There are lots of speculations nowadays about the medical value of the CBD compound in marijuana, some even insist that CBD oil can be a potential anticancer drug. But is there any scientific basis behind such a brave claim?
The life and death of every cancer cell is managed by a group of interconvertible sphingolipids. The whole process inside a cell is called “Sphingolipid Rheostat.” For us, the most interesting part of Rheostat is the balance of endogenous ceramide: if its level is too high, the cell dies; if ceramide is low, the cell grows strong.
When a person consumes marijuana, the THC compounds connect to the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are located throughout the body, and when THC reaches the receptors that are close to cancer cells, it pushes the cell to produce ceramide that causes the cell's death.
Ceramide is a real killer of cancer cells. It makes the cancer cell nucleus generate the P53 protein that ruins calcium metabolism inside the cell. Apart from this, ceramide ruins the cell's digestive system (cellular lysosome) that ensures all cell functions. So, basically, ceramide does everything to inhibit further cancer cell's life.
The trick lies in the fact that a normal human cell does not react to the presence of THC and does not produce ceramide, and therefore, it stays alive.
The obvious benefit of this process is that the cancer cell's death is caused not by cytotoxic chemicals (they indiscriminately damage all the cells in the human body), but by a tiny shift in the mitochondria.
The question is how do we accumulate ceramide in the system.
One way for doing this is to take a therapeutic amount of THC and CBD regularly to let the ceramide do its work. Of course, it is impossible to declare marijuana as a cure for cancer, it requires a lot of studies on the issue. But if it is possible to make medical marijuana help conquer the horrible disease, why not try it?
Marijuana compounds interact with the human endocannabinoid system. This system is an intermediary between the central nervous system and the immune system. It covers all cells and nerves, and every time the body gets damaged by an injury or illness, it is the endocannabinoid system that directs the immune system to heal the damage. If for some reason this system does not work, endocannabinoids, like THC and CBD in medical marijuana, come to the rescue.
Depending on the strain, marijuana activates either CB1, which is responsible for connection with the central nervous system, or CB2, which is responsible for connection with the immune system. Sativa strains usually interact with CB1 receptors, while indica tends to work with CB2. They stimulate the immune system to work more efficiently and force the immune cells to destroy cancer cells.
While THC is the compound that interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, it is CBD that alleviates pain and suppresses the undesirable side-effects of THC, such as tachycardia, sedation, and intoxication, while contributing to the anti-carcinogenic properties of THC. Therefore, CBD oil is usually recommended for patients who have some difficulties with tolerating high doses of THC.
One of the relatively recent studies showed that THC does not work all by itself, it is the CBD that boosts the effectiveness of the THC's interaction with the endocannabinoid receptors, and therefore CBD allows to use higher doses of THC. The research supported the hypothesis that THC and CBD work much more efficiently in combination with each other.
However, patients who are using CBD oil for treating cancer cannot expect it to be the only and the most important remedy. So far, it is recommended to use it together with the rest of the treatment prescribed by the doctor.