New Study Shows Cannabis Can Help Endometriosis Symptoms

New Study Shows Cannabis Can Help Endometriosis Symptoms
Endometriosis is a painful condition where the lining of the womb (known as the endometrium) grows outside of the womb cavity into other parts of the reproductive organs, such as the fallopian tubes. Common symptoms include severe chronic pain, infertility, depression, and anxiety.
Treatment options to alleviate these symptoms have ranged from surgery to hormone therapy, but they are seldom effective and produce negative side effects.
A recent study, published in eLife, has shown remarkable test results that support the idea that cannabinoid compounds in cannabis are an effective form of pain relief for women suffering from endometriosis.

The use of cannabinoids to alleviate these symptoms have led to the launch of a clinical trial in human patients in partnership with the Gynecology Service of the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, Spain. One of the researchers, Rafael Maldonado who is a Professor at the University Pompeu Fabra of Barcelona, noted that, “With a lack of effective treatments, women with endometriosis usually rely on self-management strategies like dietary change or exercise….although cannabis comes with a large number of potential side effects, its medicinal properties could provide pain relief in endometriosis and other conditions.”

The study in question was done with mice given endometrial implants into their pelvis to simulate the symptoms of endometriosis in humans. The sensitivity in their pelvis and the overall change in their emotional and cognitive behavior were similar to the changes seen in women with endometriosis.

An interesting finding of the study was with memory and cognitive abilities. Mice with the endometriosis implant showed memory impairment, but mice treated with THC did not show the impairment which suggests that THC might have a protective effect to this particular symptom of endometriosis. In addition to cognitive tests, the study found that treating the mice with THC led to smaller endometrial growths. Endometrium growth inside and outside of the womb were significantly smaller in the treated group of mice compared to the mice that weren’t treated with THC.

Alejandra Escudero-Lara, a first author and PhD student at the University Pompeu Fabra of Barcleona, noted that: “Together, our findings show that THC limits the development and symptoms of endometriosis in an experimental model, and highlight the interest of conducting further research to ensure the safety and beneficial effects of this treatment in women with endometriosis.”

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