Intro - Fighting Dog Cancer with Chemotherapy and CBD
Cancer cells are way different than regular cells which you can find within the body because unlike regular cells, cancerous cells never die by their own. Regular cells in the body go through a process called apoptosis or ‘suicide cells’, as a result of this procedure, ‘damaged’ cells or cells that the body no longer needs are excreted and eliminated from the body.
Cancerous cells have the ability to grow, thrive and change forma into create tumors, then proceed to carry themselves over the body. Since cancerous cells do not die naturally, there is not much force stopping them from spreading cancer to the rest of the body, not only survive but actually thrive, in our body.
Cannabis and chemotherapy are the weapons we use to fight cancer in humans and in dogs. If you ever studied abut cancer, even only on human cancel, it is likely that you will remember that Marijuana is given to cancer patients to reduce nausea, calm anxiety and help treatment in general.
Cannabis is already used in medicine for thousands of years. Cannabinol, (AKA CBD), and THC have crucial health benefits. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive part of the Cannabis plant, has been found as super-efficient when treating cancer.
Chemotherapy is often integrated in almost any treatment for cancer and luckily, is often well-tolerated by our dogs in an effort to kill cancerous cells. Chemotherapy combined with CBD can benefit in reduce side effects as well as helping in targeting cancer cells.
Chemotherapy for our dogs
When treating a dog with Western medicine, there’s usually usage of Chemotherapy, surgeries and radiation. In many cases it’s combination of the three. The kind of treatment, as the phase of cancer, are factors that taken into consideration when treating the dog.
Chemotherapy which is used on our dog’s cancer can be especially crucial when we see what our friends and families have suffered during their Chemo treatments. You imagine your dog losing his fur and becomes way more fragile. Luckily, the Chemotherapy effects are not identical as in humans most of the time.
There are side effects with Chemotherapy to our dogs, but they are not as many as many of us imagine. Chemotherapy side effects usually show up 3-4 days after the Chemo treatment and may last until 2 days.
There are some dogs that after their Chemo have very light side effects such as fatigue and simply feel a bit groggy. Other dogs are more sensitive to Chemotherapy and might suffer different side effects, such as:
- Gastrointestinal upset / discomfort
- Small hair loss
- Reduced white blood cells count
- Irritation in the skin (rare)
- Neuropathic pain (pain in the nerves system)
Each dog is different, just like every person is different, and will respond differently to the Chemotherapy treatments. Depends how intense is the Chemo, nausea may appear as well. Nausea and puking are regular side effects when treating with Chemo. Nausea happen when a sensory center in the brain, associated with the digestive tract, becomes extremely stimulated. According to The Canadian Veterinary Journal, “if the symptoms are mild, patients can be treated at home. Nothing per os (NPO) for a day followed by a bland diet is usually enough and sufficient. Pets who were severely hurt may require hospitalization with IV fluids and anti-emetics.”
MDR1 mutation and Chemotherapy
There are some breeds of dogs that are more sensitive to Chemotherapy due to a genetic mutation called MDR1. Dogs with such genetic mutation, often show and have more symptoms of the Chemotherapy than other dogs. Some veterinary oncologists may refer your dog to genetic examinations to test if the dog has a mutation or simply just lower the dose if there is any suspect of mutation.
CBD and cancer
Researches have shown that CBD may cause the death of cells in cancerous cells and stop the growth of the tumor. For dogs who experience reduced appetite, CBD can help in this matter as well, as it increases the appetite of the dog and keeping the immunity system in better condition.
Another common syndrome is angiogenesis. Angiogenesis is the capability of the cancer to create its own network of blood vessels. CBD and THC can stop the development and spreading ability of the blood vessels which are in the tumors and block their source of food, essentially starving the cancer cells to death.
At the moment, there are no long term clinical research regarding CBD oil for dogs. However, there is a sufficient amount of research to make this field worthy for further research.
CBD and Chemotherapy
Reviewing the existing research there are clear findings that CBD has been found to manage the symptoms explained above. Stimulation of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) can help managing the inflammation and pain which are caused by cancer treatments. Also according to research published in the International Journal of Oncology,” “The sequence of administration of these drugs was important though; using cannabinoids after chemotherapy resulted in greater induction of apoptosis [cell suicide], whilst this was the opposite when the schedule of administration was reversed. Our results suggest that when certain cannabinoids are paired together, the resulting product can be combined synergistically with common anti-leukemia drugs allowing the dose of the cytotoxic agents to be dramatically reduced yet still remain efficacious.”
Another study, published by Current Oncology, found “in addition to the well-known palliative effects of cannabinoids on some cancer-associated symptoms, a large body of evidence shows that these molecules can decrease tumor growth in animal models of cancer.” This study found tumor cell proliferation decreased due to cannabinoids’ ability to communicate properly with the body. This study went on to state “given that cannabinoids show an acceptable safety profile, clinical trials testing them as single drugs or, ideally, in combination therapies in glioblastoma and other types of cancer are both warranted and urgently needed.”
Dogs who are treated by Chemo for cancer may experience side effects or not at all. Dogs which do not suffer from side effects can benefit from the therapeutic mechanisms of CBD. Targeting and fighting cancer in our dog should be a joint effort of a few approaches.
Combination of Chemotherapy with Cannabis can assist in reducing the spread of cancer and may assist in complete elimination of cancer. Whether if it is a small step in the right direction or big step in the right direction, CBD has proven its worth for the fight. Any step in the right direction is essential when treating cancer, when handling conditions like these.