Cannabis medicines are now available
Positive research linking cannabis to improvements in sleep, and reductions in anxiety and pain are already in plain sight. While medications for epilepsy and multiple sclerosis have been sanctioned by more progressive governments.
So what about cancer?
Anecdotal evidence has been drifting across the digital landscape, of people turning to cannabis as a last resort for late stage cancers – with dramatic results. However, in the absence of robust clinical trial data they have sounded too good to be true. Cancer has been a tough adversary for medical scientists, with many of our best solutions like radio or chemotherapy generating highly unpleasant side effects.
Researchers at Harvard University’s ‘Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’ have published research indicating that a chemical found in cannabis shows ‘significant therapy potential’ in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer has historically been one of the hardest cancers to treat with only 1 in 5 people surviving a year after diagnosis. The component in question is called FBL-03G and is a cannabis flavonoid.
Cannabis flavonoids have already been identified as having anti-inflammatory properties – as early as the 1980’s – but the plants legal status prevented further research at that time. One of the challenges is that cannabis flavonoids make up less that 0.05% of the plant so vast quantities would be needed to provide doctors with a functional medicine. However, scientists have now found a way to genetically engineer them, allowing for an acceleration of research in this area.
Researchers at Dana-Farber found that ‘tumor-targeted’ delivery of cannabis flavonoids enabled both local and metastatic tumor cell kill – significantly increasing survival rates. Metastasis is the process of cancer cells spreading throughout the body. The findings are therefore doubly significant as the flavonoids also killed cancer cells away from the primary location. Given cancers’ ability to spread rapidly within the human body this could be a major breakthrough. As always larger clinical studies are needed with further trials planned for 2020.
While it’s important to be extremely cautious with any early stage medical research results, the groundswell of high quality cannabis research, generating positive results should not be ignored. This has happened as governments have finally allowed scientists to experiment properly with the cannabis plant. As we will keep saying: a transparent cannabis industry could bring huge benefits to all of us!