A new study from researchers at Harvard University is highlighting how cannabis has the potential to fight pancreatic cancer. But this isn’t a study on THC or CBD, even though research shows how both of those cannabinoids have immense potential to treat cancer and related symptoms. Instead, this study shines the spotlight on a cannabis flavonoid called FBL-03G.
Flavonoids exist in all plants and contribute to many of the health benefits of eating fruits, veggies and other natural foods. Today, researchers are increasingly turning their attention to studying flavonoids and how they work, and they’re beginning to unlock their vast potential as medicines. Earlier this year, scientists in Canada isolated two varieties of cannabis flavonoids and found that they were thirty times more effective than Aspirin for pain relief. Now, another study has discovered that the cannabis flavonoid FBL-03G can help treat pancreatic cancer and reduce tumor growth.
Cannabis Flavonoid Significantly Increases Pancreatic Cancer Survival Rate
A pancreatic cancer diagnosis is a grim prospect. Five-year survival rates barely top eight percent. And treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and radiation therapy are notoriously ineffective at stopping the cancer from spreading. The American Cancer Society estimates about 57,000 people will face a pancreatic cancer diagnosis this year. Most of them will die of the disease.
This makes finding a cure an urgent problem for medical researchers. But as barriers to studying cannabis are falling, scientists are finally able to start investigating the claims and experiences of many cancer patients who rely on medical cannabis treatments. Why and how does cannabis fight cancer, reduce tumor growth and help with related symptoms?
One way of answering that question is to continue studying the anti-carcinogenic properties of cannabinoids like THC and CBD. Another would be to look at other cannabis compounds like flavonoids. Studies have already demonstrated the potent anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic and anti-carcinogen properties of flavonoids. Flavonoids are already key parts of pharmaceutical, medicinal and cosmetic applications. And according to Harvard researchers, cannabis flavonoids in particular could provide an effective treatment for cancer.
In the study, researchers looked at the effects of the cannabis flavonoid FBL-03G on two pancreatic cancer models. They conducted both in vitro and in vivo tests. In vitro, FBL-03G caused a major increase in cancer cell death when used alongside radiotherapy treatments. And in vivo, in animal models, FBL-03G delayed tumor growth and the spread of the cancer. And when researchers repeated the experiment, they observed a “significant increase in survival for animals with pancreatic cancer” compared with the animals that didn’t get the cannabis flavonoid treatments.
Researchers Call for More Studies into Cannabis Flavonoids
Harvard researchers based their work on a 2014 study that found a combination of CBD and THC enhanced the anticancer effects of radiation therapy in brain cancer models. Now, in light of their own exciting findings, they’re calling for others to build off their study. “The results justify further studies to optimize therapy outcomes,” the study concludes. And those results show the significant therapy potential in using cannabis flavonoids to treat pancreatic and potentially other cancers.
With current treatment options falling far short, new therapy options are an urgent need. FBL-03G, the cancer cell-killing cannabis flavonoid, might be just what the doctor ordered.