Can cannabis-based treatments be effective for painful menstruation and endometriosis?

26th August 2021

Israeli researchers are running a trial to probe cannabis-based medicines for some of the most severe and painful gynaecological conditions women have to live with.

According to NoCamels, they will test cannabis-based pharmacological products that are believed to have active ingredients that might be able to ease painful medical conditions, such as dysmenorrhea, endometriosis, or painful menstruation.

As NoCamels reports, endometriosis often takes six to 10 years to be properly diagnosed and there is no guarantee that current treatment options will ever work.

Similarly, it is estimated that dysmenorrhea has a prevalence rate of between 45% and 93% in women of reproductive age.

Gynica co-founder and CEO Yotam Hod said: “There are so many gaps in how conditions that affect women are handled by the medical community and the scientific community.

“The startup is looking to step in with proprietary vaginal suppositories that Hod says should help “reduce pain but also inflammation, which is a critical factor in both endometriosis and dysmenorrhea.”

The researchers at Gynica, the company behind the trial, believe that these severe medical conditions may be linked to a “deficiency in the endocannabinoid system” – the system that regulates processes, such as pain, memory, mood, appetite or sleep.

Pharmacist and cannabis expert Dr Codi Peterson told No Camels: “Like everywhere else in the body, the ECS plays a complex homeostatic role in the female reproductive tract.

“In the ovaries, the ECS plays an important feedback role, often leading to decreased levels of hormones like luteinizing hormone and the ECS therefore ebbs and flows with the female menstrual cycle.

“There is a connection between the ECS and the estrogen/hormonal system as well. The endocannabinoids produced in the ovaries may even have system action, altering female hormones all around the body and brain via the hypothalamus-pituitary axis.”

NoCamels reports that Gynica is now gearing up for two significant developments: the first is a joint clinical trial that will study the effects of Gynica’s proposed cannabis-based vaginal suppositories on people with dysmenorrhea.

The second is the establishment of a dedicated production line for the suppositories using raw medical cannabis materials to be followed by additional products such as cannabis-based lubricants to help with painful intercourse or dyspareunia.

Dr Peters added: “There are CB1 and CB2 [receptors] all around the reproductive tract. it’s also highly filled with nerves, which also express lots of CB receptors.

“There is a lot of reason to this that topical/local application could be helpful. This delivery form may help to deliver cannabinoids to the target tissues without systemic exposure.”

The trials are expected to be begin in early 2022.

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