Women around the world are increasingly using CBD to deal with the symptoms of endometriosis – a much misunderstood and misdiagnosed condition. Cannabis Health finds out more.
Endometriosis is the second most common gynecological condition in the UK, affecting around one in 10 UK women – although frequent misdiagnosis and a lack of understanding means this figure may be higher.
It happens when tissue similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes, which then reacts to the menstrual cycle each month and also bleeds.
However, there is no way for this blood to leave the body, causing inflammation, pain and the formation of scar tissue.
Nobody knows what causes it, or why some women suffer and others don’t, and symptoms, including pain in the lower abdomen and back, nausea, intense fatigue and infertility, can be debilitating.
According to Endometriosis UK, it takes an average of seven and a half years from onset of symptoms to get a diagnosis, and the condition costs the UK economy £8.2bn a year in treatment, loss of work and healthcare costs.
There is currently no cure, and treatment is limited to painkillers, hormonal contraception, or surgery to cut away the scar tissue. In more severe cases, the only option may be a full hysterectomy to remove part or all of the affected organs.
But could there be another way? More and more women are turning to CBD to ease their symptoms, and the results are encouraging.
Charlotte Nichols, managing director of North East of England-based PR firm Harvey & Hugo, has been using a CBD oil for a couple of months, and has already noticed a difference in her symptoms.
She explained: “I was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2017 but I’d been suffering with it for three years before that; it took that long to diagnose as it was just put down to ‘just’ painful periods.
“I had surgery to remove it but still struggled with infertility, until I finally got pregnant in 2018. The symptoms disappeared while I pregnant and breastfeeding but then came back with a bang since – I’d forgotten how awful it was.”
After researching how CBD could help, Charlotte began taking the oil in June 2020, and the results have been significant.
She said: “While the CBD doesn’t stop the pain completely, it definitely helps take the edge of the symptoms.
“Stress and lack of sleep both make my symptoms worse, and the oil has definitely helped with this, helping me relax and dramatically improving my sleep.
“I’ve also found that the CBD has improved my mood, as feeling so rubbish all the time was getting me down. That might be the effect of the oil itself, or simply because it’s alleviating the symptoms – either way, it’s making me feel more like myself again.”
While using CBD as a painkiller is nothing new, experts believe that its use for endometriosis may be down to more than simple pain relief.
Research has found that cannabinoids also help by:
- Stopping the endometrial cells from multiplying
- Preventing them from migrating to other parts of the reproductive system
- Stopping the blood supply to the lesions – effectively starving them of the nutrients they need to grow
- Regulating nerve growth
- Reducing inflammation
- Modulating the immune response
- Desensitising the nerves that transmit pain.
In fact, some scientists believe that dysfunction in a woman’s endocannabinoid system – the molecular system responsible for regulating and balancing processes in the body, including immune response – may be behind endometriosis.
Dr Michele Ross, CEO of Infused Health, explains: “Reduced function of the endocannabinoid system leads to the growth of endometriosis throughout the body, and more pain.”
CB1 cannabinoid receptors mediate the pain from endometriosis and, according to a 2010 study, are present in the cells that supply nerve impulses to the endometrial growth.
However, the endometrial cells of women with endometriosis have been found to have a lower expression of CB1 receptors — so activating the few that are expressed is even more important for those in pain.
Whatever the science behind it, women like Charlotte are just pleased to finally have a natural product to alleviate their symptoms.
“I much prefer taking CBD to other painkillers, as I’m very aware of what I’m putting into my body and, as far as I’m concerned, the more natural the better,” she says.
“At the moment I’m just using the oil; I haven’t tried any other products, like the balms or lotions, but I’m going to look into it.
“I also find that exercise, intermittent fasting, avoiding alcohol and cutting down on sugar really helps my symptoms, in combination with the CBD. It’s been a long road, with a lot of trial and error along the way, but I’m so glad to finally feel in control of my body again.”
Beckham-backed cannabis brand floats on LSE
A UK cannabis company, backed by David Beckham, has been valued in excess of £25 million in its first day trading on the London stock market.
UK-based Cellular Goods has become the first provider of consumer products based on biosynthetic cannabinoids to join the London stock market.
The company has been admitted to the Official List following a significantly oversubscribed initial public offering that raised £13 million before expenses.
More than 6,000 valid applications for shares were received in respect of the IPO.
Shares will commence trading on the main market of the LSE from 8am on Friday 26 February, under the ticker symbol CBX.
A total of 260,000,000 ordinary shares have been issued at five pence each to institutional and retail investors, valuing Cellular Goods at a market capitalisation in excess of £25 million.
Cellular Goods was established in August 2018 to develop efficacy-led and research-backed cannabinoid products.
The initial focus is on premium skincare and topical athletic recovery products to be launched from this autumn.
Earlier this month it was revealed that former England footballer, David Beckham’s investment firm, DB Ventures had bought a stake in the company.
The purpose of the flotation on the LSE is to raise the public profile and provide new funds for the company’s expansion and long-term growth.
“Cellular Goods’ debut on the London Stock Exchange is a major step in the company’s development and provides a strong foundation to execute our long-term growth strategy,”commented Alexis Abraham, chief executive officer
“We are delighted with the strong support from a wide range of institutional and retail investors to build premium consumer products based on biosynthetic cannabinoids under the Cellular Goods brand.”
First study of cannabis in veterans with PTSD
The first observational study to determine the efficacy of cannabis for veterans with PTSD has gained approval from regulators in the US.
US charity, The Battle Brothers Foundation has received approval to launch an observational study on the use of medical cannabis to help combat PTSD in veterans.
The two groups received approval to proceed with the study from the national Independent Review Board (IRB), the independent committee that reviews the methods proposed for research to ensure that they are ethical.
“This news could not come at a better time,” Bryan Buckley, founder and president of the board for Battle Brothers Foundation.
“Every day, 22 veterans are dying due to effects of post-traumatic stress from opioid addiction to depression. Through anecdotal experiences, we know that cannabis can alleviate symptoms and provide relief.
“We appreciate that the IRB recognises the validity of and the need for this study.”
According to the National Institutes of Health, the rate of PTSD among returning service members varies widely across wars and eras.
In one major study of 60,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, 13.5 percent of deployed and non-deployed veterans screened positive for PTSD, while other studies show the rate to be as high as 20 to 30 percent.
As many as 500,000 US troops who served in these wars over the past 13 years have been diagnosed with PTSD.
The study will enroll 60 California veterans, with moderate or severe PTSD over the next year.
Participants will dose and titrate individually purchased products under their own discretion and will be followed for 90 days to evaluate the safety and efficiency of cannabis on their symptoms.
Results of the study will be documented and monitored at that time.
The Battle Brothers Foundation is the nonprofit arm of Helmand Valley Growers Company (HVGC), a cannabis company founded by disabled United States Special Operations veterans that donates 100 percent of its profits to fund research on the medical use of cannabis for veterans.
Can CBD improve your fitness?
The market is full of products which promise weight loss, muscle gain and recovery benefits, with glowing endorsements from all kinds of sportspeople. Here we explore what CBD has to offer.
From reducing risks of conditions such as heart disease to improving overall mood, getting the right amount and right kind of exercise provides numerous benefits for both physical and mental health.
With the likes of gyms, leisure centres and exercise classes closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us have resorted to home workouts for the first time and are looking for the perfect supplement to aid these sessions – could CBD be the one?
One of the most popular reasons for using CBD as part of your exercise routine is the effect it has on recovery and pain relief. Whether you’re suffering from a slight niggle or a long-term injury, the remedy has been proven to speed recovery and fight fatigue, with one study finding that by reducing oxidative damage – which is caused by physical stress – CBD can help us recover faster and perform better.
Topical CBD products such as creams can be particularly beneficial to those who are prone to joint pain, by providing highly targeted relief to ensure that those unavoidable twinges don’t negatively impact your overall workout.
In addition, CBD may also be effective in relieving muscular aches and soreness thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. A 2009 study into the effects of cannabinoids on the body found that they can suppress inflammatory response, leading to less tension in the area and, in turn, less of a break needed between your workouts.
One of the biggest pre-workout struggles is building enough motivation and momentum to get started and keep your routine going. While it hasn’t been shown to be a performance-enhancing product, the research into CBD’s effect on areas such as mental health and sleep quality leads us to believe that it can be a great supplement for breaking down mental barriers.
Several studies have linked CBD to overall improvement in mood, while it has also been well documented that the remedy can effectively ease symptoms of depression thanks to its positive effect on serotonin receptors in the brain. While CBD doesn’t necessarily boost these levels, its impact on the brain’s receptors may affect how we respond to the serotonin already in our systems.
Research backs up these claims, with a 2014 animal study finding that CBD’s effect on the receptors produced both antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects – both of which can be extremely helpful when gathering motivation to exercise.
Too tired for a workout? A review of studies in 2017 found that CBD “may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of insomnia”, meaning it’s likely to improve sleep quality, allowing us to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on a workout.
While research into certain areas is still ongoing, and it’s worth noting that effects will depend on external factors such as dosage, it would appear that CBD has several pre- and post-workout benefits.
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