Cannabis and cancer

What’s New in Cannabis News: Curing Cancer, Cocktails, and More

Researchers discover Cannabis’ cancer-fighting compounds and distillers are making hemp-infused spirits. We’ll drink to that…

A new study from Harvard’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute suggests that a cannabis compound could potentially be a potent cancer-fighter.

Pancreatic cancer is bad news – only 20 percent of people who have it survive beyond a year. A mere 8 percent survive past 5 years. Although it only makes up about 3 percent of cancers in America, it is especially deadly. That’s why a new study published by Harvard’s prestigious Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is especially hopeful.

The study found that a cannabis compound has “significant therapy potential” in treating pancreatic cancer. That compound is flavonoid—a naturally occurring chemical in plants, fruits, and vegetables.

It’s flavonoids that have long been associated with cannabis’ anti-inflammatory properties and researchers have long accepted their therapeutic value. However, they make up a tiny portion of a plant’s composition. In order to produce enough flavonoids to make a mark, you’d have to grow fields upon fields to extract meaningful quantities of the stuff. But thanks to some clever engineering, scientists have found a way to create cannabis flavonoids in the lab, making it possible to manufacture the potentially game-changing new drug, known as FBL-03G.

Researchers involved in the study say that if they can successfully apply the new drug clinically, it could be a bright spot for those fighting pancreatic cancer. Three cheers to that.

Not-So-Strange Bedfellows

Sign of the times: CBD oils and tinctures are increasingly finding their way into boozy beverages around the country. Master mixologist Maxwell Reis recently talked to GOOP about why the pairing is so natural: “CBD is typically associated with feelings of euphoria and relaxation while alleviating nausea, anxiety, and other physical discomforts (for most, this is a welcomed addition to a cocktail).” He capitalizes on cannabis’ distinct taste and praises its full-fledged vegetal, citrus flavor to complement his concoctions.

Now, some members of the spirit industry are looking to take it a step further. Instead of mixing CBD oil or tinctures into alcohol, they are experimenting with bringing cannabis and hemp into the actual distillation process.

Enter Ted Dumbauld. He is the brains behind SONO 1420, an award-winning spirit distilled from grains and hemp seed and finished in oak barrels. Whiskey-like in nature, his hemped grain spirit and rye both garnered silver medals in their respective categories at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition last year.

Dumbauld comments on the flavor profile of this distinctive newcomer: “On finish of our whiskeys, you get a bit of a nutty flavor that you would not pick up on other whiskeys…. hemp seeds are an oil seed, so compared to the standard grants which are mainly carbohydrates, oil seed has a much fuller mouth feel.”

Despite the fanfare, hemp and cannabis-distilled sprits are in a bit of a regulatory no-mans land. SONO 1420 is currently sold in Connecticut, and wrangling with regulators elsewhere. Although the process is slow, the market keeps inching closer to a friendlier stance, as states loosen their grip and adopt more liberal legislation. Time will tell, but we are betting that others will get on the bandwagon soon enough!

Christina Rock is a Seattle-based writer who loves late sixties music and strong coffee.