CBD and Endometriosis: Here’s How CBD May Help
Posted on August 26th, 2020
Endometriosis is a major women’s health issue. When you have endometriosis, cells from your uterus don’t stay where they belong, causing many symptoms that interfere with your quality of life. The condition is hard to diagnose, so many women experience years of pain without hope for relief. That’s where CBD may come into the picture. Scientists are exploring how this hemp extract may actually target the root causes of endometriosis. According to research, cannabinoids may help endometriosis in the following ways:
- Preventing cell migration
- Inhibiting cell proliferation
- Preventing damage to your nerves and blood vessels
- Desensitizing your pain nerves
- Modulating your immune response
- Inhibiting inflammation in your body
For those who have been diagnosed with this medical condition, you might already be aware that there’s presently no cure. In most cases, treatments such as hormone therapy, painkillers, and surgical procedures are focused on putting endometriosis in check. However, they may render ineffective. Many people living with endometriosis are looking for holistic approaches to coping with their recurrent symptoms using their diet, specific lifestyle changes, and natural supplements.
In this article, we’ll explore more about how CBD works, so you can better understand how this plant-based compound can help target symptoms of endometriosis.
What Does Endometriosis Feel Like?
Approximately 176 million women struggle with endometriosis, most of whom do not get diagnosed or treated. Endometriosis usually targets women of childbearing age and may lead to infertility. As we mentioned, it’s characterized by the growth of uterine tissue in strange areas, especially within your pelvis.
Recent studies suggest that CBD can effectively deal with PMS. And, since endometriosis triggers similar symptoms, this is exciting news. Of course, endometriosis pain encompasses more than just menstrual cramps. Pelvic pain is generally the most common and severe endometriosis symptom. But, unlike with PMS, pelvic pain might strike at any moment when you have endometriosis.
Other endometriosis symptoms may include:
- Pain with intercourse. It might occur during or after sexual intercourse, and might be because of unusual growths of endometrial tissue that may form cysts.
- Painful periods (dysmenorrhea). As aforementioned, cramping and pain might occur at any moment during the month and may include abdominal and lower back pain.
- Excessive bleeding, during or in between menstrual cycles.
- Infertility. At times, this symptom is what helps you reach your endometriosis diagnosis.
- Pain with urination or bowel movements. In most cases, this is during your menstrual cycle.
- Nausea, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or fatigue.
Topical CBD for Pain and Cramps
Endometriosis cramps can be unpredictable and severe. If you experience these cramps, applying topical CBD directly to painful areas may help you target your symptoms for superior relief.
How does this work? CBD targets your body’s endocannabinoid receptors. Potentially producing effects that are pain-inhibiting. What’s more, CBD is regarded as a potential anti-inflammatory, which means that ingesting CBD could help with other endometriosis symptoms, such as bloating.
Other Forms of CBD
In general, it depends on the seriousness of your pain level and which products work best for your needs. However, you might also realize that CBD capsules or tinctures might deal with your symptoms more gradually. Generally speaking, CBD products produce calming effects.
In case painful endometriosis cramps interrupt your healthy sleep patterns, you might realize that CBD products could be useful. Ensuring you get a restful night’s sleep might help to reduce the severe fatigue that you may be experiencing.
Potential Health Benefits of Using CBD for Endometriosis
All over the world, women have spent years using hemp extracts to address menstrual cramps, endometriosis, and other gynecological conditions. As research develops, we’re learning why CBD can be so effective: it’s a natural approach to managing symptoms. And it comes with few side effects.
But why do we devote so much research to the effects of CBD? One primary reason scientists are intrigued by CBD is that it interacts with your body’s endocannabinoid system, helping maintain balance and proper functioning in your reproductive tract.
When working properly, your body can stop unnatural cells from growing. It eradicates these cells in a process called apoptosis before they cause problems. But when you suffer from endometriosis, it may be because apoptosis is impaired in your body.
The endocannabinoid system is always involved in apoptosis and inhibiting cell growth. So, by stimulating better ECS function, CBD may help your body target unnatural cells. While we haven’t proved this idea in humans, mice studies showed that CBD-activated ECS receptors could prevent the spread of endometriotic tissue.
CBD and Preventing Cell Migration
Even if you remove your endometrial lesions with surgery, they may come back. This is obviously frustrating, but scientists are now exploring how endocannabinoids and cannabinoids can help control cell migration.
Current findings suggest that CBD can prevent endometriosis cells from traveling by keeping your GPR 18 receptor from activating. THC, on the other hand, may increase your cell migrations. So CBD will likely prove to be more effective at targeting endometriosis as research continues.
CBD and Painful Nerves
Women with deep-infiltrating endometriosis, a type of endometriosis that reaches deeper into your abdominal tissue, is even more painful since abdominal lesions contain a significantly higher density of nerves.
Here again, CBD may mitigate pain. Endocannabinoids appear to control nerve growth, and we’ve discovered ECS receptors (CB1) on nerves in endometriotic lesions. So, if CBD blocks receptor activation, it could stop nerve development in your lesions. And this could minimize endometriosis pain.
One of the most commonly-prescribed treatments for endometriosis are NSAIDs. NSAIDs function by preventing specific enzymes (called COX-2) that greatly contribute to inflammation. However, they thin your blood and might cause gastrointestinal side effects since they also prevent other enzymes (like COX-1). As previously mentioned, CBD may have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, but with minimal side effects. Research suggests that CBD may specifically work by preventing the enzyme COX-2 instead of COX-1.
Starving the Problem
Any living thing needs a supply of nutrients to grow. So endometriotic lesions can only grow if they develop blood vessels (vascularization) to receive nutrients. While there’s limited research on the impact of cannabinoids on endometriotic vascularization, several studies suggest that CBD and THC can prevent vascularization in cancerous lesions.
Cannabinoids and the Overactive Immune System
Macrophages, the killer cells of the immune system, contain lots of CB2 endocannabinoid receptors. Once activated, the receptors stop macrophages from triggering inflammatory reactions in your body.
Women with endometriosis become very sensitive to inflammatory signals and toxins. Fortunately, CBD activates CB2 receptors, helping stop inflammation in your body. This may be helpful to women struggling with endometriosis and inflammation.
The Future of Endometriosis and CBD
The Society for Women’s Health Research claims that the most frustrating part of endometriosis and other menstrual complications is the lack of research and funding. But a study published in the Pain Journal focuses on the endocannabinoid system as a promising place to start looking for new endometriosis treatments. And we hope to learn more as studies continue.
If you want to explore CBD products for help with your endometriosis symptoms, start by talking to your doctor. Together, you can review your current approach to managing symptoms, to see if CBD can help you prevent pain from interfering with your life. And, for more information on incorporating CBD into your life, check out https://tanasi.com/blog/.