Can CBD help with chemo?

by Formula Swiss April 01, 2019 4 min read

Can CBD help with chemo?

Various cancer patients often incorporate cannabis in their cancer procedures. Some people use it in the herb form to manage symptoms like nausea, pain, and vomiting, while others use the herb to lighten their spirit in the most tiring part of their lives.

However, some patients use raw juices of cannabis and high concentrated CBD oil as an attempt to deal with the disease with a natural remedy.

CBD and the chemo

Many people use CBD in one form or another to fight cancer, but can CBD really help with chemo? Let’s see what the evidence says:

Does CBD help in recovering from the odds of chemotherapy or does it hurt your chances of recovery? Well, the answer to this question is still unknown.

Side effects of chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is one of the procedures in which strong drugs are given to the patients orally and intravenously. Over 100 types of drugs are used in dealing with cancer.

These drugs help the other parts of the body with the cancer spread, slows down the growth of tumors, and may also kill cancerous cells. While chemotherapy is an effective way to deal with cancer, it does have some serious side effects.

These side effects are due to the fact that along with attacking the cancerous cells, chemotherapy drugs also attack normal body cells that are healthy. Some of the common side effects include:

  • Fever
  • Chill
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sore mouth
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain in swallowing
  • Itching
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Swelling in hands or feet

All individuals going through the process of chemotherapy might not experience all the side effects. The severity of these side effects also varies from person to person. However, most side effects start to fade after completion of the chemotherapy.

An overview of effects of CBD on the side effects of chemotherapy

Studies have found that one of the major components of the cannabis plant is cannabidiol (CBD).It not only helps in controlling the most irritating and difficult to control symptoms of chemo, which is nausea, but it also helps in dealing with anticipatory nausea in such patients.

CBD has shown to have a positive effect in reducing nausea and vomiting that occur during and after the process of chemotherapy.

Many studies have also shown that CBD is effective in reducing the neuropathic pain. It can help in relieving pain that is even unmanageable by traditional methods.

In a case study, cancer patients who had intractable painthat was unable to be managed previously had a significant reduction in their pain when they were given CBD for almost two weeks.

CBD is also known for protecting from weight loss and loss of appetite in patients undergoing chemotherapy. CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, and it also helps in reducing swelling in the hands and feet in such patients.

A study was conducted where 131 patients were given CBD for six to eight weeks. It was observed that various symptoms were improved including vomiting, mood disorders, nausea, weight loss, fatigue, constipation, itching, and sexual function.

Ways CBD may help in complimenting chemotherapy

People who are undergoing chemotherapy to overcome cancer usually experience uncomfortable, and sometimes, the debilitating side effects of the chemo drugs used in the process.

Usually, the chemo drugs are administered intravenously and are designed to attack cells that are growing rapidly. These drugs are too strong, and they can kill any cells grow rapidly, even if they are healthy cells.

This leads to side effects like vomiting, nausea, hair loss, etc. Studies reveal that CBD – a natural component of the cannabis plant – can help patients in managing the side effects of chemotherapy.

CBD effect on chemo-induced nausea and vomiting

In a study, CBD was given to patients orally and intravenously, without smoked cannabis. Across various studies, CBD was proved to be more efficient as compared to metoclopramide and prochlorperazine that were given to patients for controlling nausea and vomiting.

The antiemetic effect of CBD was extended for up to 4 days that shows a prolonged action of the element.

Moreover, CBD led to a complete control of vomiting and nausea, especially, when chemo-induced mild or moderate level of emesis.

Reduces neuropathic pain

CBD is also beneficial in reducing the neuropathic pain induced by chemotherapy.

A study shows that CBD relieves the neuropathic pain and the thermal sensitivity without any side effect on the central nervous system of the patient. It also doesn’t interfere with the efficacy of the chemotherapy.

In another study, researchers found that CBD helps in relieving nerve pain as well. Researchers believe that the pain-relieving effect of CBD is associated with the effect of the compound on the 5-HT1A receptor.

In a clinical study, patients who had intractable pain were given CBD for 2 weeks, and their pain was significantly decreased.

CBD reduces swelling

Along with many other properties, CBD also has anti-inflammatory properties. Scientists are hopeful that this property of CBD can help patients in managing their swelling on the hands and feet while undergoing the process of chemotherapy.

When CBD interacts with CB2 receptors, it helps in suppressing the inflammatory response with the help of multiple mechanisms.

In an animal study, CBD was found successful in reducing edema in inflamed paws.

Controls appetite and protects from weight loss

Although TCH of cannabis plant is better known for promoting appetite, CBD also plays an important role in managing the appetite.

The endocannabinoid system of the human body is known for balancing various body systems, including the food intake. CBD interacts with the receptors of the cannabinoid system and helps them better regulate appetite and motivates for eating.

CBD promotes emotional health

Use of CBD while undergoing chemo may protect you from the feelings of depression and anxiety. Depression is associated with a dysfunction in the endocannabinoid system of the body, which is also responsible for regulating mood.

As CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, it never causes a high. Administered orally or intravenously, CBD is highly effective in controlling vomiting, nausea, fatigue, and other symptoms in patients who are undergoing chemotherapy. 


This article was written by an independent and third-party author specialising in CBD, hemp and cannabis research. Any opinion, advice or recommendation expressed in the article does not reflect the opinion of Formula Swiss AG or any of our employees. We do not make any claims about any of our products and refer to our disclaimer for more information.

Formula Swiss
Formula Swiss

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