Home » Is the Cure for Pancreatic Cancer Hidden in Indica-Dominant Hybrid Weed Strains?

Is the Cure for Pancreatic Cancer Hidden in Indica-Dominant Hybrid Weed Strains?

by Tim

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most devastating and deadly forms of cancer, with a dismal 5-year survival rate. In 2024, approximately 7,100 Canadians receive a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Researchers anticipate diagnosing 3,800 men with pancreatic cancer and diagnosing 3,300 women.

Researchers are actively exploring various treatment options, like the potential use of Indica-dominant hybrid weed, to improve the prognosis of pancreatic cancer. Both research findings and anecdotal evidence offer hope to patients seeking relief from symptoms and to slow disease progression.

Key Takeaways

  • Diagnosing pancreatic cancer is challenging due to its location, often leading to late-stage detection when the cancer has already metastasized.
  • Cannabinoids induce apoptosis in cancer cells by triggering their natural cell death process.
  • Selective agonists and antagonists targeting CB1 and CB2 receptors exhibited cytotoxic effects.

Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer happens to the pancreas, an organ behind the stomach. The organ’s hidden location can make this cancer more challenging to detect. The pancreas delivers enzymes that the body needs to break down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. It also makes two important hormones, glucagon and insulin, responsible for controlling glucose (sugar) metabolism.

The most common type is pancreatic adenocarcinoma, which originates in the exocrine cells that release digestive enzymes. Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours, a rarer form, start in the endocrine cells that release hormones.

Current Treatment Options and Limitations

Pancreatic cancer treatment involves a combination of approaches, such as surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy. The prognosis for patients remains at 20%, and the five-year rate is 9%, but depends on the stage and type of cancer.

One primary limitation of treatment and diagnosis is the pancreas’s location deep within the abdomen. By the time many patients are diagnosed, the cancer has already progressed to advanced stages, significantly limiting treatment options.

The nature of pancreatic cancer itself also poses challenges. The tumours can be resistant to traditional therapies like chemotherapy and radiation, and the disease has a propensity to spread to other organs rapidly.

Indica-Dominant Hybrid Cannabis and Pancreatic Cancer

Cannabis, also known as weed or marijuana, is a plant species that has medicinal and recreational purposes for centuries. The Indica-dominant hybrid possesses a variety of chemical compounds called cannabinoids, the most well-known being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

  • Pain Management
  • Anti-Inflammatory Effects
  • Neuroprotective Properties
  • Antiemetic Effects
  • Anti-tumour Potential

Studies have shown that plant-derived cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, have demonstrated anti-cancer impacts on pancreatic cancer cells.

The research has found that:

  • THC suppresses pancreatic cancer growth by targeting the cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2).
  • CBD inhibits pancreatic cancer growth synergistically with the chemotherapy drug gemcitabine by antagonizing the G protein-coupled receptor GPR55.
  • Cannabinoids could suppress the KRAS-activated pathway in pancreatic cancer by targeting the PAK1 protein, a cell signalling pathway.
  • Cannabinoids could block the expression of PD-L1, an essential target for immune checkpoint inhibition used in cancer immunotherapy.

Research on Cannabis and Pancreatic Cancer Treatment

Cannabinoids Induce Apoptosis of Pancreatic Tumour Cells

Pancreatic cancer cells and tumours have much higher levels of cannabinoid receptors than normal pancreatic cells. This suggests that the cancer cells may be responsive to treatment with cannabinoids.

When there is pancreatic cancer cell exposure to cannabinoids:

  • Causes the cancer cells to undergo apoptosis, a natural cell death process.
  • Increases the levels of a lipid molecule called ceramide in the cells.
  • The stress protein p8’s mRNA levels increased.

These effects were nil when the researchers blocked the CB2 cannabinoid receptor or inhibited ceramide production in the cells. This suggests that cannabinoid effects are dependent on these pathways.

Further experiments showed that the p8 protein and two partner proteins (ATF-4 and TRB3) are involved in cannabinoid-induced cell death in pancreatic cancer cells.

The researchers also found that cannabinoids reduced tumour growth and spread in animal models of pancreatic cancer. The cannabinoid treatment also selectively increased cell death and TRB3 levels in the cancer cells but not normal pancreatic cells.

The researchers found that cannabinoids have a significant anti-tumour effect on pancreatic cancer cells in laboratory settings and living organisms. This effect is due to their ability to trigger apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in these cancer cells by activating a specific proapoptotic pathway.

Cannabinoid Derivatives Induce Cell Death in Pancreatic MIA PaCa-2 Cells

Another study investigated the role of the cannabinoid system in pancreatic cancer cells (MIA PaCa-2). The results show that cannabinoids had a significant cytotoxic (cell-killing) effect on the pancreatic cancer cells, but this effect was independent of CB receptor activation.

They find support for this idea from several lines of evidence:

  • The absence of CB2 receptors definitively ruled out their involvement in the cytotoxicity of cannabinoids.
  • At nanomolar concentrations, CB1 receptor agonists and antagonists did not affect cell viability in a serum-free medium.
  • CB1 receptors did not account for the cell death induced by ACEA at micromolar doses.

Cannabinoids can destroy cells by disrupting their functions and causing them to die through necrosis or apoptosis.

The CB1 receptor antagonist AM251 was the most potent compound that induces apoptosis (cell death) and causes transcriptional changes in genes related to the JAK/STAT signalling pathway. AM251 also showed a synergistic interaction with the chemotherapy drug 5-fluorouracil.

Indica-Dominant Hybrid Weed Strains

ProductDosi DosBiscottiGrandpa’s BreathBerry Blue
LineageGirl Scout Cookies x Face Off OG Gelato 25 x Sour Florida OGOG Kush x Granddaddy PurplePurple Thai x Thai
FlavoursEarthy, SweetCookies, DieselGrape, LavenderSweet, Blueberry
ContentTHC: 24 CBD: 0.4THC: 21 CBD: 0.4THC: 21 CBD: 0.7THC: 20 CBD: 0.5
EffectsRelaxed Happy Euphoric UpliftedRelaxed Happy Euphoric SleepyRelaxed Sleep Hungry HappyEuphoric Focused Happy Hungry


Researchers are continuously investigating new therapies and improved detection techniques. One approach is the use of hybrid cannabis, which has shown promise in inducing apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells.

When used in conjunction with chemotherapy, it can diminish cancerous cells synergistically. This development offers a ray of hope to many cancer patients who the limitations of modern treatments have disheartened.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Choose Indica Hybrid Cannabis?

Hybrid strains are the result of crossbreeding between the Indica and Sativa plants. These hybrids can manifest a range of effects.

Indica-dominant hybrids induce relaxing, sedative effects and may also stimulate appetite. Inducing appetite is particularly beneficial for individuals undergoing cancer therapy, as treatment can often diminish appetite and lead to weight loss.

What Other Benefits Can Indica-dominant Cannabis Contribute During Chemotherapy?

Aside from helping induce pancreatic cell apoptosis, cannabis can help relieve chemotherapy side effects.

  • Cannabis effectively alleviate nausea.
  • Alleviating nerve pain, like neuropathic discomfort, without compromising the effectiveness of chemotherapy.
  • Cannabis can address the issue of fatigue associated with chemotherapy. Indica hybrids promote more profound and extended periods of sleep.

Is Smoking the Most Effective Method When Using an Indica Hybrid Flower for Pancreatic Cancer?

No. Smoking and vaping are the quickest methods to experience the effects of Indica-dominant strains. You can also consume these strains in edible forms, albeit with a longer onset time of 30 minutes to 2 hours. The advantage of this delayed onset is that the effects tend to last for 4 hours or more, unlike smoking, which provides effects lasting only 1 to 3 hours.

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