On This Page:

Research Summary
Articles from the Project CBD Archives
Project CBD Survey Results
Research on CBD for Cancer (General)
Research on Cannabinoids for Cancer (by Cancer Type)
Research on Cannabis, Cancer & the Endocannabinoid System
Cannabis for Side Effects from Chemotherapy & Radiation
Research Surveys of Cancer Patients

Research Summary:

In general, CBD and other phytocannabinoids in cancer cells have been found to cause:

  • Cytotoxicity (killing the cancer cells)
  • Anti-proliferation (slowing their growth)
  • Anti-migration (slowing their movement)
  • Slowed angiogenesis (formation of new blood vessels)
  • Apoptosis (cellular suicide) and autophagy (cellular degradation & recycling)
  • Suppression of cancer stem cells and metastasis (formation of secondary growth at a distance from the primary cancer site)
  • Lessened chemoresistance (the cancer’s resistance to chemical treatment)
  • Reduction of glycosylation (modification of newly made proteins)
  • Novel functions such as “bubbling cell death

The majority of work has been done with medical cannabis rich in THC but more recent research highlights CBD for cancer as well as CBD helping conventional cancer treatments to work better. THC and CBD often work together well, some of their functions being mediated by effects on a cancer cell’s mitochondria (powerhouse of the cell). Research has also showed the anticancer effects of some of the terpenes that would be present in a full-plant extract. Cannabinoids can help with cancer progression via the microbiome. Some epidemiological data shows the use of cannabis increasing the risk of certain types of cancer while others show a decreased cancer risk from cannabis use.

For the standard cancer treatments, cannabis helps with pain, appetite, quality of life, cognitive functioning, and palliative end-of-life care. The use of cannabinoids can help lower the use of opioid painkillers. For chemotherapy treatment, the cannabinoids can also protect the brain cells from the neurotoxicity treatments, PEA, an endocannabinoid-like compound, can help protect the heart cells and CBD lessens the ulcers of radiation therapy. Cannabinoids may also enhance other treatments like photodynamics or ozone therapy. But they can interfere with the effects of some cancer drugs while overcoming resistance to cancer drugs in other tumors. In some cases, the uses of CBD alone can have striking results in tumor reduction.

From the Project CBD Archives:

Cannabinoids & Cancer in the Clinic

Excerpted from “Healing with Cannabis: The Evolution of the Endocannabinoid System and How Cannabinoids Help Relieve PTSD, Pain, MS, Anxiety, and More” by Cheryl Pellerin.

From the Project CBD Patient Survey:

See the full survey here.

214 survey respondents reported taking CBD for cancer
51% Female | 49% Male

Participants reported having 32 different types of cancer. Breast, prostate, and colon/rectal cancer were the most common. The majority of participants in this group had had either surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. Many were in remission / cancer-free. Many were also using CBD for pain (44%), sleep problems (30%), and/or mood issues (25%).

Participants using CBD products for cancer were more likely to be using CBD with or from cannabis rather than hemp-derived CBD alone (57% versus 40%), meaning they were more likely to be taking some THC with their CBD regimen. This may be due to THC’s effectiveness as a pain reliever or to well-publicized preclinical data suggesting that both THC and CBD may have tumor-fighting properties.

Cancer Types:
Cancer Status:

Participants were asked to rate how CBD impacted eight common symptoms of cancer and cancer treatment (see chart below), indicating whether the symptom was a “much better,” “little better,” “no change,” a “little worse,” or “lot worse.” CBD was most helpful with ameliorating nausea and vomiting. Some participants also found it helpful for loss of appetite, neuropathy (numbness or tingling), and weakness. CBD was markedly less likely to help with cancer-related constipation and diarrhea. The most significant side effects related to memory and concentration.

Changes in Symptoms:

Research on CBD for Cancer (General):

Research on Cannabinoids for Cancer by (By Cancer Type)









Leukemia (Blood)



Melanoma (Skin)









Research on Cannabis, Cancer & the Endocannabinoid System

Cannabis for Side Effects from Chemotherapy & Radiation

Research Surveys of Cancer Patients