Cancer patients sometimes get more sick from the drugs trying to kill cancer, and medical scientists are always looking for ways to help these patients find relief. Chemotherapy is a category of medicines designed to kill cancer cells. These drugs are very strong and they don’t just kill cancer cells, they kill all cells that grow quickly. Because of this, chemotherapy can have nasty side effects like nausea and vomiting, hair loss, loss of appetite, and more.
Cannabidiol has been a potential complement to chemotherapy for years, as medical cannabis has long been recommended for cancer patients. CBD has been linked to a reduction in the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy along with reducing neuropathic pain and reducing swelling. With those basic benefits in mind, researchers are looking at what else cannabidiol can do. Researchers are taking a look at cannabidiol from hemp oil to improve some of the long-term damage chemotherapy can cause with the kidneys and renal function.
Cannabidiol & Nephrotoxicity
Before we get into all the medical details, let’s define our terms. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the non-psychoactive chemical in cannabis that’s responsible for many health benefits, including anti-inflammatory effects. Nephrotoxicity is kidney damage caused by toxins like chemotherapy drugs, and it is a common side effect of chemotherapy in cancer patients.
Chemotherapy Drugs and Nephrotoxicity
Cisplatin, or Platinol, is one of the most potent chemotherapy drugs available to treat various cancers. This drug can be used to treat a plethora of different cancers along with lymphomas, sarcomas, and more. Cisplatin is a drug that’s given through a vein as an infusion. The amount a person receives is dependant on several factors determined by a doctor, like the stage and location of their cancer.
This chemotherapy drug can cause inflammation in the vein where it’s given, which can even lead to tissue damage if the drug is administered improperly. Before and after the administration of this drug, IV fluids are given to ensure proper hydration because treatment is so hard on the body.
Cisplatin has numerous side effects, but the most major one is nephrotoxicity, or a toxicity in the kidney. With this drug, more than 30% of users can potentially experience this kidney toxicity side effect. These negative renal effects are dose related and observed about two weeks after the start of therapy. If these symptoms are found not to be reversible, the patient can have lasting nephropathy, or kidney damage. This can potentially lead to kidney failure. However, these effects tend to be reversible once chemotherapy is over, especially using new plant-based drugs like cannabidiol.
CBD Studies on Mice With Renal Failure
The nephrotoxicity and increase in oxidative stress patients experience with the drug cisplatin limits its clinical use. A new medical study looks at the effects of cannabidiol on cisplatin-induced kidney damage because of CBD’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. This study is simple in that it only has two major parts.
- The first part is to give the mice drug-induced kidney failure. This induction increases the expression of several enzymes, increases the reactive oxygen generation (oxidative stress), and increases inflammation in the kidneys of the mice. This increase in inflammation is associated with the impaired renal function. Medical scientists saw these effects starting around three days after the initial dose of chemotherapy was given.
- After the negative side effects were recorded, cannabidiol was administered to the mice. Scientists then observed the results to see what effect the CBD had on this chemotherapy-created kidney damage.
The cannabidiol drastically weakened the oxidative stress associated with the cisplatin chemotherapy drug, as well as combatted inflammation and cell death in the kidneys, improving renal function. These results make cannabidiol a potential new protective treatment plan against the nephrotoxicity induced by cisplatin chemotherapy treatment. But how does this work?
How CBD Works in Our Bodies
Our body has a system called the endocannabinoid system that uses CBD in receptors found everywhere in the body. CBD receptors are found in the brain, in our organs and connective tissues, and even in our immune system. The ECS regulates the immune response associated with fighting bacteria and toxicity in our body. However, the immune system may not be strong enough during chemotherapy, so it needs a boost. CBD gives it this boost.
Cannabidiol has so many promising medicinal effects from improving mood and appetite to acting as an anti-inflammatory, neuroprotectant, and antioxidant in the body. CBD has been proven to do the following things: relieve pain and inflammation, reduce anxiety, provide antipsychotic effects, fight cancer, relieve nausea, lower the chances for diabetes, and promote cardiovascular health.
Both chemicals in the cannabis plant have positive effects. However, CBD has most of the positive effects of THC without the psychoactive qualities that make it a less desirable candidate for medical studies. Cannabidiol is derived from the sister plant to marijuana, the hemp plant, that has a naturally low amount of THC, making it legal throughout the United States. CBD is known to be well-tolerated by our bodies, even with doses as high as 1200 mg a day. There have been reports of dry mouth, drowsiness, lightheadedness, and low blood pressure as potential side effects, but even those are rarely reported.
Supplementing with CBD Hemp Oil
Just like one would take a vitamin D supplement if they don’t get enough sunlight, you can take a cannabidiol supplement if your endocannabinoid system needs a boost. This is especially the case in situations where the immune system becomes confused or fatigued in fighting cancer. If you’re in search of a natural way to boost your immune system, improve your mood, stimulate a healthy appetite and metabolism, and more, cannabidiol as CBD Hemp Oil could be the perfect supplement.