Oral cannabidiol for prevention of acute and transient chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy

Support Care Cancer. 2022 Aug 6. doi: 10.1007/s00520-022-07312-y. Online ahead of print.


Purpose: To assess the safety, dosing, and preventive effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) in patients receiving oxaliplatin- or paclitaxel-based chemotherapy.

Methods: Patients with cancer scheduled to undergo treatment with carboplatin and paclitaxel (Carbo-Tax) or capecitabine and oxaliplatin (CAPOX) received 150 mg CBD oil twice daily (300 mg/daily) for 8 days beginning 1 day before initiation of chemotherapy. Ten CIPN-specific patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures were captured at baseline and each day after the first cycle of chemotherapy for 8 days. Multi-frequency vibrometry (MF-V) was captured at baseline and day 4 ± 1 after initiation of chemotherapy. Controls were obtained from a similar patient cohort that did not receive CBD. Adverse events were captured using the CTCAE ver. 4.03.

Results: From March to December 2021, 54 patients were recruited. CBD-treated patients were significantly older (p = 0.013/0.037, CAPOX/Carbo-Tax) compared to controls. Patients receiving CBD and CAPOX or Carbo-Tax showed significantly lower (better) change in Z-scores in high-frequency MF-V (125 and 250 Hz) compared to controls. This difference was most pronounced for patients receiving Carbo-Tax (- 1.76, CI-95 = [- 2.52; - 1.02] at 250 Hz). CAPOX patients treated with CBD had significantly lower peak baseline-adjusted difference in three PRO items on cold sensitivity to touch, discomfort swallowing cold liquids, and throat discomfort (- 2.08, - 2.06, and - 1.81, CI-95 = [- 3.89; - 0.12], NRS 0-10). No significant differences in PRO items were found for patients receiving Carbo-Tax. Possible side effects included stomach pain (grades 1-2) for patients receiving CAPOX.

Conclusion: CBD attenuated early symptoms of CIPN with no major safety concerns. Long-term follow-up is ongoing. Results should be confirmed in a larger, randomized study.

Trial registration number: NCT 04,167,319 (U.S National Library of Medicine; ClinicalTrials.gov). Date of registration: November 18, 2019.

Keywords: Cannabinoid; Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy; Oxaliplatin-induced peripheral neuropathy; Paclitaxel-induced peripheral neuropathy; Peripheral neuropathy.