“Cramps are the worst pain I have ever felt in my entire life,” said Livette Nazario, who suffers greatly with every monthly period she gets. “If you ever got a foot cramp, imagine that pain constantly happening and lasting for several hours, sometimes all day. And even if the painkillers finally kick in —because some days it just doesn’t – but if it does, then most of the time it just dulls the pain,” Nazario continued. “Sometimes I had to do more than the recommended number of painkillers just to make that happen. The first two days were always the worst, I’d even have to miss school or work those days,” she said. The pain of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome, PMS, and endometriosis is quite often debilitating for the sufferer. Endometriosis affects 176 million women worldwide and about five million girls and women in the U.S. And it doesn’t matter what ethnic or socioeconomic group to which a woman may PMS affects about 50 percent of menstruating women. This is the most common condition that causes cramp; pelvic pain; other physical ailments such as craving for sweets or chocolate; mood swings; tender breasts; abdominal bloating and fatigue. And emotional symptoms will crop up. belong. The cause of endometriosis is thought to be retrograde menstruation. The endometrium cells flow back into fallopian tubes and pelvis, instead of out of a woman’s body. The lining continues to grow, adhering to uterine walls or pelvic organs, while it increases in size with every period. Growth outside of the uterus affects the ovaries and can cause fertility problems. There are some researchers that are convinced that the endocannabinoid system, ECS, the body’s natural cannabinoid receptors, has much to do with endometriosis. ECS and a Woman’s Body The ECS is a network of cell receptors and agonists. There is an endocannabinoid “key”, an agonist, that fits into cell receptors in cell walls or “locks.” Once keyed in, the cell gets instructions from the ECS. There are many basic functions the ECS controls in the body – pain and immune response; reproduction; sleep metabolism and mood. Researchers have found that endocannabinoids are controlled by sex hormones which also determines the stage of menstruation the woman is experiencing. Some think that an imbalance of ECS contributes to endometriosis. At times, during a woman’s period, cannabinoid receptors are more abundant in the endometrium tissue. Risk factors include: family genetics – a woman with a sister or mother with endometriosis is six times more likely to develop endo. Other risks: start menstruation at an early age; frequent menstrual cycles; long periods of seven days or more; never had children and problems like a closed hymen which blocks menstrual flow. Symptoms include:
  • Excessive and debilitating menstrual cramps
  • Long, heavy periods with excessive bleeding
  • Headaches and mild to severe fever
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Chronic lower back pain
  • Loss of pregnancy and infertility
  • Frequent or urgent urination
  • Pain during or after intercourse
  • “Endo-belly.” Swelling in pelvic and abdominal regions may make the sufferer appear to be in middle stages of pregnancy
  • Hypoglycemia
Endometriosis is typically found to be an autoimmune disease. The body doesn’t recognize the endometrium cells and attacks them. This results in very painful inflammation. Medical Marijuana, MMJ. A Possible Solution? Medical marijuana is a known anti-inflammatory, pain reliever and muscle relaxant. It also elevates moods. This involves cannabis that has a balance of Sativa and Indica characteristics. In the pharma world, endometriosis is often prescribed human hormones in the form of birth control pills. Also, strong doses of ibuprofen and other pharmaceuticals including addictive opiates like Percocet are prescribed. On the other hand, cannabis often helps alleviate pain, nausea and vomiting. High cannabidiol and cannabichromene allows daily use without psychoactive side effects. There are some great non-smokeable options such as edibles or vaping for the delivery of cannabinoids. So, if one is debilitated by PMS or endometriosis symptoms and cannot find relief through self-determined treatments or pharmaceuticals, one would be well advised to seek out MMJ to see if it is the medication for you.