Medical Research

Case Report: Striking Lung Cancer Response to Cannabidiol

Written by Derek Johnson

Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in the US. Fortunately, new potential weapons against this cancer are still being discovered. And one of them may include cannabidiol (CBD).

Although this cannabinoid has not yet been studied extensively to completely understand its potential cancer-fighting capabilities, there is evidence that cannabinoids may be a formidable treatment for certain types of cancer.

CBD has been shown to induce controlled cell death, or apoptosis, in cancer in a dose-dependent manner.[1] CBD can also be quite detrimental to a specific pathway that plays an important role in the growth of cancer cells.[2] And there are several additional studies that have found similar results in lung cancer. However, these studies have been conducted in pre-clinical models, not humans.

A case review published in the journal SAGE Open Medical Case Reports described details an 81-year-old ex-smoker with a history of prostate cancer (in remission), chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), and diet-controlled diabetes.[3] In October 2016, he was found to have a 2.5×2.5 cm mass in his lower left lung and many lymph nodes. The mass had grown to a 2.7×2.8 cm by that December.

However, almost a year later, the patient’s CT scan showed that the mass had almost completely resolved itself and that only a small spot of soft tissue remained, measuring 1.3×0.6 cm.

The patient relayed to doctors that he had started taking CBD oil from the beginning of September 2017. The product contained 2% CBD (200mg in 10 mL of a carrier oil). His dosage was two drops (0.06 mL; 1.32 mg CBD) two times per day for one week, and then he increased the dosage to nine drops (0.3 mL; 6 mg CBD) twice each day through September.

Although this represents a single case study, these data are promising and indicative that CBD could be an effective weapon against lung cancer in humans.

But, before it can be widely used by the health care industry, much more work is necessary to truly determine the precise nature and effects of CBD on lung malignancies as well as other forms of cancer.

Talk to your oncologist if you are interested in using CBD or medical cannabis as part of your cancer treatment plan.

Image Credit: Anna Shvets

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  1. Choi WH, et al. Cannabidiol induces cytotoxicity and cell death via apoptotic pathway in cancer cell lines. Biomolecules and Therapeutics. 2008;16(2):87-94.
  2. Elbaz, M, et al. Modulation of the tumor microenvironment and inhibition of EGF/EGFR pathway: Novel anti-tumor mechanisms of cannabidiol in breast cancer. Molecular Oncology.2015;9(4):906-919.
  3. Sulé-Suso J, et al. Striking lung cancer response to self-administration of cannabidiol: A case report and literature review. SAGE Open Medical Case Reports. 2019.

About the author

Derek Johnson