A new study out of Northwest University in South Africa suggests that cannabis (marijuana) may prove useful in combating cervical cancer. Via test tube analysis, scientists have found the non-psychotropic cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol), of Cannabis sativa extract, which may contain anticarcinogens, is useful in fighting cancer. Anticarcinogens are substances that counteract the effects of cancer-causing carcinogens.
While pap smears and ongoing education have vastly reduced the mortality rates of cervical cancer in the US, in Sub-Saharan Africa cervical cancer claims the lives of 250,000 women a year. The study compared the manner in which cannabis Sativa and its essential compound cannabidiol halt the proliferation across several cervical cancer cell lines. Noted in the study was the manner in which cannabis affected cancerous cells via a process called apoptosis, also known as “cell death.” This process bypasses healthy cells causing the only cancerous cells to die off and inhibit tumor growth.
Cervical Cancer develops in the cervix with little to no early symptoms manifesting themselves. Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is involved in an overwhelming majority of all cases. Worldwide it ranks 4th as the most common form of cancer, and it is also the 4th most common cause of death from cancer amongst women worldwide.
It is well known the usefulness of cannabis in negating the worst effects of chemotherapy and various symptoms of cancer. Greater research is needed prior to including cannabis into the methodologies of cervical cancer or any other cancer treatment. It is believed, though, that cannabinoids, including endocannabinoids produced by the body itself, can play a role in developing drugs to combat cancer.
One drawback is the risks associated with the carcinogenic effect of smoking cannabis. Luckily an industry has arisen in the wake of medical marijuana dispensaries opening up in states that allow the legal use of marijuana. Such non-smoking options range from topical applications by using creams of organic solids, edibles in the form of food and drink, tinctures similar to liquid forms of Echinacea, or Golden Seal.