People who suffer from endometriosis become hypersensitized to inflammatory toxins and signals. Fortunately, THC activates CB2 receptors , which is a large contributor to THC’s anti-inflammatory properties. This is useful for out of control inflammation caused by an overactive immune system — though depressing the immune system isn’t always desirable.
Nerves that innervate endometriotic lesions can increase the pain of endometriosis. These nerves also contain endocannabinoid receptors (CB1) , and when THC activates this receptor it can help decrease pain.
But which cannabinoids have which effects?
Cannabinoids Calm An Overactive Immune System
This is why many endometriosis sufferers are seeking holistic approaches to deal with their recurrent symptoms – through diet and other lifestyle changes – and incorporating cannabinoids (like CBD and THC) into their treatment routines.
However the initial cells arrive , once they are there, they grow and spread (similar to cancer cells) by somehow multiplying and avoiding destruction by the body’s security force. They recruit blood veins to supply nutrients and remove waste products (also like cancer), and they grow new nerve endings that increase pain perception. Also similar to cancer cells, endometriosis can migrate to other tissues in order to claim more territory — even reclaiming lost territory after surgery. Although endometriosis is considered a benign disease, patients whose bodies are unable to prevent the spread of endometriosis (due to genetics or environmental factors) also have a much higher risk for ovarian cancer .
CBD also helps relieve feelings of pain, but through other targets. Most notably, CBD is capable of desensitizing the pain receptor TRPV1 .
In order for anything to grow, it needs a supply of nutrients. Likewise, endometriotic lesions can only proliferate if they develop a network of blood vessels (vascularization) in order to receive the required nutrients.
Einstein: “Patients with endometriosis using positive coping strategies have less depression, stress and pelvic pain
Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research: “The effects of massage therapy on dysmenorrhea caused by endometriosis.”
9) ViduGunaratna / Thinkstock
Sprinkle on Cinnamon
Journal of Physical Therapy Science: “Efficacy of exercise on pelvic pain and posture associated with endometriosis: within subject design.”
7) OlegMalyshev / Getty Images
Mayo Clinic: “Acupuncture,” “Botox injections.”
International Research Journal of Pharmacy: “Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Therapies for Management of Pain Related to Endometriosis.”
But endometrial cells are tenacious and persistent, and surgery provides only temporary respite from the pain. The tissue almost always returns accompanied by the all too familiar excruciating symptoms. In addition to over-the-counter pain medication, such NSAID s and paracetamol, standard treatments include the contraceptive pill or coil containing progesterone, which limits the development of endometriosis in a percentage of patients. (Estrogen on the other hand encourages endometriosis to grow and spread.)
For reasons still not fully understood, endometrial tissue begins to grow outside the uterus, gathering around the nearby pelvic organs such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries, bladder, and bowel. The trouble is, every time a woman goes through the bleeding phase of her menstrual cycle, so do the errant endometrial cells. Although in their case, there is nowhere for the blood to exit the body, causing pain, inflammation, and in some cases the formation of scar tissue.
With many patients still enduring unbearable pain, self-care methods such as breathing techniques, yoga, and stretching, as well as cannabis and CBD oil, are commonly used to bridge the gap. One Australian online survey interviewing women from an endometriosis support group found that cannabis and CBD oil were the most effective of all the self-care techniques for endometriosis pain. 4
For years Laura’s pain was not taken seriously, reflecting an overall gender bias in drug research and medicine itself. 2
“I was made to think that I was just being overdramatic and that maybe I was just over exaggerating it because I wanted the attention and was almost being gaslit to be made to feel that it was in my head. They said, ‘Oh, well, you know, it’s just your period, that’s how it is.’ It very much got brushed aside.”