Do You Suffer from Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a painful disorder in which the tissue that would normally form around the inside walls of the Uterus, instead form outside the Uterus. These tissues can attach to the Fallopian tubes, ovaries, and other pelvic organs. Normally, at menstruation, this tissue would detach from the Uterine walls and exit the body. However, in the case of Endometriosis sufferers, these misplaced tissues have no natural way of exiting the body. After periods of time, these tissues can affect other organs and cause scar tissue to form as well as adhesion. Consequently, cysts have been found to form on the ovaries in certain cases as well as abnormal bands of fibrous tissue that can cause pelvic tissues and organs to stick to each other. In some cases of Deep Infiltrating Endometriosis, chronic pain will be accompanied by hyper-proliferation of Endometriotic Cells and Fibrosis.
Endometriosis Sufferers Experience a Variety of Symptoms
Symptoms of this disorder are chronic and often severe. According to the Mayo Clinic sufferers have reported severe pain when menstruating, in both the reproductive system and back muscles. Other symptoms include pain during or after sex, pain with bowel movements or urination, excess bleeding due to heavy periods or bleeding between periods, infertility, fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, bloating or nausea. These symptoms vary in severity. Symptoms can worsen with time.
The Endocannabinoid System Plays a Role in Reproductive Health
In the Uterus, the endometrium represents a significant source of endogenous cannabinoids. AEA (Anandamide) levels are higher in the Uterus than in other reproductive tissues. CB1 Receptors are present in the reproductive organs of females. Several studies have shown that women with Endometriosis will often express lower levels of these Receptors in the Uterus. This suggests that sufferers of Endometriosis may also have Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Syndrome. However, lack of clinical testing leaves many frustrated. In fact, the medical community puts forth little effort to help sufferers of Endometriosis. “The overall median time from the onset of symptoms to a diagnosis of endometriosis was 7.0 years…” Human Reproduction, Volume 18, Issue 4, 1 April 2003, Pages 756–759.
Could Hemp Derived Cannabinoids be a Viable Source of Relief?
Managing Pain and Inflammation
The Endocannabinoid System plays a crucial role in inflammatory responses. The Endocannabinoid System is widespread in tissues and cells, including those of the reproductive system. Cannabinoids such as Cannabidiol and Cannabinol have shown antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect on certain cells among other properties. Phytocannabinoids such as these modulate inflammatory responses by regulating the production of cytokines. The non-psychoactive cannabinoid receptor, CB2, is emerging as a critical target for cannabinoid regulation of inflammation. Therefore, CB2-selective agonists are undergoing intense investigation and research. Currently, several pharmaceutical companies have been issued medical patents for the use of Cannabinoids as therapeutic agents for chronic inflammatory and pain conditions.
Nausea associated with Endometriosis can be unpredictable and uncontrollable. Considerable amounts of evidence have suggested that manipulation of the Endocannabinoid regulates vomiting and nausea. In fact, CB1(Cannabinoid Receptor 1) agonism suppresses vomiting. Consequently, pharmaceutical companies such as GW Pharmaceuticals, in the United Kingdom, have active applications for the use of Cannabidiol and Cannabidiolic Acid as an anti-emetic, anti nausea treatment. Other applicants have named CBC, CBN, CBG, THC and their derivatives as possible constituents to treatments of nausea and vomiting. However, until the FDA pushes for more human trials and group studies, our knowledge of Cannabinoid capabilities will be lacking.
Managing the Proliferation of Cells
Both in vivo and in vitro studies provided sufficient evidence that Cannabinoids could inhibit proliferation of endometriotic cells. Cannabinoid agonists (Cannabinoids that do not bind to the Receptor, rather they stimulate the receptor) exerted anti-proliferative effects on stromal endometriotic cells. These beneficial effects of Cannabinoid Agonists on Deep Infiltrating Endometriosis have been confirmed in vivo (in live model studies). Because of their implication in proliferation (rapid reproduction of cells), apoptosis (death of cells), and angiogenesis (development of blood vessels), the cannabinoids control cell growth.
Mounting evidence suggests that Cannabinoids could be effective as treatments for sufferers of Endometriosis and its symptoms. Unfortunately, with the average time of correct diagnosis falling at 9.28 years, women everywhere worry that this condition is too often overlooked. We hope that with continuing advances in Cannabinoid science and Endocannabinoid health, answers will become more clear than ever.