Can CBD Oil Help with Cancer Pain? A Comprehensive Guide to Using CBD Oil for Cancer

CBD oil, or cannabidiol, is ubiquitous nowadays. 

CBD is available in different forms such as oils that are applied topically or placed under your tongue, solutions for vaping, or roll-ons that can be effectively applied to the skin. Some producers infuse CBD oil into food to create a wide range of edible items.

What is CBD oil and how can it impact cancer patients? There have been several speculations concerning the use of CBD oil for cancer treatment. Let us understand the same in depth.

CBD for Cancer

CBD is known to help with cancer-related symptoms and the overall side effects of cancer treatments. In a 2016 study, it was observed that cannabinoids reveal promising outcomes in fighting against cancer after determining that these compounds helped inhibit the growth of several types of tumour cells in test-tube practices.  

Understanding Cancer Pain

Cancer pain can have several underlying causes that may differ in type. Proper pain control with the right support can help manage the pain. Cancer itself can cause ample pain, and the amount of pain you are experiencing will depend on the type of cancer, its extent or stage, additional health problems you might encounter, and the pain threshold or pain tolerance level. People with advanced cancer are more likely to experience pain of varying intensities.

Cancer surgery, treatments, or even tests can lead to pain, as can non-cancer-related headaches, pains, or strains. Whatever might be the cause, it is crucial to understand effective ways to manage your cancer pain.

Different Types of Cancer Pains

Most cancer-related pain is the result of the tumour pressing against nerves, bones, and other organs of the body. In some specific cases, specific chemotherapy drugs can lead to tingling or numbness in your feet and hands. They might even cause a burning sensation at the spot you receive the drug injection. Radiotherapy can also lead to skin irritation and redness. 

Cancer pain can be broadly categorized into

1. Acute Pain

Acute cancer pain will affect a particular area for a shorter period. For instance, when you undergo surgery, you will experience acute pain. The pain will eventually subside as the wound from the surgery heals. At the same time, painkillers can help with effective pain management. 

2. Chronic Pain

Chronic pain occurs due to changes in the nerves of the body. Never changes can occur when cancer or a tumour presses against some part of the nerve. It could also be because of chemicals produced by the tumour. Chronic pain can also occur due to nerve changes concerning cancer treatment. 

Chronic pain may continue long after the treatment or surgery is completed. Moreover, it can vary from mild or severe. Chronic pain can also get triggered quite quickly, even when you are perhaps getting the dressing changed or if you are moving around a particular position. This is also referred to as incidental pain or persistent pain. It is immensely crucial for you to know about the underlying cause and type of cancer pain you are experiencing. 

Different types of pain will require different treatment options. Some common cancer-related pains to understand are:

  • Nerve pain
  • Bone pain
  • Soft tissue pain
  • Phantom pain
  • Referred pain

Conventional Treatments for Cancer Pain

There are several convenient options to treat or relieve cancer pain -depending on the cause and extent of the pain. Some common traditional treatment types to understand are

Medications: A series of medications can be used for treating cancer pain. Some of the common types are:

  • OTC or Over-the-counter painkillers
  • Anti-depressants
  • Opioid medications
  • Corticosteroids
  • Anticonvulsants 

Additional treatments: There are more conventional treatment options for alleviating cancer pain, including:

  • Stimulators
  • Pain pumps
  • Nerve block
  • Physical therapy & rehabilitation
  • Ablative procedures

CBD Oil and Cancer Pain

Several studies support the potential of CBD oil in its anti-cancer role. In a recent study at the New York’s MMJ Registry, it was found that advanced cancer patients using medical cannabis revealed positive effects. Research has it that CBD can show ample potential in treating cancer, including the signs and symptoms linked with cancer and its treatment. Preclinical research reveals that CBD is capable of addressing most of the pathways involved in the pathogenesis of different forms of cancer. 

Clinical trials also enable healthcare experts to tease out cancer tissues like interaction with similar cancer drugs, the safety profile of CBD, and the overall dosage.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD is one of the several phytochemicals in the plant named Cannabis Sativa. It is one of the prevalent cannabinoids -in addition to THC or Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol. 

THC is the compound that delivers the ‘high’ feeling for most individuals when associated with cannabis. On the other hand, CBD -showing promising outcomes for multiple health conditions, tends to be non-impairing while not leading to a ‘high’ feeling.

Manufacturers typically extract CBD out of the Cannabis Sativa plant to produce CBD oil. It is then mixed with some carrier oil. One of the most common methods of extraction used by manufacturers of CBD oil is the supercritical carbon dioxide method. It is a clean and cost-effective method leveraging pressure, heat, and carbon dioxide to isolate CBD from the respective plant.

How Does CBD Oil Work for Cancer Pain?

CBD oil may help with cancer pain in a few different ways. One of the primary ways it works is by interacting with the body's endocannabinoid system, which is involved in regulating pain, inflammation, and other physiological processes.

Most studies that have been analyzing CBD and its effects as a potential cancer treatment have been conducted on human cells in the laboratory. For instance, studies reveal that CBD inhibits the growth of cancer cells in the case of mice, especially those with colon and lung cancer. Another study explained that CBD, in combination with THC, was successful in killing glioblastoma cancer cells in the laboratory. 

Several studies reveal that CBD oil, in combination with THC, can help in providing relief from pain, nausea, anxiety, and discomfort during cancer treatment. People with cancer have reported that CBD oil has helped relieve pain related to cancer treatment along with other symptoms like depression, anxiety, nausea, and vomiting. As per the ASCO guidelines, your healthcare expert might think of prescribing CBD oil or cannabinoids for ensuring chronic pain management in case you happen to reside in a place wherein CBD is legal. 

Benefits of Using CBD Oil for Cancer Pain

CBD (cannabidiol) oil is a popular alternative treatment for cancer-related pain, and research suggests it may have potential benefits in managing cancer pain. Potential benefits of CBD oil for cancer treatment are:

  • Reducing inflammation: CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce the inflammation that contributes to pain and discomfort.
  • Managing neuropathic pain: Some cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, can cause nerve damage and neuropathic pain. CBD oil may help manage this type of pain by interacting with the endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating pain.
  • Alleviating nausea and vomiting: Chemotherapy and other cancer treatments can cause nausea and vomiting, which can be difficult to manage. CBD oil may help alleviate these symptoms, which can in turn reduce pain and discomfort.
  • Improving sleep: Cancer pain can make it difficult to sleep, which can in turn worsen the pain and other symptoms. CBD oil may help improve sleep quality, which can lead to better pain management and overall well-being.
  • A Potential Anti-cancer drug: There are several clinical in-vivo and in-vitro studies that suggest that cannabinoids -including both THC and CBD, feature anti-cancer activity in different types of cancer. There is also the role of CBD in promoting the death of cancer cells while blocking the growth of cancer cells.  

    For instance, the overall potential of CBD oil in breast cancer is under study for several years -revealing effective and consistent anti-proliferative, pro-apoptotic activity in breast cancer cells in mice samples. In addition to acting on cancer cells directly, it is also suggested that CBD oil affects the surrounding tumour environment by stopping the development of blood cells responsible for feeding cancer -thereby, preventing the ability to spread and minimizing inflammation. 
  • Management of the Symptoms of Cancer Therapy: Cancer, along with subsequent treatment options like radiotherapy and chemotherapy, can lead to multiple side effects -including vomiting, nausea, insomnia, pain, and loss of appetite. While there are several medications to manage the existing symptoms experienced by those having cancer, the overall control of the side effects remains a major challenge for most patients. 

    CBD molecule is believed to have ample potential in modulating the most debilitating and common symptoms. While significantly based on THC, there are some CBD-based drugs as well that are prescribed for relieving symptoms due to chemotherapy.

How to Use CBD Oil for Cancer Pain?

Like with any CBD product, patients are expected to follow proper instructions on the label while not exceeding the recommended dosage. It is important to consult with your healthcare professional to determine the exact dosage. 

Manufacturers typically promote CBD oil in several ways, including:

  • Oils to be placed under the tongue or CBD tinctures to be added to food
  • Oils in the form of gummies or other types of edibles for consuming
  • Oils in the form of lotions, creams, or balms for topical application

Is CBD Safe for People with Cancer?

You can come across stories of people explaining the benefits of CBD oil in the form of cancer treatment or as a relief for its side effects. However, it is important to conduct in-depth research on your part to understand whether or not CBD oil is safe for cancer treatment. You should understand that CBD can interact with other similar drugs to lead to some other effects. Consult your healthcare provider before choosing CBD oil as the treatment for cancer pain.

Precautions and Safety Concerns

When choosing CBD products for cancer pain, here are some key things to look out for:

  • Choose a reputable brand: Research the brand's manufacturing and testing processes to ensure transparency and reliability.
  • Verify potency and purity: Look for third-party testing certificates to ensure the CBD oil contains the advertised amount of CBD and is free from contaminants like heavy metals, pesticides, or residual solvents.
  • Consider the source and extraction method: Choose CBD oil derived from organic, non-GMO hemp that is grown in a clean environment free from pesticides and herbicides. The best CBD oils are extracted using CO2 or ethanol to ensure no harmful solvents are left in the final product.
  • Consult a healthcare professional: If you have underlying health conditions or are taking medication, consult with your healthcare professional before using CBD oil to avoid any potential interactions.

FAQs about CBD and Cancer

Q1. What dosage of CBD oil should I take for cancer pain?

Your specific dosage will depend on factors like your weight and how your body absorbs CBD oil. Consult your healthcare professional to understand the exact dosage of CBD oil for cancer pain.

Q2. How quickly does CBD oil work for cancer pain?

The intensity with which CBD oil will deliver results for cancer pain might vary. It will depend on the condition and extent of the disease.

Q3. Can CBD oil cause side effects?

Yes, CBD oil can cause side effects in people. While CBD is generally considered safe and well-tolerated, people may experience side effects such as dry mouth, changes in appetite or weight, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, diarrhea, or fatigue. These side effects are usually mild and go away on their own within a few hours to a few days.

Q4. Can I use CBD oil alongside other cancer treatments?

CBD oil might interfere with other medications. Therefore, it is recommended to consult your healthcare expert before taking CBD oil for cancer pain.


Although CBD oil has various benefits in treating cancer-related symptoms, and it helps with easing out some cancer-related symptoms and even side effects of the treatment. It is also important to note that taking CBD may inhibit specific cancer treatments (as per a report by National Cancer Institute). Therefore, always consult with your healthcare professional before considering CBD oil for cancer. 

Where can I buy High-quality CBD Oil?

Wholeleaf brings forth an exhaustive collection of top-quality CBD products -including CBD oils, to help you harness its wide range of benefits.