Can I Use CBD for Cancer Prevention?

CBD, or cannabidiol, has been gaining much media attention in recent years. It’s been showing up everywhere – from coffee shop latte menus to gas station checkout counters. CBD oils, edibles, and vape cartridges are being used by people of all backgrounds. CBD has no psychoactive effects, meaning it won’t get a user high, and significant studies have been done on CBD oil for those that experience seizures.  This has excited many researchers and has opened the doors for wider studies. 

While it likely won’t make up for poor lifestyle choices (it isn’t a miracle cure), some research suggests CBD could have cancer-preventative effects. CBD appears to do this by protecting cells and their DNA from damage. This, in turn, keeps cells from multiplying out of control and creating cancerous growths. These mechanisms are still being studied, but existing data is encouraging.

How Does Cancer Affect the Body?

Cancer starts with just one cell abnormality. That abnormal cell divides, and they keep dividing over and over in an uncontrolled way. Gene changes make one or more cells multiply too much, forming a tumor that grows through normal tissue. These tumors can metastasize, or move throughout the body. This causes the cancer to spread to other parts of the body and makes it difficult to fight.

There are over 200 types of cancer, and both the disease and its treatment can affect blood circulation and the lymphatic, immune, and hormone systems. While most cancers start because of gene changes that occur, some are due to genetic makeup.

Patients receive many different types of  treatments for cancer, typically with the goal of remission in mind. Remission means that all symptoms of cancer are gone, though they could return. Treatment depends on a series of factors, including cancer type, where it began, and whether it’s metastasized and spread to other parts of the body. Treatment types are often combined for the best results.

Options  range from chemotherapy and radiation therapy to surgery and stem cell transplants. Unfortunately, both cancer and cancer treatments can cause severe  side effects. These can include constipation and diarrhea, fatigue, appetite loss, delirium, nausea and vomiting, pain, nerve problems, and more.

How Could CBD Help Prevent Cancer?

As the legal status of CBD has been rapidly expanding in the United States over the last few years, so have the number of scientific studies done on the substance. A 2012 study observed animals treated with CBD and found that they were significantly less likely to develop colon cancer under the same laboratory conditions. Several studies have also shown that CBD significantly decreases and inhibits tumor growth, meaning it may work as an effective way to both prevent and treat tumors.

Interestingly, many studies conclude that CBD in combination with  tetrahydrocannabinol – THC, the chemical compound in cannabis that produces psychoactive effects – may prove to be even more effective in reducing cancer cell growth and reproduction. These findings suggest that CBD for cancer prevention may be a beneficial prophylactic therapy. 

Study Results

A 2018 study showed that hemp-derived CBD reduced the ability of ovarian cancer cells to metastasize. Researchers were particularly interested in finding plant-based therapeutics to use in treatments for ovarian cancer. “Our results indicate that KY hemp extract will attenuate OCC migration in a dose dependent manner in both cell lines. In A2780 OCCs, this attenuation was significant at all concentrations tested. A2780 cells treated with 12 -15 µg/ml hemp extract that contain 2.5- 3.2 µM CBD, caused decrease in cell migration comparable to Cisplatin. Based on the data here we conclude that KY hemp has significant anti-metastatic properties against ovarian cancer.”

Learn more:


A 2011 study on rats shows that CBD can help control aggressive breast cancer cells. The study notes that there are limited therapeutic interventions today for metastatic breast cancers and that there is an urgent need for an effective, non-toxic treatment. “Using immune competent mice, we then show that treatment with CBD significantly reduces primary tumor mass as well as the size and number of lung metastatic foci in two models of metastasis. Our data demonstrate the efficacy of CBD in pre-clinical models of breast cancer.”

Learn more:

Recommended Regimen of CBD for Cancer Prevention

Cancer is a serious disease, so it is important to understand that CBD for cancer prevention should be used as a supplement rather than strictly as a treatment on its own. It’s also important to note that CBD has not yet been proven as a cancer preventative. Still, many people have found comfort in the existing research and have therefore incorporated CBD into their daily routine. For a preventative treatment, we recommend incorporating a dose of CBD into your daily routine in the form of a Gel Capsule or Gummy. Start with a low dose of 20 to 25 mg and increase if necessary. Effects will begin in about 60 to 90 minutes and last for several hours.

If you are suffering from existing tumors, a tincture or CBD-rich flower will offer fast relief of nausea and other cancer treatment side effects. These methods are more difficult to dose than a softgel or gummy, so start slow and wait at least 20 minutes before dispensing another dose or smoking some more flower.


Research suggests that CBD may have potential as a preventative measure for cancer, and continuing advancements in research hope to solidify this claim. While smoking any substance is unhealthy due to the risk of exposure to carcinogens, CBD oil and edibles and an overall healthy lifestyle may be viable ways to minimize the risk of developing health conditions.

Some research suggests that CBD may also help manage the side effects of some cancer treatments, such as nausea and loss of appetite from chemotherapy, but more evidence is still needed to understand how or when CBD is beneficial. While more long-term human studies are necessary before drawing any concrete conclusions, scientists are generally in agreement that cannabinoid therapy boast magnificent potential for cancer prevention.