There’s still a lot we don’t know about the potential therapeutic applications of cannabis. Even though medicinal marijuana is legal in over half the country, the DEA still lists cannabis as a Schedule I Substance—a category reserved for drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Because of this Schedule I Designation, medical researchers have an incredibly difficult time legally accessing cannabis to use in studies and clinical trials. As a result, our collective knowledge about the plant remains somewhat stunted.
However, the studies we do have point to cannabis possessing a ton of medicinal value. From treating seizures to chronic pain, preliminary research into cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds is quickly changing the way people think about the plant. One recent South African study even suggests that cannabinoids might be an effective treatment for cervical cancer. Keep reading to find out more.
What Is The Connection Between Cannabis And Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer is the most lethal form of cancer amongst Sub-Saharan African women, killing more than 250,000 women a year. With such abysmal numbers, it’s evident that current treatment options just aren’t cutting it. That’s what led South African researchers from the biochemistry department at North-West University in Potchefstroom to look towards the cannabis plant for a cure in the first place.
In order to learn more about different cannabinoid’s effects on tumor growth, these researchers grew cervical cancer cells in a laboratory environment, then exposed those cells to both a crude cannabis sativa extract formulated in their lab, and a pure form of cannabidiol (CBD) purchased from the American biotech company Sigma-Aldrich. What they found is pretty astonishing.
Can Cannabis Treat Cervical Cancer?
Both the CBD and the crude cannabis extract inhibited further cancer cell development. Even more exciting, the CBD was shown to induce apoptosis—meaning it essentially killed the cancer cells. According to the study’s official conclusion, “these data suggest that cannabidiol rather than Cannabis sativa crude extracts prevent cell growth and induce cell death in cervical cancer cell lines.”
Other studies, including one conducted by the University Hospital in Geneva, Switzerland, have also found evidence that points towards cannabis and CBD possessing anti-cancer or tumor-reducing properties.
However, while this early research is very promising, it doesn’t definitively mean that cannabis is an effective cancer treatment. It will take many more studies like these before we can move into clinical trials using animal models and then eventually into clinical trials with humans. Only then will we know for sure if cannabis can actually help treat cancer.
Hopefully, as global cannabis prohibition laws continue to relax and the medical sciences advance in sophistication, we will know more about different cannabinoids’ potential therapeutic applications for cancer patients.
How To Incorporate Cannabis Products To Help Treat Cervical Cancer
If planning on using cannabis oil to help treat cervical cancer, it’s essential to first consult your physician or oncology team. While cannabis extracts are relatively safe and non-toxic, they may cause certain negative interactions with other medications.
Inhalation methods will offer patients far and away the best bioavailability of any other administration method. This means that a higher percentage of the cannabinoids will enter the bloodstream, resulting in more effective dosing.
However, conventional combustion-based inhalation methods like smoking a joint or hitting a bowl can expose the lungs to harmful carcinogens, which if you’re already dealing with cancer, is the last thing you want to do. This can be mitigated with heat-not-burn products or vaporizers, which drastically reduce the exposure to harmful particulates. Alternatively, sublingual CBD tinctures or CBD capsules can also be effective at higher doses.