Prostate cancer is the second most prevalent form of cancer among American men, behind only skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, over 164,000 new cases arose in 2018. Approximately 14% of men will fall victim to the disease during their lifetime.
Additionally, after lung cancer, prostate cancer is the second most fatal cancer among American men. Approximately 2.6% of those who suffer from the condition will die from it.
Among men with local or regional prostate cancer, however, the outlook is more positive. 98% are still alive after 10 years, while 96% are still alive after 15 years.
While there are many treatments for the condition, research suggests that CBD might kill prostate cancer cells. Though clinical trials do not yet verify this, it is a fascinating area of research.
In this article, we will discuss CBD for prostate cancer and the relevant scientific research that exists on the matter. We’ll dive into available studies and attempt to find out whether CBD may be a potential option for prostate cancer sufferers. First, though, let’s discuss the condition itself.
What Is Prostate Cancer?
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland found in the reproductive system of men. It makes up most of the semen that carries sperm. The prostate resides below the bladder surrounding the urethra’s upper part. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder.
DID YOU KNOW? Men aged 50+ are at the greatest risk for prostate cancer. In most cases, victims will not notice symptoms until the cancer’s later stages.
Although doctors can treat prostate cancer if it remains localized, the condition is often deadly if it spreads through the body. While doctors are not 100% sure what causes prostate cancer, most agree that diet is a factor. Eating large amounts of fat from red meat may contribute. In fact, it is known that meat cooked at high temperatures can produce cancer-causing substances. This may include substances that galvanize prostate cancer. Doctors also believe that high levels of testosterone increase prostate cancer risk, as does lack of exercise.
Traditional Prostate Cancer Treatments & Their Side Effects
Treatment for prostate cancer varies according to the stage the disease is in. For example, stage one prostate cancer could involve radiation therapy. In stage three, however, patients may require external radiation plus hormone therapy. Because the range of treatments varies, so does the range of side effects. Side effects of prostate cancer treatment can include:
- Bowel complications
- Urinary problems
- Loss of fertility
- Erectile dysfunction
The majority of treatments for localized prostate cancer work well. However, there are discussions regarding CBD as a natural alternative to prostate cancer treatment. While little reliable research is currently available, some studies do show very intriguing signs in terms of CBD’s action on cancerous cells in the prostate.
Can CBD Help With Prostate Cancer? (Understanding the Research)
Cannabis has been championed as a means of easing the effects of chemotherapy for some time. However, new research suggests that it may also be capable of slowing – or altogether decreasing – the progression of cancerous cells.
In 2006, one of the first studies of its kind looked at the impact of THC on nine patients with glioblastoma multiforme – a type of brain tumor. The average life expectancy of these patients was 24 weeks, and in the study, it was determined that THC inhibited the proliferation of tumor cells in vitro and also decreased the prevalence of tumor cells in two patients when observed with immunostaining techniques.
Regarding cannabis and prostate cancer, positive results on animal models have led researchers to claim that pre-clinical evidence is sufficient to warrant clinical trials of cannabinoid medicines as anti-cancer treatments. In the cited study, experts observe that prostate cancer cells have increased expression for cannabinoid receptors. In other words, it appears that cancerous prostate cells may be prone to the influence of pro-apoptotic activity in cannabinoids like CBD.
It is our conclusion that it would be of interest to conduct clinical trials involving medicinal cannabis or other cannabinoid agonists … in men with bone metastatic prostate cancer.
Indian Journal of Urology, 2012
While little is known regarding the specific physiological effects of cannabinoids on cancerous prostate cells, we do know that cannabinoid activity in humans results from molecular interaction with the endocannabinoid system, or ECS. The excessive amount of receptors found on prostate cancer cells suggest that there may be a correlation between cancer cell proliferation and the presence of endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoid deficiency, is a condition wherein the body does not produce enough cannabinoids, though the relation of this condition with the development and progression of prostate cancer is, as of yet, unknown.
The Anti-Androgenic Effects of Cannabinoids
Androgens are male sex hormones (including testosterone) that cause the growth of prostate cells. One notable treatment for this form of cancer is known as ‘androgen deprivation therapy.’ As the name suggests, it deprives the body of androgens in an effort to slow the growth of cancerous cells.
At least one study suggests that cannabis possesses anti-androgenic properties. While it’s possible that anti-androgenic activity may impact the ability to grow muscle, the possible correlation between this unique cannabinoid property and prostate cancer progression is, to say the least, intriguing.
While there are no current clinical studies on the use of CBD oil for prostate cancer, general research in the field is highly intriguing.
CBD: A supplementary natural defense against the progression of prostate cancer cells?
While marijuana contains the psychoactive compound THC, CBD is entirely non-psychoactive. This means it poses no risk of getting high. As for the specific use of CBD for prostate cancer treatment, it is important to note there is minimal clinical data on the matter.
According to the NIH PubChem database, however, CBD possesses “anti-proliferative, anti-angiogenic and pro-apoptotic activity.” We know that the anti-proliferative effects of anandamide, an endocannabinoid in humans, work to prohibit metastatic prostate cancer cells. Based on this simple correlation, it is no stretch to surmise that CBD and its similar physiologic properties may produce similar effects.
Of course, the advancement of research is necessary in order to realistically discuss CBD as a prostate cancer treatment. While it is a fascinating area of research, much more information is requisite.
A Word on Companies Who May Claim to Offer the ‘Best CBD Oil’ for Prostate Cancer
To be very clear, no company should claim to sell the ‘best CBD oil for prostate cancer.’ While we’re not aware of any manufacturers who are making this claim, it is always wise to use discretion when choosing any CBD product. Discrepancies in quality are common among various CBD products, so take the time to do plenty of research. Find a good, reputable brand that has quality customer reviews.
Also, we remind readers that CBD oil should not be mistaken as a treatment or a cure for prostate cancer. While research on the topic is largely positive, there is no clinical evidence that CBD works to slow or stop the spread of cancerous cells in the prostate.
Final Thoughts on CBD & Prostate Cancer
While limited, research on medical cannabis, CBD, and prostate cancer is positive. Researchers know, for example, that CBD possesses anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic properties. These properties may work to slow or stop the spread of cancerous cells in the prostate.
Again, however, do not misinterpret initial research as clinical evidence. Much more clinical information is requisite before doctors can consider CBD oil for prostate cancer a reliable treatment. As always, speak with a doctor prior to implementing CBD into a daily routine.
The anti-proliferative properties of CBD may have significance in terms of inhibiting the growth of prostate cancer cells.
Lastly, it is important to distinguish between treating prostate cancer and treating the symptoms that stem from cancer treatment. For example, nausea, pain, and low appetite are all common side effects of cancer treatment. We know that CBD and cannabis can be beneficial in easing these side effects. However, one should not confuse the easing of treatment side effects with actually treating the physiology of the disease itself.