Cannabis and CBD for Endometriosis
Endometriosis is a common condition experienced by women that can be debilitating in some cases. The condition is characterized by tissue overgrowth lining the uterus, called the endometrium. Side effects of endometriosis include chronic pelvic pain, painful menstrual periods (called dysmenorrhea), painful intercourse, gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea, constipation, and nausea.
The cause of endometriosis is unclear, and the diagnosis and treatment of this chronic condition may be difficult, partially because treatment options that work for one woman may not necessarily work for another. Although endometriosis cannot be cured, cannabis may be used to monitor and relieve symptoms.
Endometriosis is at risk for women of all ages. It usually affects women between 25 and 40 years of age, but at puberty, symptoms can start.
They may affect:
- the ovaries
- the fallopian tubes
- the peritoneum
- the lymph nodes
Normally, this tissue is expelled during menstruation, but this cannot be done by displaced tissue.
This causes physical symptoms, such as pain. As the lesions increase, they can affect the body’s functions. For example, the fallopian tubes can be blocked. Pain and other symptoms may affect various areas of life, including the ability to work, the cost of medical care, and the difficulty of maintaining relationships.
What is Endometriosis
Endometriosis is a condition that occurs outside your uterine cavity in tissue identical to the tissue that forms the lining of your uterus. The endometrium is the lining of your uterus.
Endometriosis occurs when your pelvis is filled with endometrial tissue on your ovaries, intestines, and tissues. Extending endometrial tissue beyond your pelvic region is unusual, but it is not impossible. As an endometrial implant, endometrial tissue developing outside your uterus is identified.
Your menstrual cycle’s hormonal changes affect the displaced endometrial tissue, causing inflammation and pain in the area. This means the tissue is growing, thickening and breaking down. Over time, the broken tissue doesn’t have to go anywhere and gets trapped in your pelvis.
This tissue trapped in your pelvis can cause:
- scar formation
- adhesions, in which tissue binds your pelvic organs together
- severe pain during your periods
- fertility problems
Endometriosis is a chronic condition that affects up to 10% of women. If you have this condition, you’re not alone.
Endometriosis has four stages or types. It can be any of the following:
- minimal – There are small lesions or wounds and shallow endometrial implants on your ovary in minimal endometriosis. There may also be inflammation in or around your pelvic cavity.
- Mild – Light lesions and shallow implants on an ovary and pelvic lining are associated with mild endometriosis.
- Moderate – Moderate endometriosis involves deep ovarian and pelvic lining implants. There may also be more lesions.
- Severe – The most serious stage of endometriosis involves deep implants on your pelvic lining and ovaries. There may also be lesions on your fallopian tubes and intestines.
Various factors determine the stage of the disorder. These factors may include the location, number, size, and depth of endometrial implants.
Here are some key points about endometriosis.
- Endometriosis affects between 6 and 10 percent of women of reproductive age worldwide.
- The condition appears to be present in a developing fetus, but estrogen levels during puberty are thought to trigger the symptoms.
- Symptoms are generally present during the reproductive years.
- Most women go undiagnosed, and in the U.S., it can take around 10 years to receive a diagnosis.
- Allergies, allergies, chemical sensitivities, autoimmune diseases, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, breast, and ovarian cancer are associated with endometriosis women and families.
Symptoms of Endometriosis
Endometriosis symptoms differ. Many people have mild symptoms, but others may experience moderate to severe symptoms. The pain’s frequency does not mean the condition’s degree or level. You may have a mild form of illness yet experience agonizing pain. You may also have a severe form and have very little discomfort.
Pelvic pain is the most common symptom of endometriosis. You may also have the following symptoms:
- painful periods / Severe menstrual cramps, unrelieved with NSAIDs
- pain in the lower abdomen before and during menstruation
- cramps one or two weeks around menstruation
- heavy menstrual bleeding or bleeding between periods
- Periods lasting longer than 7 days
- pain following sexual intercourse
- discomfort with bowel movements / Bloody stool or urine
- lower back pain that may occur at any time during your menstrual cycle
- Spotting or bleeding between periods
- Nausea and vomiting
You may also have no symptoms. It’s important to get regular gynecological exams to allow your gynecologist to track any changes, particularly if you have two or more symptoms.
How Cannabis Can Help Relieve the Symptoms of Endometriosis
Many people also believe that by producing a euphoric brain-buzz cannabinoids dull pain — but relaxation & relief are topical items with little or no psychoactive effect. And in addition to pain, there may be legitimate medical reasons for vaginally using cannabinoids to help relaxation and healing. Although many people are already familiar with the pain-relieving effects of CBD and THC, scientists have found numerous ways that cannabis and hemp extracts may actually target the root causes of different conditions — including endometriosis.
Research indicates that cannabinoids could treat endometriosis by:
- Stopping cell proliferation
- Preventing cell migration
- Inhibiting lesion vascularization (blood vessels)
- Inhibiting lesion innervation (nerves)
- Blocking the synthesis of inflammatory prostaglandins
- Modulating the immune response
- Desensitizing nerves that transmit pain
If you have been diagnosed with endometriosis, you probably already know that there is no treatment at the moment. The therapies provided by doctors — including painkillers, hormone therapy, and invasive surgical procedures — are designed to keep endometriosis in check. And at that, they’re still unreliable.
This is why many women are looking for therapeutic solutions to resolve their recurring symptoms – by diet and other changes in lifestyle – and to integrate cannabinoids (such as CBD and THC) into their daily care.
Medical cannabis treatment for Endometriosis
Women around the world use cannabis and hemp extracts to treat endometriosis, menstrual cramps, and other gynecological complications — and they have been using them for thousands of years. THC and CBD have been shown to be effective treatments with relatively few side effects over the past few decades.
The recent discovery that the natural endocannabinoid system of the body is central to the healthy functioning of the female reproductive tract is one reason scientists are optimistic about these compounds. In addition, imbalances in these neurotransmitters are often associated with reproductive problems and diseases — like endometriosis — and it seems that careful use of Phytocannabinoid supplements, subjects, and suppositories could make a huge difference in the underlying imbalance.
There is no known cure for endometriosis. Treatment focuses on symptom management while attempting to prevent endometriosis from spreading. Doctors usually suggest one or more of the following three treatment options:
NSAIDs such as Advil are one of the most commonly prescribed endometriosis remedies. NSAIDs function by inhibiting certain enzymes (known as COX-2) that lead to inflammation. Unfortunately, NSAIDs thin your blood and can have gastrointestinal side effects because they also inhibit other enzymes (such as COX-1). It turns out that the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD come with less of these side effects because it inhibits COX-2 directly, but not COX-1.
To women who surgically extract their endometriotic lesions, a troubling issue is that endometriosis still returns. Recently, however, scientists have found that endocannabinoids are involved in regulating cell migration. It turns out that molecules such as CBD can stop the migration of endometriotic cells (by blocking the GPR18 receptor activation). Nevertheless, molecules such as THC that stimulate this receptor can potentially increase the migration of cells. It means women who are self-medicating with THC should consider counterbalancing their CBD effects.
Researchers are still uncovering the various ways that cannabinoids such as CBD and THC can have an effect on endometriosis, so standardized medical advice might be years away. Until then, careful self-experimentation is the best way to determine the optimal combination of cannabinoids to compliment your current treatment with endometriosis.
As always, make sure to consult with a trusted medical professional before you make any changes to your endometriosis treatment.