CBD has two major functions in the treatment of cancer; slowing/stopping the growth of cancerous cells (prevention) and dealing with the symptoms of cancer treatments like chemotherapy (symptom management). In the United States, the most common treatment for cancer is chemotherapy—an administration of intense anti-cancer drugs that induce severe side effects like nausea, fatigue, gastrointestinal disease, etc.

CBD actually combats all of these side effects.

CBD has also been shown to stop cancerous cells dead in their tracks. Studies have been performed evaluating CBD’s ability to treat various types of cancer including; bladder, brain, breast, colon, endocrine, Leukemia, lung, prostate, and skin.

Striking scans show how ‘lung cancer patient’s tumours SHRANK within three months of him taking daily drops of cannabis-derived oil’

In order to better understand the mechanisms by which CBD helps treat cancer patients, we turn to a series of medical studies that have been conducted over the past fourteen years.

Study Results

A 2004 study concluded the non-psychoactive CBD was able to produce a significant anti-tumor activity both in vitro and in vivo, thus suggesting a possible application of CBD as an anti-neoplastic agent.

A 2010 study evaluated the impact of CBD on cancer cell invasion. The study findings provide a novel mechanism underlying the anti-invasive action of cannabidiol and imply its use as a therapeutic option for the treatment of highly invasive cancers.

A 2011 looked at the effects of CBD in the treatment of breast cancer. The data demonstrated that CBD inhibits human breast cancer cell proliferation and invasion through differential modulation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) pathways.

A 2012 study found CBD exerts a potent anti-angiogenic effect by widely affecting several pathways involved in this process. Its dual effect on both tumour and endothelial cells further suggests that CBD could represent a potential effective agent in cancer therapy.

Another 2012 study investigated the chemo preventative effect of CBD on colon cancer. The study concluded cannabidiol exerts chemo preventive effect in vivo and reduces cell proliferation through multiple mechanisms.

A 2013 study concluded the non-psychoactive plant-derived cannabinoid CBD exhibits proapoptotic and anti-proliferative actions in different types of tumors and may also exert anti-migratory, anti-invasive, anti-metastatic and perhaps anti-angiogenic properties. On the basis of these results, evidence is emerging to suggest that CBD is a potent inhibitor of both cancer growth and spread. Interestingly, the anticancer effect of this compound seems to be selective for cancer cells, at least in vitro, since it does not affect normal cell lines.

Another 2013 study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology provides evidence that plant-derived cannabinoids, especially cannabidiol, are potent inhibitors of prostate carcinoma viability in vitro.

A 2016 study evaluated CBD in the treatment of Neuroblastoma (NBL), one of the most common solid cancers in children. The results demonstrate the anti-tumourigenic action of CBD on NBL cells. Because CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that appears to be devoid of side effects, our results support its exploitation as an effective anticancer drug in the management of NBL.

As demonstrated by the studies above, CBD is effective at both stopping cancerous cell growth and managing the symptoms of traditional cancer treatments like chemotherapy.


Massi, P., Vaccani, A., Ceruti, S., Colombo, A., Abbracchio, M. P., & Parolaro, D. (2004, March). Anti-tumor effects of cannabidiol, a nonpsychoactive cannabinoid, on human glioma cell lines. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14617682

Ramer, R., Merkord, J., Rohde, H., & Hinz, B. (2010, April 01). Cannabidiol inhibits cancer cell invasion via up regulation of tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinases-1. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19914218

McAllister, S. D., Murase, R., Christian, R. T., Lau, D., Zielinski, A. J., Allison, J., Desprez, P. Y. (2011, August). Pathways mediating the effects of cannabidiol on the reduction of breast cancer cell proliferation, invasion, and metastasis. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20859676

Solinas, M., Massi, P., Cantelmo, A., Cattaneo, M., Cammarota, R., Bartolini, D., Parolaro, D. (2012, November). Cannabidiol inhibits angiogenesis by multiple mechanisms. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3504989/

Aviello, G., Romano, B., Borrelli, F., Capasso, R., Gallo, L., Piscitelli, F., . . . Izzo, A. A. (2012, August). Chemopreventive effect of the non-psychotropic phytocannabinoid cannabidiol on experimental colon cancer. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22231745

Massi, P., Solinas, M., Cinquina, V., & Parolaro, D. (2013, February). Cannabidiol as potential anticancer drug. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3579246/

Petrocellis, L. D., Ligresti, A., Moriello, A. S., Iappelli, M., Verde, R., Stott, C. G., Marzo, V. D. (2013, January). Non-THC cannabinoids inhibit prostate carcinoma growth in vitro and in vivo: Pro-apoptotic effects and underlying mechanisms. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3570006/

Fisher, T., Golan, H., Schiby, G., PriChen, S., Smoum, R., Moshe, I., . . . Toren, A. (2016, March). In vitro and in vivo efficacy of non-psychoactive cannabidiol in neuroblastoma. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27022310