Staying a healthy weight may also mean your prostate cancer is less likely to spread after surgery or radiotherapy. And if you’re having hormone therapy to treat your prostate cancer, your treatment may be less effective if you’re very overweight.
Did you see Bill Turnbull: Staying Alive on Channel 4? It’s a powerful documentary that follows the TV presenter and journalist currently living with advanced prostate cancer as he goes through chemotherapy, tries diets and complementary therapies, and speaks to others with the disease, including Stephen Fry.
At the moment, we don’t know if cannabis can help treat prostate cancer. Some studies have looked at the effect of chemicals in cannabis, called cannabinoids, on prostate cancer cells. There are two main cannabinoids that have been investigated – THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). The studies found that cannabinoids may stop prostate cancer cells from growing and dividing, cause prostate cancer cells to die, and stop prostate cancer cells from invading other tissues and spreading.
Q. Can cannabis help cure prostate cancer?
Many of you had questions and comments about the show. Here, one of our Specialist Nurses, Sophie, answers some commonly asked questions.
This is a topic people often call us about. Eating healthily, being physically active and staying a healthy weight is important for general health, but can be especially important for men with prostate cancer.
If you’re experiencing side effects from prostate cancer treatment, such as weight gain, bone thinning or hot flushes from hormone therapy, bowel problems or urinary problems, making changes to your lifestyle may also help you manage them.
Bill Turnbull’s powerful documentary got plenty of people talking about the various treatment options he tried. One of our expert Clinical Nurse Specialists answers some commonly asked questions.
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Long before scientists learned to manufacture synthetic medications, folk healers relied on natural compounds derived from plants. Even today, herbal compounds are heavily promoted as “dietary supplements” and are widely used in various forms of alternative, or complementary, medicine. Although scientific studies that demonstrate benefit for plant-based supplements are few and far between, some compounds have become the building blocks of important mainstream medications. One example is acetylsalicylic acid, better known as aspirin; it’s a synthetic chemical patterned after the salicylates in the extract of willow bark used by Hippocrates to treat pain and fever, some 2,400 years ago. Other examples include the malaria drug quinine, derived from cinchona bark, and the cancer drug paclitaxel (Taxol), which comes from the Pacific yew tree.
Cannabis sativa is another plant that has found medicinal and ceremonial uses in many parts of the world since ancient times. Think of it by its common name, marijuana, and you’ll recognize it as a highly controversial plant indeed. On the one hand, its mind-altering properties have made it an extremely popular drug of abuse. At the same time, advocates of medicinal marijuana tout its ability to relieve pain, combat chemotherapy-induced nausea, and treat glaucoma, among other things.
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Some research indicates that cannabinoids like cannabidiol may inhibit testosterone production. This may prove beneficial for people who struggle with recurrent BPH. Though researchers point to THC as being the cannabinoid most closely associated with this effect, there may still be value in CBD and other cannabinoids as well.
Though prostate enlargement can have numerous causes including inflammation, UTI, and kidney stones, it’s important to understand the role that testosterone plays. Testosterone causes the prostate to grow, so it may be possible to reduce the likelihood of hyperplasia by slowing testosterone production.
Cannabidiol (CBD) has developed a dedicated following thanks to its perceived effectiveness against anxiety, epilepsy, localized pain, and other conditions. Using CBD oil for issues such as an enlarged prostate is fairly common place, and although research is still limited (and much of the evidence for its efficacy is anecdotal) the popularity of this compound continues to grow. Like THC, CBD is a cannabinoid, an active compound found in cannabis. But unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive, so it doesn’t get the user high.
CBD for Prostatitis
Prostate cancer is the second-most common cancer that men face (the first being skin cancer), impacting about 175 thousand American men each year. Over the past few years, researchers have been looking at cannabinoids as a potential treatment option for people with prostate cancer. A 2013 study found that cannabidiol is particularly effective among cannabinoids as a killer of prostate cancer cells. A growing body of research reinforces this potential. While cannabidiol may not cure prostate cancer, the compound may be effective for helping prevent and treat the disease.
The term “enlarged prostate” most commonly refers to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). This is a condition where the prostate is enlarged but not affected by cancer. It commonly affects older men and may cause unpleasant symptoms like painful urination, pain in the hips and pelvic area, blood in the urine or semen, painful ejaculation, and frequent urination.
Granted much of the research has focused on the whole cannabis plant and the full spectrum of cannabinoids, raising the question as to whether CBD on its own has as much value. While cannabidiol should provide at least some of the desired benefit, here are the factors to consider:
In addition, CBD may help with the vomiting and nausea associated with chemotherapy. Research shows a link between the body’s endocannabinoid system (the internal receptors that respond to cannabinoids) and the areas of the brain responsible for nausea and vomiting. For those struggling with nausea as part of a cancer treatment, CBD may help to provide some relief.