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Cannabis Shows Potential To Treat Pancreatic Cancer

Medical Daily logo Medical Daily 2019-08-23 Darwin Malicdem

a close up of a plant © Pixabay The health benefits of cannabis have been growing. Harvard researchers have discovered that the drug also has the potential to be a treatment for pancreatic cancer. 

The new study, published in the journal Frontiers in Oncology, shows that the cannabis flavonoid, called FBL-03G, is capable of killing tumor cells in the lab. Flavonoids are non-psychoactive contents that are also present in vegetables and fruits.

Cannabis only contains a 0.14 percent flavonoid. But researchers said they have a “significant therapy potential,” Ganjapreneur.com reported Thursday.

In experiments with mice, FBL-03G killed tumor cells in 70 percent of animal subjects with pancreatic cancer. Delivering the cannabis flavonoid directly to the tumor led to local and metastatic tumor cell death, Wilfred Ngwa, one of the researchers and an assistant professor at Harvard, told Yahoo Lifestyle.

“We were quite surprised that the drug could inhibit the growth of cancer cells in other parts of the body, representing metastasis, that were not targeted by the treatment,” Ngwa said. “This suggests that the immune system is involved as well, and we are currently investigating this mechanism.”

The researchers aim to conduct pre-clinical trials using cannabis to confirm its health benefits in humans with pancreatic cancer. The team hopes to deliver results by the end of 2020.

Pancreatic Cancer in U.S.

The American Cancer Society estimates that nearly 56,770 new cases of pancreatic cancer will be diagnosed across the U.S. in 2019. Among these people, more than 45,700 people are expected to die from the disease. 

Pancreatic cancer currently affects more men than women. Nearly 30,000 men may develop the disease this year, while there are 26,800 women at risk.

Smoking has been one of the most common causes of the disease among Americans. The American Cancer Society said smokers are two times more likely to get pancreatic cancer compared to non-smokers. 

Another factor that can increase the risk is excess weight. Obesity or being overweight can increase an individual’s risk of developing pancreatic cancer to 20 percent.

The risk of having cancer can be reduced through lifestyle changes. Avoiding cigarettes and having a healthy and physically active lifestyle can promote better health. 

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