Cannabis could be a key to fighting pancreatic cancer – one of the deadliest forms – according to recent research from Harvard University.
There, scientists investigated the effect of marijuana-derived compounds called flavonoids on pancreatic cancer cells in petri dishes and diseased animals.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult-to-treat forms of the disease and kills 93 percent of those affected within five years.
Treatment with flavonoids killed all tumor cells in 70 percent of mice with pancreatic cancer, which the researchers tested in the journal Frontiers of Oncology last month.
The treatment also accelerated traditional radiotherapy, giving researchers the hope that the promising treatment could be ready for human testing by 2020.
Harvard University researchers used a component of cannabis that makes it deadly To completely rid 70% of pancreatic cancer mice in their "surprising" recent study  In particular, the compound that the Harvard team studied originates from cannabis, but is neither a cannabinoid like CBD nor a psychoactive component of the plant THC.
Instead, flavonoids are the compounds that are present in virtually all plants (including fruits and vegetables) and give them their bright colors.
There are more than 6,000 variations of flavonoids, but Harvard scientists see great potential in a substance found in cannabis and used to make a compound called FBL-03G.
Cannabinoids are already used to treat the unpleasant side effects of conventional cancer therapies such as chemo and radiation.
In recent years, a number of studies have examined the potential of the plant to treat cancer itself.
Research has shown that cannabis can block tumor growth in several ways – but it was not clear how the plant has these effects.
"People have done studies before they showed that cannabis sometimes works against cancer, and sometimes it does not," said co-author of the new Harvard study. Wilfred Ngwa, opposite DailyMail.com.
He attributes many of these discrepancies to the great variation in the composition of a particular cannabis strain or plant and the lack of consistency in this sense from study to study.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS AND HAZARDS OF CANNABIS?
Cannabis is an illegal Class B drug in the UK, which means that possession can result in a five-year prison sentence and that people who deliver the drug will be punished with imprisonment of up to 14 years.
However, the drug is still widely used for recreational purposes and can make users feel relaxed and happy.
But smoking – the most common way to consume the drug – can also lead to panic, anxiety, or paranoia.
Scientific studies have shown that the drug can reduce depression, anxiety, and stress Long-term depression by reducing the ability of the brain to release bad memories.
They can also contribute to mental health problems in people who already have them or increase the risk of psychosis or schizophrenia.  Marijuana can be prescribed for medical purposes in more than half of the US states to counter anxiety, aggression, and sleep disorders. The researchers are also investigating whether it could help people with autism, eczema or psoriasis.
Cannabis oil containing THC, the psychoactive chemical that is illegal in the UK, is said to have anti-cancer properties. "Perhaps the plant we study in Boston is very different from the one we study in California," says Dr. Ngwa, so to speak, a piece of the ingredients of cannabis, rather than investigating how individual compounds might work.
Dr. Ngwa and his team were curious to find out the latter, first separating many parts of the cannabis plant and conducting preliminary tests to find out which parts had the highest activity against tumors.
So they ended up on the flavonoid FBL-03G.
So they put FBL-03G in a Petri dish of pancreatic cancer cells – a type of tumor they had accidentally examined in their lab – and watched it work.
They also used a type of smart radiotherapy to shoot the compound in mice with pancreatic cancer directly into metastatic tumors.
"We were very surprised by the results we achieved," says Dr. Ngwa too.
"We were expected to show some inhibition of tumor growth, but were rather surprised to inhibit the progression of the tumor in other parts of the body."
"We actually had to do some [additional] measurements to see if that's really true. & # 39;
The treatment not only prevented the growth of the tumors but in about 70 percent of the animals, the combination of radiotherapy and FBL-03G shrank the tumors.
It is unclear whether the cancer could return, but for the time being most of the mice were cancer free.
Dr. Ngwa and his team are not quite sure how the flavonoid treatment works, but have some theories.
"We believe that cannabinoids have immunomodulatory properties," says dr. Ngwa.
One of her theories is that the cannabis flavonoid "can produce those antigen cells that train T cells like a vaccine – to recognize the disease," he explains.
Their other hypothesis involves a process call & apos; & apos; & apos;
"It kills cancer cells, but it does so by revealing the camouflage of the cancer cells that hide them from T cells."
It is possible that these processes cause the immune system to "remember" the cancer, even if it comes back.
But do these promising results mean that cancer patients should turn to cannabis, its oils and extracts?
"We have many patients who ask this question," says Dr. Ngwa.
"We need more studies" to know that, he says.
"People only use formulations of cannabis oil and you do not really know what the active components are in them."
He is fairly confident that cannabis contains anti-cancer drugs, but "every cannabis plant produces completely different amounts of drugs."
It is also possible that the various elements of the plant work synergistically. " Ngwa says it's much cheaper to deduce a single component than he and his team did when making most medications.
But patients need patience for the time being, he says.