Medical Marijuana, CBD, and Ovarian Cancer

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  • Updated 508 days ago
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According to the American Cancer Society, it is estimated that 22,530 women will receive a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer in 2019.

A woman has two ovaries that produce eggs and female hormones, estrogen and progesterone.

In the majority of the cases, ovarian cancer goes undetected until it spreads within the abdomen and pelvis. At this progressive stage, ovarian cancer may be more challenging to treat. Early-stage, when the condition is limited to the ovary, is easier to manage.

Some common symptoms of ovarian cancer include weight loss, abdominal bloating, a frequent urge to urinate, and discomfort in the pelvis.

According to the American Cancer Society, it is estimated that 22,530 women will receive a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer in 2019. If you or someone you love is part of this dire statistic, you’ve probably been researching this illness; learning who the best doctors are in your area and which specific treatments might work best for you. Depending on what stage your ovarian cancer is in, turning to symptom management, surgery, targeted therapy, or chemotherapy are subjects that are likely all top of mind. There are many medical options available to help those suffering with ovarian cancer, and if you’re reading this, you may also be curious whether medical marijuana or CBD may be right for you.

Both medical marijuana and CBD have been shown to help significantly with symptoms of ovarian cancer. Here are some helpful bits of information as well as possible questions to discuss with your doctor.


For centuries, marijuana has been used to help those suffering with cancer precisely for how it intuitively interacts with the human body. According to Vincent Maida, MD, in an interview with Everyday Health, "Cannabinoids and other [cannabis] extracts have been used for thousands of years. The highest form of evidence is something that's stood the test of time." So, it’s no surprise that today, medical marijuana is prescribed to sufferers of cancer, including ovarian cancer.

Medical marijuana can be used to alleviate many cancer symptoms, like as an antiemetic for patients receiving chemotherapy. It can also prove beneficial in treating cancer-related pain and has been shown to combat insomnia and depression too. Similarly, it has been shown to be especially useful in stimulating the appetite of many cancer sufferers who see a change in their appetite or lose their will to eat entirely. These benefits are a big reason why medical marijuana has quickly become legalized in many states in recent years, and why the FDA has approved synthetic cannabinoids dronabinol and nabilone for treating nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.


Cannabidiol, called CBD for short, is an oil extracted from the cannabis plant that offers many of the benefits of cannabis without the psychoactive effects. CBD oil has almost no THC (the main active ingredient in cannabis) so it causes no “high” when ingested. However, CBD use has many similar benefits. In a 2018 review of studies from 1975 to March 2018 – CBD use was shown to be effective in treating cancer pain, neuropathic pain, and fibromyalgia. CBD is so powerful that in Canada, the drug Sativex, a combination of delta-9-THC and cannabidiol, is an approved treatment for long-term or severe pain in cancer patients.

Speak with your doctor to decide whether medical marijuana or CBD may work for you and discuss methods and dosage as well.


The symptoms of cancer and the unpleasant side effects of chemotherapy can both be aided by medical marijuana and CBD. A study released by Anticancer Research in October 2018 stated that 92 percent of cancer patients taking pharmaceutical-grade cannabidiol saw a reduction in circulating tumor cells, with other cases showing a reduction in tumor size. In another study of mice and rats, cannabinoids were shown to have a protective effect against tumors in the developmental stages. Another study from 2019 also demonstrated that cannabinoids can help slow tumor growth.

While additional research is ongoing (especially in clinical trials that extend over long periods of time) studies continue to demonstrate that using medical marijuana or CBD for treating cancer holds real promise.

Using medical marijuana and CBD correctly

If you’ve decided to use medical marijuana or CBD, you’ll want to ensure you’re taking it correctly. Again, speak with your doctor about what different options are available. The truth is, you may need to tinker with different doses at the beginning. According to Lindsay Slowiczek, in an interview with Healthline, “It's important to start with a low dose until you know how your body will react to CBD. A wide range of CBD doses have been tested in clinical studies, but more evidence is needed before safe and effective dose recommendations can be made for specific uses. For now, use the product's recommended dose unless your doctor gives you the go-ahead to take larger doses.”

Many people fighting cancer can attest to the positive role CBD and MMJ have played in their struggle not only with nausea but with other side effects from chemo like pain and insomnia. Cancer sufferers are becoming more open minded about alternative treatments especially all-natural ones. The bottom line is a positive outlook, a little research and the will to fight can take you a long way in finding some relief and maybe even a little hope towards achieving full recovery someday.

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