Pancreatic cancer has one of the worst outcomes of any cancer, with survival rates hardly fluctuating in the last four decades. But researchers in the United Kingdom have found promising results from a study on cancerous mice.

In a research study at Queens Mary University, mice suffering pancreatic cancer were given cannabidiol (CBD) oil in combination with chemotherapy, producing “a remarkable result,” according to lead researcher Professor Marco Falasca, as reported by The Independent.

According to the findings reported in the medical journal Oncogene, the cancerous mice were split into three groups: one that was administered CBD in combination with the common chemotherapy drug Gemcitabine, one that was administered Gemcitabine only, and one that just had cancer.

The mice who got some CBD were the lucky ones, more than twice as lucky, as it turns out, than the others. Mice with no treatment survived a median average of 20 days, mice who only got chemotherapy faired a little better with 23.5 days, but mice who also got cannabis extract survived a whopping 56 days.

The same experiment could seen be run on human subjects. “Cannabidiol is already approved for use in clinics, which means we can quickly go on to test this in human clinical trials,” said Professor Falasca. “If we can reproduce these effects in humans, cannabidiol could be in use in cancer clinics almost immediately, compared to having to wait for authorities to approve a new drug.”

Falasca also noted that the survival rate for humans with pancreatic cancer was less than seven per cent over a five year period, meaning “new treatments and therapeutic strategies is urgently needed.”

The study concluded that CBD worked positively on subjects by blocking a protein called GPR55, which has in the past been found in correlation to cancers and is also what’s called a “novel cannabinoid receptor.”

The potential benefit for pancreatic cancer patients comes in addition to cannabis’s other positive effects for those undergoing chemotherapy, including reduced nausea and increased appetite.

Photo via Flickr user Bob RIchmond