Of the many types of cancer that has affected millions of lives around the world, none is as widely regarded as the most painful and difficult to overcome as pancreatic cancer. Over the years, many of these patients that have been stricken by this deadly disease have been left without relief from their pain and symptoms. Recently, researchers have been able to study the effects of cannabis on managing patient pain, finding amazing results in the process. Let’s review what those research findings and what it means for the future of pancreatic cancer pain treatment.
The Prevalence of Pancreatic Cancer
According to Cancer.net, roughly 56,770 adults (29,940 men and 26,830 women) in the U.S. will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year alone. The 5-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer patients is roughly 9%, accounting for 7% of all cancer deaths and making it the fourth leading cause of cancer death in men and women.
A majority of people who are diagnosed after the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body (52%) have a 5-year survival rate of just 3%. The other 48% of pancreatic cancer patients have a 5-year survival rate of anywhere between 10-34%.
Cannabis Use in Cancer Patients
As technologic innovations progress, doctors will get better at catching cancer development at earlier stages. This means that more patients will have a better shot at beating pancreatic cancer and just need something to take the edge off while they recover from their treatments.
As marijuana legalization continues to push across the nation, more pancreatic cancer patients are beginning to use cannabis to ease their pain. A recent study found that 25% of cancer patients already use cannabis to manage pain from their cancer treatments. Other studies found that marijuana use lowered usage of pain-killing opioids, including those used by cancer patients.
How Flavonoids Can Help Treat Pancreatic Cancer
So why are so many cancer patients flocking towards cannabis as their choice treatment solution? One word: flavonoids (specifically, cannflavin). Flavonoids are plant chemicals found in nearly all fruits and vegetables. They give flora their colors and are also associated with health benefits that allow researchers to isolate and patent a particular flavonoid into a viable treatment solution.
According to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and other researchers, flavonoid can be used to treat resistance pancreatic cancer. This is the form of pancreatic cancer that can be extremely aggressive and deadly, making it the second on the list of cancer-related deaths.
Using cannabis flavonoids, researchers were able to create and test a drug called FBL-03G that slowed cell growth of certain types of cancer in rats. Clinical trials are still pending FDA approval, which researchers are confident that they can show that their cannabis-derived solution can be made into a natural painkiller 30 times more effective than aspirin.
A Word to the Wise
Although much research has been performed on the use of cannabis flavonoids for use in treating pancreatic cancer, many more studies are still needed (including clinical trials involving humans) before the treatment described here can be patented and prescribed to humans with pancreatic cancer. If you or someone you know is suffering from pancreatic cancer, make sure to reach out to your physician to see if they feel that supplementing with cannabis would aid in your pancreatic cancer recovery.