The pancreas is an organ in the digestive system. The pancreas is also responsible for producing hormones like insulin, and aiding digestion and absorption of nutrients with the production of enzymes . When abnormal cells develop in the tissues of the pancreas, it is diagnosed at pancreatic cancer.
Often, pancreatic cancer symptoms do not start until the cancer is already in advanced stages which is why the mortality rate is so high for this type of cancer. The following are possible symptoms of pancreatic cancer:
- Pain in the upper abdomen and back
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of eyes)
- Unexplained weight loss
- Dark urine
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are several factors that can increase the risk of developing pancreatic cancer:
- Being of African American decent
Listed below are the top 5 most commonly used treatment options for pancreatic cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.
- Surgery– Lumpectomy or Mastectomy
- Radiation- External or Internal
- Chemotherapy– Oral or Intravenous
- Targeted Therapy uses antibodies, drugs or other substances to target ONLY cancer cells without harming normal cells.
The treatment options listed above are invasive, and often leave the patient with more severe symptoms and suffering than what the cancer caused in the first place. For this reason, the search for alternate treatments options are under way. One segment of newer exploration is the use of Medicinal Marijuana. Cannabis concentrates are showing signs of hope in the world of cancer treatment. There are several studies to support the use of cannabis to treat cancer symptoms as well as fight the growth of tumors.
One such study published by the Journal of Cancer Research is titled “Cannabinoids Induce Apoptosis of Pancreatic Tumor Cells via Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress–Related Genes” This study found that cannabidiol (CBD) inhibits growth of tumor cells, but does not inhibit growth of healthy cells. It, also, found that the CBD will induce apoptosis in the cancer cells, which is the death process of a cell. This is important because cancer is caused by cells that refuse to die. Cannabinoids reminds those cells that death is part of the cell life cycle, thus reducing the size and spread of the cancer.
According to a study published by the American Journal of Cancer Research, the human DNA-binding protein inhibitor, ID1, plays a large role in cell growth. This means that it, also, plays a role in the cancer growth. This study found that Cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, can slow the role of the ID1, there by reducing the rate at which the cancer spreads.
Another study published by the Journal of Pharmacology, also, studied the anti-tumor effects of Cannabinoids. This found that Cannabidol combined with the chemotherapy drug Temozolomide (TMZ) not only significantly inhibited the growth of human cancer cells, but also reduced the size of tumors. Another study published by the US National Library of Medicine had the same results when testing the effects of CBD on the growth and spread of cancer.
Will cannabis be added to the list of cancer treatment options in the future? There is still research to be done on the topic, but the initial findings look promising. There is evidence supporting the successful use of cannabis concentrates to treat the symptoms caused by cancer and commonly used cancer treatments, as well as to prevent the growth and spread of tumors in the first place. Cannabis was used in ancient medicine, and it looks as though it is making a come back.