What is the Cervix? What are Associated Health Concerns?
The cervix is the narrow passage forming the lower end of the uterus. The cervix is composed of strong muscles and it is involved with menstruation, intercourse, pregnancy and childbirth. Common conditions that can affect the cervix include inflammation, cancer and polyps. Early detection through regular exams is key as many cervical conditions do not present early stage symptoms.
The American Cancer Society estimates that 13,170 women will be diagnosed and 4,250 women will die from cervical cancer. Most of the diagnoses happen between the ages of 35-44, but 15% of cases are found in women over the age of 65. Hispanic women are more likely to develop this cancer, whereas Native American and Alaskan natives have the lowest risk in the United States. HPV (human papillomavirus) is the highest risk of developing cervical cancer. HPV is compromised of over 150 related viruses. In other countries, like Africa, there are extremely high diagnosis rates and deaths. Urgent methods of treatment are being sought in regards to cervical cancer. One of the options being tested and evaluated is the use of CBD in cancer treatments.
What is CBD?
CBD (cannabidiol) is a cannabinoid compound derived from the hemp plant. The hemp plant contains the highest concentration of CBD. Cannabinoids fuel a physiological system in the body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS’s primary function is to create homeostasis, or internal balance. There are two receptor sites, CB-1 and CB-2, which work with a variety of other systems. The ECS is responsible for functions like sleep, balanced mood, pain, inflammation and immune system. Cannabidiol is a popular choice as it is considered to be “non-psychoactive,” meaning it doesn’t effect mental processes.
How is CBD Supporting Cervical Health?
The journal of Biochemical Pharmacology released an article in 2010 that found that CBD “impaired the invasion” of both cervical and lung cancers in humans. Essentially, the cancer progression was effectively slowed to prevent the spread of the disease. Early detection of cervical cancer often leads to the successful removal of it. A 2016 study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine supported the previous research that cannabidiol stopped cell growth and caused cell death in cervical cancer cells. Cannabis was also used in the study and it was concluded that CBD was more effective in comparison.
Aside from these promising results, CBD was found to be gentle and can help to alleviate symptoms that can occur during treatments like chemotherapy. In trying to fight off the cancerous cells, the body can attack itself. Normal, healthy cells can be damaged during chemotherapy which can lead to complications in the heart, kidneys, lungs and nervous system. Common side effects include fatigue, infection, nerve and muscle issues, problems with cognitive function and imbalanced moods. By replenishing the ECS with cannabinoids, like CBD, the system can maintain balance during difficult treatments.