What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a very painful condition where the tissue that lines the uterus can mistakenly grow outside of the uterus, resulting in the development of endometrial tissue on the ovaries, fallopian tubes and other abdominal locations.
For the 5-10% of women who suffer from endometriosis, life is significantly challenging. Most are afraid of the effect endometriosis will have on their fertility, or bladder, bowels, overall health and even relationships. This constant state of worry can exacerbate their anxiety, depression and pain, impacting their quality of life.
The pain of Endometriosis has been described, as a biting, sharp prolonged pain, much like being on your period, but during your actual Period (or shark week, as it’s commonly known) feels 50 times worse. The pain is debilitating and leads to many women needing to take time off work and missing important life events.
Women with endometriosis typically suffer from these symptoms:
- painful periods
- pain during intercourse
- pelvic pain
- heavy bleeding
- ovulation pain
- pain that radiates to their lower back or thighs
- bowel symptoms – e.g. diarrhoea, pain when passing stools
- bladder symptoms – e.g. pain when urinating
- reduced fertility
- nausea, lethargy, and difficulty sleeping
- premenstrual symptoms.
Most women suffer the pain and other symptoms for years before being diagnosed with Endo
Endometriosis is often treated with medicines as a first-line treatment. Some women also benefit from alternative therapies. The main symptom – pain, is often treated with pain-relieving drugs (paracetamol, ibuprofen etc), and hormonal treatments that suppress ovulation and menstruation. Surgery can be used to remove or burn the endometrioses and sadly in some cases require complete removal of the uterus and/or ovaries.
However, more often than not, medications and hormonal treatments can be ineffective and come with side-effects, that may not ‘fix’ the issue. Although effective for the majority of women, surgery and the corresponding anaesthetic comes with its own risks, and not all endometriosis cases can be effectively treated this way.
How Medical Marijuana may be able to help?
A study published in the Journal of Obstetrics Gynaecology Canada found that one in eight Australian women with endometriosis, who use cannabis to alleviate pain and other symptoms, rate the plant-based medicine as the most effective way to manage the disorder. The women in the study reported that along with the reduction of pain, they felt Medical Cannabis Treatment significantly reduced other symptoms such as; nausea, gastrointestinal symptoms, insomnia and feelings of depression and anxiety while reporting very low side effects (One in ten reported undesirable effects such as drowsiness, rapid heartbeat, or increased anxiety).
Other side effects that Medical Cannabis may have are:
CBD has a narrow side effect profile. Some reported side effects of Cannabidiol include dry mouth, low blood pressure, light-headedness, and drowsiness, however, these are very uncommon.
Patients with autoimmune disorders or those who suffer from a lot of allergies could have a negative response from carrier oil or capsule container. In those cases, CBD Isolate (which is 99% pure CBD) would be a better form to try CBD.
Signs of liver injury have also been reported in some patients, but this is very uncommon.
Side effects from CBD are very uncommon but they might include dry mouth, nausea or even allergy to the carrier oil in the CBD. We also look for other interactions with other medications, most commonly the P450 metabolism medications.
THC is a psychotropic Cannabinoid and the side effects include increased heart rate, dizziness, drowsiness, impaired short-term memory, dry mouth, nausea, anxiety, increased appetite and euphoria.
The paper, Cannabis use, a self-management strategy among Australian women with endometriosis: results from a national online survey, is available online at Journal of Obstetrics Gynaecology Canada.
Disclaimer: This is not an inducement to use Medicinal Cannabis. Medical Cannabis doesn’t work for everyone, and it may not work for you. How Cannabis affects a person depends on many things, including their size, weight, age and health, dosage and tolerance, and the results can vary. Some people may experience side effects when taking Cannabinoid medication. The information provided by CDA Clinics is for educational and informational purposes only. For medical advice, please check with your doctor and request a referral.