Life is all about duality: the good and the bad, ups and downs, light and dark, pleasure and pain. Throughout history, human beings can ebb and flow with the dark side of life. However, when it comes to pain, we will do whatever it takes to stop it. People have spent thousands of dollars trying to eliminate pain as much as possible. And the top consumer of pain medication purchased daily is women.
The Pain Gap
Research has shown the gender difference in pain medication and how women use more pain-relieving medication than men. It’s no surprise as there are numerous health conditions exclusive to people born with a uterus, such as pregnancy issues, breast cancer, and endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a gynecological condition where the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows outside. It affects an estimated 2 to 10 percent of American women. Endometriosis most commonly involves the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the tissue lining your pelvis (although it can grow anywhere in the body), making it a painful experience for women with this condition.
“I was always given extra strength Aleve, Advil, all the over-the-counter things. I changed my diet multiple times to help, but nothing alleviated the pain,” says Serena Torres. Torres is a 39-year-old New York native diagnosed with endometriosis at 26. After finding no help from multiple doctors and specialists in managing the pain, Torres decided to take matters into her own hands. She began researching cannabis as an alternative.
How Cannabis is Changing Pelvic Pain and Endometriosis
A 2019 research study conducted a survey of endometriosis patients about their experience with using cannabis for managing pain. THC was most likely to be reported as very effective (53.4 percent of clinic participants), while CBD was most likely to be reported as moderately effective (36.8 percent of clinic participants). By the end of the study, all patients reported that CBD and THC were very effective for pelvic pain.
“A total number of 252 participants identifying as suffering endometriosis recorded 16193 sessions using cannabis between April 2017 and February 2020,” says Dr. Margaret Rajnic, board-certified Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) with extensive experience in providing healthcare for acute and chronic care patients. Since cannabis has proven to be an anti-inflammatory, it’s given patients the chance to live their day to day without the risk of feeling pain all day as the symptoms of endometriosis can be almost debilitating.
“If I had not been intrusive enough to research and talk to someone about it, I wouldn’t be where I am now,” says Torres, who has been using cannabis for endometriosis for a decade.
“Within the hour after my first dose, I felt relief in a way that I never felt. Cannabis has restored my health. It’s allowed me to be functional instead of [me] taking time off from work or school. And that was a big deal for me because that was all I needed.”
Relief Through Cannabis
Cannabis has given women with endometriosis something they have longed for: relief. As opposed to years before, women now have the ability to control the pain of endometriosis. However, it’s recommended to start slow and with a low dose. It’s always best to speak with your doctor or health care provider about your options when using cannabis for pain management. It’s also important for women to self-monitor their symptoms and side effects as some people may have different outcomes.