NOV 12, 2019 3:26 PM PST

Women Turn to Cannabis for Endometriosis Relief

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker

Pharmaceutical drugs aren’t doing the job for women with endometriosis pain, and cannabis seems to be an exceedingly popular alternative. As a chronic condition, endometriosis has no cure, but cannabis may be the best option for women looking to manage the symptoms and live a normal life.

"Past research has demonstrated that certain compounds within cannabis known as cannabinoids exert analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity,” explained lead author of new Australian Justin Sinclair. “Our research sought to determine the prevalence, tolerability, and self-reported effectiveness of cannabis in women with endometriosis."

When it comes to managing endometriosis, pain management is the name of the game. Whether it’s surgery for significant but temporary relief, hormone therapy with birth control pills or progesterone injections, or pain medications like opioids or NSAIDs (aspirin, ibuprofen), the best women can hope for is a little relief. According to 75% of women from a recent Australian study, the conventional approach wasn’t enough.

A group of Australian researchers surveyed 484 of Australian women with endometriosis between the ages of 18 and 45. The survey focused on one question: what strategies do you use to manage endometriosis symptoms? 75 percent reported using “self-management” strategies, like breathing techniques, yoga, dietary changes, heat, and - of course - cannabis.

In addition to providing pain relief, women using cannabis for endometriosis reported relief of symptoms relating to nausea and vomiting, gastrointestinal discomfort, sleep, anxiety, and depression. Additionally, women using cannabis for endometriosis were more likely to reduce medication use, potentially removing the risk of side effects or developing dependence (an important consideration when using opioid drugs).

Rated the most effective way to self-manage the symptoms of endometriosis by women who participated in the survey, cannabis use was associated with mild side effects, if associated at all. Medical cannabis use in Australia is currently regulated in such a way so that it is not currently available as a prescription to treat endometriosis pain, but “self-reported illicit” cannabis use is common.

Sources: NICM Health Research Institute, Journal of Obstetrics Gynaecology Canada, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
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