Endometriosis and Cannabis – Is the weed helpful?

Endometriosis – An overview

Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue that normally lines the womb (endometrium) grows outside the uterus, usually in the pelvis around the womb, ovaries and fallopian tubes. It is a very common condition, affecting around 1 in 10 women. The chances of endometriosis are high in case your sister or mother had it.  This medical disorder is prevalent in women during their reproductive years. This progressive disease is a long-term condition that can have a harmful and a long-lasting impact on the general physical health, emotional wellbeing and daily routine.

Life is quite challenging for the five – ten percent of women experiencing endometriosis. As they experience constant pain and inflammation for years before they get diagnosed for this disease — and it could even get worse in some women following the prescribed treatments.

Causes

  • Unknown
  • Genetic factors
  • Hormones
  • Nutrition, toxin exposure and lifestyle factors
  • Problems with menstrual period flow
  • Surgery – during a surgery that involves opening into the cavity of the uterus

Endometriosis – Symptoms

  • Infertility or difficulty getting pregnant
  • Severe menstrual cramps
  • Diarrhoea, constipation or nausea
  • Painful intercourse
  • Chronic lower back, abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Painful urination or bowel movements

Effects of endometriosis

  • It can block the fallopian tube when growths cover the ovaries or directly affects the tubes
  • It can cause inflammations, scar tissues, pain and adhesions
  • It can cause problems in intestines and the bladder

Endometriosis- Diagnosis

  • MRI
  • Laparoscopy
  • Ultrasonography

Endometriosis Treatment

The medical condition – Endometriosis has no known cure. However, several treatments methods and therapies are available to reduce the symptoms and to prevent the endometriosis from spreading. Some of the treatments available include;

  • Painkillers — Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) – ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) and analgesics are helpful for women in coping with the painful symptoms of endometriosis, but do not inhibit the progression of the disease.
  • Hormones — Hormone therapy, is sometimes prescribed by the doctor that is helpful in alleviating endometriosis symptoms by minimizing the quantity and/or strength menstrual cycles. However, it is not always effective as some females do not respond nicely to this kind of treatment.
  • Surgery —In some cases, women undergo surgery to remove the misplaced endometrial tissue. The removal of this tissue offers lot of relief from endometriosis symptoms. However, the relief does not last for long in many cases because of the reoccurrence. 

Natural strategies to prevent endometriosis

  • Balance blood sugar levels
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin D
  • Milk thistle
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Correct hormonal imbalances
  • Anti-inflammatory healing diet
  • Berberine
  • Essential oils
  • Castor oil packs
  • Turmeric
  • Zinc
  • N-Acetyle Cysteine (Glutathione)

Another useful treatment which has come into notice in the recent years is Cannabis which is being used by many women to treat chronic pain and inflammation caused due to endometriosis.

Some ways, cannabis may be helpful in treating endometriosis include;

  • Treatment for chronic pain
  • Blocking cell migration
  • Preventing lesion vascularization (blood vessels)
  • Preventing lesion innervation (nerves)
  • Inhibiting synthesis of inflammatory prostaglandins
  • Modulating the immune response
  • Desensitizing nerves that transmit pain

How is Puffing on Indo helpful in treating Endo?

  • Cannabis may be helpful in preventing cell proliferation

Usually, the human body consists of such tools that inhibit any unwanted growth of unusual or aberrant cells. These tools destroy those atypical cells (apoptosis), before these could become a cause of any potential problem. However, apoptosis (a form of programmed cell death) is usually damaged in women suffering from endometriosis. 

The endometrium comprises of cannabinoid receptors (Cannabinoid receptors, part of the endocannabinoid system, are of a class of cell membrane receptors in the G protein-coupled receptor superfamily) which fluctuate based on a woman’s menstrual cycle.

Certain imbalances in the endocannabinoid system (a complex cell-signalling system) results in endometriosis. Cannabis may be helpful in activating these receptors and in stopping endometriotic tissue from multiplication. It is also an option for managing pain because it is non-addictive, natural, and still effective in improving quality of life. This is why many women experiencing endometriosis self-medicate using weed.

  • Cannabinoids may be helpful in calming an Overactive Immune System

Cannabis has been identified to be helpful in modulating the immune system. Body’s peripheral receptor for cannabinoids – CB2 are found on the macrophages (large white blood cell that are critical for our immune system.). Cannabis prevents the release of cytokines (inflammatory proteins) from macrophages, by activation of these receptors. 

Women experiencing this disorder called endometriosis become hypersensitive to inflammatory signals and toxins. However, cannabis activates CB2 receptors, which controls inflammation caused by an overactive immune system. 

  • CBD may be beneficial in preventing cell migration

Endometriosis is a recurring disorder. when endometriotic lesions are removed surgically, the likelihood of their reoccurrence increases. Several scientific studies claim that endocannabinoids (endogenous ligands of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2)) are involved in regulation of cell-migration. Cannabis may be helpful in blocking the activation of GPR18 receptor – G protein-coupled receptor 18 (GPR18), that in humans is encoded by the GPR18 gene, thereby preventing the endometriotic cells from migrating. 

  • Cannabis may be helpful in relieving pain

Cannabis many be extremely beneficial in easing the symptoms of chronic pelvic pain (including nausea, painful periods and gastrointestinal issues), 

  • Cannabis offers symptom relief without a psychoactive effect

Endometriosis patients experience the natural high that comes with cannabis use without a psychoactive effect. Micro dosing (2.5mg to 20mg) of pure CBD may be really beneficial for women not looking for a heavy high. 

Takeaway

Unfortunately, just like the reproductive disorder – endometriosis, marijuana (cannabis or weed) based treatment requires more comprehensive research. So far, the scientific and research studies have indicated that using cannabis for treatment of several diseases and disorders like endometriosis is a safe and effective treatment. However, doctors and specialists show reluctance and hesitancy in recommending cannabis. But rest assured, it is completely safe for women with endometriosis to explore the healing powers of the medicinal weed.

To sum up, medicinal cannabis (marijuana), because of its potential to soothe inflammation, may be helpful to women with this disease to improve their quality of life.

References

https://drjockers.com/endometriosis-causes-natural-treatments/

https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/health/2018/04/women-with-endometriosis-quietly-turning-to-cannabis-for-pain-relief.html

https://www.medicinenet.com/endometriosis/article.htm

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/149109.php

https://www.healthline.com/health/endometriosis

https://www.leafly.com/news/health/cannabis-and-endometriosis-research

https://www.green-flower.com/articles/health/surprising-facts-about-cannabis-and-endometriosis

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