Genital warts are common and are caused by certain types of HPV. Genital warts can be annoying, but they are treatable and are not dangerous.
You get genital warts from having skin-to-skin contact with someone who’s infected, often during vaginal, anal, and oral sex. Genital warts can be spread even if no one cums, and a penis does not have to go inside a vagina or anus to get them. You can spread them even when you do not have any visible warts or other symptoms, though that is less common. You can also pass genital warts to a baby during vaginal childbirth, but that is pretty rare.
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Genital warts are different from warts you might get elsewhere on your body. So you can not get genital warts by touching yourself (or a partner) with a wart that is on your hand or foot.
Genital warts show up on the skin around your genitals and anus. They are caused by certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV). You might have heard that some types of HPV can cause cancer, but they are not the same kinds that give you genital warts.
HPV can be a tricky STD to understand. It is the most common STD, but most of the time it goes away on its own. Sometimes certain types of “high-risk” HPV can develop into cancer if left untreated. Other “low-risk” types of HPV can cause warts on your vulva, vagina, cervix, rectum, anus, penis, or scrotum. Genital warts are common – about 360,000 people get them each year.
Citing the same method of apoptosis, researchers found that CBD could be considered anticarcinogenic for cervical cancer. The data further illustrated that, “cannabidiol rather than cannabis sativa crude extracts prevent cell growth and induced cell death in cervical cancer cell lines.” Could cannabis hurt head and neck cancers while CBD kills cancer cells in the cervix?
Kellie Lease Stecher, MD, a gynecologist in Edina, a suburb of Minneapolis, Minn. believes both studies highlight the importance of ongoing research. “While marijuana use is climbing due to legality, more studies must be done to look at the HPV’s DNA and how each strand is effected by CBD or marijuana,” Stecher explained. “Further studies should examine how HPV expression is altered by marijuana or its components in different tissues; as we don’t have enough data to determine if CBD or THC is helpful or harmful due to conflicting data.”
In the study, Califano III cited that THC turned on the p38 MAPK, (protein that respond to stress or other stimuli) and while the protein was signaled on, HPV-positive head and neck cancer lost apoptosis (a form of cell death.) Meaning, THC seemed to ignite the protein that allowed HPV to continue growing at an alarming rate. Citing the study as a, “cautionary tale,” Califano III is now heading a study to see if CBD has the same effect.
Understanding HPV’s infectivity
Photo by Joe Raedle/Staff/Getty Images
Additionally, in 2014, Penn State further researched earlier findings, discovering that unless a special method of cleaning instruments (autoclaving) or bleach was present, HPV was persistent on surfaces and was able to be transmitted. While still cited as a “sexually-transmitted infection,” HPV appears to be anything but.
While once thought to only be contracted through sexual conduct, studies in the last two decades have showcased that HPV can live on surfaces. A 2002 study, published in the British Medical Journal found HPV DNA could live in a clinical environment, without skin-to-skin contact. A more recent and in-depth study, featured in Taylor & Francis Online , found that when comparing the bovine papillomavirus with the human papillomavirus, both showed a remarkable ability to retain a 50% infectivity at room temperature after 3 days.
Often called the common cold of the sexual world, the Centers for Disease Control states that HPV has infected over 79 million individuals worldwide. Both prevalent and highly contagious, HPV tends to thrive on porous skin located in the throat, anal cavity, cervix and tongue, making it extremely difficult to test and eradicate around the world.