I have been a regular cannabis consumer for quite some time now, and, while I most definitely rely on the plant for medicinal effects, I typically like to use it to unwind or enhance other experiences. My first REAL experience with observing the medicinal benefits of cannabis was in Missouri in 2005 when my mother-in-law was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She passed away about 9 months after the initial diagnosis, but, with the help of cannabis, she was able to have the best quality of life possible for those last months she spent with us. Even her doctors (remember, this is 2005 in a prohibition state) were amazed at how well she was getting around and how much her appetite and systems would improve overall when she was using cannabis regularly as she weathered the cancer along with the radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Watching what this plant was able to do for her during the end of her time with us was life-changing for me as a young adult and mother, and made me a believer in medical marijuana forever.
I was SO excited to see the results of this new study about cannabis and pancreatic cancer. Of course, in the case of my late mother-in-law, I wish we had this research and the access to cannabis that many cancer patients now do. But, mostly I am hopeful that others who have loved ones suffering from pancreatic cancer will be able use this information, access CBD options, and utilize cannabis in an effort to spend more time with them as they endure their disease and treatment. Here is one more reason that I am grateful for legalization, and how it is slowly allowing for more studies such as this one.
The new study is published in the journal Oncogene, and showed that mice with pancreatic cancer treated with a combination of cannabidiol (CBD) and chemotherapy survived nearly three times longer than those treated with chemotherapy alone.
Treatment for pancreatic cancer, among the deadliest forms of cancer, has barely changed in the last 40 years and there are very few treatments available, pointed out lead researcher Marco Falasca.
“Given the five-year survival rate for people with pancreatic cancer is less than seven percent, the discovery of new treatments and therapeutic strategies is urgently needed,” said Dr. Falasca from Queen Mary University of London where the research was undertaken.
Dr. Falasca noted that human trials involving CBD as a cancer treatment move faster in the United Kingdom than the United States where CBD is still a Schedule 1 substance. Recent FDA approval of the first CBD-derived epilepsy drug, Epidiolex, in June was viewed as a positive first step.
"Cannabidiol is already approved for use in clinics [in the UK], which means we can quickly go on to test this in human clinical trials,” said Dr. Falasca.
CBD oils and medicines with a higher THC content were recently approved for controlled use in on prescription by the British Home Office, but the extract used in the pancreatic cancer study was a medical grade extract with virtually no THC.
Medicinal cannabis is already known to improve the side effects of chemotherapy, including nausea and vomiting, and so may also improve the quality of life for patients, said the researchers, per The Independent.
While this study hasn't yet been replicated in humans, the results underscore the importance of continued research involving cannabis compounds. And, gives those who have loved ones suffering from pancreatic cancer hope!