Cannabis and Endometriosis
Cannabis and endometriosis is a topic of heavy discussion in the medical community. Endometriosis affects many lives across the world, and research shows that cannabis could potentially help. Let’s explore the potential benefits of using cannabis for endometriosis, as well as what further research needs to be done on the topic. March is National Endometriosis Awareness Month so it’s a great time to educate ourselves on different ways we can help treat this debilitating condition.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a medical condition that occurs when the endometrial tissue lining the uterus grows outside of the uterus, such as on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or other pelvic organs. This tissue can cause inflammation, pain, and scarring. It affects about 1 in 10 women, which is roughly 176 million women worldwide.
How is Endometriosis Treated?
The treatment of endometriosis varies. It depends on the severity of the symptoms, the patient’s age, and their desire to conceive. Some common treatments include pain medication, hormone therapy, and surgery. Pain medication such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help relieve pain and discomfort, but come with harmful side effects.
Hormone therapy such as birth control pills or progesterone is often used to regulate the menstrual cycle and reduce the growth of endometrial tissue, which may cause other hormone-related problems. Surgery is typically reserved for severe cases or when other treatments have failed and may involve removing endometrial tissue or even the uterus and ovaries.
Can Cannabis Help Endometriosis? Research
While there is limited research on the use of marijuana for endometriosis specifically, some studies have suggested that cannabis may help alleviate symptoms of endometriosis. The cannabinoids in cannabis interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system to produce various effects benefiting patients with endometriosis.
Research on Cannabis and Endometriosis
One scientific study, published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, found that women with endometriosis who used cannabis reported reduced pain and increased quality of life compared to those who did not use cannabis.
“Self-reported effectiveness in pain reduction was high (7.6 of 10), with 56% also able to reduce pharmaceutical medications by at least half.”
Another study researching the impact of cannabis consumption on pelvic pain and related symptoms associated with endometriosis found that cannabinoids may be effective in reducing the common symptom of endometriosis.
“Cannabis appears to be effective for pelvic pain, gastrointestinal issues and mood, with effectiveness differing based on method of ingestion.”
Although these findings on marijuana and endometriosis are positive, it is important to note that it is not a cure for endometriosis and may not be effective for everyone. Additionally, cannabis use can have potential side effects and can interact with other medications. Individuals considering using cannabis to manage their endometriosis symptoms should speak with their healthcare provider and carefully consider any risks and benefits.
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