CBD Oil For Endometriosis: Can CBD Oil Help With Endometriosis and Painful Period Symptoms?
CBD Oil For Endometriosis:
Under or misdiagnosed, written off as whinging, and the subject of many ill-informed treatment myths, endometriosis is a chronic condition with no agreed cause, no cure, and poor symptom management. It is a painful gynaecological condition that affects around 1 in 10 women. Personally endorsed by high-profile celebrities such as Whoopi Goldberg, cannabidiol (CBD oil) is being touted as a promising new treatment for the symptoms of this insidious condition.
Could CBD oil be used to treat endometriosis symptoms?
Research published in 2010 by neuroscientists concluded that there was evidence to suggest that a depleted endocannabinoid system (ECS) was implicated in endometriosis symptoms. Thus concluding that supplementation with phytocannabinoids, such as CBD, presented a “promising new direction”.
“approaches targeted at the endocannabinoid system represent a promising new direction for developing badly-needed new treatments for pain suffered by women with endometriosis.”
—Endocannabinoid involvement in endometriosis, PAIN Journal 2010—
Before we talk about symptoms, let’s backtrack for a sec. Female menstruation is the process of shedding the cells in the lining of the uterus (i.e. the endometrial cells). These endometrial cells grow and thicken, then shed and leave the body regularly via the vagina. This is the monthly bleeding known as menstruation.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a bit like an invasive plant growing out of control. The lining of the female uterus is called the endometrium. For reasons unknown, the endometrial tissue that is supposed to grow in the uterus also ends up growing outside the uterus in places it shouldn’t, like the pelvic wall, bladder, bowel, ovaries, fallopian tubes, vagina, rectum, intestines, and even the appendix!
Symptoms of endometriosis
Although it may be asymptomatic, endometriosis is largely a severely painful condition for the women who suffer. The pain occurs when—instead of regularly shedding the endometrial cells from the lining of the uterus via the vagina—the endometrial tissues growing in the wrong places just thicken and grow, then shed. Like Fleetwood Mac, with no place to go, they just build up, causing pain, inflammation, scar tissue, and the awful array of symptoms we call endometriosis. Likened to PMS on steroids, these symptoms include:
- Painful periods (dysmenorrhoea)
- Pain in your pelvic area
- Heavy or irregular periods
- Back and leg pain
- Pain when you have sex
- Pain when you ovulate
- Pain when you go to the toilet
- Depression from so much bloody pain
Conventional treatment and management
According to Endometriosis Australia, there are three main treatment options for managing endometriosis symptoms. These are pharmaceutical, surgical, or complementary.
Pharmaceutical medications for endometriosis
Pharmaceutical treatment for endometriosis focuses on pain relief with over-the-counter anti-inflammatories or hormone treatments.
The problem with over-the-counter painkillers
The drug of choice for bad period pain and self-managing endometriosis symptoms seems to be anti-inflammatory NSAIDS such as ibuprofen, nurofen, and naprogesic. The problem with NSAIDS is that they have some pretty awful side effects, particularly with long-term use. Given endometriosis is a chronic condition, pharmaceutical drugs are often a long-term prospect for sufferers who have few other treatment options. Writing for Project CBD, Dr Bonni Goldstein has written about the sobering and numerous side effects of common NSAIDS.
“Side effects and complications of NSAIDS are common and serious…As a cannabis physician, I find these statistics…appalling. Using dangerous drugs instead of a healing and non-toxic plant is simply ridiculous.”
—Dr Bonni Goldstein, Project CBD—
The problem with hormone treatments
Long-term hormone treatments include the contraceptive pill or synthetic progestogens in the form of progestin medication. Endometriosis Australia acknowledges that some of the hormone treatments available are short-term only, because: “These are powerful medications and can have significant side effects.” The long-term options don’t seem much better, with a list of side effects that sound uncannily similar to the symptoms they are meant to treat.
Surgical treatment for endometriosis
Surgical interventions used in an attempt to manage endo symptoms include procedures such as laparoscopy and laparotomy. These procedures aim to remove the endometrial cells from the places they shouldn’t be. Hysterectomy is considered a last resort. What’s more, there are no guarantees that undergoing any of these procedures will actually relieve you of your symptoms.
“the pain is difficult to alleviate without resorting to hormones or surgery, which often produce intolerable side effects or fail to help.”
—Endocannabinoid involvement in endometriosis, PAIN Journal 2010—
Using CBD Oil for treating endometriosis
The pain from endometriosis is considered inflammatory and neuropathic in nature, which is good news for sufferers who want to use CBD oil to manage their symptoms, as CBD is widely recognised as being both anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective.
CBD oil for endometriosis
We recommend our full strength 2000mg Classic CBD Oil for treating endometriosis.
Why is endo pain inflammatory?
Endometriosis is recognised as a chronic inflammatory condition due to the thickening of the endometrial cells in parts of the body they should not be in.
CBD oil is anti-inflammatory
CBD is well known to be anti-inflammatory in nature, in part due to its function as a re-uptake inhibitor, which increases cannabinoid levels in the brain. See this Project CBD list of dozens of research studies on the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD oil.
Why is endo pain neuropathic?
Supported by this 2004 research, and this 2007 research, there is growing evidence to suggest that pain from endometriosis symptoms is also neuropathic. Rat studies established that the endometrial cells growing in areas where they should not, develop their own nerve endings (called innervation). The researchers concluded that this innervation of the displaced cells contributed to the neuropathic pain symptoms associated with endometriosis.
CBD oil is neuroprotective
CBD oil has been shown to be a neuroprotective antioxidant which is great news for sufferers of endo-related neuropathic pain. See this extensive Project CBD list of research studies on the neuroprotective properties of cannabinoids such as CBD oil. CBD has also proved effective in managing the neuropathic symptoms characteristic of Multiple Sclerosis.
Even celebrities use CBD oil to treat endometriosis
Breathing life into the benefits of cannabidiol (CBD Oil) for treating endo symptoms is outspoken Hollywood celeb, endometriosis sufferer, and medical-cannabis proponent, Whoopi Goldberg, whose reputation is giving legitimacy and hope to millions of women who suffer in silence with this horrendous condition. So convinced of the efficacy of cannabinoids to treat her endometriosis, Ms Goldberg now sells her own line of CBD (and some THC) products for endo sufferers.
Support groups/Facebook pages – where to get help for endometriosis
A quick Google search will reveal a number of online support groups and pages for Endometriosis sufferers. Here are a few of the bigger ones.
A list of Australian support groups by State
Endoactive Australia and New Zealand
QENDO Endometriosis Association (Qld) Inc
Australian Women With Endometriosis Support Group
Endometriosis Support Australia
Endometriosis Australia Discussion Group
Endometriosis Support Group (USA)
Alternative treatments for endometriosis
Here are a few of the ideas from the many online resources devoted to non-surgical and non-pharmaceutical symptom management.
In the very real likelihood of getting no relief from pharmaceuticals or surgical interventions, Endometriosis Australia extols the virtues of seeing a psychologist to manage your perception of pain, along with physiotherapists, acupuncturists, herbalists, nutritionists, and homeopaths.
Using our dosage and product guides, you have everything to gain by trying CBD oil to manage your endometriosis symptoms. Let us know if you have had success using CBD oil to treat your endometriosis, so others who suffer can learn from your experiences.
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