Meg C. began experiencing excruciating cramps and intestinal spasms when she was just 18. The pain would happen during her period and at other times as well and was often so intense that she struggled to get out of bed, eat, and function. Meg turned to a plant-based remedy to relieve some of the pain and nausea: cannabis.
“In college, I discovered that cannabis helped my stomach feel so much better. It happened by accident–when I smoked cannabis in a social setting it became very clear that it was helping me with the pain and nausea,” she says.
For the next nearly 20 years, Meg searched for answers to her chronic and often debilitating pain. It wasn’t until she was 37 — and after seeing 14 different doctors — that she was finally diagnosed with endometriosis.
What are the Symptoms of Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is an often painful disorder in which tissue similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. It most commonly involves the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the tissue lining the pelvis.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the primary symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain, often associated with menstrual periods. However, it can also include symptoms a wide variety of other symptoms ranging from nausea and fatigue to diarrhea and bloating. In addition to these symptoms, living with the chronic pain and discomfort caused by endometriosis can lead to depression and anxiety.
Approximately 1 in 10 women will experience endometriosis during their reproductive years, yet it’s a condition that’s often misunderstood and misdiagnosed. It can be mistaken for other conditions that can cause pelvic pain, such as pelvic inflammatory disease or ovarian cysts, and it may be confused with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a condition that causes bouts of diarrhea, constipation and abdominal cramping. IBS can accompany endometriosis, which can complicate the diagnosis.
Can Cannabis Help With Endometriosis Symptoms?
Dr. Michelle Sexton, a Naturopathic Doctor and Professor at the University of California San Diego has been helping her patients fine-tune their endocannabinoid systems since 2008. For relief of pain and nausea associated with endometriosis, Dr. Sexton says that cannabis can be a huge ally when it comes to quality of life. “These are well established, safe and non-toxic compounds,” she says. “When you have pain, you lose your life.”
While cannabis cannot get rid of endometriosis, it may help lessen symptoms due to its anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing benefits.
“Cannabis really shines as a pain reliever. Pelvic pain is so difficult to treat and if you can knock it down a few notches, that’s important,” says Dr. Sexton.
Dr. Sexton recommends the following if you are interested in exploring cannabis to get relief from endometriosis symptoms:
- Consult your doctor first to make sure it’s safe for you to use cannabis. For example, if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, it might not be advisable.
- If you are in a legal medical cannabis state, consider getting your medical marijuana card by making an appointment with a state-licensed medical professional.
- Start with a micro-dosage (less than 1 mg) of hemp-derived cannabis and work your way up to a dosage that you can tolerate without side effects.
- Make sure the cannabis medicine you are using is organically grown and free of additives, pesticides, and chemicals.
- Tinctures or liquid forms (made with food-grade oil) make it easy to do a slow dose titration.
Meg C. now regularly uses cannabis to manage her endometriosis symptoms and says that when she tried medical-grade cannabis in 2014, it was a “game changer” because she was able to get more accurate doses and strains. She uses tinctures, oils, and edibles as preventatives and relies on smoking for nausea relief.
“If it weren’t for medical cannabis, there would be days that I couldn’t get out of bed,” says Meg. Without it, I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t function without it.”
To schedule an online appointment with a licensed and compassionate doctor who can assess if you qualify for a medical cannabis card to help with the symptoms of endometriosis and other medical concerns, visit PrestoDoctor.