E The Cannabidiol – Glioblastoma Connection: How CBD Impacts GBM Therapies

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a tumor of brain tissue, is one of the rarest, most aggressive, and most lethal cancers. Prognosis is grim for those with the condition: despite significant improvements and progress in treatment, many diagnosed with the cancer do not live longer than one year. Less than 10 percent of patients survive for longer than five years after diagnosis. With fewer than 10 cases per 100,000 people, GBM is as rare as it is deadly. Its poor outcome and lack of treatment options makes GBM a condition in urgent need of study. 

An emerging body of research suggests that the phytocannabinoid Cannabidiol (CBD) may have an anti-tumor effect on patients with GBM. How are these therapies theorized to work, and what’s in store for future research into the disease and its management?


Why are cannabinoids theorized to affect cancer cells?

Initial studies have demonstrated that GBM highly expresses the CB2 cannabinoid receptor, through which CBD is thought to exert anti-tumor effects. Specifically, multiple in vitro and human studies have shown that CBD reduces tumor size, potential for metastasis and invasion, and development of new tumor-associated blood vessels. This has been observed in solid tumors and blood cancers. Further reading can be found in this 2016 study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology and this 2013 study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

Researchers are exploring the effect of CBD alone and the impact of CBD in combination with the phytocannabinoid Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Some studies have observed anti-cancer activity in vivo when administering THC and CBD in a 1:1 ratio. Other studies, such as this 2014 study published in Molecular Cancer Therapies, found that a patient’s response to chemotherapy treatment “substantially increased” when a 1:1 THC-CBD formulation was administered. This ratio of phytocannabinoids was also found to shrink tumors, and specifically GBM tumors, even those tumors not affected by chemotherapy. 

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Disclosure: The author provides consulting services to Jay Pharma.

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John Doe 10 months ago Member's comment

Would be an amazing advancement in the fight against GBM!! I really hope that Jay Pharma’s efforts are successful.

John Doee 10 months ago Member's comment

Thank you Stella for this article. During a time where I feel like we are all so focused on COVID-19 and the treatments/ vaccination plan for it, t was amazing to hear about the progress in creating future treatments for patients dealing with other illnesses and diseases too. Based upon what you said, CBD seems to have a limitless positive potential with regard to cancer treatment. What are some of the possible fears with the short/long-term effects of CBD as a means of treatment?

Lorimer Wilson 10 months ago Contributor's comment

I don't have any specific insights to offer other than hope that their research bears fruit. I am in my 7th year of stage 4 cancer and, along with chemo and a variety of medications have taken THC (0.5mg) nightly and a regimen of extremely concentrated THC via suppositories and am still going strong. I should have been dead years ago!

John Doe 10 months ago Member's comment

Wishing you continued health.

Angry Old Lady 10 months ago Member's comment

Stay strong Lorimer. I for one am glad you are still around. I always enjoy reading your articles and comments.

Weed Investor 10 months ago Member's comment

I've long thought that CBD could offer many medical benefits. I'm glad to see companies are pursuing this with success.

Susan Miller 10 months ago Member's comment

This sounds very promising. Terry Chrisomalis and Lorimer Wilson, you both know far more about this than I do. What's your take?

Kurt Benson 10 months ago Member's comment

Agreed!