Can CBD Be Used for Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is painful and can cause many other health problems. Although endometrial growth is benign (noncancerous), it acts a lot like cancer. This — along with its ability to relieve pain — is why CBD may be one of the best ways to combat endometriosis.
While studies are just beginning to scratch the surface for both how endometriosis actually starts and how CBD affects it, women are already self-managing their endometriosis symptoms with cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD).
CBD for Pain
In a 2019 Gallup poll, of the 14 percent of Americans who reported using CBD, 40 percent said it was to treat pain (followed by 20 percent for anxiety and 11 percent for insomnia).
Ananda Hemp Full Spectrum CBD oil was recently used in a study that showed that CBD reduced opioid use and improved pain and sleep. Another study in 2019 found that cannabis improved chronic pelvic pain in women while reducing opioid use.
There are several full spectrum CBD products to help reduce the pain experienced by women with endometriosis, including CBD softgels, CBD tinctures, liposomal CBD, hemp CBD flower, and topicals—like salves, lotions, CBD roll ons, and intimate oils.
But research is beginning to suggest that CBD might be able to do more than treat the pain of endometriosis. In this article, we’ll take a look at what endometriosis is, how it affects women, how traditional endometriosis treatments fail, and how CBD may affect endometrial growth—similar to its effects on cancer growth.
What Is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a frequently painful condition that is a common health problem among women. Tissue similar to the endometrium – the lining of the uterus — inexplicably grows outside of the uterus and other areas of the body where it doesn’t belong.
There is nothing life-threatening about this tissue, itself. But, unfortunately, it does follow the program of your uterus tissue: every month, like the endometrium, it builds up, then breaks down and sheds.
The blood and tissue shed from this misplaced growth often become trapped in your body. As the pattern continues, it can become excruciating — triggering inflammation and scarring as your body struggles to reabsorb the dead material.
Where Does Endometriosis Grow?
Most often, endometriosis is found on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, tissues that hold the uterus in place, and the outer surface of the uterus.
Other sites for growths can include the vagina, cervix, vulva, bowel, bladder, or rectum. Rarely, endometriosis appears in other parts of the body, such as the lungs, brain, and skin.
Symptoms of Endometriosis
Symptoms of endometriosis can include:
- This is the most common symptom. The different kinds of pain women experience with endometriosis include:
- Bleeding or spotting between menstrual periods, although this can be caused by something other than endometriosis.
- Infertility,or not being able to get pregnant.
- Digestive problems, including diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or nausea, especially during menstrual periods.
- Anxiety and depression as a result of symptoms.
How Endometriosis Affects Women
An estimated 11 percent of American women between 15 and 44 are living with endometriosis symptoms like severe pain, fatigue, and nausea that profoundly disrupt their lives.
Endometriosis can happen in any girl or woman who has menstrual periods. However, it is more common in women in their 30s and 40s.
You might be more likely to get endometriosis if you have:
- Never had children
- Menstrual periods that last more than seven days
- Short menstrual cycles (27 days or fewer)
- A family member (mother, aunt, sister) with endometriosis
- A health problem that blocks the normal flow of menstrual blood from your body during your period
How Is Endometriosis Treated
There is no cure for endometriosis, which remains under-diagnosed. Treatment focuses on managing symptoms, but women too often report they can’t get symptoms under control with recommended medications (painkillers, hormonal birth control) or surgery.
Some women do find relief with alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, herbs like cinnamon twig or licorice root, or supplements, such as thiamine (vitamin B1), magnesium, or omega-3 fatty acids.
Recently, more and more women have reported treating endometriosis symptoms with cannabis and CBD. And it’s no wonder; CBD, especially, is not only an effective pain reliever, but may also be able to combat endometrial growth.
Endometriosis … Similar to Cancer
While endometriosis tissue is benign (noncancerous) the cells do act like cancer cells in many ways.
Scientists aren’t sure how endometriosis starts. Theories range from menstrual blood flowing in the wrong direction to environmental factors or toxins as the cause. But once the cells begin to grow and spread, they multiple and avoid the body’s defenses, much like cancer.
They also recruit blood veins to supply nutrients and remove waste products … like cancer.
Pain perception increases because the endometrial cells grow new nerve endings. And, once again, similar to cancer cells, endometriosis can migrate to other tissues in order to claim more territory — even taking back lost territory after surgery.
Because CBD has anti-cancer properties, it just might be the best treatment option for women suffering from endometriosis.
CBD for Cancer-like Behavior in the Body
Our ECS is charged with balancing our reproductive system. Both the uterus and the ovaries have a lot of cannabinoid receptors. Phytocannabinoids — cannabinoids from plants like cannabis and hemp — mimic the natural endocannabinoids in our bodies, which can be deficient or out of balance somehow.
Research indicates that cannabinoids could treat endometriosis by:
- Stopping cell proliferation — When certain cannabinoid receptors are activated — by endocannabinoids or phytocannabinoids — they can prevent cancer cells from multiplying (apoptosis). Research has shown that activating these receptors inhibits endometriotic tissue from proliferating in mice.
- Preventing cell migration — Endometriosis often comes back after surgery. CBD can stop endometriotic cells from migrating (by blocking the activation of the GPR18 receptor). But, THC activates this receptor and could potentially increase cell migration. Women who self-medicate with cannabis should keep this in mind.
- Inhibiting lesion vascularization (blood vessels) — Several studies have shown that THC and CBD can stop vascularization of cancerous lesions, effectively cutting of the food supply for endometriotic cells.
- Inhibiting lesion innervation (nerves) — Deep lesions with endometriosis can have higher concentration of nerves, which means more pain. Cannabinoids like CBD interfere with innervation by preventing activation of the CB1 receptor. THC, however, may activate it. This is when a full spectrum CBD oil or hemp flower would be preferred to high-THC cannabis or extracts.
- Blocking synthesis of inflammatory prostaglandins — CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects come with fewer of these side-effects that NSAIDs because it specifically inhibits COX-2 but not COX-1 enzymes.
- Modulating the immune response — THC is largely anti-inflammatory because it activates CB2 receptors. This is useful for out of control inflammation caused by an overactive immune system. Although, one must think carefully about depressing their immune system.
- Desensitizing nerves that transmit pain — When THC activates CB1 receptors in endometriotic growth, it can decrease pain. CBD also helps relieve feelings of pain through other ways like desensitizing the pain receptor TRPV1 or increasing anandamide levels.
Full Spectrum CBD to Treat Endometriosis
At The Hemp Haus, we only carry a select few high-quality brands that we trust. And we believe in full spectrum CBD for all the additional benefits that an ensemble of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, fatty acids, and more.
Hemp-derived full spectrum CBD has a negligent amount of THC, the legal amount of .3% or less.
Our brands come in many CBD forms to suit your lifestyle and needs. We carry Ananda Hemp Softgels and Tinctures, along with their topicals: Ananda Hemp Spectrum Salve 125, Ananda Touch Bliss Intimate Oil, Ananda Lotion and Roll On. For those who want potent, immediate relief for symptoms, we offer Puffin Hemp Liposomal CBD and Stardust Hemp CBD Flower.
The Nature’s Breakthrough educational resource is just one of the ways The Hemp Haus practices its sincere commitment to and passion for educating people about CBD and helping them find the right, high-quality product based on their needs.