series and Review of Literature. Likar R, Koestenberger M, Stuitschnig M, Nahler G, 2019).
7. Daily Echo. Southampton, UK. 08/26/2019.”Hampshire businessman George Gannon from Basingstoke ‘essentially cancer free’ after taking cannabis oil.
Please note that the statements above, with reference to CBD, CBs and CBDPure have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. Users should not disregard, or delay in obtaining, medical advice for any medical condition they may have, and should seek the assistance of their health care professionals for any such conditions.