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    Medical Cannabis and Women’s Health

    Medical Cannabis and Women’s Health

    Cannabis use has been increasing among Canadian females of reproductive age1. Females are more likely than males to use medical cannabis for a range of health-related symptoms including pain, anxiety, inflammation, and nausea2. They are also more likely to reduce or discontinue prescription medications through medical cannabis use2.

    There are various health related conditions specific to women where cannabis has shown efficacy. For this blog, we have chosen to highlight the therapeutic potential of cannabis among women with endometriosis and pelvic pain.

    What is Endometriosis?

    Endometriosis affects roughly 10% of reproductive aged females around the world3. That’s approximately 190 million females!

    Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory condition, where tissue similar to the lining within the uterus grows outside the uterus3. This can result in severe pain (during menstruation, sexual intercourse, bowel movements, urination), abdominal bloating, nausea, fatigue, depression, anxiety, chronic pelvic pain, and infertility issues3.

    But there’s good news! There is emerging evidence that cannabis can effectively manage endometriosis-related symptoms!

    How Medical Cannabis May Relieve Endometriosis-Related Pain

    Women with endometriosis report cannabis as highly effective for pelvic pain4. Adverse effects were infrequent (only about 10% of the time) and minor4. When asked which symptoms improved with cannabis, 96% selected one or more of the following: pain, cramping, muscle spasms, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, libido, and irritability5.

    In a retrospective study using real-time data, the primary clinical indication for which cannabis was used included pelvic pain, followed by gastrointestinal (GI) distress, cramps, nausea and depression6. Overall cannabis was shown to improve symptoms, with the largest self-reported improvement for GI symptoms6.

    Medical Cannabis May Help Reduce the Use of Pharmaceutical Medication

    Cannabis use was also associated with reduced use of pharmaceutical drugs. Previous research has shown that 56% of women reported a large reduction (<50%) in endometriosis associated pharmaceutical medication, whereas another 27% reported a moderate reduction (25-50%), and 12.5% reported a minimal reduction (<25%)4.

    Another study surveyed women with endometriosis who had used cannabis or cannabis-based products in the past three months to manage their endometriosis pain and related symptoms7. These women reported a stop or significant reduction of pharmaceutical drugs, including non-opioid analgesia, opioid analgesia, hormonal therapies, anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications7.

    Medical Cannabis and Additional Symptoms Related to Endometriosis

    Some women with a diagnosis of endometriosis commonly had at least one co-morbidity (the presence of one or more additional conditions often occurring at the same time as each other)8. The most common co-morbidities were depression/anxiety, migraine, persistent nausea, and lower back pain8.

    Respondents using medical cannabis in one study reported that their symptom was “much better” for pain, sleep, and nausea/vomiting. About three-quarters indicated cannabis use had allowed them to reduce their other medication usage8. Over half were able to completely stop a medication, and 45% were able to reduce a medication by at least half of the total dose8.

    In Conclusion

    Overall, from the available scientific evidence, cannabis appears to be a promising avenue for treating women specific symptoms such as pelvic pain, cramping, muscle spasms, depression, anxiety, sexual health, among various other ailments.

    Interested in Seeking Medical Cannabis Treatment?

    If you still have any questions or want to learn more about medical cannabis, you can call our Client Care team at 1-877-9AURORA MEDICAL (1-877-928-7672). We’re open from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET (6 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT). You can also email us at askus@auroramedical.com.

     

     

     

     

     

    REFERENCES

    1. Lowry DE, Corsi DJ. Trends and correlates of cannabis use in Canada: a repeated cross-sectional analysis of national surveys from 2004 to 2017. Canadian Medical Association Open Access Journal. 2020;8(3):E487-E495. doi:10.9778/CMAJO.20190229
    2. Bruce D, Grove TJ, Foster E, Shattell M. Gender Differences in Medical Cannabis Use: Symptoms Treated, Physician Support for Use, and Prescription Medication Discontinuation. https://home.liebertpub.com/jwh. 2021;30(6):857-863. doi:10.1089/JWH.2020.8437
    3. Accessed February 16, 2022. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/endometriosis 5. Armour M, Sinclair J, Cheng J, et al. Endometriosis and Cannabis Consumption During the COVID-19 Pandemic: An International Cross-Sectional Survey. https://home.liebertpub.com/can. Published online January 28, 2022. doi:10.1089/CAN.2021.0162
    4. Sinclair J, Smith CA, Abbott J, Chalmers KJ, Pate DW, Armour M. Cannabis Use, a Self-Management Strategy Among Australian Women With Endometriosis: Results From a National Online Survey. Journal of obstetrics and gynaecology Canada : JOGC = Journal d’obstetrique et gynecologie du Canada : JOGC. 2020;42(3):256-261. doi:10.1016/J.JOGC.2019.08.033
    5. Carrubba AR, Ebbert JO, Spaulding AC, Destephano D, Destephano CC. Use of Cannabis for Self-Management of Chronic Pelvic Pain. Journal of women’s health (2002). 2021;30(9):1344-1351. doi:10.1089/JWH.2020.8737
    6. Sinclair J, Collett L, Abbott J, Pate DW, Sarris J, Armour M. Effects of cannabis ingestion on endometriosis associated pelvic pain and related symptoms. Raimondo D, ed. PLOS ONE. 2021;16(10):e0258940. doi:10.1371/ journal.pone.0258940
    7. Sinclair J, Toufaili Y, Gock S, et al. Cannabis Use for Endometriosis: Clinical and Legal Challenges in Australia and New Zealand. Cannabis and cannabinoid research. Published online December 31, 2021. doi:10.1089/ CAN.2021.0116
    8. Armour M, Sinclair J, Noller G, et al. Illicit Cannabis Usage as a Management Strategy in New Zealand Women with Endometriosis: An Online Survey. Journal of women’s health (2002). 2021;30(10):1485-1492. doi:10.1089/ JWH.2020.8668

     

     

     

     

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