By Emily Ledger
The effect of Cannabis on pain is becoming an increasingly popular subject for scientific research, with studies around the world hoping to add to the catalogue of evidence. Now, an Australian research study has found that women are turning to Cannabis to treat Endometriosis-induced pain.
What is Endometriosis?
Up to 1 in 10 women of reproductive age suffer from Endometriosis, according to researches. The condition occurs where tissue which lines the uterus – the endometrium – begins to grow outside the uterus. This tissue then acts in the same way it would inside the uterus. Every month, the tissue will build up, break down, and shed, causing the shed tissue to become trapped in the body.
The exact cause of endometriosis is still not fully understood. However, some scientists believe that it occurs when menstrual blood flows in the wrong direction. On the other hand, others think that it may be linked to environmental factors, like exposure to toxins.
Whatever the cause might be, the result can be extremely painful for some women who suffer from the condition. Many women experience the pain of endometriosis for years, before receiving a proper diagnosis.
How Could Cannabis Help to Treat Endometriosis?
With a relatively high number of women turning to Cannabis to treat pain caused by endometriosis, it begs the question: How does it work? Well, like anything ‘Cannabis’, the answer is usually quite complex and differs from person to person. Having said that, there are some theories.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) – a neurological system of neurons, receptors, and enzymes – is found distributed throughout the human body. The Endocannabinoid System helps to maintain balance in the body, including through the mediation of metabolism, inflammation, and immune function. Furthermore, the receptors of the ECS are particularly prevalent in the female reproductive system.
Most current research focuses on Cannabis’ effects on general pain, however, the high concentration of cannabinoid receptors in the female reproductive system gives reason to believe that Cannabis might be particularly effective when used to treat endometriosis-related pain.
Australian Women Turn to Cannabis for Endometriosis Pain Relief
A study by Australian media company SBS’s ‘insight’, found that 13% of 484 women surveyed, used Cannabis to manage their pain. While 70% reported using heat packs; 44% dietary changes; 42% exercise; 35% yoga or pilates.
However, Cannabis was reported as the most effective self-management technique for endometriosis-related pain.