There are several ways that cannabis relates to, interacts with, and aids both male and female breasts. From breast cancer to breast feeding, research is uncovering that cannabinoids are involved in healthy breasts.

What are cannabinoids? 

Cannabinoids are a compound that support our endocannabinoid systems (ECS). This system keeps all of our other systems in balance, helping us “relax, eat, sleep, forget, and protect” (McPartland et al). 

Our bodies naturally produce endocannabinoids of their own to support our ECS. If we become deficient, we can supplement with phytocannabinoids found in many different plants, including the cannabis plant. Learn more about your endocannabinoid system here. 

Newborn baby breastfeeding milk with endocannabinoids from its mother

Did you know?

There are naturally occurring endocannabinoids in breast milk. Anandamide and 2-AG are two endocannabinoids found in human breast milk that are crucial to human reproduction and development. 

  • Anandamide protects the egg and ensures it’s attachment to the uterus

  • 2-AG stimulates the suckling response

It's thought that other cannabinoids in breast milk protect neurons in post-natal brain development.

Research is showing that CBD may be a potent anti-cancer agent.

As our endocannabinoid anandamide circulates in the body, it’s interrupted by a molecule called FAAH that breaks it down. CBD blocks FAAH, slowing this breakdown so that it can continue circulating throughout and bringing balance to the body. CBD is known to lower inflammation, reduce anxiety, relieve pain, act as a neuroprotectant, and lower blood pressure. CBD is also able to interfere with cellular communication inside a tumor and cause it to self-destruct. (Blesching, 2015) Learn more about how CBD works here.  

There are over 6 different pre-clinical scientific studies researching the effects of cannabinoids on breast cancer. Dr. Christina Sanchez, a female researcher in Spain, was the first to discover the anti-tumor effects of cannabinoids. Scientists compared anti-tumor properties of 5 different cannabinoids and found that CBD was the most potent anti-breast cancer substance. (Blesching, 2015)

It appears that cannabinoids are involved in creating and differentiating breast cells, as well as helping them survive by blocking the cycle of harmful cells.

One report by The Cannabis Index states; “CBD represents the first exogenous agent that can significantly decrease progression of metastatic [meaning away from the primary site of cancer] breast cancer cells.”

The endocannabinoid system is intricately involved with the lymphatic system.

The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and glands that help to rid the body of toxins, wastes, and other unwanted materials. Its main job is to carry white blood cells throughout the body to support a healthy immune system and, most importantly, to detoxify the body.

A healthy lymphatic system is vital for breast health and vitality. Breasts, technically a part of both male and female bodies, consist of fat cells, lymph glands, and connective tissue. Fat cells absorb and hold onto harmful carcinogens and toxins like a sponge holds water, and build up of these harmful pollutants may lead to breast cancer and disease. The lymph glands in the breasts can also become compressed from wearing bras, ultimately diminishing healthy lymph function as well. 

Our body delivers powerful immune agents through the breasts and body via the lymphatic system to help with removal of these toxins in both our breasts and body. Our lymph system is the vessel for our immune function. 

Our ECS is made up of receptors embedded all over our bodies, including inside of our immune and lymphatic systems. Research has found that the ECS may support lymphatic tissues that limit spontaneous activation of immune cells. This means that the ECS can help keep our immune system from activating when it shouldn't. (HAPA)

What can I do to support my breasts? 

There are 9 main meridians, or “energetic highways,” that intersect in the chest, and all of the heavy metals, toxic molds and parasites, synthetic hormones, and sugar that we are often unknowingly exposed to each day can accumulate here and lead to an imbalance in our entire bodies.

Breast massage is a simple way to support lymphatic and ECS health. By massaging our breasts/chests, we stimulate the lymphatic system around them and encourage drainage of harmful toxins that may be stored in the area’s tissue. This is applicable to both male and female bodies! In addition, massage alone has been shown to support our bodies creation of its own endocannabinoids to help the body restore balance. Click here to learn more about massage and the endocannabinoid system

How to Give Yourself a Breast Massage

Click here to check out our four-step tutorial on how to give yourself a lymphatic breast massage. 

More to Learn

When we understand how cannabinoids play a key role in healthy breast function, it is exciting to envision the possibilities for cannabinoid based therapies and treatments in the future. 

Click here to download our free reference handout, full of all kinds of amazing information on breast health.

Did you learn something new? Please remember to share it with someone you care about!
References
  1. Blesching, Uwe PhD. “The Cannabis Health Index.” Combining the science of medical marijuana with mindfulness techniques to heal 100 chronic symptoms and disease, 2015.

    • “In 1998, a team of researchers in Naples, Italy, discovered that the endogenous cannabinoid blocks human breast cancer cell growth in vitro. Pre-clinical trials demonstrated that anandamide, the bodies own endocannabinoid, and numerous plant cannabinoids such as THC but especially CBD have the ability to limit breast cancer cell proliferation and produce apoptosis (death of cancer cells). Current research also suggest that therapeutic mechanisms begin at CB2 receptors. Indica strains or indica heavy hybrids tend to have higher CBD profiles. A CBD profile of more than 3-4% is considered potent. {PNAS 95(14):8375-80. By 2006 researchers compared the specific anti-tumor properties of 5 individual cannabinoids to an extract of whole cannabis. Of the 5 individual cannabinoids (cannabidiol, cannabigerol, cannabichromene, cannabidiol acid, THC acid, and cannabis extract), cannabidiol emerged as the most potent anti-breast cancer substance.  The authors wrote “Our experiments indicate that the cannabidiol effect is due to its capacity of inducing apoptosis via … elevation of intracellular Ca2+ and reactive oxygen species {JPET 318 (3):1375-87
  2. McPartland, J. M., Guy, G. W., & Di Marzo, V. (2014, March 12). Care and feeding of the endocannabinoid system: a systematic review of potential clinical interventions that upregulate the endocannabinoid system. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3951193/.

  3. HAPA, https://www.hapa-pharm.com/medical-cannabis/the-endocannabinoid-system/ecs-the-immune-system

This article was Contributed by Raea Campbell, Founder of Bosm Wellness then revised & edited by Kristen Williams and published on December 11, 2019. Copyright ©2019 Hempsley® and Bosm Wellness, All Rights Reserved

Kristen Williams