Those With Endometriosis Report Subjective Benefits from Marijuana Use, Finds Study

Those With Endometriosis Report Subjective Benefits from Marijuana Use, Finds Study

According to a new study titled Illicit cannabis use as a management strategy in New Zealand women with endometriosis: An online survey, marijuana use helps to treat the symptoms of endometriosis. The study was published in the Journal of Women’s Health. As noted by NORML, who first reported on the study, endometriosis is estimated to impact more than ten percent of women of reproductive age and is typically associated with pelvic pain and cramping.

For the study researchers examined a subset of self-identified medical marijuana consumers in New Zealand with either endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

According to the study, respondents were most likely to report marijuana use for pain relief, improved sleep and to deal with nausea.

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“Respondents reported a median score of 90 on a zero to 100-point scale in response to the question, “How does cannabis affect your conditions or symptoms overall?” (where zero was “no relief” and 100 was “excellent relief.”)”, states a NORML press release.

“Nearly six-in-ten respondents acknowledged being able to cease their use of at least one prescription medication following the initiation of cannabis”. In addition, “Study participants were most likely to report stopping their use of opioids – a finding that is consistent with dozens of other studies. Separate survey data of US women previously reported that more than 20 percent of subjects with pelvic pain consume cannabis products, with 96 percent of consumers reporting symptom improvement.”

The study concludes: “Cannabis, most commonly inhaled via a pipe, joint, or bong, was considered by our respondents with endometriosis and/or PCOS to be very effective for the management of their symptoms especially in regard to pain, sleep, and gastrointestinal symptoms.” It continues: “Respondents reported clear evidence of a substitution effect, where the use of cannabis reduced or replaced other pharmaceutical medications, especially with respect to opioid-based analgesics, and also to other medications commonly used in the management of endometriosis-related symptoms, such as antidepressants, benzodiazepines, and NSAIDs. … Self-reported community data, such as these, add to the growing body of evidence that medicinal cannabis may be a potentially effective part of a multidisciplinary toolkit to manage the symptoms of endometriosis and support reduction of other classes of medication, including opioids.”

The study’s abstract:

Background: Endometriosis affects around 10% of women worldwide. Many women with endometriosis struggle with finding adequate pain management, and data from other countries suggest that women use cannabis, either legal or illicit, to help manage their endometriosis symptoms. The aim of this study was to determine use of cannabis where endometriosis was self-identified as a condition that was being treated with cannabis, as well as the impact of cannabis use on the usage on other pharmaceuticals. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional online survey of those using cannabis for health-related conditions run between May and July 2019. This article reports on the subset of this larger data set for those reporting they had a diagnosis of endometriosis and/or polycystic ovary syndrome. Data were collected on demographics, modes of cannabis administration, symptoms treated, changes in pharmaceutical usage, and adverse events. Results: Two hundred thirteen valid responses were analyzed. Mean age of respondents was 32 years and 79.8% were current cannabis users. The most common outcomes that cannabis was used for were to improve pain relief (95.5%) and to improve sleep (95.5%). Respondents reported that their symptom was “much better” for pain (81%), sleep (79%), and nausea or vomiting (61%). Over three-quarters (81.4%) indicated cannabis had reduced their normal medication usage. Over half (59%) were able to completely stop a medication, most commonly (66%) analgesics. Opioids (40%) were the most common class of analgesic stopped. Conclusions: Cannabis is reported as an effective intervention for pain and other endometriosis symptoms with potential substitution effects on opioid usage.

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