Researchers have discovered that cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive component of cannabis can extend a pancreatic cancer patient’s life by many years.
CBD is generally used in clinical trials only for the treatment of psychosis, however, it has been shown to be beneficial in various other condition and has been used therapeutically by many physicians around the world.
In this particular study, however, scientists have discovered that CBD can bolster the effects of the oncogenic drugs used to treat pancreatic cancer, which can be very aggressive if untreated with poor prognosis.
Pancreatic cancer is a malignant tumor within the pancreas that can destroy nearby tissue as well as spread to other parts of the body. The pancreas is an organ that is mainly responsible for digestive and endocrine functions that help regulate hormones.
The study was conducted in mice, but researchers say that human studies may not be far off, with human trials setting a precedent for this kind of research.
Researchers studied gene GPR55, which is a cancer-causing gene, found in pancreatic cancer patients that can detect and respond to cannabinoids like CBD and even tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the more psychoactive component of the plant.
Ten of the mice in the study were given CBD, where as eight were given gemcitabine, a drug used for chemotherapy, and nine of the mice were given placebos.
What the researchers discovered was that the mice in the placebo group only lived for about nineteen days, whereas the mice who were given CBD lived up to twenty-five days, and the ones given gemcitabine lived up to twenty-nine days. When CBD and gemcitabine were combined as one therapy, researchers discovered that patients tend to live up to fifty-three days longer after starting treatment.
They explained that this may be due to the fact that the CBD blocks the receptors produced by the GPR55 gene, preventing them from interacting with other substances that promote the growth and multiplication of the cancer cells.
However, even with these promising results, scientists recommend caution and reiterate that more research needs to be done before concrete conclusions can be made. They advise patients to consult with their primary care physicians before embarking on a treatment path.
But many patients do see this as hope, especially considering the fact that other studies have shown that cannabis, and THC in particular, has been helpful in treating patients suffering from glioblastoma (GBM), a type of aggressive brain cancer and other forms of cancer.
With more research, hopefully the therapeutic benefits of THC and CBD can come to the forefront without the stigma attached to them.