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CBD Oil And Cancer: Australian Study Results

Findings of an Australian trial of cannabidiol (CBD) oil use for palliative care patients with advanced cancer aren’t encouraging.

The trial conducted by Mater Research and the University of Queensland investigated symptom relief among 144 patients from the greater Brisbane area. Some patients were given a self-selected dose of CBD of up to 600mg per day (median dose: 400 mg per day), while others received a placebo. This was a double-blind trial, meaning researchers as well as patients didn’t know who was receiving what in terms of CBD vs. placebo.

All participants also received standard palliative care throughout the trial period.

The results according to research leader and Mater Director of Palliative and Supportive Care Professor Janet Hardy:

“The trial found there was no detectable effect of CBD on change in physical or emotional functioning, overall quality of life, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, pain, dyspnoea or appetite loss.”

On the plus side, CBD was found to be safe and well tolerated, with minimal adverse effects. Many participants also reported a non-specific improvement in overall well-being; so some form of “happiness” scale may appear in future studies. It’s not clear from the news item if this improvement was reported at significant levels within both groups.

Cancer patients using medical cannabis are often administered preparations containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as well as CBD. THC is the intoxicating cannabinoid associated with the “high” produced by consuming marijuana. Some believe when THC is paired with CBD, medicinal cannabis may be more effective – this is referred to as the “entourage effect”.

The combination of the two is to be trialed next, and Professor Hardy says her team is aiming to have findings of the second trial ready to publish in the middle of 2023. Beyond the second trial, a third will look at a different combination of THC and CBD.

The first study’s results have been published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. This research was one of the first medical cannabis trials to be funded under the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF); announced back in 2018.

Gillian Jalimnson
Gillian Jalimnson is one of Hemp Gazette's staff writers and has been with us since we kicked off in 2015. Gillian sees massive potential for cannabis in areas of health, energy, building and personal care products and is intrigued by the potential for cannabidiol (CBD) as an alternative to conventional treatments. You can contact Gillian here.

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