CBD is a bioactive cannabinoid compound derived from the Cannabis sativa plant. CBD is top-of-mind in the pharmaceutical world due to its effects throughout the entire body and non-psychoactive properties. With 200 million people already using cannabis, and 40% doing so for medicinal reasons, it’s not surprising that harnessing the full therapeutic power of CBD has become a key initiative.1 Today, over 200 clinical trials are underway to explore the clinical relevance of CBD-based drugs in different settings, including cancer care.2 As World Cancer Day fast approaches, DSM is reflecting on the current evidence supporting the benefits of CBD in patients with cancer. Read on to discover the latest scientific findings.
Cancer is a highly prevalent and complex disease that, despite advancements in medical care, remains difficult to treat. To tackle the unmet need for better treatment options, researchers have been exploring the potential anti-cancer properties of CBD. New evidence reveals promising results in two difficult-to-treat malignancies – breast and lung cancer.
Despite improvements in medical care, patients with cancer can still experience distressing symptoms, including nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite and pain. Some cannabinoid-based drugs have anti-sickness properties and could be used to treat the debilitating symptoms of cancer and its treatments.8 However, these early-stage findings are based on in vitro research, and although evidence looks promising, more scientific research is needed to confirm the benefits of CBD on cancer-related symptoms.
It’s fair to say that clinical investigations exploring the potential of CBD-based therapies for cancer have been limited and poorly controlled to date.5 In an attempt to combat this, one team in the US has designed the first placebo controlled, randomized clinical trial to rigorously evaluate the ability of CBD to relieve symptoms in patients with advanced cancer.9 Results from this study will give valuable feedback on the potential benefits of CBD in palliative care.
Using CBD as a therapy for difficult-to-treat diseases is expanding beyond cancer too and into the realms of mental health disorders, such as anxiety. With global statistics indicating 5-10% of the population suffer from anxiety-related disorders, it is unsurprising that CBD is gaining interest in this space due to its potential anxiety-relieving effects.10,11 Findings from a new clinical trial indicated that treatment of moderate-to-severe anxiety with high dose CBD products resulted in symptom reduction with minimal side effects.[iii] This study provides preliminary evidence supporting efficacy and tolerability of high-potency CBD products for anxiety.
With this in mind, the future of CBD in the pharmaceutical landscape looks bright and the market for innovative new CBD-based drugs is full of opportunity. To read more about the untapped potential of cannabinoids, including CBD, download our whitepaper.
30 January 2023
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