CBD for Cancer

New to CBD and suffering from Cancer? We’ve put together this ultimate guide to CBD to help you understand how CBD could help reduce the symptoms of cancer as well as counteract the side effects of cancer medication. We also list the Best CBD Oils for Cancer at the end of this article.

CBD for Cancer – The Ultimate Guide

Cancer is one of over 200 diseases that starts when abnormal cells develop and divide uncontrollably and destroy body tissue. It can devastate organs and spread past the initial location and throughout the body. The 2018 National Statistics Cancer Registration report found cancer diagnoses increasing from 2017 throughout the UK. An average of 878 new cases occurred daily in 2018.

Of these 350,000 new cancer cases each year, the data shows almost an even split between men and women, and data shows that 1 in 2 people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.

While the survival rates have been steadily increasing for patients over the past few decades, with 50% of patients surviving cancer for 10 or more years, the treatments used for cancer are heavy and come with side effects that are as terrible as the cancer itself.

Chemotherapy and radiation damage healthy cells, lead to higher infection rates and can cause pain, hair loss, nausea and vomiting, and infertility. Radiation therapy can also increase the chances of secondary cancers.

Natural remedies can help patients deal with cancer pain and the side effects of specific treatments, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Research backs the use of CBD for cancer symptoms. CBD is one of 545 compounds in the hemp plant that offers an all-organic option to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and lessen anxiety. The herbal option also boosts mood and can improve sleep quality.

Choosing CBD, a popular product made from hemp extract (cannabis plant), is a natural and effective treatment for cancer patients and counteracts some of the side effects of cancer medication.

In this article we discuss the benefits of CBD oil for cancer based on research papers and peer-reviewed studies. We explain how CBD oil can help people with cancer, and provide links to purchase the best CBD oils for cancer we’ve tried and tested.

Take our CBD Quiz

If after reading this guide you are still unsure about what products to choose, simply take our CBD Quiz which has been designed specifically to identify the product and strength that is best suited to your personal needs.

CBD has been proven to help relieve some of the symptoms of cancer as well as reduce the side of effects of cancer medication such as nausea, vomiting and pain.

What is CBD?

Cannabis (or Marijuana) and hemp are the same plant and come from the Cannabaceae family. Both plants are filled with organic compounds known as “cannabinoids”. Hemp has over 112 different cannabinoids, all of which have their own health benefits.

The main two cannabinoids or compounds of the hemp plant are THC (also known as “Tetrahydrocannabinol”) and CBD (also known as “Cannabidiol”).

THC is the compound known to give cannabis smokers this feeling of “high” and is currently illegal in the UK.

CBD on the other hand, contains none of the psychoactive properties associated with THC (meaning it won’t get you “high”) and is completely legal in the UK. It is also non-addictive and has been suggested to have several medical benefits. Some of these benefits include reducing anxiety and depression, improving sleep and insomnia, reducing pain and inflammation, as well as helping with stress or neurological disorders.

These benefits are possible because CBD interacts with your “Endocannabinoid System” (ECS), which essentially monitors and regulate key functions of your body such as your heat level, your food intake, your hormone levels and so on. When your ECS detects that something is operating outside of what it considers to be its “normal range”, it activates to bring things back to its baseline. If you are exercising and become too hot, your ECS activates and makes you sweat to bring your temperature down. If you need more calories for your body to keep performing (for example running) but you aren’t feeding it, your ECS may start redirecting the energy available towards vital organs such as the heart and brain, leading to a drop in physical performance.

The term Endocannabinoid can be broken down into two parts:

  • Cannabinoid: which comes from Cannabis
  • Endo: which is short for “Endogenous” and means that it is naturally produced by your body.

So endocannabinoid simply means that your body naturally produces cannabinoids, and does so thanks to cannabinoid receptors present in the body, which fall under two categories:

CB1 Receptors

CB1 receptors, which are located in various regions of the body, with a large concentration in the brain and the nerves of the spinal cord, co-ordinate mood, emotion, appetite, and other functions.

CB2 Receptors

CB2 receptors are more commonly found in the immune system and are responsible for controlling inflammation and pain. CBD stimulates these receptors and induces the body to release serotonin.

Serotonin, or 5-HT, is a neurotransmitter that carries signals from one neuron to the other. CBD increases the level of serotonin, which, in return, helps reduce pain, reduce inflammation in the body and possibly reduces the cramping experienced during period pain.

Whilst there are very few differences between “Marijuana” and “Hemp”, the main difference is simply legal and linked to the level of THC that is present in the plant. So different parts of the cannabis plant are either defined as hemp or as cannabis / marijuana.

  • Hemp: hemp is the stalks, stems and sterilized seeds of cannabis sativa (“Cannabis Sativa” is the scientific Latin term that defines hemp, cannabis or marijuana plant species)
  • Cannabis and Marijuana: the leaves, flowers and viable seeds of cannabis sativa

The varieties of cannabis that are regulated, legal and available in the UK are those that produce less than 0.2 percent THC. And given the fact that most THC is in the flowers, CBD products are primarily made from hemp (stalks, stems and sterilized seeds of cannabis sativa) which contain very little THC and are safe to consume.

There has been a lot of interest in CBD from both the research and medical community over the last few years, due to its range of health applications – including but not limited to pain relief, fighting the side effects of cancer medications, alleviating insomnia, lowering stress levels, improving acne outbreaks, counteracting heat disease, or reducing seizures in patients with epilepsy

For all these reasons, CBD products are legal in the UK if they contain less than 0.2% THC and as long as they are advertised as a health supplement and not a medication.

Products containing CBD come in many different forms, with the most common including CBD oils, CBD gummies, CBD capsules, CBD vapes and CBD edibles. Some forms are more fast-acting than others, some have different flavours, some contain differing proportions of CBD extract, and so on, so the type you choose depends entirely upon your personal preferences and the condition you wish to treat.

Here’s what you need to know about using CBD for Cancer.

Cancer: What You Need to Know

There are approximately 365,000 new cancer cases in the UK every year and according to the NHS, 1 in 2 people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime. Over 166,000 people die in the UK from cancer yearly, meaning that about 50% of patients diagnosed with cancer survive cancer for 10 or more years. Nearly half of all cancer deaths in the UK are from lung, breast, bowel, and prostate.

From 2015 to 2017, about 1,900 children each year were diagnosed with cancer. Leukaemia is the most common cancer type in children. Sadly, 1 in 2 people in the UK born after 1960 will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.

Whilst cancer does not discriminate between men and women, the types of cancer will vary greatly based on your gender.

Women: Breast Cancer

As expected, breast cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer for women with 30% of all women-related cancers. In the UK, about 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. Most women diagnosed with breast cancer are usually over the age of 50, but younger women can also get breast cancer, so it is important for women to check their breasts regularly for any changes as detecting breast cancer early maximises the chances of recovery.

Other common types of cancer for women in the UK include lung cancer (13% of all cancers), bowel cancer (11%) and womb cancer (5%).

Men: Prostate Cancer

The leading cause of diagnoses for men, approximately 48,000 new cases yearly (26%) are linked to prostate cancer, which affects 1 in 8 men in the UK. The chances of developing prostate cancer increase with age, family history, and obesity.

Most men with early prostate cancer do not have any symptoms and some men are more likely to get prostate cancer than others. Known as prostate risk factors, these include:

  • Men over 50
  • Men with a family history of prostate cancer
  • Black men

Aside from prostate cancer, men are most affected by lung cancer (13%), bowel cancer (13%) and skin cancer (4%). Although it’s possible to develop cancerous cells in the lungs from a family link or toxin exposures, 85% of lung cancer cases involve tobacco use, meaning that certain types of cancer are preventable.

Risk Factors for Cancer

Whilst cancer can strike anyone at any time, a number of factors known as ‘risk factors’ can increase the risk of developing cancer. These include:

  • Smoking – According to Cancer Research UK, smoking is the biggest preventable cause of cancer in the UK. This is due to the harmful chemicals in cigarettes. Of the more than 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, over 250 are known to be harmful – these include carbon monoxide, ammonia and hydrogen cyanide. These 250 known harmful chemicals are linked to at least 69 types of cancer.
  • Genetic factors – researchers seem to agree on the fact that the genes children inherit from their biological parents could make them more vulnerable to developing cancer. Inherited genetic mutations play a major role in about 5% to 10% of all cancers. Researchers have associated mutations in specific genes with more than 50 hereditary cancer syndromes, which are disorders that may predispose individuals to developing certain cancers.
  • Poor Diet – What you eat can have a massive impact on your risk of developing cancer. For instance, one of the biggest risk factors for cancer is being overweight. Eating ‘processed food’ or ‘fast foods’ that are high in fat and sugar will make you gain weight, and there is a strong link between 12 different types of cancer and being overweight. Following a diet high in plant foods such as fruits, vegetables or wholegrains can help maintain a healthy weight and protect you against certain cancers linked to being overweight.
  • Lack of Exercise – According to the National Cancer Institute, there is strong evidence that higher levels of physical activity are linked to lower risk of several types of cancer, including bladder cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer.

Cancer Treatments & Side Effects

Cancer is a progressive, aggressive disease that can devastate a person and their family quickly. The symptoms of the condition and the terrible side effects of treatment often requires other remedies to help patients handle them.

Traditional Treatments

As mentioned, typical therapies for treating cancer can be successful, but they often come at a tremendous cost. Although medications and other remedies vary by the cancer type, common treatments include:


When used to treat cancer, surgery is a procedure in which a surgeon removes cancer from your body. Surgery works best for solid tumours that are localised or contained to a specific area. As surgery is a local treatment, it only focuses on one part of the body where the cancer or tumour is located and is therefore not used for leukemia (a type of blood cancer) or for cancers that have spread to multiple parts of the body.

Surgery may be open or minimally invasive:

  • In open surgery, the surgeon makes a large cut to remove the tumour, as well as some healthy tissue and in some cases some nearby lymph nodes.
  • In minimally invasive surgery, a few small cuts are made instead of a large one. These small cuts are used to insert a laparoscope, a small camera that projects from the inside of the body onto a monitor that the surgeon can watch in order to remove the tumour and some healthy tissues around the tumour.

After surgery, most people will experience pain in the part of the body that was operated on. The pain will often depend on how invasive the surgery was and how much of the tumour and healthy tissue have been removed. Your surgeon may prescribe pain relief medication after the surgery to keep the pain under control.


Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment where medicine, either taken orally or administered intravenously, is used to kill cancer cells.

Whilst there are different types of chemotherapy medicine, they all work in a similar way as their aim is to stop cancer cells reproducing and spreading in the body. Chemotherapy can be used at different stages and is often combined with surgery or radiotherapy. There are five main types of chemotherapy:

  • Curative Chemotherapy: This is when chemotherapy is used to try and cure the cancer completely
  • Chemoradiation: This is when chemotherapy is combined with radiotherapy to make the treatment more effective
  • Neo-Adjuvant Chemotherapy: Similar to chemoradiation, neo-adjuvant chemotherapy is used before surgery to increase the chances of the surgery being a success.
  • Adjuvant Chemotherapy: Even when surgery has been successful, chemotherapy is often used after radiotherapy or surgery, as it helps reduce the risk of the cancer coming back.
  • Palliative Chemotherapy: When there is no cure and surgery is not an option, some patients will undergo palliative chemotherapy in order to relieve the symptoms of their cancer.

The effectiveness of chemotherapy varies significantly, but advancements in medicine and technology have greatly improved the success rate of chemotherapy, especially when combined with other treatments such as surgery or radiotherapy.

The side effects of chemotherapy are well known and often quite brutal for cancer patients. Some of the most common side effects of chemotherapy include:

  • Tiredness and general fatigue
  • Feeling nauseous or sick
  • Losing your appetite
  • Hair loss
  • Easy bruising and bleeding
  • Sore mouth
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anaemia
  • Infections (due to compromised immune system)

Radiotherapy (Radiation)

As the name indicates, radiotherapy is a type of cancer treatment where radiation is used to kill cancer cells. Radiotherapy may be used in the early stages of cancer or after it has started to spread and it is often combined with surgery or chemotherapy. Radiotherapy is generally considered the most effective cancer treatment after surgery

As with chemotherapy, there are four main types of radiotherapy:

  • Curative Radiotherapy: This is when radiotherapy is used to try and cure the cancer completely
  • Neo-Adjuvant Radiotherapy: This is when radiotherapy is used before surgery to increase the chances of the surgery being a success.
  • Adjuvant Radiotherapy: Even when surgery has been successful, radiotherapy is often used after surgery, as it helps reduce the risk of the cancer coming back.
  • Palliative Radiotherapy: When there is no cure and surgery is not an option, some patients will undergo palliative radiotherapy in order to relieve the symptoms of their cancer.

Unfortunately, whilst radiotherapy kills cancer cells, it also damages some healthy cells in the area being treated and it has a number of unpleasant side effects for cancer patients. These most common ones include:

  • Low energy and feeling tired
  • Sore and red skin
  • Hair loss
  • Feeling nauseous or sick
  • Losing your appetite
  • Sore mouth
  • Diarrhoea


The term immunotherapy is used to describe a therapy that uses substances to stimulate the immune system to help the body fight cancer and infections. In other words, it uses substances made from living organisms to treat cancer.

Immunotherapy helps the immune system to better act against cancer by boosting the part of the immune system that detects and destroys abnormal cells – such as cancerous cells – to prevent the growth of these cells which are known as tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs).

There are many types of immunotherapy including immune checkpoint inhibitors, T-cell transfer therapy, monoclonal antibodies, treatment vaccines and immune system modulators, each working in a different way to boost the immune system and fight the growth of cancer cells.

However, whilst immunotherapy has been approved to treat different types of cancer, its use in cancer treatment is limited as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy remain the most common forms of treatment.

Whilst this may sound counter-intuitive as the aim of immunotherapy is to boost the immune system, there are known side effects as the immune system has essentially been revved-up to fight the cancer, but it can also fight healthy cells and tissues in your body.

Some of the most known side effects of immunotherapy include:

  • Fever
  • Feeling cold or having chills
  • Feeling weak and tired
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle or joint aches
  • Headache
  • Weight gain (fluid retention)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Inflammation

So how can CBD help relieve cancer symptoms and help fight some of the side effects of cancer therapies?

CBD for Cancer

Although people have been using herbal remedies for sleep, anxiety, or pain for centuries, it wasn’t until the last few years that hemp’s legal status changed to allow more users and additional studies.

Cannabidiol, the scientific name for CBD, on the other hand is a naturally occurring compound coming from the hemp plant. There is extensive research on the effectiveness of CBD oil when used to treat cancer, depression, anxiety, stress, insomnia or seizures

The main properties of CBD relating to cancer are:

  • Analgesic: to reduce pain and inflammation linked to cancer and side effects of cancer medication
  • Antiemetic: to prevent nausea and vomiting, one of the side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy
  • Relaxing: to reduce stress and anxiety in cancer patients
  • Improved Sleep: to help fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night

CBD Can Relieve Pain

Cancer is painful and treatments to stop the spread of cancerous cells can be excruciating.

Traditional remedies for side effects include opioids, muscle relaxers, and over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, whilst these usually work well to reduce pain and inflammation, they also have adverse reactions that can be difficult to handle.

Opioids, in particular, are dangerous. The body can quickly become dependent on them, requiring higher doses to achieve the same pain relief. In return, patients are at risk of addiction and in some cases accidental overdoses.

CBD can help cancer patients manage their pain and the great news is that the hemp compound isn’t habit-forming, meaning that you can’t overdose from the plant-based supplement and you won’t get addicted either as it is 100% natural.

CBD has strong analgesic properties, meaning that it helps relieve pain. But how?

The human body contains a specialized system called the ECS (the endocannabinoid system), which aims to regulate a variety of functions such as sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response. The body also produces endocannabinoids, which are simply neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors in your nervous system.

CBD is believed to interact with specific receptors, specifically the CB1R and CB2R.

  • CB1 receptors, which are located in various regions of the body, with a large concentration in the central nervous system and brain, co-ordinate mood, emotion, appetite, and other functions.
  • CB2 receptors are more commonly found in the immune system and are responsible for controlling inflammation and pain. CBD stimulates these receptors and induces the body to release serotonin.

Additionally, CBD increases the level of serotonin, or 5-HT, a neurotransmitter that carries signals from one neuron to the other. By doing so, it helps reduce pain and inflammation in the body.

According to Researchgate, a study published in November 2019 shows improvement of physical discomforts such as headaches and various signs of physical pain. According to Teitelbaum J, there have been multiple studies showing patients found relief of menstrual pain, back pain, spinal pain, joint pain (e.g. arthritis) or fibromyalgia pain.

Furthermore, a 2018 review of the relevant research also reports that cannabis seems promising as a method of relieving pain, including pain from headache.

CBD Combats Nausea & Vomiting

One of the main side effects of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy is nausea and vomiting. This feeling can last from a few hours after the treatments to a few days and can be quite difficult for cancer patients to manage, especially as they often feel incredibly fatigued immediately after a session.

The good news is that CBD may be able to help as it has been proven to have antiemetic properties, meaning it helps prevent nausea and vomiting.

This discovery has been particularly useful for cancer patients. A study showed that cancer patients who suffered from the various side effects of chemotherapy – including nausea and vomiting – experienced little relief from traditional anti-emetic treatments.

However, patients suffering from chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) were administered a one-to-one combination of CBD and THC via mouth spray. The results showed that chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting symptoms were reduced in comparison to standard treatment alone.

CBD Has Calming Properties

Cancer is incredibly stressful and going through surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy can often lead cancer patients to feel stressed or anxious.

When it comes to stress and anxiety-related disorders, it is important to understand the crucial role brain chemistry plays, especially in relation to the hippocampus and the amygdala.

  • Hippocampus: The hippocampus is a complex part of the brain that plays a major role in cognitive and emotional functions. There is increasing evidence showing that adult hippocampal neurogenesis – the process by which the hippocampus regenerates thanks to neural stem cells producing new neurons – helps reduce stress and anxiety by boosting the endocrine response. Put it simply, people with attenuated (reduced) hippocampal neurogenesis are more likely to develop anxiety-related behaviours.
  • Amygdala: The amygdala is a collection of cells near the base of the brain (there is one in each side of the brain) that is part of the brain’s limbic system. It is the area of the brain where emotions are given meaning and remembered. Research has shown that people who suffer from depression will experience a hyper-active amygdala.

CBD helps to ease the symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression by regulating the functions of the hippocampus and the amygdala, and therefore their effects on how our brain processes potentially anxiety ridden information or situations.

CBD also interacts with specific receptors, specifically the CB1R and CB2R.

CB1 receptors co-ordinate mood, emotion, appetite, and other functions. While CB2 receptors are responsible for controlling inflammation and pain. CBD stimulates these receptors and induces the body to release serotonin.

Serotonin, or 5-HT, is a neurotransmitter that carries signals from one neuron to the other. CBD increases the level of serotonin, which, in return, helps relieve stress and other medical conditions.

Whilst more research needs to be carried out to determine the impact of CBD on stress and anxiety disorders, a number of studies have already been carried out on the matter.

According to a double-bind 2010 study, subjects were either given 400mg of CBD or a placebo. The results suggest that CBD reduces anxiety in SAD (social anxiety disorder) and that this is related to its effects on activity in limbic and paralimbic brain areas. Similar results were observed in another study conducted almost a year later.

2014 study shows that CBD acts similarly to ant-depressants and helps relieve stress in general. Another study in 2018 saw CBD help with pain, anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders. According to the same study, the researchers claim to have just scratched the surface. The true potential of CBD oil is still unknown.

CBD Can Improve Sleep

Cancer patients often suffer from disrupted sleep – which may or may not be linked to their anxiety. The good news is that there is extensive research on the effectiveness of CBD oil when used to treat insomnia and improve sleep.

CBD works with the human body to increase calm, decrease stress, and lower anxiety levels. These responses indirectly improve your sleep. In the 1990s, researchers confirmed the body has an endocannabinoid system or ECS. Researchers have only found a link between the cannabinoids found in hemp with the ECS, making it an unusual reaction.

The ECS is a complex cell-signalling system consisting of endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and enzymes. Scientists believe it plays many roles, including maintaining balance in the body. When it comes to sleep, the ECS helps regulate sleep and sleep cycles. Also, relating to sleep, a potential function is boosting anandamide to reduce depression and anxiety.

The cannabinoid receptors interact with endocannabinoids and cannabinoids. The CB1 is located in the nervous system and brain. Additionally, the CB2 is found mostly in the immune system and most organs.

A recent surge in scientific publications has found preclinical and clinical evidence documenting value for CBD in some neuropsychiatric disorders, including epilepsy, anxiety, and schizophrenia. Evidence points toward a calming effect for CBD in the central nervous system.

In 2019, a large case series was published in the Permanente Journal about CBD’s calming effects on the central nervous system. The studies showed patients taking CBD saw lower anxiety levels, experienced less stress, and slept better at night. Additionally, most participants experienced no or few side effects.

CBD: The ‘Entourage Effect’

Now that you know how CBD can help you improve the quality of life of autistic patients, it is important to understand the concept of ‘entourage effect’.

The entourage effect is the theory that while each botanical compound has a unique role or benefit, its behaviour may change when the presence of another compound is present.

For example, it would be more effective and quicker to produce a play with a team of actors rather than one actor playing all the parts. When each actor has a specific role to focus on, they can learn their lines and direction and support their fellow actors. But one actor alone will take a lot longer to learn all the lines for the various parts they have to play.

This is similar to the entourage effect. Essentially, everyone knows their role, but their performance can be enhanced by comradery.

But how is this applied to CBD?

CBD Entourage

We know that CBD products stimulate the endocannabinoid system and make it work more efficiently. But different CBD products affect the ECS differently, depending on their formulation. As previously, discussed there are 3 types of CBD formulation:

  • Full-spectrum: No additional extraction, contains all the natural ingredients of the hemp plant, including CBD, THC, terpenes and flavonoids.
  • Broad-spectrum: All traces of THC are removed from the oil. Every other ingredient remains.
  • CBD Isolate: The oil only contains CBD, everything else is removed.

One of the above formulations has been proven to give better results in reducing pain, inflammation and many other symptoms. Which one of these formulations do you think stimulates the ECS best?

Would it be the most natural substance (full-spectrum), the one with any psychoactive ingredients (broad-spectrum) or the purest form of CBD (isolate)?

According to the entourage effect, it is the full-spectrum CBD because it keeps all the natural components of the hemp plant, which include:

Cannabinoids and Terpenes

The theory of the entourage effect was first introduced by Dr Ethan B. Russo. He thinks that cannabinoids such as CBD and THC work with terpenes (aromatic component) to produce a “synergy.”

In his study “Taming THC: Potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects” (2010) Dr Ethan B Russo suggests:

  • The terpene pinene, which gives the scent of pine, may help counteract compromised memory caused by THC.
  • CBD and terpene limonene, which gives a citrus scent, might work together to alleviate anxiety.
  • A combination of CBD and terpene caryophyllene, offering a pepper smell, may be beneficial in the treatment of addiction.

The possibility of “synergy” of endless but have not yet been categorically proven. For more information read his other study “The Case for the Entourage Effect and Conventional Breeding of Clinical Cannabis: No “Strain, No Gain” published in 2019.

Omega-3, Antioxidants and Nutrients

In addition to CBD, THC and terpenes, full-spectrum CBD oil also contains Omega-3, which is vital to the ECS. Omega-3 is used to maintain the receptor CB1, which regulate pain and memory.

It also aids the absorption of external cannabinoids, as well as making endocannabinoids internally.

Other nutrients and antioxidants have also been discovered in full-spectrum CBD oil, for example, Vitamin E. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble compound that can prevent cataract formation, postpone the appearance of wrinkles and grey hair, boosts the immune system and reduces inflammation.

As you can see CBD oil when first extracted from the hemp plant has a huge list of ingredients. All of them seem to play a part in helping our bodies. We may not know exactly what they all do. But as time passes and research continues, we can learn more.

Is CBD Legal in the UK?

CBD oil, like any other natural remedy, has been used throughout the ages for its medicinal properties. It was evidenced to have been used in ancient societies with the first recorded case in 2727 B.C in China. It was used to treat anything from poor memory and malaria to gout. It has since been used throughout the world to treat various ailments from anxiety to insomnia and menstrual pains.

Throughout the 1940s, there was extensive research into isolating the CBD compound from the other 100+ compounds found within the marijuana plant, due to its lack of psychoactive effects.

It wasn’t until the 1970’s when the US legally recognised the medicinal worth of CBD oil, and it was decriminalised in Oregon. There was a large emphasis on the clear distinction between the CBD compound and the THC compound within the marijuana plant.

The UK followed suit in 2016, making it legal to buy CBD oil to help treat a multitude of health issues, including but not limited to:

  • Depression and anxiety disorders (PTSD, OCD, panic disorder or substance/addiction disorders)
  • Chronic pain and inflammation
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart issues
  • Helps to reduce blood pressure and oxidative stress
  • Diabetes
  • Fight bacteria
  • Insomnia and sleep related issues
  • Helps with symptoms of schizophrenia,
  • Skin conditions (psoriasis/eczema)
  • Alzheimer’s disease

In a study conducted by the Centre for Medical Cannabis, their results showed that one in six adults in the UK had tried CBD oil, proving that it is one of the fastest-growing, contemporary, well-being products on the market.

Figures also show that the rates of people using CBD oil were higher amongst the under 55 age range. Also, figures were higher amongst females, with 62% of them using CBD to treat anxiety related issues.

How to Take CBD for Cancer?

There are a few ways to take CBD for cancer. Choosing a method is often a personal preference. The most common are tinctures, gummies and capsules.

CBD Tinctures

CBD oil is the most common way of getting your daily dose of CBD to help you manage the symptoms of autism or reduce the side effects of autism medication.

However, whilst this is the most popular way to consume CBD, CBD oil often has a more earthy, nutty, woody or grass-like taste which is down to the fact the product is natural, safe, and non-toxic.

You can use CBD oil in different manners.

You can either place a few drops under the tongue and hold it there for 30 to 60 seconds. This way of consuming CBD – called sub-lingual. This is one of the best ways to get it absorbed into the bloodstream as this method allows CBD to completely bypass the digestive system and liver metabolism, so the compounds can avoid being broken down by enzymes and reach the bloodstream more quickly. This offers the quickest relief with an onset of 20 minutes or less.

For those who feel the earthy or grassy taste of CBD is too strong, another option is to mix it with a food or a drink to mask the taste. However, be aware that when you digest CBD, it will not provide immediate relief and you may need to wait 30 to 60 minutes for it to start working.

CBD Capsules

If the earthy and grassy taste of CBD oil or its sharp and bitter aftertaste is not for you, you may want to choose CBD capsules to experience all the benefits of CBD without any of the nasty taste or additives that gummies may contain (such as sugar).

CBD capsules are filled with a precise dose of CBD (usually between 10mg and 50mg of CBD per capsule). You can take one or two capsules, once or twice daily with a full glass of water. The CBD usually comes from full-spectrum (<0.01% THC) ground hemp and is rich in cannabinoids and terpenes. However, seeing as CBD capsules go through the digestive system, they take about an hour or so to work.

Choosing capsules is a great way to get your CBD intake and it’s incredibly travel friendly, the ideal solution for those who are always on the go.

CBD Gummies

For consumers who aren’t comfortable using the sublingual drops or those who struggle to swallow capsules, the CBD-infused chewy candies are a yummy way to consume the hemp extract.

Using CBD gummies is also an easy and accurate way of measuring that you are getting the right amount of CBD as each gummy will provide you with an exact dose of CBD (from 10mg to 50mg).

Unlike CBD oil which acts within 20-30 minutes as it gets absorbed into the blood stream, the onset for CBD gummies is about an hour as edibles need to go through the digestive system.

Finally, remember that gummies tend to contain additional ingredients – including sugar and additives. So whilst gummies are a convenient way to get your daily intake of CBD to treat your pain, eating 3-5 gummies each day could have a negative impact on your overall sugar intake! This isn’t always ideal and for that reason, we would always recommend going for CBD oil or CBD capsules whenever possible.

How Much CBD Should You Consume?

CBD doesn’t have one-size-fits-all dosing and calculating a proper dosage of CBD can be tough as our bodies react to it differently.

CBD Dosage Table

We would first recommend using the above CBD dosage table to determine how much CBD you should consume on a daily basis.

The four major factors affecting your CBD dosage are:

  • Your weight
  • The condition being treated (i.e. depression, chronic pain etc)
  • The severity of your condition
  • The concentration of CBD oil

Most brands recommend customers start with the lowest dose and increase until they find the right serving size that fits their needs. The most common starting amount is between 10mg and 25mg. For anxiety and depression, the dose can vary from 20mg to 50mg or more.

As a rule of thumb, a person weighting between 10.5 and 17 stones (approximately 150 and 240 lbs) may need between 20mg and 40mg of CBD per day depending on the severity of their symptoms.

When using CBD for the first time, we would always recommend starting with one or two drops of the 3% or 6% CBD oil placed under the tongue (sublingual) and holding it there for at least 30 seconds so it can absorb into the bloodstream.

Taking it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach to see how your body reacts to it is also recommended. If you are not seeing any major benefits with a single drop, increase your intake by a single drop every 2 or 3 days until finding the right balance to treat your personal symptoms.

Finally, as CBD remains a novel food, it is worth noting that the Food Standards Agency (FSA) recommends that healthy adults do not take more than 70mg a day, unless advised by a medical professional.

How Many CBD Oil Drops?

Whilst it may be confusing at the beginning, it’s incredibly simple to work out how many drops of CBD oil you need to take depending on your daily requirements and the strength of the product you bought.

Most bottles of CBD oil contain 10ml of product and come in strengths ranging from 300mg to 2,400mg – also known as 3% and 24% CBD oils. This simply means that in a 1ml drop of the 300mg bottle, you will have 30mg of CBD, whilst the same 1ml of the 2,400mg bottle will give you 8 times that amount for a total of 240mg of CBD.

So assuming you need to hit 25mg of CBD per day with, you will need:

CBD / Bottle* CBD / Drop # Drops
500mg 1.25mg 20 drops
1000mg 2.5mg 10 drops
1800mg 4.5mg 5.5 drops
2400mg 6.0mg 4 drops

*Based on 10ml bottles

Assuming you are using the 500mg CBD oil for a daily dose of 25mg, you will need to take approximately 20 drops per day (25mg divided by 1.25mg per drop). You could break this down throughout the day by taking:

  • 8 drops first thing in the morning on an empty stomach
  • 6 drops early afternoon
  • 6 drops at night before going to bed

If however you bought the 2400mg CBD oil for a daily dose of 25mg, you would only need to take 4 drops per day (25mg divided by 6mg per drop), which you could also spread across the day – 2 in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening.

As with everything, start with a small amount of CBD oil daily to make sure there’s no reaction, then increase slowly by a drop every 1-2 days until finding the right balance.

What to Expect When Taking CBD?

First-time users may experience relief immediately, as CBD is brand new to your ECS. However, this does depend on the ailment you are trying to improve. For example, one dose of CBD could relieve pain, reduce anxiety and reduce nausea but it wouldn’t stop seizures, cure your depression or diabetes.

If it took you a long time to get the symptom then the same will be said for reducing, preventing or eliminating it.

Immediate Relief (After 24 hours a noticeable difference is seen):

Pain, Inflammation, Migraines, Nausea, Anxiety, Arthritis, Epilepsy, Glaucoma, Stress, Insomnia, Multiple Sclerosis, PTSD, Rheumatism and Motion Sickness.

Short Term Relief (Noticeable between 2-14 days):

Acne, Inflammation, ADD/ADHD, Anxiety, Arthritis, Epilepsy, Depression, Stress, Insomnia, Multiple Sclerosis, PTSD, Rheumatism, Endocrine Disorders, Obesity, OCD, Spinal Cord Injury and Rheumatism.

Long Term Relief (Noticeable between 2+ weeks):

ALS, Addiction, Alzheimer’s Disease, Asthma, Atherosclerosis, Autism, Bipolar Disorder, Cancer, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Depression, Diabetes, Endocrine Disorders, Fatty Liver Disease, Fibromyalgia, Heart Disease, Huntington´s Disease, Kidney Disease, Metabolic Syndrome, Mood Disorders, Neurodegeneration, Obesity, Parkinson´s Disease, Prion Disease, Schizophrenia and Traumatic Brain Injury.

As you can see from the above, symptoms which occur quickly can be improved in the same short time frame. Progressive illnesses and their more severe side effects require longer exposure to CBD before a real difference can be seen.

This is just a general guide, and it’s important to note that every single person will react differently to CBD as no one person has the same biology and lifestyle.

What are the Side Effects of CBD?

Most people do not experience any side effects when taking CBD as this is a natural product. However, as with everything, some people may experience mild side-effects from the hemp extract, including:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Drowsiness (a good thing to fall asleep!)

The best way to decrease adverse reactions is to simply lower your daily intake of CBD, or if taking CBD oil under the tongue, to mix it with your food and drink as it will be processed by the digestive system – which means slower absorption. The downside of mixing it with your food is a decreased bioavailability so CBD may not work as well for you.

How To Choose Quality CBD?

As with anything you ingest, the source and quality of your CBD products are important. We would always recommend looking at five main aspects before choosing your CBD product.

CBD Oil from Organic Hemp

Hemp can be grown in just the same way as any other plant – mass-produced and using pesticides and GMOs for the greatest profit, or grown organically with care and attention to provide a fantastic end product.

The best CBD is produced from organic hemp that has benefited from plenty of rain during the growing process. While hemp can physically be grown in many countries, it grows best when the temperature is in the low twenties Celsius. Therefore, the location of the hemp farm is important to ensure the optimum environmental factors are accommodated.

And seeing as cannabis plants can be stressed out by the weather, resulting in a higher THC content (above 0.2%), it’s important to ensure that your CBD oil comes from organic hemp which has been grown in the right part of the world.

Less Than 0.2% THC

Cannabis flowers and extracts usually contain two cannabinoids known as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). Yet the exact percentage of each can vary greatly, depending on the plant variety and the growing technique used.

THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis that produces the high sensation, while CBD has been associated with health benefits.

The EU common agricultural policy states that cannabis plant can be grown for industrial uses, provided their THC content does not exceed 0.2 %. That’s in the plant, not in the CBD product you buy.

So when buying CBD oil from a shop or online retailer, be sure to check that their products contain less than 0.2% THC.

Clean Extraction Method

Once the hemp is grown and harvested, the CBD needs to be extracted from the plant. There are several methods for doing this, including the use of carbon dioxide (CO2). This produces the cleanest and purest CBD extract but can be expensive to do as the machinery required is not cheap.

Alternative methods include using solvents such as ethanol or plant oils (eg olive oil) to extract the CBD.

This can lead to less-pure CBD extract, as small amounts of solvent or oil can remain, although most companies using this type of extraction method will usually test their CBD extracts to ensure they are solvent free and safe to consume.

Tested by Independent Labs

Another thing we would recommend checking is whether or not your CBD oil has contaminants. That’s because cannabis plants readily absorb heavy metals, pesticides, and other potentially harmful chemicals that may be in the soil or water.

To ensure your CBD oil is free of those harmful chemicals, it should be tested frequently while the hemp is growing, and finished products should also be tested, using validated methods.

The extract should be tested and certified by a third-party laboratory to confirm the quality of the CBD. Organic CBD should be GMO-free, pesticide-free, and as pure as possible. In the UK and EU, CBD must register THC content of 0.2% or lower.

Most reputable companies selling CBD oil in the UK publish their lab results on their website. Below are a few examples of companies that play the transparency card with their customer and share their lab results for each batch of CBD they produce:

Strength to Match your Needs

Finally, the CBD level within any product should be of a suitable strength to match your needs. Every person is different and their body will respond in a slightly different way, so the level may partially be down to personal preference.

However, higher concentrations might be more suitable for treating different ailments to lower concentrations, and it is wise to check the level of CBD in every product you use.

As a rule of thumb, people looking to use CBD for sleep, anxiety, digestion, relaxation or stress might take between 10mg and 25mg of CBD daily and use the lowest strength (300mg to 600mg), whilst those using CBD as a pain relief for conditions such as severe arthritis, back pain or migraines may want to take 30mg to 50mg of CBD per day and use higher concentration products (1200mg to 2400mg).

So remember that CBD oil comes in different concentration and that this will impact how many drops you need to take – for example Blessed 500mg CBD oil (5%) contains 1.25mg of CBD per drop, whilst their 1800mg CBD oil (18%) contains 4.5mg of CBD per drop.

Best CBD Oils for Cancer

With over 150 CBD brands on the market, it can be difficult to choose the right CBD product. This is why the CBD Unboxed team has tried and tested most CBD products and brands available in the UK market and assessed them across 6 key areas:

  • Efficacy
  • Taste
  • Value for Money
  • Product Range
  • Customer Reviews
  • Shipping & Delivery
  • Lab Certification

Based on our findings, below is the list of the best CBD oils for Cancer we would recommend starting with.

Take the CBD Quiz

If after reading this guide you are still unsure about what products to choose, simply take our CBD Quiz which has been designed specifically to identify the product and strength that is best suited to your personal needs.


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To see what CBD product is best for you.