You must be 21 years old and above to access RxLeaf

Cannabis Kills Pancreatic Cancer Cells in Lab

Emily Robertson
3D Image of Pancreas

Cannabinoids are effective in killing pancreatic cancer cells.

The anti-tumor effects of cannabis in the treatment of cancer are being studied the world over. At this point, it’s pretty much indisputable that cannabis encourages apoptosis – the ‘self destruct’ button – in cancer cells and therefore prevents the disease from progressing, and may even put it into remission.

Image Credit: Lightspringz

A study published in 2006 (Spain) shows that cannabis induces apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells. These results have been backed up by continual research in the field that proves again and again the benefits of cannabis in treating cancer. We know that it can help with the side effects of mainstream medical treatments, particularly the pain and nausea of chemotherapy. Using cannabis while treating for cancer, then, really doesn’t have any downfalls. And now there’s proof that it may help save your life.

Micrograph of pancreatic cancer cells

Image Credit: David Litman

Pancreatic Cancer

The fourth deadliest cancer diagnosis – those are words you never want to here in reference to your own health. It strikes fear and loss in the hearts of even the strongest, and confronting treatments like chemo and radiation can be discouraging. The dangerous part of pancreatic cancer is that there are few symptoms in the early, most treatable, stages.

Pancreatic cancer kills roughly 37,000 Americans each year. Meanwhile in Canada, 1 in 74 men and 1 in 72 women will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in their lifetime.

The pancreas is a gland that is part of the digestive and endocrine systems, responsible for manufacturing and secreting insulin for the regulation of sugar.  Is also plays an important role in growth, reproduction, sleep, metabolism, and appetite.

Cancer forms when the cells of the pancreas become abnormal yet continue to grow and do so out of control. This will form a tumor that chokes out healthy, functional cells and negatively impacts the functioning of the pancreas.

Ultrasound Image Showing Pancreatiic Cancer

Image Credit: Markov Sergei

What Does the Research Show?

The research shows that cannabinoids triggers the CB2 receptor in the endocannabinoid system. In doing so, they spark apoptosis, which is cell suicide. This is a good thing. Cell suicide is natural but cancer cells lack the ability to listen to the signals that are telling it to self-destruct. This means they can expand and spread. When it comes to cancer, that’s not what you want.

Cannabinoids, when they trigger the CB2 receptor, ensure that apoptosis takes place in cancer cells. This study dealt with testing the treatment of a large pancreatic tumor using THC versus a synthetic cannabinoid versus placebo.  Their findings proved yet again that cannabinoids prevent the growth and spread of cancer and activate apoptosis.

3D Image of Pancreas

Image Credit: Shutterstock

In particular, they found that pancreatic cancer cells have a larger number of cannabinoid receptors than may also be found in other types of cancer cells. This is good news if you’re using cannabinoids for treatment!

A pancreatic cancer diagnosis is scary, whether it’s for you or a loved one. It can be a difficult time, and one that must be treated with support. Your doctor will be able to advise you through the best options for treatment and support. However, it doesn’t hurt to ask about cannabis if they haven’t already suggested it. Whether you’re suffering from cancer and hoping to aid in treatment, or a loved one needing a bit of calm in the storm, it’s worth the conversation.



Emily Robertson

Emily Robertson has been writing freelance and contract work since 2011. She has written on a variety of topics, including travel writing of North America and the growing legalized cannabis industry across the globe. Robertson has a master’s degree in literature and gender studies, and brings this through in her writing by always trying to explore different perspectives. Born and raised in southwestern Ontario, Robertson moved to Glasgow, Scotland in 2016 to undergo her doctorate in Scottish Literature. She lives in the West End with her dog, Henley.

  • Avatar
    Edward Chittenden

    So do you smoke it or eat it?

    March 11, 2019 at 7:16 pm Reply
    • Jennifer Grant

      Cannabis oil sublingually has the highest bioavailability (aside from suppositories which are hard to come by if you don’t make your own).

      March 12, 2019 at 10:28 am Reply
    • Avatar

      Should I smoke or boil my marijuana to get the benefits?

      May 21, 2019 at 1:40 am Reply
      • Jennifer Grant

        Full spectrum oil, taken sublingually, has the highest bioavailability.

        May 21, 2019 at 12:31 pm Reply

Post a Comment