May 8, 2018, United Patients Group Blog

Did you know cancer is responsible for 1 in 4 deaths in the United States? Or that cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S? In 2015 alone, there were 8.8 million deaths (Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 2015). globally attributed to cancer. Cancer is one of the biggest health crises we are facing today. Affecting women, men, young, and the old – cancer impacts millions of lives around the globe.

Conventional treatments for cancer today include radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. These treatments are expensive, though, not to mention risky. Studies (American Cancer Society, 2017) show that chemo and radiation can cause secondary cancers. Yet, research also indicates herbs play an integral role in fighting cancer. In fact, both chamomile (National Research Council, 1996) and cannabis exhibit cancer-fighting properties. Unlike chemotherapy or radiation, these natural herbs pose minimal risk or side effects.

This begs the question, could chamomile in combination with cannabis help stop cancer in its track? After all, both of these herbs are anticarcinogens (Riza et al., 2015). Could there be a link by combining the two? Science seems to say yes.

Here’s what you need to know about chamomile and cannabis oil for cancer.

Chamomile fights cancer

Chamomile is an ancient herb. The first uses of chamomile date back over 5,000 years ago Chamomile was used for treating numerous ailments such as:

• Inflammation
• Menstrual Pain
• Gastrointestinal disorders
• Insomnia
• Muscle spasms (Srivastava, Shankar, & Gupta, 2010).

Today, evidence indicates chamomile also displays potent anti-cancer properties.
A study published in 2007 (Srivastava & Gupta) examined the effects of chamomile extracts on cancerous cells. During the course of the study, chamomile extracts were tested on healthy human cells and cancerous cells. The researchers found that the extracts caused minimal growth inhibitory on healthy cells but a remarkable reduction in cancerous cells. In fact, the chamomile extracts facilitated apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cancer cells but not in normal cells.

This is incredible when we consider current cancer treatments like chemotherapy kill healthy cells. Not to mention lead to the development of secondary cancers. A study in 2015 by Riza et al., also concluded chamomile’s potent anti-cancer properties. Researchers found that thirty years of consumption of chamomile significantly reduced the risk of thyroid cancer and benign thyroid disease by 80{8ebd017cf3c24e8a0927e2a7cdb13b4c41ca9609d04ac958d2b3a2e1b72af20a}. While chamomile certainly isn’t the only factor in the onset or treatment of cancer, other factors such as lifestyle and diet do come into play; the medicinal value of chamomile in treating cancer is evident.

Cannabis kills cancer cells

Like chamomile, cannabis also exhibits anti-cancer properties. Scientific evidence shows that when cannabinoids enter the body, they cause cancerous cells to commit suicide (apoptosis) without harming healthy cells. A 2007 study by Harvard researchers, published in the American Association for Cancer Research found that the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (aka THC) cuts the growth of tumors in half. In addition, the study also revealed cannabis inhibited cancer’s ability to spread.

While it’s important to mention this study was conducted on animal subjects rather than humans, this isn’t the first study to show that cannabis fights cancer. An additional study published in Plos One (Solinas et al., 2013) revealed that another cannabinoid in cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD), could induce cancer cell death while preventing further cancerous growth. The findings suggested CBD (United Patients Group, 2017). causes a decrease in the expression of a group of proteins associated with the spread of cancerous cells. The researchers from the study even concluded, “As CBD is a non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid that appears to be devoid of side effects, our results support its exploitation as an effective anti-cancer drug in the management of gliomas.”

A study in 2015 (Orellana-Serradell et al.) once again confirmed cannabis’ cancer-fighting capabilities. The researchers found that when cannabinoid receptors in the body are stimulated, programmed cell death occurs in cancerous cells. The evidence is imminent; cannabis plays an important role in the treatment of cancer. The link between chamomile and cannabis oil Cannabis and chamomile are anticarcinogens. Much of the research up until this point though has studied these herbs in isolation.

Is there a therapeutic value to using both in combination (CBD and Chamomile)?

Patient testimonials indicate yes. A cancer patient in Mexico was given just three months to live after going through surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation for terminal metastatic secondary bone cancer. She had already gone through chemo and radiation for breast cancer four years prior. Having exhausted all conventional treatment options, she looked for natural relief. The patient began administering a treatment of chamomile-infused cannabis oil (FECO – Full Extract Cannabis Oil) sublingually. Today, she no longer needs her pain meds and has been able to sleep for the first time in months.

Terpene Bisabolol and the Entourage Effect

Curious why chamomile and cannabis may work better together?It is likely due to the interaction of terpenes (United Patients Group. 2017). and cannabinoids. Terpenes are what give cannabis strains their distinct aromas. It is also believed that terpenes play a role in cannabis’ effects. Like cannabinoids, terpenes interact with cannabinoid receptors in the human body. Terpenes are not only found in cannabis, though. Terpenes are also present in a variety of plants, including chamomile. In fact, the terpene bisabolol (Tilray, 2016) is produced by both chamomile and cannabis.

Why is this important?

The compounds in cannabis (such as terpenes and cannabinoids) work synergistically together. This phenomenon is known as the entourage effect (United Patients Group, n.d.). It is why eating mangos before consuming cannabis can increase the psychoactive effects. Mangos contain one of the same terpenes as cannabis, myrcene. If a mango is eaten before consuming cannabis, myrcene will bind to cannabinoid receptors in the body, in-turn enhancing the effects of cannabis.

Just like the myrcene (Steep Hill, n.d.) in mangos can enhance cannabis’ effects, the bisabolol in chamomile is likely to do similarly. Because chamomile and cannabis contain cancer-fighting properties, combining the two may enhance each herb’s capabilities. Which helps explain why using chamomile and cannabis oil may be a powerful intervention for treating cancer.

Clearly, the need for more research is imminent. We have only scratched the surface when it comes to our understanding of the therapeutic potential of cannabis. However, the positive impact for patients is clear. Cannabis does save lives. Share this article if you believe cancer patients should have access to safe cannabis medicine.

References

American Cancer Society. (2017). How does chemotherapy affect the risk of second cancers? Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/physical-side-effects/second-cancers-in-adults/chemotherapy.html

Centers for Disease Control (CDC). (2015). Leading cancer cases and deaths, male and female, 2015. Retrieved from https://gis.cdc.gov/cancer/USCS/DataViz.html

Orellana-Serradell et al. (2015). Proapoptotic effect of endocannabinoids in prostate cancer cells. Retrieved from https://www.spandidos-publications.com/10.3892/or.2015.3746

Riza et al. (2015). The effect of Greek herbal tea consumption on thyroid cancer: A case-control study. European Journal of Public Health. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/eurpub/article/25/6/1001/2467362

National Research Council (US) Committee on Comparative Toxicity of Naturally Occurring Carcinogens. (1996). Naturally occurring carcinogens and anticarcinogens in the diet.Washington, D. C.: National Academies Press.

Solinas, et al. (2013). Cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid compound, inhibits proliferation and invasion in U87-MG and T98G glioma cells through a multitarget effect. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0076918

Srivastava, J. K., Shankar, E., & Gupta, S. (2010). Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future. Molecular Medicine Reports, 3(6), 895–901. http://doi.org/10.3892/mmr.2010.377.

Srivastava, J. K. & Gupta, S.(2007). Antiproliferative and apoptotic effects of chamomile extract in various human cancer cells. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, (23):9470-8.

Steep Hill Lab. (n.d.). Myrcene. Retrieved from https://www.steephill.com/science/terpenes

Tilray. (2016). Myrcene, linalool, and bisabolol: What are the benefits of these cannabis terpenes?. Retrieved from https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/myrcene-linalool-and-bisabolol-what-are-the-benefits-of-these-can

United Patients Group. (2017).The endocannabinoid system: An inside look by UPG. Retrieved https://unitedpatientsgroup.com/blog/2016/02/09/the-endocannabinoid-system-UPG-cannabis-inside-the-body

United Patients Group. (n.d.). The entourage effect and whole plant extracts: So much more than THC and CBD. https://unitedpatientsgroup.com/the-entourage-effect-whole-plant-extracts-thc-and-cbd

World Health Organization. (2018). Fact sheet cancer. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cancer