Hemp May be Future Treatment for Ovarian Cancer, However Expectant Mothers Should Reconsider Marijuana Use During Pregnancy
Node Smith, ND
With the increase in legalization of marijuana, especially for recreational use, in states such as Washington, Oregon, California, and Colorado, there has been a notable increase in its use during pregnancy. The actual use may not have changed significantly, though the degree of openness about the previously illegal substance is likely to account for this perceived increase of use during pregnancy. The Colorado School of Public Health has recently shown that prenatal marijuana use was associated with a fifty percent (50%) increase in likelihood of a low birth weight.1
Prenatal marijuana use was associated with a fifty percent (50%) increase in likelihood of a low birth weight
Low birth weight is an acknowledged risk factor for future health problems, as well as an increased risk of infantile infections and more time spent in Neonatal Intensive Care Units.
Study looked at data of over 3,000 women from the Colorado Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System
The study looked at data of over 3,000 women from the Colorado Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System – a database of information collected between 2014-2015. The prevalence of marijuana use in the state was noted to be 5.7 percent during pregnancy and 5 percent while breastfeeding. Within this group, there was a fifty percent increased risk of low birth weight regardless of concomitant tobacco use. Marijuana use during the prenatal period was 3-4 times higher in women who were white, less educated, younger and unmarried.
Marijuana use during pregnancy has increased as much as 62 percent between 2002 and 2014
The authors of the study comment that “[t]here is increased availability, increased potency and a vocal pro-cannabis advocacy movement that may be creating a perception that marijuana is safe to use during pregnancy.” A National Survey on Drug Use and Health has suggested that marijuana use during pregnancy has increased as much as 62 percent between 2002 and 2014.
Data clearly demonstrates a need for screening for marijuana use during the prenatal consultation period
Despite the need to account for questions of administration route, and also amount of usage, this data clearly demonstrates a need for screening for marijuana use during the prenatal consultation period. Education about the inhalation of combustible substances may also be a worthwhile starting place while further research is conducted on effects of various routes of administration of cannabis.
Hemp and Ovarian Cancer
Two initial studies on Hemp’s effect on ovarian cancer were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in San Diego, April 21-25. The studies may be among the first to look at hemp’s role in the future of oncology, and using plant-based treatments for ovarian cancer.
Hemp, in the same family as marijuana, is not psychoactive and does not cause addiction
Hemp is in the same family as marijuana, though it is not psychoactive and does not cause addiction. It does contain the same endocannabinoids as marijuana, though at different ratios. Hemp has not received the same therapeutic attention as marijuana.
Migration could be controlled in a dose-dependent fashion
One of the studies looked at the ability of a hemp derived product (a hemp extract) and slowed cell migration of ovarian cancer cells. It was seen that migration could be controlled in a dose-dependent fashion. This indicates that a hemp derived extract may be helpful in reducing risk of metastasis.
A second study looked at ovarian cancer cells and how their inflammatory cytokines were altered after administration of the hemp extract. Interleukin IL-1 beta secretion was seen to significantly reduce in the presence of the extract. IL-1 beta is an inflammatory cytokine that is thought to be linked to cancer progression.
- TL Crume, AL Juhn, A Brooks-Russell et al. Cannabis Use During the Perinatal Period in a State With Legalized Recreational and Medical Marijuana: The Association Between Maternal Characteristics, Breastfeeding Patterns, and Neonatal Outcomes.J Pediatr. 2018 Mar 28. pii: S0022-3476(18)30181-1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2018.02.005. [Epub ahead of print]
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Node Smith, ND, is a naturopathic physician in Portland, OR and associate editor for NDNR. He has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine among the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend camp-out where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Four years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision.