Originally appeared on GrowWiseHealth.com.

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The medical cannabis industry has created a unique space where women can explore their health needs in a whole new way. In addition to revolutionizing the way in which many patients and physicians choose to mange chronic and debilitating conditions, medical cannabis is also providing novel therapeutic options for female specific health goals. Women who suffer from premenstrual symptoms, menstrual cramps, headaches, migraines, pain, nausea, vomiting and symptoms of endometriosis can use cannabis to manage these symptoms and improve their quality of life.


Cannabis, Menstrual Pain and Endometriosis


5-thcMenstrual pain, cramping, and endometriosis are conditions commonly experienced by women of all ages. Endometriosis is a condition marked by abnormal extrauterine growth and severe pelvic and lower back pain. Hormonal therapy and surgery are traditionally recommended treatments to manage endometriosis, but these are often accompanied by severe side effects and are often ineffective. Even if you are a female who does not suffer from endometriosis, chances are that you experience pain and cramping related to your menstrual cycle.

When it comes to pain, cannabis has a proven track record to help relieve the experience of pain. Cannabis has a unique ability to provide patients with pain relief by acting on our own body’s endocannabinoid system and mimicking naturally occurring cannabinoids that are typically responsible for pain relief. Research shows that our body’s endocannabinoid system is involved in endometriosis and associated uterine pain. This means that cannabis has a high potential to help alleviate pain associated with endometriosis and to manage the condition more holistically.

The cannabis plant is made up of over 100 cannabinoids, many of which can help decrease the experience of painful stimuli. The two most well-researched cannabinoids, Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) are believed to be primarily responsible for providing analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. CBD rich cannabis strains provide female patients with an added option of managing their pain without the the psychoactive effects typically attributed to THC. This means either relying solely on CBD rich strains, or combining CBD rich products alongside THC high strains for added benefits.

A combination of oral, edible and topical forms of cannabis products can help manage pain and inflammation on a variety of levels. Vaporized cannabis can be helpful for managing severe pain, as pain relieving effects will be felt very quickly. In addition, CBD oil and edible cannabis products can provide long-acting pain relief with effects lasting approximately 4-6 hours. Topical cannabis preparations can be applied directly to the painful area, providing an added sense of relief. In addition to providing pain relief, in the traditional sense, the anti-inflammatory effects and anti convulsant effects of cannabis may also be useful for decreasing menstrual cramps.


Headaches, Anxiety and Improved Sleep


6-cbdIn addition to providing pain relief, decreasing cramping and affording an alternative treatment option for endometriosis, cannabis is also a useful tool for managing some of the associated symptoms experienced by women who struggle with their menstrual cycles. For many, the painful experience associated with their menstrual cycle may bring about a great deal of anxiety, and may result in night sweats and restless sleep. The anxiolytic properties of CBD can help reduce some of the anxiety that often precedes the painful menstrual cycle. Studies show that higher level of cannabinoids promote sleep and that THC is highly sedative. Cannabis treatment can further help improve women’s health during this time by helping promote a better quality of sleep. In addition, many women experience headaches, migraines, nausea and vomiting as a direct result of their monthly hormonal fluctuations. Although these experiences are often not talked about in public health discourse, a woman’s menstrual cycle may result in debilitating pain and an inability to participate in daily activities. Cannabis has been shown to aid with migraine and headache pain, and can decrease the monthly frequency of occurrence of migraines. In addition,  Cannabis is a known anti-emetic and has been shown to decrease the experience of nausea and vomiting across a variety of conditions.


The Take-Away Message


For more and more women, cannabis is becoming the preferred alternative to hormonal treatments, surgery and traditional pain-killing options. In addition to providing pain relief, reducing inflammation and cramping, cannabis also provides women with relief from anxiety, nausea and restless sleep. When it comes to promoting female health and overall wellbeing, cannabis is the choice that more and more women are turning to.


About GrowWise Health


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GrowWise Health provides free of charge ACMPR medical cannabis education services to patients for whom medical cannabis may be an appropriate treatment option. In an effort to promote greater access for patients, the GrowWise Health team helps patients connect with healthcare providers who may assess their candidacy for medical cannabis. GrowWise Health Patient Educators assist patients in selecting the strain(s) most appropriate for their condition and symptoms and provide guidance on dosing, safety and modes of administration. The GrowWise Health team provides medical cannabis patients with ongoing support to help improve their quality of life. GrowWise Health Patient Educators provide services for patients in Toronto, Brampton, North York, Niagara Region/Fort Erie and across Ontario and Canada.

For more information on how to access GrowWise Health patient services, or to connect with a healthcare provider, please click here.

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