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CBD May Extend the Lives of Pancreatic Cancer Patients

According to new research conducted at Queen Mary University in London, cannabidiol may prolong the lives of pancreatic cancer patients undergoing intensive chemotherapy treatments. Scientists administered CBD to mice being treated for the disease with chemotherapy and found that some of the animals lived up to three times longer than those that did not receive CBD.

CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that is an officially licensed medical product in the UK. Many people already use it to reduce symptoms of conditions like chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. The compound has been at the frontier of cancer research in recent years after another study showed it might slow and even reverse tumour growth.

Pancreatic cancer has a reputation as one of the most difficult cancers to treat and the rate of survival has not improved in the last 40 years. Standard chemotherapy treatments such as Gemcitabine can have debilitating side effects that reduce patients’ quality of life dramatically.

The control group of mice in the study that were not treated with chemotherapy or CBD survived an average of 20 days. Mice that only received Gemcitabine survived for just 23.5 days. The animals that were given a combination of chemo and CBD fared much better at 56 days.

Professor Marco Falasca, the lead researcher of the study, called it a “remarkable result”.

“Cannabidiol is already approved for use in clinics, which means we can quickly go on to test this in human clinical trials,” he said. “If we can reproduce these effects in humans, cannabidiol could be in use in cancer clinics almost immediately, compared to having to wait for authorities to approve a new drug.”

The medical-grade CBD concoction used in the study contained almost no THC at all and appeared to block the GPR55 protein, hindering the growth of cancer cells. If the results lead to a new drug, it will be a significant development for patients with few treatment options who are often limited to aggressive chemo or palliative care.

CBD’s medicinal status could expedite a drug to pharmacy shelves, but more trials will need to be conducted before scientists understand CBD’s interactions with cancer cells in human patients.