Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women, behind only skin cancer. There are over 3.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, and it is estimated that 1 in every 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer throughout their lifetime.
Much research and resources have been directed at finding a cure for breast cancer. And it is noted that early detection and appropriate treatments are the keys to a successful recovery. Generally, the recommended treatments are a combination of surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and other targeted therapies.
In addition to the commonly doctor-recommended treatment plans, many women choose to add hemp into their daily routines as a supporting tool. Hemp could have several potential benefits for those who have breast cancer and could both offer support and alleviate some of the accompanying negative symptoms.
What is Hemp?
The hemp plant has been around for many centuries. Artifacts show that hemp was around as far back as 10,000 years ago. Ancient people used it for clothing, oil, paper, food, and building materials. During the Middle Ages, hemp became an important economic crop, and this reminds true when it made its way over to the United States in the 16th century.
In America, several Founding Fathers grew this incredible crop. Thomas Jefferson used it as a cash crop and paper material, and George Washington allowed farmers to pay tax with the plant.
In the present day, people use help for cooking, clothing, and building materials, and most recently – for its potential medicinal properties. Hemp contains a unique compound called CBD, and it has been making quite a splash in the marketplace lately.
CBD is one of the cannabinoids present in the hemp plant. People covet it for its potential beneficial properties, which could help with chronic pain, inflammation, mood, and sleep issues. Much research has been done around CBD’s properties, and scientists found that CBD most likely works by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a system that is responsible for maintaining balance in the body. The ECS regulates other systems and processes, like the nervous and immune systems, and makes sure they are functioning correctly.
The ECS consists of an extensive network of receptors that are dispersed throughout the body. The ECS uses endocannabinoids to send messages through these receptors to the brain. Endocannabinoids are naturally present in the body, but it is impossible to increase their amount through outside sources like food or vitamins. Cannabinoids like CBD are incredibly similar to endocannabinoids. So supplying your body with CBD could help the ECS run at its highest potential.
Unlike some other cannabinoids, CBD does not cause a high, nor does it produce dependence or a build-up of tolerance. In 2018 a newly passed Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp production and made hemp-derived CBD legal on the Federal level. At the same time, the FDA removed CBD from its Schedule I illegal substances list. Hemp products and hemp-derived CBD are also not generally detected by drug tests.
CBD has many potentially beneficial properties that are particularly important for those dealing with breast cancer. Let’s take a look.
Women with breast cancer often suffer from neuropathic pain. This pain could be due to cancer progression or treatments like chemotherapy, both of which could induce nerve damage.
CBD may help with pain management by interacting with serotonin receptors in the brain and CB1 and CB2 ECS receptors in the body. A study involving cancer patients showed that 70% of participants reported lower pain symptoms after taking CBD.
One of the most extensive problems that accompany breast cancer is metastasis or the spread of cancer to other organs. One of the leading causes of metastatic breast cancer is the Id-1 gene. One of the Id-1 gene’s functions is increasing the growth of cancer cells in the breast.
One of CBD’s benefits is its potential ability to inhibit the Id-1 gene and cancer cells’ growth and spread. Additionally, some animal studies suggest that CBD could slow the growth of certain cancers and tumors.
Vomiting and Nausea
Doctors often recommend chemotherapy to treat breast cancer. One of chemotherapy’s adverse side effects is extreme nausea and vomiting. Nausea and vomiting could lead to dehydration, weakness, and electrolyte imbalance.
CBD could potentially help with nausea and vomiting due to its antiemetic (anti-nausea) properties. Hemp and CBD could also help by interacting with serotonin receptors and regulating serotonin and dopamine levels, which further aids with nausea relief.
Osteoporosis is a disease that decreases bone mineral density, and it is quite common in breast cancer patients. Endocrine treatments and chemotherapy are both often used to treat breast cancer, but both methods could negatively affect the patient’s bone health.
Some studies suggest that CBD could help improve bone mass and encourage bone growth and strengthening.
There are many hemp and CBD products to choose from. Topicals like lotions and balms are best for localized treatment of pain and inflammation. At the same time, ingestible hemp products are best for the potential treatment of nausea, vomiting, osteoporosis, and chronic pain.
It is encouraging to know that significant attention is currently directed towards breast cancer research. Early detection and appropriate treatments are the best course of action for best outcomes, while some other lifestyle additions like hemp could serve as helpful companions.