Cannabis and menstrual pain relief.
Menstrual pain is rarely treated as clinical pain and it is typically considered as a side effect of menstruation.
Nevertheless, menstrual pain turns into a lifetime annoyance to many women, becoming so painful that it may even cause fainting.
Whether this is due to lack of empathy towards women or to medicine considering it as something non-pathological, what cannot be denied is that it is a chronic and recurrent pain, affecting women every 28 days.
We are talking ventral and even muscular pains here, so painful that may weaken the legs to the point of causing a fall.
Even though it is a natural process, the intensity of the pain sometimes it is unbearable and many women turn to pharmacological medicines to treat it (who has never taken ibuprofen to alleviate pain?).
The endocannabinoid system plays a fundamental role in pain control. In fact, the cannabinoid receptors are being expressed in the cells of the peripheral and central nervous systems, and it has been shown that they modulate several mechanisms associated with pain perception.
More recently it has been shown that cannabinoids are effective for the treatment of chronic pain in adults. There is also evidence of their effectiveness for the treatment of pelvic pain in adults.
Some studies suggest that cannabinoids may be effective for the treatment of pelvic pain associated with endometriosis, due to their anti-inflammatory activity and the ability to regulate neuropathic and nociceptive pain.
A recent study performed with teenagers and adults ranging from 16 to 24 years old and treated with a combination of resveratrol (an antioxidant) and a cannabinoid derivative (palmitoylethanolamine) showed that 98% of patients with pelvic pain associated with menstruation and endometriosis improved significantly.
Another study performed with women over 18 years old who were usual cannabis consumers, reported that cannabis consumption significantly improved the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome as well as premenstrual dysphoric disorder, including irritability, sleep problems, fatigue and chest pain. The administration of cannabinoids to treat premenstrual syndrome or premenstrual dysphoric disorder is an alternative to hormone treatments, given their mild side effects in adult women.
Studies performed in animal models have shown that both synthetic and endogenous cannabinoids selectively inhibit the myometrial contractility (layers of muscle that form the walls of the uterus). This mainly takes place through CB1 receptors, although the involvement of CB2 receptors has also been reported but to a lesser extent.
Most of the menstrual pains are due to the muscular contraction of the uterus, so the effects of cannabinoids may be beneficial to reduce cramps associated with the menstrual cycle in women.
Sublingual CBD oil may also be a good solution for menstrual pain and there are some companies that have even opted to create CDB tampons to mitigate this pain.
Analyzed and discussed by Paula Pifarré, PhD. Cannabity Healthcare Scientific Collaborator.
1-Pagano E, et al. 2017. Biochem Pharmacol.
2-Chadi N et al. 2019. North American Society for pedriatic and Adolescent Gynecology.