Pancreatic cancer has been labeled as the fourth deadliest cancer diagnosis because of its ability to spread silently before it’s detected. The disease claims around 37,000 American lives each year and according to experts over 90 percent of those diagnosed, die from it.
However, a study suggests that cannabinoids could potentially help treat pancreatic cancer, despite its aggressiveness.
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Researchers from the Complutense University in Spain sought out to learn if cannabis’ innate ability to prevent tumor growth could also be applied to pancreatic cancer’s prognosis. The results proved in favor of their curiosity.
Pancreas cancer cells already express a growing number of cannabinoids receptors. After researchers administered cannabinoids to these cells (in a culture test), apoptosis was induced. Apoptosis, also referred to as programmed cell death, is the process of cells killing themselves; cell suicide. The cannabinoids were able to activate the CB2 receptors, which is already a known cannabinoid receptor in the body.
When the Spanish researchers applied this same test on a group of mice, the results were just as promising. They gave a group of nude mice, THC (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that will get you stoned), JWH (a man-made cannabinoid) and an inactive ingredient, for comparison and observed the effects.
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They found that the cannabinoid administration prevents cancerous growth, spread and even induced cell suicide of the pancreatic cancer cells. Even better, the THC steered clear of healthy cells, leaving them untouched and unbothered.
Cannabinoids have already been proven to treat other cancers so there is a lot of hope of fighting one of deadliest ones.