How Medical Marijuana Can Help Endometriosis
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a debilitating condition where the tissue lining in a woman’s uterus grows outside of the uterus. It affects about 11% of the female population in the United States. Typically, during a period a woman sheds the endometrial tissue that is built up during the hormonal cycle. With endometriosis, this web-like tissue grows outside of the uterus so it is unable to be shed. It wraps itself around the organs and in extreme cases can even cause organs to fuse together.
Since this tissue can’t shed from the body, it causes extremely painful periods for women. This pain is much more severe than average menstrual cramps. Since the tissue spreads to other areas of the body, endometriosis also causes chronic pain in the back, abdomen and pelvic area and painful intercourse, urination or bowel movements. Many experience trouble getting pregnant and studies have shown an increased rate of ovarian cancer.
How is endometriosis treated?
Below are the common ways in which endometriosis is treated:
Hormonal birth control
Surgical removal of the tissue
All of these options have their own side effects and may or may not work depending on each individual. Taking hormonal birth control can have adverse side effects and also not helpful for women planning a family. Pain medication can cause stomach damage and even addiction. Surgical removal of the tissue is great until the tissue grows back and is also an intense surgery.
How can medical marijuana help endometriosis?
The common methods of treating endometriosis are usually a quick fix that only masks the symptoms, leading those struggling with endometriosis looking for better ways to combat symptoms. This is where medical marijuana can help! Cannabis interacts with the endocannabinoid system throughout the body, which has even been shown to actually treat endometriosis.
With endometriosis, cells multiply which makes it difficult to treat. There has been some recent research showing that medical marijuana can help halt the multiplication of these cells. There have been other findings that indicate that THC actually increases migration of cells outside of the uterus.
One of the best ways that medical marijuana can help with endometriosis is as a pain reliever. For women with, menstrual pain lasts much longer than the typical 2-7 days and is much more extreme. For many patients, it is debilitating. THC is a natural pain reliever that deactivates nerves in the endometrial cells.. CBD also helps women with endometriosis by assisting in the desensitization of pain receptors in the body. It also is an anti-inflammatory which helps lower nerve irritation and therefore lowers pain.