Women's Health

Is cannabis helpful against endometriosis?

There is no doubt about the medicinal properties of cannabis. Its use against pain management is helpful in several diseases and conditions. Incase if endometriosis the effect of cannabis isn’t just management related. Typical medicines can only treat the symptoms. On the other side, cannabis has a lot more to offer.

Endometriosis is the condition when the endometrium, proliferates outside of the uterus. Under normal conditions endometrium thickens on the inside of uterus in preparation for the conception of the zygote. The abnormal outer growth of the cells causes excruciating pain in the lower back, abdomen and pelvic area. Intercourse and urination are often also painful.

This tissue is not shed unlike in normal menstruation. It has a web-like appearance and wraps itself around abdominal organs. In advanced stages, the body experiences a condition called frozen pelvis.

Treatments available for endometriosis

Treatment available for this condition is not a permanent cure. Instead, it only manages or suppresses symptoms, especially unbearable pain. The current treatment options are birth control pills and painkillers.

Birth control pills maintain the steady balance of hormones by suppressing ovulation. It masks the symptoms of endometriosis. The symptoms return within six to twelve months if the patient doesn’t follow the treatment until the end. Thus, it is only a temporary treatment. Moreover, many women may experience adverse effects as well. It decreases fertility by suppressing ovulation.

Also read- Are we Edging Closer to Understanding the Chronic Endometriosis Condition?

The second line of treatment includes NSAIDS and opioids. Both of them are used for short term pain management. Prolonged use of both of the medicines comes with side effects. Long term use of NSAIDS affects the acid secretions of the stomach, consequently affecting the stomach lining, causing bleeding and ulcers. Opioids can lead to dependence and addiction, which is why this line of treatment is often not recommended.

How do Cannabis works?

Unlike traditional treatment, cannabis can cure the condition by working with the endocannabinoid system (ESC). Cannabis’ CBD balance the ESC and prevent the migration of the endometrial cells to the peritoneum. These cells divide like cancer. There is evidence that cannabis doesn’t allow the endometrial cells to proliferate there.

In fighting the pain, the magic of THC comes in. THC interacts with the pain receptors of the endometrium and desensitizes them. Thus, it doesn’t work merely by distracting the body from the pain. THC is also known to take down the inflammation. Lesser the inflammation, lesser the pain will be.

The use of cannabis also improves the overall tone of ESC. This is helpful in the management of secondary symptoms of endometriosis. However, managing secondary risk factors along with cannabis are more effective. These factors include the intake of a healthy balanced diet (elimination diets are proven affective), avoiding stress, weight management and avoid being overweight, with no to low consumption of alcohol. An overall healthy lifestyle is a win-win situation.

There hasn’t been a whole cure for endometriosis. Researchers are still in the middle of understanding the disease completely. Until the actual ‘cure’, cannabis can be a savior.


Areeba Hussain

The author is a fulltime medical and healthcare writer. She graduated in Medical Microbiology and Immunology with distinction. Her areas of prime interest are medicine, medical technology, disease awareness, and research analysis. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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