CBD and Cancer
A review of three research articles

Provided by Curtis Swift, Ph.D.

While there are many research papers on the benefits of CBD with cancer treatment, I’ve selected three for this review. Each of these have an extensive list of the research articles they relied on. Those are below. If you want additional information on cancer and CBD do a search on the National Institute of Health website . PubMed Central alone has 3,780 articles covering CBD and Cancer.  


Liberati, S. et. al. 2014. Loss of TRPV2 Homeostatic Control of Cell Proliferation Drives Tumor Progression. 2014. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3980744/

This 2014 research paper reviews the tumor progression, glioblastoma, prostate cancer, and cancers of the bladder and kidneys.  82 additional research papers are provided as documentation.

I’ve summarized the authors findings concerning Cannabidiol (CBD) and its effect on these cancers.

To understand what is happening we need to look at what are called TRP channels. There are about 30 different types of TRP channels. These channels are in the membrane of cells and are responsible in part for stopping cancer cell development and cancer cell death. Loss or inactivation of these channels causes unchecked proliferation of cancer cells, and reduces signals responsible for death of those cancer cells.  

Cannabidiol (CBD), THC, and cannabinol (CBN) have been found capable of activating the TRP channels. They are potent in initiating a physiological response leading to cancer cell death.

    1. Multiple Myeloma (MM). CBD alone, or in combination with bortezomid, strongly inhibited cell growth, arrested cell cycle progression, and induced cell death of multiple myeloma (MM) cells. (24)
    1. Brain Tumors. Diffusing infiltrating Gliomas are the most common primary brain tumors. These tumors invade adjacent brain structure resulting in the breakdown of those tissues.
        1. Aggressiveness and resistance to chemotherapy are two major characteristics of this disease. (39).
      1. CBD was found to enhance TRPV2 activation leading to an increased effective of chemotherapy. (43). The authors found the use of CBD strongly promoted chemotherapy drug uptake by cancer cells.
    1. Bladder Tumors. TRVP2 and s-TRVP2 channels are associated with the development of invasive tumor and their malignant behavior in bladders. (22).  Increasing the activity of these channels to move calcium into the cells reduces cancer development.
        1. Urothelial bladder cancer cells, referred to as UC Cells affect the epithelial lining of the urinary tract.  There evidently are, at least as reported by this paper,  two UC cells, T24 and R24.
      1. CBD progressively decreased the viability of the T24 cells increasing cell death of these cancer cells. (60).
    1. Prostate cancer. Activation of the TRPV2 channels results in the development of death signals of cancer cells depending on the cancer involved. Activation of the TRPV2 channels is by growth factors, hormones, serum, and agonists such as CBD. (18, 21)
  1. Liver Cancer – hepatocarcinoma. This is the fifth most common human cancer and third most frequent cause of cancer death worldwide (72). No information was given on CBD and this cancer.


Maor, Y., et.al 2012. Cannabidiol inhibits growth and induces programmed cell death in Kaposi Sarcoma-associated herpesvirus-infected endothelium.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23264851

“CBD reduced the proliferation and induced apoptosis in those infected by the virus”. Apoptosis is the death of cells.

58 additional research papers are provided as documentation for this paper.

During their literature review benefits of CBD listed include:

    1. CBD inhibits the growth and metastasis of breast cancer
    1. limits the invasion of lung cancer cells into adjacent tissues
    1. induces the programmed cell death of bladder cancer cells.
  1. enhances the inhibitory properties of Delta 9-THC on the growth and survival of glioblastoma cells.


Abrams, D. 2016. Integrating cannabis into clinical cancer care. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4791148/

“For the cancer patient, cannabis has a number of potential benefits, especially in the management of symptoms. Cannabis is useful in combating anorexia, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, pain, insomnia, and depression.”

“In 2014 WEbMD poll, 82% of oncologist indicated their belief that patients should have access to cannabis, rankin highest among medical subspecialist in their support.”

The author of this paper points out the following:

    1. Cannabinoids can inhibit gliomas – malignant tumors of the nervous system i.e. brain and spinal cord.
    1. Can curb the growth of adenocarcinomas of the lung, breast, colon, and pancreas as well as myeloma, lymphoma, and melanoma.
    1. Inhibits the growth of Lewis lung adenocarcinoma cells
    1. Reduce the viability of pancreatic cancer cells.
    1. Decreased tumour-cell invasiveness and decreases potential for metastasis.
  1. Have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties desirable when combating cancer.