Endometriosis and The Use of Marijuana
In recent years, there has been a lot of hype surrounding the use of marijuana for the treatment of endometriosis. As someone who treats many people with endometriosis and loves research, I had a hard time finding many studies to back up the use of marijuana for this condition. This could be due to the fact that only 18 states in the US allow for the legalization of marijuana.1
At the level of the government, marijuana continues to be classified as an illegal substance. This limits the scope of research devoted to the use of marijuana for medical purposes in America. That said, many people with endometriosis already use marijuana to treat their own symptoms. But performing a research study on people from so many different places, using so many different dosages and forms of THC, would make for very difficult data collection in a research study to establish whether or not marijuana is helpful for individuals who have been diagnosed with endometriosis.
Recent marijuana research
Fortunately, for those who have already experienced the curative properties of marijuana for this condition, or those who are yearning to try it, a study was performed in January of 2020 which broke new ground for sufferers of endometriosis.2 In this study, scientists created surgically-induced endometriosis in mice. Once the endo cells were implanted in the abdominal cavities of the animals to simulate what happens in humans, the researchers discovered three changes in the mice: they developed increased anxiety, pelvic pain, and memory deficits.2 And as anyone knows who has it, these symptoms are consistent with endometriosis.
The scientists then gave doses of THC to the mice to see what effect it might have on the mice with newly-acquired endometriosis. The results were quite promising. With treatment of the THC component of marijuana, the mice displayed decreased pain responses and their cognitive function was restored to what it had been prior to having endo cells embedded in their bellies. Yet the most startling finding, one that surprised even the researchers, was that the THC given to the mice appeared to inhibit the development of new endometrial cysts.2
So, let’s review. The mice that had surgically implanted endometriosis cells exhibited the classic symptoms of the disorder: anxiety, memory deficits, and pelvic pain. Once they were treated with THC (read Mary Jane for us humans), they had less pelvic pain, an improvement in problem-solving abilities/cognitive function, and decreased growth of endometrial tissue!2
Holistic options and the future
Holistic options are vital to improve the quality of life for people with endometriosis and this study gives a lot of hope about the use of marijuana in treating this condition. From the days of the Free Love Movement in the 1960’s where rolling grass was seen as taboo and capable of the ruination of society, to the present day where dispensaries are popping up all over the United States so that marijuana can be purchased without shame, it seems that one thing is for certain - We’ve come a long way, baby!
Do you know someone that has made a difference with endometriosis advocacy?