CBD and endometriosis: Research on its possible benefits

Does CBD have benefits for endometriosis? On the occasion of World Endometriosis Day, we take a look at current research on the use of CBD or cannabidiol in the treatment of pain caused by this disease. Please note that this is an informative article that is not intended to prevent, diagnose or treat any disease or symptom.

Endometriosis is a painful and chronic disease that affects millions of women worldwide. It is characterized by the abnormal growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterus, which can cause severe menstrual pain, pelvic pain and other disabling symptoms. Due to the analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of CBD or cannabidiol, it has been postulated as a possible novel treatment for this condition.

In this post we are going to analyze the current scientific evidence on the possible use of CBD to treat endometriosis: What is known and what results it has given in the first investigations.

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a chronic, painful condition where endometrial-like tissue (which is the tissue that lines the uterus) grows near or outside the uterus, for example, around the fallopian tubes, ovaries, bowel, bladder and other organs. This tissue growth is usually focused in the pelvic area, producing pain and inflammation (1).

Symptoms of endometriosis

Symptoms of endometriosis are highly variable, but mostly include chronic pain, painful menstrual periods, infertility, digestive problems and inflammation. The existing therapeutic options are focused on symptomatological treatment, since to date the reason for the origin of endometriosis is unknown.

It is estimated that this condition affects 10% of girls and women of reproductive age (2).

How does CBD help relieve the symptoms of endometriosis?

Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is one of the cannabinoids with the greatest number of therapeutic uses. Due to the analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of CBD, it has been postulated as a possible treatment for this condition.

CBD has several mechanisms of action that generate a beneficial response to provide relief. However, the mechanisms by which CBD may help endometriosis are not exactly understood.

Endometriosis involves a chronic inflammatory process, and since CBD has potent anti-inflammatory properties it could be an ideal complementary therapy. You can see the post about the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD to know in detail how it exerts this effect.

Scientific studies on CBD for endometriosis

In a laboratory animal model of endometriosis, it was observed that CBD can reduce the size of endometriosis lesions or tissue (3). In addition, cannabidiol is also an excellent analgesic because by activating the vanilloid receptor TRPV1, CBD can modulate nociceptive perception or conscious perception of pain (4).

Another possible pathway that has been postulated for how CBD helps endometriosis is that CBD has an anti-angiogenic effect (5, 6). Angiogenesis is the formation of new blood vessels, which plays a very important role in endometriosis (7). Recall that in endometriosis tissue is produced in areas where no tissue previously existed, therefore, blood vessels need to be formed to provide nutrients to these new cells. CBD could decrease the formation of these vessels making the tissue less viable and thus reducing the progression of endometriosis.

How is endometriosis treated?

It is important to consult with your physician for personalized advice on the most appropriate treatment for endometriosis. We remind you that this is an informative article that is not intended to treat or prevent any disease. Consult your doctor before using CBD.

In general, treatment of endometriosis depends on the severity of symptoms, but because the root cause cannot be attacked, only treatment to reduce or relieve symptoms is provided (2).

The treatment generally used in clinical practice is pain medications (analgesics), hormonal therapies and, in some cases, surgery to remove the endometrial tissue.

Complementary treatments have also been described, such as endometriosis diets and nutritional supplements that may be beneficial in alleviating symptoms, such as oily fish, Omega 3 (present in hemp seeds ) and vitamin B12.

Since there is no cure and the only treatment that could reduce the progression of the disease is hormonal therapy, patients seek complementary therapies such as CBD to support them in the treatment of endometriosis (8).

What method of CBD administration is best for endometriosis?

Massages with CBD cream for pain can have a relieving effect by acting locally with anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.

When CBD is consumed via air or pulmonary route, for example with CBD Vapeit exerts its effect quickly generating an instantaneous relief, although this effect disappears in a short time.

When CBD is used orally, such as in CBD oil it takes a little longer to reach the bloodstream and therefore its target, but its effect will be sustained, for a few hours. However, please note that the oral use of cannabidiol is not regulated in some countries. Find out about the regulations that apply in your country.

What is the recommended dose of CBD for endometriosis?

There are some scientific publications that have investigated the effectiveness of CBD for the treatment of gynecological conditions such as endometriosis in laboratory animals (9). On the other hand, there is no standard dose of cannabidiol for endometriosis and human clinical studies are ongoing (10).

As reported by scientific animal studies and empirical doses reported by users of CBD for gynecological pain, CBD doses range from 1 mg to 2000 mg per day via oral or inhaled (3, 11). The reason for such a wide range is due to the great variability in the response that CBD induces in each individual. Such variability is rooted in many individual factors including metabolism, body weight, prior history of cannabinoid use and many other particular characteristics.

What we can recommend is to consult your doctor, and in case he/she advises you to use CBD, start with very low doses of CBD (lower than those mentioned here) and gradually adjust the dose, until you find the most effective for you.

Are there side effects of using CBD for endometriosis?

CBD can cause mild side effects including drowsiness, mood changes and in some cases, diarrhea (12). To date, there are no serious side effects reported from the use of CBD.

Most of the adverse effects that have been documented on the use of cannabidiol are due to drug-drug interactions that occur when CBD is administered with other pharmacological therapies simultaneously. To learn a little more about this topic, see our post on CBD interactions with medications . Any side effects caused by the consumption of CBD can be resolved by discontinuing its use.

Be sure to consult a healthcare professional to learn more about endometriosis treatment and CBD.

We recommend that you consult your physician for more information and personalized advice on the treatment and management of endometriosis and CBD. Cannactiva products are not medicines. We remind you that this is an informative article that is not intended to prevent, diagnose or treat any disease or symptom. Consult your doctor before using CBD. Its content can complement, but never replace, the diagnosis or treatment of any disease or symptom.

Referencias
  1. Burney, R. O., & Giudice, L. C. (2012). Pathogenesis and pathophysiology of endometriosis. Fertility and sterility, 98(3), 511-519. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2012.06.029
  2. World Health Organization. (2023, March 24). Endometriosis. Available at: https://www.who.int/es/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/endometriosis
  3. Genovese, T., Cordaro, M., Siracusa, R., Impellizzeri, D., Caudullo, S., Raffone, E., Macrí, F., Interdonato, L., Gugliandolo, E., Interlandi, C., Crupi, R., D’Amico, R., Fusco, R., Cuzzocrea, S., & Di Paola, R. (2022). Molecular and Biochemical Mechanism of Cannabidiol in the Management of the Inflammatory and Oxidative Processes Associated with Endometriosis. International journal of molecular sciences, 23(10), 5427. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23105427
  4. Urits, I., Gress, K., Charipova, K., Habib, K., Lee, D., Lee, C., Jung, J. W., Kassem, H., Cornett, E., Paladini, A., Varrassi, G., Kaye, A. D., & Viswanath, O. (2020). Use of cannabidiol (CBD) for the treatment of chronic pain. Best practice & research. Clinical anaesthesiology, 34(3), 463-477. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpa.2020.06.004
  5. Solinas, M., Massi, P., Cantelmo, A. R., Cattaneo, M. G., Cammarota, R., Bartolini, D., Cinquina, V., Valenti, M., Vicentini, L. M., Noonan, D. M., Albini, A., & Parolaro, D. (2012). Cannabidiol inhibits angiogenesis by multiple mechanisms. British journal of pharmacology, 167(6), 1218-1231. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2012.02050.x
  6. Ramer, R., Fischer, S., Haustein, M., Manda, K., & Hinz, B. (2014). Cannabinoids inhibit angiogenic capacities of endothelial cells via release of tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinases-1 from lung cancer cells. Biochemical pharmacology, 91(2), 202-216. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bcp.2014.06.017
  7. Rocha, A. L., Reis, F. M., & Taylor, R. N. (2013). Angiogenesis and endometriosis. Obstetrics and gynecology international, 2013, 859619. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/859619
  8. Reinert, A.E. & Hibner, M.(2019) Self-Reported Efficacy of Cannabis for Endometriosis Pain. Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology; 26, 7. https://doi. org/10.1016/j.jmig.2019.09.682
  9. Mistry, M., Simpson, P., Morris, E., Fritz, A. K., Karavadra, B., Lennox, C., & Prosser-Snelling, E. (2022). Cannabidiol for the Management of Endometriosis and Chronic Pelvic Pain. Journal of minimally invasive gynecology, 29(2), 169-176. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34839061/
  10. Riley, K., & Scheetz, B. (2022). Cannabidiol and Management of Endometriosis Pain. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Available at: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/results/NCT04527003?view=results
  11. Liang, A. L., Gingher, E. L., & Coleman, J. S. (2022). Medical Cannabis for Gynecologic Pain Conditions: A Systematic Review. Obstetrics and gynecology, 139(2), 287-296. https://doi.org/10.1097/AOG.0000000000004656
  12. Huestis, M. A., Solimini, R., Pichini, S., Pacifici, R., Carlier, J., & Busardò, F. P. (2019). Cannabidiol Adverse Effects and Toxicity. Current neuropharmacology, 17(10), 974-989. https://doi.org/10.2174/1570159X17666190603171901

Masha Burelo
Investigadora en cannabinoides | Doctoranda en Neurociencia

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