Lukhele et al researched the effects Cannabis sativa and cannabidiol have on cervical cancer cell growth. Cannabidiol and Cannabis sativa showed an increase in cancer cell death. They looked at three types of cells involved in cervical cancer; HeLa, SiHa, and ME-180. Cannabis sativa and cannabidiol depleted ATP in the cervical cancer cells, showing anti-proliferation effects. Their work compared the effects of Cannabis sativa and cannabidiol to determine if cannabidiol is more effective than other compounds found in cannabis. Cannabis sativa can induce apoptosis with or without cell cycle arrest, while cannabidiol is able to induce apoptosis without cell cycle arrest (Lukhele et al., 2016)
Other researchers looked at the effects of endocannabinoids in protecting against cancer, specifically endometrial adenocarcinoma. The role of estrogens is particularly important in regulating cannabinoid receptor expression which is seen in both in vivo and in vitro studies with breast cancer tissue, melanomas, lymphomas, and many others. This is the first study to look at cannabinoids with endometrial tissue. The results show that endocannabinoids may present the basis in antitumor compounds as they can kill tumor cells without affecting the non-transforming parts of the endometrial cells. Specifically, CB2 receptors are significantly upregulated in the presence of malignant endometrial tissue, while it is absent in the stains of unaffected endometrial tissue of the same biopsy. This suggests a possible treatment for endometrial cancers (Guida et al., 2010).
Dr. Ramer and his team further supported the notion that treatment with cannabinoids has been shown to reduce invasiveness of cancer cells. Their study used aggressive cervical cancer HeLa cells as well as other human cervical (C33A) cancer cells in order to determine the mechanism by which cannabinoids induce an inhibitory effect on these cells. Specific tissue inhibitors (TIMP-1) of specific enzymes (MMPs) has been shown to effectively suppress vascular tumor growth and angiogenesis in animal models. This research came to the conclusion that TIMP-1 is stimulated by a cannabinoid receptor and mediates the anti-invasive effects of cannabinoids. The specific cannabinoids used in these procedures was THC and MA [R(+)-methanandamide]. Both cannabinoids decreased HeLa cell invasion in a time and concentration dependent manner, THC effects on cell invasion occurred at therapeutically relevant concentrations (68.1% HeLa inhibition, cancer pain reduction with oral doses 15 and 20 mg) (Ramer & Hinz, 2008).
Similar to their previous research, Ramer et al conducted another study that involved human cervical cancer, HeLa, cells. In this study, they specifically look at the possible benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) specifically as an agent for impairing invasion of the cancer cells. In the experiment, HeLa cells showed a diminished invasion within 24 hours of incubation with 10 µM cannabidiol, though invasiveness showed statistically significant decrease at doses as low as 0.01µM of cannabidiol. This study also utilized TIMP-1 as an important modulator with regards to anti-invasiveness effects of cannabidiol (Ramer, Merkord, Rohde, & Hinz, 2010).