In a new study, researchers found that some women desperate for relief from the chronic pain of endometriosis have found using cannabis provides more effective relief from their symptoms than other over-the-counter or prescribed medication.
Of the 213 women surveyed who had ever used cannabis—either prescribed or illicit—for their endometriosis symptoms, 170 (almost 80%) were current users.
The researchers found cannabis provides patients with some relief or benefit with 98% reporting no negative side effects.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of Otago and elsewhere.
In the study, the team did an online survey of those taking cannabis for health-related conditions that ran between May and July 2019.
This paper then took the sub-group of those where endometriosis was self-identified as a that was being treated with cannabis.
Of the 213 women in the study, the majority used cannabis for pain relief (96%) and to improve sleep (96%).
Respondents reported that their symptoms were “much better” for pain (81%), sleep (79%) and nausea or vomiting (61%).
Some 81% of women showed cannabis had reduced their normal medication usage and 50% had completely stopped taking their medication—most commonly analgesics, such as paracetamol, and opioids.
This finding suggests that patients’ current treatments and medications may not be meeting their needs.
This could be for a variety of reasons including both that cannabis may be more effective in managing some of the patients’ symptoms and also possibly that it has fewer negative side effects than some prescribed medications.
One author of the study is Dr. Geoff Noller, an Assistant Research Fellow.
The study is published in the Journal of Women’s Health.