Each day there are an increasing amount of anecdotal stories doing the rounds about how cannabis cures everything from nausea to cancer. A South African Medical Research Council funded study has now also entered the ring to lend some credibility to a view that has otherwise been largely shrugged off due to the negative stereotypes that are so often associated with the long stigmatised plant.
While this study is by no means the last word in the cannabis cures cancer conversation, it does investigate the effects of cannabis sativa vs the effect of the more specific CBD component of cannabis on cervical cancer cells.
Titled Cannabidiol rather than Cannabis sativa extracts inhibit cell growth and induce apoptosis in cervical cancer cells, the study concludes that “these data suggest that cannabidiol rather than Cannabis sativa crude extracts prevent cell growth and induce cell death in cervical cancer cell lines” and “The aim of this study was to evaluate for the anti-growth effects of Cannabis sativa extracts and to also determine the mode of cell death following treatment. The activity of Cannabis sativa extracts was compared to that of cannabidiol, in order to verify whether the reported results were due to the presence of the compound. The study showed that the activity of one of the extracts might have been due to the presence of cannabidiol. It further demonstrated the ability of Cannabis sativa to induce apoptosis with or without cell cycle arrest and via mitochondrial pathway. More research needs to be done elucidating the mechanism between the active ingredients and molecular
targets involved in the regulation of the cell cycle.”
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the primary compounds found in cannabis plant. But unlike THC, the other primary ingredient in cannabis (which most people have heard of), CBD does not get you high. And while many healthcare professionals and legislators can’t look past the psychoactive side effects THC, CBD is quickly changing the debate around medical marijuana, even in South Africa.
Something that will undoubtedly become more prolific though is the availability of hemp extracted CBD only products that are currently taking the nation by storm as a result of the growing demand by consumers for non and low THC products. That these products may possibly be a poor fit for their ailments due to the complete lack of any THC or the accompanying Entourage Effect of cannabis’ many other companion components is something that is in large part being disregarded by people who are desperate for any solution. The guilt free nature of purchasing a CBD only product instead of an otherwise illegal cannabis oil extract appears to also be a significant factor for people who would prefer to avoid a drug dealer type experience or possible visit from the cops.
While this study is by no means the definitive answer to the cannabis and cancer debate, the fact that it’s a local study with promising results should force legislators, politicians and healthcare professionals alike to take notice and is therefore a big step forward in South African medical marijuana discourse.