People are trying CBD to treat all kinds of medical conditions, even though the Food and Drug Administration has only approved it to treat some seizures. Studies are still being conducted to fully determine its effectiveness in treating other ailments. Many folks that use CBD say it helps with sleeplessness, anxiety, pain, inflammation, nausea, and more. Even people taking chemotherapy for cancer are asking if CBD could help them feel better.
However, there is the question could CBD interfere with the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatment? Some lab studies have indicated that CBD can inhibit certain enzymes that metabolize drugs like CYP2D6 and CYP3A4. This could affect the way some drugs will work and how they affect the human body. CBD could reduce the efficiency of drugs or even make them dangerous. It is thought chemotherapy could be affected by CBD as well.
What Is Chemotherapy?
Many times when people have cancer, their doctor will recommend chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that uses powerful chemicals to kill off fast-growing cells in the body. Chemotherapy is the most used cancer treatment. This is because cancer cells grow and multiply much faster than most cells in the body. Many chemotherapy drugs can be used alone or in combination to treat different forms of cancer.
While chemotherapy is one of the most effective ways to battle many types of cancer, it also comes with the possibility of side-effects. Some people will only experience mild side effects, but for others, they can be severe and cause serious complications for the patient.
What Drugs Are Used To Treat Chemotherapy?
Not all chemotherapy drugs used to treat cancer work in the same way. These drugs are different in their chemical composition and how they are prescribed or given. Some chemo drugs are used for targeted therapy, hormone therapy, or immunotherapy. These are three different ways to confront and battle cancer using chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy drugs are grouped in different ways. They can be grouped by how they work, their chemical structure, and how they relate to other drugs. Some chemo drugs can work in more than one way and might also belong to more than one group. If more than one drug is used, it is important to know how they will work together.
Alkylating agents prevent cancer cells from reproducing. This stops the cancer cells from duplicating themselves by damaging their DNA. This type of drug works in all phases of the cell cycle. It can be used to treat many different types of cancers. This includes lung, breast, ovary, leukemia, lymphoma, sarcoma, multiple myeloma, and Hodgkin’s disease.
Nitrosoureas is another alkylating agent that has a special action. Nitrosoureas can cross through the area of the brain known as the blood-brain barrier, but other alkylating agents can’t. This is an area that can keep most drugs out of the brain. Because of this action, these drugs are helpful to treat some types of brain tumors.
Drugs commonly used to treat some forms of leukemia, breast, ovary, and intestinal tract cancers are antimetabolites. Antimetabolites will interfere with the DNA and RNA by acting as a substitute for the normal building blocks. The DNA of cancer cells cannot make copies of itself, so the cell cannot reproduce.
Anthracyclines are anti-tumor antibiotics that can interfere with enzymes involving the copying of DNA during the cell cycle. These drugs are not like antibiotics that are used to treat common infections. Anthracyclines work by changing the DNA inside cancer cells that help to prevent them from growing and multiplying. They bind with DNA, so the cells can not make copies of themselves and reproduce. One of the main concerns of giving these drugs is that they may cause permanent heart damage if given high doses. Lifetime dose limits are often placed on these drugs.
Topoisomerase is lso known as plant alkaloids. Topoisomerase inhibitors interfere with topoisomerase enzymes. Topoisomerases help separate the strands of DNA so they may be copied. Enzymes are proteins that create chemical reactions in living cells. Topoisomerase inhibitors can be used to treat some leukemias, lung, ovarian, colorectal, gastrointestinal, and pancreatic cancers. Topoisomerase inhibitors are grouped depending on which type of enzyme they affect.
Another group of drugs also known as plant alkaloids is mitotic inhibitors. They are derived from natural sources like plants. They stop cells from dividing and forming new cells. They can also damage cells in every phase by preventing enzymes from creating proteins necessary for reproducing new cells.
Corticosteroids are usually referred to as just steroids. They are natural hormones and hormone-like drugs. They are used for treating many kinds of cancer and other illnesses as well. They are considered chemotherapy drugs when used to treat cancer. Steroids may be used to combat nausea and vomiting that can be caused by chemotherapy. Sometimes steroids are given before chemotherapy to prevent allergic reactions that could be severe.
There are many different drug names included in the make-up of the drug categories mentioned above. If you thought there could not possibly be even more cancer treatments, think again. Targeted therapies use drugs that target specific proteins or receptors some cancer cells have, but they won’t harm healthy cells. Hormone therapy works by targeting the actions of hormones that can make some cancers grow. Lastly, immunotherapy is a treatment using drugs to boost or alter the human immune system. The drugs are used for certain kinds of cancer to help the immune system recognize and attack the cancer cells.
What Are The Side Effects Of Chemotherapy?
Cancer cells have a tendency to form new cells faster than normal cells. This quicker growth makes them a better target for chemo drugs. The downside is that chemo drugs can’t tell the difference between healthy normal cells and cancerous cells. So, this means healthy cells can be damaged as well as cancerous cells. Every time chemotherapy is given, doctors must find a balance between killing cancer cells and protecting healthy cells. Most normal cells can recover from the effects of chemotherapy over time, but cancer cells usually do not recover.
Since chemotherapy takes such a toll on the human body, there are many side effects. Hair loss and nausea are two of the most common. CBD is thought to help control nausea and is one reason people are curious if they can use CBD while taking chemotherapy. Infections can also be an issue when taking chemo. Anemia, bruising, bleeding, loss of appetite, fatigue, and others may be side effects of chemo too.
How Could CBD Help With Cancer Symptoms?
Most people today know that CBD comes from hemp and marijuana plants. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is another famous cannabinoid found in both plants too. THC can make you intoxicated, while CBD does not. Cannabinoids CBD, THC, and others are believed to have some medical benefits. They are also thought by researchers to work better together than alone. This is referred to as the entourage effect. The hemp plant has more CBD, but the marijuana plant has more THC. Even though CBD derived from hemp won’t make you high, it will usually still have trace amounts of THC. CBD from hemp is legal nationwide, but CBD derived from marijuana is only legalized in some US states.
Some CBD researchers strongly believe that CBD could be helpful to treat some cancers. They say there is strong evidence that supports the fact that cannabinoids can reduce cancerous tumor growth in animal models. Some researchers think CBD could increase the potency and enhance the uptake of some drugs used to treat cancer.
One study conducted in 2014 suggested CBD might inhibit the spread of colorectal cancer cells. Another study found cannabinoids are promising when it comes to treating gliomas. Gliomas are a type of brain tumor. In 2010, researchers found CBD significantly reduced cancer cell proliferation and invasion in metastatic breast cancer.
These studies have all shown positive indications that CBD could help treat some cancers. However, research must be continued to learn more about the pros and cons of CBD as a cancer drug. There are encouraging signs CBD has the potential for treating some cancers. There is also some evidence that shows it could be harmful in some cases.
How Could CBD Interfere With Cancer Treatments?
When considering CBD as a medical treatment for many ailments, researchers have to look at both sides of the coin. According to many in the scientific and medical communities, CBD holds much promise. Others worry about the potential interference it may cause when combined with many prescription medications and treatments.
One of the main concerns of using CBD while undergoing chemotherapy was mentioned at the beginning of this article. It has been shown that CBD can affect liver function adversely. On the anti-seizure drug Epidiolex, there is a warning about possible liver issues. Epidiolex is the only CBD drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
If CBD does inhibit certain enzymes responsible for metabolizing some drugs, it would mean the drugs may not work the way they should. When cancer is being treated, drugs or chemotherapy being taken should be as effective as it can be. If CBD makes a drug even more dangerous, that’s not a good thing either.
Many people consider CBD to be a vitamin or supplement instead of medicine. You must ask your doctor before using CBD products if you are receiving treatment for cancer with chemotherapy or other medications. Even though CBD may be helpful for some of the adverse effects of chemotherapy like nausea, anxiety, or appetite, your doctor should be the one to recommend it or not.