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The cannabis plant (cannabis sativa) is one of the most cultivated plant in the world because of its ability to ‘get you high’. It consists of a group of chemicals called cannabinoids.These cannabinoids include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) and they are both said to have anti inflammatory properties that may be able to treat a range of cancers including pancreatic cancer. Cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) are located in the endocannabinoid system and these allow cannabinoids to work in the body. This paper will look at how cannabinoids can hopefully be an answer for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.
Here is the full scientific article if you wish to download it.
Cannabinoids have antiproliferative properties
Cannabinoids hold antiproliferative properties that can treat malignant tumors including pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). This study has shown that the cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2 are immunoreactive, and so are the endocannabinoid metabolizing enzymes, fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MGLL). Levels of endocannabinoids were received by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry measurement. This study quotes that “Immunoreactivity scores and QRT-PCR expression levels were correlated with the clinico-pathological (TNM, survival, pain) status of the patients”. This means that cannabinoids do in fact have antiproliferative abilities in pancreatic cancer cells.
Cannabinoids can reduce pain caused by pancreatic cancer
Cannabinoid levels in the body remained unchanged in PDAC compared to the normal levels in the pancreas. Patients with pancreatic cancer had enlarged nerves with high levels of CB1 receptors felt less pain. There was a correlation between low CB1 receptor immunoreactivity and longer survival of PDAC patients. These results validate that there is a relationship between high pain scores and increased survival rates. CB2 receptor immunoreactivity levels did not correlate with survival. These changes in the amounts of endocannabinoid metabolizing enzymes and CB receptors 1 and 2 on cancer cells may affect the pain status of the pancreatic cancer patient.
Medical marijuana has the potential to cause cell death in pancreatic tumor cells and this cancer research has shown the reduced growth in these cells have little side effects, thus improving the quality of life of people with pancreatic cancer.