An ailment that affects over 176 million women worldwide, Endometriosis is a painful condition where the endometrium-the tissue which lines the uterus mistakenly develops outside of the uterus. Endometrial tissue can also grow on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and various abdominal locations. Once diagnosed with endometriosis, the line of therapy that follows is painkillers and NSAIDs which only helps to cope with the pain related aspect of this disease and fail to check its progression. However, the phytocannabinoid CBD by working on your endocannabinoid system which regulates pain, hormonal imbalances and reproduction can aid in alleviating the symptoms and target at the root cause of endometriosis.
What Endometriosis Means
In endometriosis, the endometrium tissue develops improperly outside the uterus and thrives where it does not belong. Though not life-threatening, the endometrial tissue responds to the hormones flowing within your body in a similar way as it does inside the uterus. Every month the endometrium accumulates, breaks down and disposes of. Unlike normal menstruation, the blood, and tissue disposed of these removed cells are generally trapped within the body. This cyclical routine can become painful -activating inflammation and scarring as the body fights back to reassimilate the dead material.
What Causes Endometriosis?
The growth of endometrial tissue in areas where it should not is based on the popular theory that menstrual blood flows the wrong way, carrying endometrial tissue towards the fallopian tubes, abdomen or ovaries.
Other factors supposed are environmental or toxins that may cause the body to spontaneously generate endometrial cells in an improper place. Once the initial cells reach these places they develop and proliferate in the same way as cancer cells do and evade destruction by the protection mechanism of the body. They engage blood veins to deliver nutrients and eliminate waste products and grow nerve endings that raise the perception of pain.
In the same way as cancer cells, endometriosis can relocate to various tissues to gain more territory – look to reclaim occupied territory post-surgery. Though a benign disease, women whose body system is unable to stop the expansion of endometriosis (because of genetics or environmental elements) are more prone to ovarian cancer risks.
Symptoms Associated With Endometriosis
This unusual extrauterine growth of endometrial tissue in endometriosis can make women suffer from at least one of the given symptoms:
- Acute menstrual cramps
- Painful urination or bowel motions
- Painful intercourse
- Constant lower back, pelvic or abdominal pain
- Infertility or difficulty in conceiving
- Diarrhea, nausea or constipation
- Irregular menstrual cycles and fatigue
A diagnosis of endometriosis has currently no known cure and the therapy offered is painkillers, hormone treatment, surgical processes that are directed towards simply holding the endometriosis under control. This has led to many women seeking holistic care to manage their recurrent symptoms. One such approach is of incorporating cannabinoids like CBD into their therapy.
CBD Can Target The Root Cause Of Endometriosis
Research has suggested that cannabinoids like CBD can treat endometriosis by
- Inhibiting cell proliferation
- Preventing cell migration
- Preventing lesion vascularization (blood vessels)
- Inhibiting lesion innervation (nerves)
- Obstructing synthesis of inflammatory prostaglandins
- Regulating the immune response
- Desensitizing nerves that transmit pain
Endometriosis And Your Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system plays a major role in regulating your immune system with the vast circuitry of endocannabinoids, ion channels, and receptor sites within the nervous system, immune system and all across the body. This primary regulatory system controls many biological processes and functions in the body like movement, reproduction, immune response, mood, hormonal imbalance, sleep, metabolism, and pain to name a few.
A large volume of evidence hints at the fact that certain imbalances within the endocannabinoid system can result in endometriosis. There exists a complex association between the reproductive system and the endocannabinoid system. The endometrium contains cannabinoid receptors which fluctuate as a woman approaches her menstrual cycle.
CBD Has Anti-Proliferative Properties And Inhibits Cell Multiplication
Your body has mechanisms in place that restricts the growth of aberrant cells and discards them before they can lead to complications. Such cell destruction (apoptosis) is missing in people suffering from endometriosis and similar disorders. The endocannabinoid system boosts apoptosis and prevents cell growth which helps in cancer therapy. As the cannabinoid receptors get triggered either by the endocannabinoids produced with the body or through supplementation from phytocannabinoids like CBD they prevent cancer cells from multiplying and spreading. Similar research has also shown that activating these receptors halts endometriotic tissue from proliferating in mice.
CBD Curbs Cell Migration
A complication that is faced by most of the women who remove surgically the endometriotic lesions is its reemergence or return. Inspite of that, it has been detected that endocannabinoids aids in controlling the migration of cells. In fact, compounds like CBD obstructs the migration of endometriotic cells by preventing the stimulation of the GPR 18 receptor.
Keeps The Endometriotic Lesions Undernourished
For its sustenance, the endometriotic lesions need a network of blood vessels or vascularization for proliferation and supply of necessary nutrients. Though studies have indicated at a minimal impact of cannabinoids upon endometriotic vascularization, various studies have displayed the capacity of CBD to inhibit vascularization of cancerous wounds and lesions.
CBD Alleviates Painful Nerves
Women suffer deep-infiltrating endometriosis which embeds farther away inside the abdominal tissue. These lesions result in excessive pain as they comprise a greater density of nerves, unlike other lesions. Endocannabinoids regulate nerve growth and its receptors CB1 are expressed on the nerves that activate endometriotic lesions. The cannabinoid CBD intervenes with innervation by preventing stimulation of CB1 receptors. CBD also assists to mitigate pain sensations by numbing and desensitizing the pain receptor TRPV1.
Anecdotal evidence supports the ability of cannabinoids to manage and regulate endometriosis pain. The prescription medications have their harmful side effects which are not present in the non-addictive, non-toxic and organic CBD that has immense therapeutic effects to improve the life quality of women affected by endometriosis.