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Cannabinoids As Potential Anti-Tumor Agents In Pancreatic Cancer

What is Pancreas?

The pancreas is one of the most important organs in the human body. It’s about the size and shape of a small trout, and it’s situated between the duodenum and liver on the right and the spleen on the left in our upper abdomen. It is a powerhouse for our digestive system, producing vital enzymes that pass into the duodenum to aid in the digestion of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. It also contains glands that produce insulin.

What are Pancreatic cancer and its symptoms?

Pancreatic cancer develops when uncontrolled cell growth occurs in a part of the pancreas. The main symptoms are jaundice and severe abdominal pain. But these symptoms might not appear in the early stages of cancer cell growth. Some of the main symptoms of pancreatic cancer are:

  • Fatigue
  • Diabetics
  • Indigestion of food
  • Swelling of gallbladder and liver
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite and tremendous weight loss
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Abdominal pain and back pain
  • Skin rashes due to jaundice, which is present in the majority of cases.

If cancer keeps on spreading, new symptoms will start to appear in different parts of the body.

Some of the important terms related to cannabinoids are:

CBD– CBD or cannabinoids is a well-known chemical in the Cannabis Sativa L plant. It is not intoxicating, even though people technically consider it psychoactive. It affects the brain differently than THC. Hemp-derived CBD derived is permitted on the federal level, but not in all states.

Cannabis is a flowering plant that contains around 500 different compounds. Hemp is a form of cannabis. 

THC- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the most well-known of the cannabis plant’s cannabinoid chemicals. Its psychoactive components produce intoxication.

Cannabinoids as anti-tumour agents

Cannabinoids are well-known for their ability to relieve symptoms brought on by cancer therapy. Furthermore, evidence gathered over the last fifteen years suggests that these cannabinoids can prevent tumour growth in cancer animal models. Cannabinoids have been demonstrated to promote autophagy (cell breakdown) driven cancer cell death by activating an ER stress (endoplasmic reticulum stress, which happens when proteins are not properly folded) linked pathway. Cannabinoids also reduce cancer cell migration and hinder tumour angiogenesis (the formation of new tumour cells). In recent years scientists all over the world have started to explore the tolerance to cannabis anticancer effect and viable tactics for developing cannabinoid-based combinational medicines to fight cancer. 

Cannabinoids as anti-tumour agents for Pancreatic Cancer

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) has gotten a lot of attention recently as a potential therapeutic target for a variety of diseases. The CB1 and CB2 receptors of ECS bind with CBD. These receptors which are present on various body parts will show the effect of CBD in that location sooner or later. By altering multiple pathways involved in cell proliferation, differentiation, migration, and angiogenesis, cannabinoids have shown anticancer promise.

Anti-tumour properties of cannabinoids have been evident in pancreatic cancer. Both exocrine and endocrine pancreatic tissue have CB1 and CB2 receptors, suggesting that the ECS plays a role in pancreatic secretion regulation. 

In vitro and in vivo clinical experiments, THC and CBD both reduced pancreatic cancer cell proliferation through separate pathways. THC decreased pancreatic cancer growth through cannabinoid receptor 2, while CBD synergistically inhibited pancreatic cancer growth with gemcitabine medication. According to the study, in pancreatic cancer, CB1 and CB2 receptors were expressed in normal and pancreatic cancer cells with a high volume of CB2. Through the mechanism of action, cannabinoids induced apoptosis via the CB2 receptor.

Studies strongly show that the ECS has a role in cancer aetiology. Cannabinoids clearly target important signalling pathways that affect all of cancer’s hallmarks. They do, however, complement current chemotherapy regimens for pain, nausea, and vomiting prevention. Hence, we need more research to properly comprehend their therapeutic significance in cancer treatment. We will be able to better grasp the intracellular signalling pathways in cannabis anticancer activity with the more intensive basic study.

Summing up

Cannabinoids and chemicals that modulate the endocannabinoid system could broaden the range of chemotherapeutic drugs available for cancer treatment. The discovery of the endocannabinoid system in the next years could lead to the development of more effective and safer chemicals. Furthermore, we can use the data from tumour next-generation sequencing to find the most effective cannabis formulations and cancers with specific characteristics. These novel methods may lead to the discovery of cannabis therapy-related biomarkers in tumour samples or, in the best-case scenario, large amounts of resistance factors generated by cancer cells.

However, If you feel like adding CBD to your cancer treatment regimen, then kindly first consult one of the expert oncologists who are well aware of medical CBD. You can find expert CBD oncologists at ZenOnco.io


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