Endometriosis is a disease of adolescents, women of childbearing age. In the condition, endometrial tissue can be found outside the uterine cavity. It is commonly associated with chronic pelvic pain and infertility1.
It is difficult to treat, chronic health condition with many possible complications. Therefore, women diagnosed with the condition are always looking for natural remedies. Non-pharmacological treatment may be especially useful in preventing disease relapse.
Endometriosis in the UK
One in 10 women of reproductive age in the UK has endometriosis. The prevalence of endometriosis in women with infertility is as high as 50 per cent. Endometriosis is the second most common gynaecological condition (after fibroids) in the UK. On average, it takes 7.5 years from the onset of symptoms to get a diagnosis. Endometriosis costs the UK economy £8.2bn a year in treatment, loss of work and health care costs2.
Symptoms may be different. Typical endometriosis symptoms are the following:
- painful periods
- deep pain during sex
- chronic pelvic pain
- painful bowel movements, painful urination and blood in the urine
- premenstrual symptoms with or without abnormal bleeding and pain
- chronic fatigue
- back, legs and chest pain.
The cause of endometriosis is unknown, but there are many different treatment options.
In recent years, many women are opting for CBD to control symptoms, and reduce the risk of various complications. Does it help in the condition? Are there any scientific grounds showing CBD benefits against endometriosis? Are some of the common questions asked.
CBD and cell multiplication
Usually, the human body can prevent the growth of aberrant cells and destroy them before they become a problem. This process is called apoptosis. Women who have endometriosis have apoptosis impaired. The endocannabinoid system is involved in apoptosis and stops cell multiplication. CBD can activate cannabinoid receptors. Some findings show that this quality of CBD may affect inhibition of endometriotic tissue from proliferation3.
CBD and cell migration
It has been found that CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors influence cell migration in the body. Some studies found that CBD can affect endometriotic cells migration. Women who have undergone surgery to remove the affected area but later found endometriosis returned in a different area may experience some positive effect by using CBD.
CBD for endometriosis pain
Endometriosis may be painful. Severe pain in one of the most common symptoms of endometriosis. Some studies show that CBD may be an adequate solution for women suffering from pain as prolonged intake of painkillers may be harmful. According to recent findings, CBD is reported as moderately effective for pelvic pain by the majority of women who have tried it4.
What should patients with endometriosis know about using CBD?
For now, scientists agree that there are not enough studies to conclude the benefits or risks of using CBD to manage endometriosis.
For patients interested in taking CBD, it is necessary to talk with a doctor who understands the mechanism of action of CBD-related products and has experience in prescribing it.
Also, choose a high-quality product, without contaminants like pesticides and heavy metals.
And remember, endometriosis can be a severe condition if it remains untreated. If you are diagnosed with endometriosis, it is essential to attend the doctor regularly and choose the most effective treatment method. CBD can be helpful in the treatment, but it cannot be the only treatment.
- Parasar P, Ozcan P, Terry KL. Endometriosis: Epidemiology, Diagnosis and Clinical Management. Curr Obstet Gynecol Rep. 2017;6(1):34-41. doi:10.1007/s13669-017-0187-1
- Endometriosis Fact Sheet. London: Royal College of Nursing; 2017.
- Leconte M, Nicco C, Ngô C, et al. Antiproliferative Effects of Cannabinoid Agonists on Deep Infiltrating Endometriosis. The American Journal of Pathology. 2010;177(6):2963-2970. doi:10.2353/ajpath.2010.100375
- Reinert AE, Hibner M. Self-Reported Efficacy of Cannabis for Endometriosis Pain. Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology. 2019;26(7):S72. doi:10.1016/j.jmig.2019.09.682