Cannabidiol or CBD for Breast Cancer

In recent years, hundreds of research papers have been published which indicate, at least in animal studies, that cannabidiol (CBD) is extremely effective against breast cancer. In this article I will explain a little bit about CBD, what the research reveals, and why I think it might have huge anti-cancer potential.

Interesting Information On CBD

CBD is one of 400 natural phytochemicals derived from the Cannabis sativa (marijuana) plant. Marijuana has been used in native medicine for centuries for relieving many different conditions.

Contrary to popular belief, CBD does not contain the psychoactive component of marijuana, THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol), used medicinally by cancer, glaucoma and AIDS patients to relieve pain and nausea from chemotherapy treatments.

Interestingly however, researcher Dr Sean McAllister, of the California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC), one of the leading researchers on CBD, has found that the combination of THC and CBD work synergistically to inhibit cancer cell growth and apoptosis (programmed cell death). See his interesting YouTube video (under References below).

Humans actually have cannabinoid receptors in the brain and nerves, in the liver and on certain cells of the immune system, and in many areas of the body, about which we are just beginning to understand and learn. The current understanding is that there are two such receptors, cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2). These receptors are activated by cannabinoids. So our bodies are actually hard wired (so to speak) for the use of medicinal plants that contain cannabinoids.

It is known that some breast tumor cells have abnormally high quantities of CB1 and CB2 receptors, but one research study [1] indicated that CBD was able to induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in breast cancer cells without binding to these receptors. We clearly still have much to learn about how CBD works in the body but in the meantime, the research we do have is truly exciting.

Here are the 10 main benefits of using cannabidiol (CBD) for breast cancer:

1. CBD is a potent inhibitor of breast cancer cell growth, invasion and spread [2], [3], [4]

2. CBD enhances reactive oxygen species (ROS) which inhibits cancer cell survival [4]

3. CBD induces apoptosis (programmed cell death) and speeds up autophagy (Greek for “self-eating”), a normal process by which cells dismantle themselves. [1], [2], [4]

4. CBD inhibits several pathways involved with angiogenesis, or the ability of tumors to create new blood vessels with which to feed themselves [4]

5. CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant [5]

6. CBD inhibits cancer stem cell self renewal in glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer. If it happens with glioblastoma, perhaps it can also assist with breast cancer stem cells, although we do not have research to back this up yet. [4]

7. CBD and a compound derived therefrom known as O-1663, increases the survival rate for those whose breast cancer has advanced and metastasized in mouse studies [6]

8. In animal studies, CBD inhibited both estrogen receptor positive and triple negative breast cancer cells [1], [2]

9. CBD down-regulates a gene known as ID1 which is a crucial regulator of stem cell mitosis and is directly involved with the ability of breast tumors to aggressively spread to other parts of the body. [3], [6], [7]

10. CBD inhibits nerve pain associated with the chemotherapy drug Paclitaxel without diminishing the effects of the drug [8]

Please be aware that most of the studies done on CBD thus far have been on animals. The aforementioned Dr Sean McAllister has spent close to a decade studying its effects on aggressive types of breast and brain cancer in animal and cell culture models. I have recently emailed Dr McAllister to find out whether human trials have yet begun and will update you if I should hear from him.

In my humble opinion, CBD may have the potential to, at the very least, augment conventional cancer treatments and, at best, perhaps replace conventional treatments like chemotherapy. CBD is non-toxic and should definitely be considered for those actively fighting cancer but I would not suggest that it be used as a sole treatment against breast cancer.

Is CBD Legal?

CBD is legal in all 50 states of the United States of America. It is not legal in some other countries so make sure you check your country’s laws before trying CBD.

How to Take CBD

CBD is taken internally but it comes in many different formulations and strengths. I would recommend contacting a Cannabis Consultant (Yes! they exist!) because they will be familiar with particular dosages, strengths and products and should be able to give you good advice for your particular condition.

Disclaimer: I am not encouraging the use of marijuana for recreational use, I am endorsing the use of cannabidiol (CBD) because of its potential anti-cancer properties.


Dr Sean McAllister: The Effects of THC and CBD on Cancer –

[1] Cannabidiol Induces Programmed Cell Death in Breast Cancer Cells by Coordinating the Cross-talk between Apoptosis and Autophagy –

[2] Antitumor Activity of Plant Cannabinoids with Emphasis on the Effect of Cannabidiol on Human Breast Carcinoma –

[3] Pathways Mediating the Effects of Cannabidiol on the Reduction of Breast Cancer Cell Proliferation, Invasion, and Metastasis –

[4] The Antitumor Activity of Plant-Derived Non-Psychoactive Cannabinoids –

[5] Cannabidiol for Neurodegenerative Disorders: Important New Clinical Applications for this Phytocannabinoid –

[6] Targeting Multiple Cannabinoid Anti-tumour Pathways with a Resorcinol Derivative Leads to Inhibition of Advanced Stages of Breast Cancer –

[7] Cannabidiol as a Novel Inhibitor of Id-1 Gene Expression in Aggressive Breast Cancer Cells –

[8] Cannabidiol Inhibits Paclitaxel-induced Neuropathic Pain Through 5-ht(1a) Receptors Without Diminishing Nervous System Function or Chemotherapy Efficacy –

Article: Cannabis, cannabinoids and cancer – the evidence so far:

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