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Endometriosis and Medical Marijuana

For endometriosis awareness week, we asked Dr. J the Pharmacist to discuss the disease and the potential benefits that medical marijuana can provide.  

Endometriosis is a common chronic inflammatory condition in women due to endometrial-like tissue being outside the uterus. It can occur in between five and eleven percent of reproductive age women and two to five percent of post-menopausal women.

Common symptoms include:
- Chronic pelvic pain fatigue
- Pain during sex
- Pain when going to the bathroom

In addition, conditions like anxiety, depression, and gastrointestinal diseases, such as IBS, are frequently reported. These symptoms can affect quality of life in many aspects such as socially, academically, sexually, and during work.

There have been a few studies done over the last 5-10 years that may suggest a dysfunction of the Endocannabinoid System playing a role in endometriosis, and that THC and CBD may help to restore normal growth. Products with higher CBD concentrations have been shown to be more effective in treating symptoms associated with endometriosis.

Terpenes

Terpenes important for symptom management are caryophyllene for its anti-inflammatory properties, myrcene may help relax gastrointestinal or uterine cramping, and limonene may help with anxiety, depression and nausea.

Recommended Usage

Vaporized, oral, and even topical products may provide relief for patients for many of the above symptoms. Pelvic pain may best be reduced using multiple products with vaporization providing more immediate relief whilst an oral product will be absorbed and metabolized for longer lasting effect. Mood and gastrointestinal symptoms appear to be most well controlled using oral formulations especially those higher in CBD concentrations. Suppositories may also provide localized relief for patients using either vaginally or rectally.