Endometriosis is an inflammatory condition involving tissues that typically line the inner layer of the uterus being present in other areas of the body, commonly the pelvis and peritoneum.
This condition often leads to irregular and or painful menstrual cycles as well as chronic pain in an otherwise healthy, young female population. Let’s put that into perspective…these cells spread into other areas of the body they are not supposed to be; then grow and engorge when signaled. So as women experience the normal growth and shedding of the inner lining of the uterus each month, also known as menstruation, women with endometriosis have this response in other areas of the body as well. Sounds painful right? The bleeding that occurs causes irritation, swelling and even scarring of the normal tissues around it. Therefore, due to its nature, endometriosis also affects fertility. If that weren’t enough to disrupt a woman’s life, it also tends to cause pain with intercourse, further affecting relationships and intimacy with a partner. Now everybody is unhappy. Overall making endometriosis detrimental to physical,mental, and emotional health.
When possible, it is best to treat chronic pain in a way that addresses the root cause of the problem as well as the patient’s quality of life. Most of the standard approaches to endometriosis include hormone therapy, surgery, NSAIDS, and pharmaceutical pain medication. While the big question stands, how do we actually get the endometrial tissue to stop spreading? Even after invasive surgeries to remove endometrial tissue these patients often experience a regrowth of the tissue and a return of the pain. Many patients at this point will just try to “deal with it”. Regardless of where a patient is in their health journey, looking into a Naturopathic whole health approach is recommended, there are alternatives to the standard treatment. The patient always has the final say in their own health care. So you heard Cannabis can help with chronic pain syndromes but the exciting part is how much else it does specifically within the reproductive system. Many patients are unaware that Cannabis is a wonderful option to prevent spread of endometrial tissue, reduce the overall inflammatory response as well as reduce the pain experienced by the patient.
Within the body there is an Endocannabinoid system (ECS), which works very closely in response to hormones and the reproductive cycle amongst numerous other roles. While there is much more involved in the ECS, it is of importance to mention that cannabinoid receptors 1(CB1) and 2(CB2) are essential for proper reproductive function and quality of life. In fact, CB1 receptors are highly expressed in the uterus. It is known that the ECS can help to: reduce pain, reduce inflammation, modulate immune reactions, reduce proliferation of endometrial tissue and reduce fibrosis among many other roles. Whereas a reduction in the function of the ECS can cause excessive growth of endometrial tissue and heightened pain. Women with Endometriosis have a lowered expression and or lower levels of CB1 receptors in endometrial tissue; therefore, using Cannabis medically will help to keep those receptors saturated, even if that particular patient has less of the receptors expressed. Cannabis shows potential in treating endometriosis by preventing the abnormal growth and spread of endometrial tissue as well as reducing the associated symptoms. Reach out to see if cannabis should be an integral part of your treatment. Each patient is unique and the goal is always to balance the body while optimizing quality of life. For a full evaluation of your unique case, call Compassionate Certification Centers and schedule to see Dr. Jennifer.
Looking forward to working with you along your health journey,
Dr. Jennifer Hawks