Updated on March 19, 2020. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
A British case report shows one patient’s dramatic improvement in signs of lung cancer after self-administering cannabidiol (CBD). The subject is a man in his 80s; when diagnosed in 2016 with lung adenocarcinoma, he cited his age and quality of life concerns to refuse conventional treatment.
After the man’s initial diagnosis, follow-up scans showed the disease progressing—but in September 2017, new scans showed dramatic results—what researchers call a “near-total resolution,” of the mass in the patient’s left lung. The scan also revealed reductions in the overall size of affected lymph nodes, and both of these encouraging results were verified in yet another scan in January of 2018.
The patient reported no other changes in lifestyle, medications, or diet besides the addition of small quantities of CBD starting one month before the September 2017 scan. Of note is the fact that the man consumed a small dose of sublingual CBD—only up to six milligrams twice a day. This represents a significantly smaller quantity of CBD than what’s been previously studied.
Some medical marijuana researchers are interested in CBD, which along with other cannabinoids as well as terpenes found in medical marijuana, may have anti-cancer potential. Among other actions, CBD is thought to interact with the immune system’s cancer response and to encourage apoptosis, or “cell-death” in cancerous tissues.
Though the results of this study are dramatic and may have far-reaching implications for cancer patients, the authors emphasize that it is only a case study, not a clinical trial. Further research is necessary to determine the role CBD may be able to play in treating cancer.