History to Herstory
While practicing medicine in a cottage in Negril, Jamaica in the early 1990s, Dr. Travis made a simple but profound observation about the low prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Jamaica that correlated with the widespread use of cannabis in at-risk populations. Ultimately, he wrote the rationale for a successful R21NIH grant awarded in 2013 to test one hypothesis that non-psychoactive derivatives of THC could improve the barrier function of the vaginal tissue and provide the basis for protection against the acquisition of HIV. A post hoc independent analysis of the genomic data of the vaginal tissue (by a senior scientist at Qiagen) showed that the lead compounds
differentially regulated nearly three times as many genes as estrogen, which would account for the increased thickness and barrier function of the vaginal tissue. This analysis led to the issuance of a patent in 2021 for the non-hormonal treatment of the genitourinary syndrome of menopause. Recently completed studies validated the histological findings of the R21 grant and the genomic analysis and confirmed the choice of the lead compound by its ability to restore the thickness of the tissue lost by pre-treatment with progesterone to a greater extent than the other compounds tested. (See figure and table below).