Endometriosis is a common disease in which the tissue that is similar to the lining of the womb grows outside it in other parts of the body. Whilst endometriosis most often affects the reproductive organs it is frequently found in the bowel and bladder and has been found in muscle, joints, the lungs and the brain. This abnormal growth can cause extreme pain as well as menstrual irregularities.
According to statistics from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, “in 2016–17, there were around 34,200 endometriosis-related hospitalisations in Australia. This was a rate of 281 hospitalisations per 100,000 females or around 6 of every 1,000 hospitalisations among females in 2016–17.”
While traditional treatment includes excision surgery and hormones, the pain associated with endometriosis is often addressed by over the counter or prescribed narcotic pain medications. Unfortunately, while many people can find significant relief from this condition, which can last for several years or even be lifelong, many of these medications come with potentially dangerous side effects. This has many women looking for natural alternative ways to relieve their endometriosis-related symptoms, taking many down the path of cannabinoid therapies.
How Cannabis May Help Endometriosis Pain
The pain associated with endometriosis varies in many ways. Some experience pain after or during sexual intercourse, while others may feel increased cramps and abdominal pain before and during their menstrual cycle. Others suffer from pelvic and lower back pain regularly, and many have even reported painful bowel movements. Unfortunately, some women experience all of these in addition to other symptoms such as vomiting, irritability, and fainting.
Many traditional treatments for endometriosis are unsuccessful and only work at helping to address the symptoms and not the actual condition and underlying cause itself. Cannabis, however, has shown potential in offering treatment to mitigate the development of endometrial cells and tissue outside of the uterus.
The GPR 18 receptor, scientifically known as the N-arachidonoyl glycine receptor, works with cannabinoids found in cannabis and those produced naturally by our body. While some research shows that CBD can block the activation of this receptor in return, mitigating the growth of endometrial cells outside of the uterus, others have shown that THC can cause the same migration of cells by activating the receptor.
When it comes to relieving endometriosis-related pain, there are many ways that cannabis can help. THC has been shown to deactivate the nerves in endometrial cells through endocannabinoid receptors, while CBD can help desensitize the TRPV1 receptor in return, helping to reduce pain. CBD is also widely known as an anti-inflammatory compound and can aid in reducing inflammation, which reduces pain and is something every person with endometriosis longs for.
Ways to Use Cannabis When Targeting Endometriosis Pain
When choosing to utilize cannabis to target endometriosis-related pain, there are many options for patients. While inhalation may provide some immediate relief, many consumers and patients with endometriosis choose more targeted consumption methods to relieve their pain.
Topical products that can be applied to the lower back and abdomen are highly popular as you can use them directly in the area of concern rather than having cannabinoids spread throughout your body.
Innovative products such as THC and CBD infused suppositories, pessaries, and infused personal lubricants are also being sought after by those who live with endo pain regularly as they help distribute cannabinoids to the lower body first, the most common area for endometriosis pain. These products are not currently on market in Australia, but can be compounded specifically through Compounding Pharmacies after obtaining a valid prescription from an Australian doctor.
To learn more, click here to see our webinar with Qendo as we discuss all things endometriosis and medical cannabis.