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Cannabidiol, more commonly referred to as CBD, is gaining a considerable amount of popularity among the holistic health world as a natural alternative to many medicines and treatments. There is a growing number of holistic health professionals who believe that CBD could have a dramatic and beneficial effect on patients being treated for cancer. 

CBD, a product of the Marijuana plant, is often mischaracterized as a hallucinogenic agent. CBD is not the same as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the agent in marijuana that gives people that “high” sensation. Holistic health advocates suggest that CBD oil can act as a complementary therapy, helping patients stimulate apatite, relieve pain, and reduce nausea. The foundations on which these claims are built can be characterized as shaky at best. 

Loss of appetite is a side effect of cancer treatment therapies like chemotherapy and radiation. These symptoms can often prove to be debilitating for patients, as it leads to lethargy and further complications with the recovery and treatment process. While there is ample evidence that the THC in marijuana can have positive effects on stimulating appetite, there is no scientific evidence that proves CBD oil can have the same effect. 

Patients undergoing cancer treatments may also experience significant amounts of pain due to inflammation, pressure on internal organs, and nerve injury. Sometimes this pain can be so severe that it can become resistant to opioids, powerful pain relieving drugs. THC has been shown to help patients manage pain. This is because THC acts on the CB1 nerve receptors, which can help with the pain by reducing inflammation. While THC may have this positive effect, there is zero evidence that suggest that CBD may have the same properties. 

Reducing nausea is yet another healing property that many claim CBD can provide. While THC has been shown to have positive effects on reducing nausea in cancer patients who used medicinal marijuana, there is little scientific evidence to prove that CBD can do the same. 

“The medical field is just starting to come into contact with CBD and it is very possible that it may have some benefits. But without any scientific evidence to back up these claims I would find it hard to recommend it as a complementary therapy to my patients,” said SGLA’s Dr. Joshua Ellenhorn. 

While Dr. Ellenhorn may not recommend it to patients he did say that, “belief is a very powerful drug. If a patient feels like a specific supplement may contribute to their wellbeing, and if this supplement does not cause any damaging side effects, there is no reason why it cannot be incorporated into their daily routines.” 

While CBD oil may not be scientifically proven to have any medicinal benefits it does have the potential to help patients feel in control of their treatment plans, promoting well being and overall happiness.