The analgesic, anti-inflammatory and relaxing properties of medicinal cannabis explain why cannabinoid derivatives have been established as an effective alternative to treat gynecological disorders, ranging from menstrual pain to broader conditions, such as discomforts from climacteric and complications from endometriosis.
Although many studies involving medicinal cannabis for women are still ongoing, there are already promising results linking cannabinoid use to sexual and gynecological health. That's what we are going to talk about in this post, better explaining this scenario and the possibilities of using cannabis therapy in the female context.
Relationship between medicinal cannabis and gynecological disorders
Women who suffer from painful periods, chronic pain associated with endometriosis and the discomforts from climacteric - such as mood swings, hot flashes and insomnia - can find relief of these symptoms through the assertive use of cannabinoid derivatives, especially CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
The survey Willingness to Use Cannabis for Gynecological Conditions: A National Survey carried out in 2020, with 995 women over 18 years old in the United States (USA), makes clear the desire of women to seek this therapeutic tool. In the study, which covered the 50 US states, most respondents said they would use medicinal cannabis to treat gynecological conditions.
>>> Access the full article here Willingness to Use Cannabis for Gynecological Conditions: A National Survey.
Among the disorders for which the interviewees felt more comfortable using cannabinoid therapy, several pain conditions stand out, such as pain during pregnancy and delivery, pain resulting from gynecological cancers, endometriosis pain, menstrual pain and dyspareunia (pain related to sexual intercourse).
Other contexts to which these women responded positively about the possibility of using medicinal cannabis include:
- Anxiety pre-gynecological procedures;
- Implantation of intrauterine device;
- Irregular menstrual bleeding;
- Nausea during pregnancy period;
- Sexual dysfunction;
Alternatives for use of medicinal cannabis in women
As the discovery of Endocannabinoid System is still relatively recent in Medical Science, many researches involving the therapeutic use of Cannabis for women is still under development. However, there is already some scientific evidence suggesting the therapeutic benefits of this plant in different gynecological contexts. See the main ones.
Women suffering from endometriosis experience frequent and intense pain, predominantly in the pelvic region. Conventional therapies usually include the prescription of hormones or GnRH agonists (gonadotropin releasing hormone), whose side effects include menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings and early loss of bone calcium, which can compromise even more the quality of life of these women.hormônio liberador de gonadotropina), cujos efeitos colaterais incluem sintomas de menopausa, como ondas de calor, secura vaginal, alterações de humor e perda precoce de cálcio dos ossos, que podem comprometer ainda mais a qualidade de vida dessas mulheres.
The analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of phytocannabinoids emerge as a safer and possibly more effective alternative in relieving these symptoms.
This bibliographic review published in 2017 gathers relevant studies that point out the use of cannabinoids especially THC as alternatives to the conventional therapy of endometriosis, which includes drug, hormonal and surgical therapy – in most severe cases.
THC stands out in this context for its ability to modulate emotional and cognitive components related to pain perception.
>>> See the full article here The Clinical Significance of Endocannabinoids in Endometriosis Pain Management.
Climacteric discomforts significantly compromise the quality of life of women. Migraine, insomnia and hot flashes are some of the frequent symptoms during this period, which still lack sufficiently effective pharmacological alternatives. Again, cannabinoid derivatives stand out as a valuable therapeutic alternative because they play an important role in mood stabilization, analgesia and sleep induction.
It is believed that this is due to the interaction of the main phytocannabinoids – both CBD and THC – with brain receptors that favor the reduction of anxiety and depression levels.
The uses of medicinal cannabis in women also include benefits related to sexual health, such as libido stimulation and orgasm facilitation, in addition to pain relief in cases of dyspareunia. This is shown by a survey published in 2019 in the USA by the International Society of Sexual Medicine.
The concerned study, although recognizing that the scientific evidence of the medicinal use of cannabis in the sexual context is still limited, pointed out promising perspectives from the experience of 373 women who completed a questionnaire about sexual practices. Of these participants, 34% said they used cannabis before sexual activity.
Reports were on increased sexual desire, improved orgasm and decreased pain during intercourse although no changes in vaginal lubrication have been reported. The survey also pointed out that the frequency of satisfactory orgasms was higher in women who reported having previously used cannabis.
>>> Access the complete study here The Relationship between Marijuana Use Prior to Sex and Sexual Function in Women.
As we have seen, despite the scarcity of literature, prospects around medical cannabis for women are quite optimistic. However, an assertive context of cannabinoids prescription requires adequate training in the fieldwhich makes it possible to optimize the therapeutic benefits of the plant according to the particularities of the clinical condition and the history of each patient.
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Bouaziz J, Bar On A, Seidman DS, Soriano D. The Clinical Significance of Endocannabinoids in Endometriosis Pain Management. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017.
Han L, Alton K, Colwill AC, Jensen JT, McCrimmon S, Darney BG. Willingness to Use Cannabis for Gynecological Conditions: A National Survey. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2021.
Lynn BK, López JD, Miller C, Thompson J, Campian EC. The Relationship between Marijuana Use Prior to Sex and Sexual Function in Women. Sex Med. 2019.