Cannabinoids, C-B-D for Cancer Pain Management

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Cannabinoids treat cancer pain, combat treatment-related nausea, produce apoptosis, inhibit cancer-induced angiogenesis, and inhibit cachexia-

 While the legalization of Medical Marijuana/Cannabidiol (MM/CBD) continues to be debated state by state, one thing is clear. Medical marijuana eases the pain caused by cancer symptoms or cancer therapies whether MM/CBD is used by itself or in addition to conventional pain medications.
 The ongoing challenge to cancer patients searching for solid information about CBD and its effect on cancer pain is that there will be limited research in the US as long Medical Marijuana is classified as a schedule one drug.
Common questions from cancer patients are 1) CBD vs. THC, one or the other or both? 2) Dosing aka how much??? and 3) what type, strain, etc. What do I ask for?

I am both a cancer survivor and cancer coach. Personal experience and coaching patients have taught me that collateral damage aka side effects are just as much of a concern as the cancer treatment is. Are you experiencing cancer pain in any form?

For more information about cancer pain management, scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply ASAP.

thank you,

David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Articles of Interest-

A Long-term Cancer Survivor’s Diet-
Surviving Cancer But w/ PTSD? Evidence-based Mind-Body Therapies
Cancer Survivors and Mind-Body Therapy

A selective review of medical cannabis in cancer pain management

” Insufficient management of cancer-associated chronic and neuropathic pain adversely affects patient quality of life. Patients who do not respond well to opioid analgesics, or have severe side effects from the use of traditional analgesics are in need of alternative therapeutic options. Anecdotal evidence suggests that medical cannabis has potential to effectively manage pain in this patient population.

This review presents a selection of representative clinical studies, from small pilot studies conducted in 1975, to double-blind placebo-controlled trials conducted in 2014 that evaluated the efficacy of cannabinoid-based therapies containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) for reducing cancer-associated pain.

… A variety of doses ranging from 2.7–43.2 mg/day THC and 0–40 mg/day CBD were administered. Higher doses of THC were correlated with increased pain relief in some studies. One study found that significant pain relief was achieved in doses as low as 2.7–10.8 mg THC in combination with 2.5–10.0 mg CBD, but there was conflicting evidence on whether higher doses provide superior pain relief. Some reported side effects include drowsiness, hypotension, mental clouding, and nausea and vomiting. There is evidence suggesting that medical cannabis reduces chronic or neuropathic pain in advanced cancer patients. However, the results of many studies lacked statistical power, in some cases due to the limited number of study subjects. Therefore, there is a need for the conduct of further double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials with large sample sizes in order to establish the optimal dosage and efficacy of different cannabis-based therapies…

Conclusions- Current research shows that there is a potential role for medical cannabis in cancer pain management. However, the scale and quality of studies conducted to date are somewhat limited (12). Therefore, further research is needed to establish the efficacy of medical cannabis, either as an alternative to opiates or as an adjunctive therapy, and to identify the most appropriate methods of administration to achieve optimal therapeutic efficacy with minimal side effects.”

Medical Cannabis Found to Safely Reduce Chronic Pain in Older Patients in Study

“Medical cannabis was found to safely and significantly reduce chronic pain in older patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and a wide range of other conditions, researchers in Israel report…

Researchers evaluated the safety and efficacy of treating older adults, ages 65 and above — a growing patient population — with medical cannabis. The study included 2,736 patients with a mean age of 74.5, who received medical cannabis from January 2015 to October 2017 at a specialized clinic and agreed to answer a questionnaire.

The group included people with MS, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease. Most were prescribed cannabis treatment for pain, particularly that due to cancer and its treatments.

More than 33 percent used cannabis-infused oil, about 24 percent inhaled or smoked the cannabis, and around 6 percent used vaporization.

Data showed that after six months of medical cannabis treatment, the vast majority of patients reported moderate to significant improvements in their condition, with more than 93.7 percent — of 901 respondents — reporting a significant decrease in pain levels (declining from a median of eight on a 10-point scale to four). Approximately 60 percent of these respondents also reported an improved quality of life…”

Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain

“Cannabinoids may offer significant “side benefits” beyond analgesia. These include anti-emetic effects, well established with THC, but additionally demonstrated for CBD (Pertwee 2005), the ability of THC and CBD to produce apoptosis in malignant cells and inhibit cancer-induced angiogenesis (Kogan 2005; Ligresti et al 2006), as well as the neuroprotective antioxidant properties of the two substances (Hampson et al 1998), and improvements in symptomatic insomnia (Russo et al 2007)…”

Cannabinoid Shown Effective as Adjuvant Analgesic for Cancer Pain

“While opioid therapy is the mainstay treatment for cancer pain in patients with advanced disease, a substantial minority experience pain that cannot be adequately controlled at safe and tolerable doses. The most common treatment approach is co-administration of another analgesic. Cannabinoids are being analyzed as potential adjuvant analgesics…

Patients were eligible to participate in the study if they had active cancer and chronic pain that was moderate to severe despite taking opioids…Results of the study showed that nabiximols have analgesic efficacy when used as an add-on therapy for cancer patients with pain not controlled by an opioid alone. In the low-dose nabiximols group, there was a 25 percent improvement in pain compared with baseline.”

Marijuana Component Could Ease Pain from Chemotherapy Drugs, Study Suggests

“The researchers developed animal models and tested the ability of the compound cannabidiol, which is the second most abundant chemical found in the marijuana plant, to relieve chemo-induced neuropathic pain…We found that cannabidiol completely prevented the onset of the neuropathic, or nerve pain caused by the chemo drug Paclitaxel, which is used to treat breast cancer..

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