Terpenes in Medical Cannabis for Endometriosis Relief

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a debilitating condition affecting 190 million women worldwide according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). While in the UK, 1 in 10 women of reproductive age suffer from endometriosis. This condition causes severe pain, inflammation, and other distressing symptoms, especially during menstruation. Endometriosis also brings about a multitude of fertility issues and complications. 

One of these major complications is Ectopic Endometrial Implants. This occurs when the excess endometrial tissue implants onto the ovaries, causing cysts and even on the fallopian tubes, causing blockages and impacting fertility.

While conventional treatments such as hormonal therapy and surgery can provide some relief, many women are turning to alternative therapies, including medical cannabis, for additional support. Among the various compounds found in cannabis, terpenes, in particular, are gaining attention for their potential therapeutic benefits for women with Endometriosis.

Woman holding ribbon for Endometriosis awareness

Understanding Symptoms of Endometriosis:

Endometriosis is a chronic condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterine cavity, leading to a range of symptoms that can significantly impact daily life.

Dysmenorrhea:

Women often experience painful menstrual cramps that may begin before and extend several days into the menstrual period.

Pain with Bowel Movements or Urination:

This symptom is usually noticed during menstrual periods when the levels of pain significantly increase. 

Infertility:

Endometriosis is sometimes first diagnosed in those seeking infertility treatment.

Digestive Issues:

Women also experience bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, and nausea. Since these symptoms are similar to those observed during the menstruation period, it is often difficult to identify the occurrence of Endometriosis.

Natural Alternative for Endometriosis Treatment 

While conventional treatments like hormonal therapy, pain medication, and surgery are commonly used to manage Endometriosis symptoms, they may not be effective for everyone and can come with side effects such as nausea, difficulty sleeping, depression, and even absence of periods. As a result, many women are utilizing alternative therapies to find relief.

Medical cannabis contains hundreds of chemical compounds, including cannabinoids and terpenes, which interact with the body's endocannabinoid system to produce various effects. While cannabinoids like THC and CBD have been extensively studied for their therapeutic properties, terpenes are also emerging as powerful contributors to cannabis' medicinal benefits.

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS):

At the heart of medical cannabis's therapeutic effects lies the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex network of receptors and neurotransmitters found throughout the body. The ECS plays a crucial role in regulating various physiological processes, including mood, appetite, pain sensation, and immune function. When we consume medical cannabis, its active compounds, known as cannabinoids, interact with the ECS, modulating its activity and producing a range of effects.

The Entourage Effect: Synergistic Healing

One of the most intriguing aspects of medical cannabis is the entourage effect, a phenomenon in which the various compounds in the plant work together synergistically to enhance therapeutic efficacy. Research suggests that cannabinoids, terpenes, and other phytochemicals found in medical cannabis may amplify each other's effects, leading to greater symptom relief than isolated compounds alone. For example, certain terpenes found in medical cannabis, such as myrcene and limonene, have been shown to enhance the absorption of cannabinoids and modulate their effects.

As our understanding of medical cannabis continues to evolve, so too does its potential as a therapeutic agent. By harnessing the power of cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system, researchers are uncovering new ways to alleviate symptoms and improve the quality of life for millions of people worldwide. Whether it's easing Chronic Pain, reducing anxiety, or enhancing sleep, medical cannabis offers a natural alternative for those seeking relief from a variety of ailments. As always, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating medical cannabis into your wellness routine to ensure safe and effective use.

Benefits of Terpenes in Medical Cannabis for Endometriosis:

Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in many plants, including cannabis. They are responsible for the plant's distinctive aroma and flavour and have been shown to have various therapeutic properties. In medical cannabis, terpenes work synergistically with cannabinoids to enhance their effects, a phenomenon known as the entourage effect.

 1. Myrcene

Myrcene is one of the most abundant terpenes in medical cannabis and is known for its sedative and pain-relieving properties. It acts as a muscle relaxant that could help alleviate the pelvic pain associated with Endometriosis. It has also been shown to potentially reduce inflammation acting as a potent analgesic, reducing pain perception, and providing relief from Endometriosis-related discomfort. The terpene Myrcene is known to have a musky, earthy aroma and is present in the highest concentration in the cannabis plant.

Besides cannabis, the terpene Myrcene is found in other plants such as eucalyptus, lemongrass and even in fruits like mangoes. 

2. Limonene

Limonene is another prominent terpene found in medical cannabis known for its anti-inflammatory and mood-boosting effects.  Limonene reduces inflammation by inhibiting the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (proteins controlling inflammation), helping to alleviate pelvic pain and discomfort. This terpene also provides mood-boosting properties that could help alleviate the anxiety and depression often experienced by women with Endometriosis.  Limonene also acts as a natural pain reliever, and could potentially reduce the intensity of Endometriosis-related pain and improve overall quality of life.

Limonene, as its name suggests, has a fruity, citrus aroma. In addition to cannabis, this terpene is found in large quantities in citrus fruits like orange, lime, and grapefruit.

3. Linalool

Linalool is a calming terpene with anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It may  reduce pain and inflammation, making it potentially beneficial for women with Endometriosis. Linalool has a calming effect on the central nervous system, helping to reduce stress and anxiety associated with Endometriosis. It may also act as a natural pain reliever, blocking pain signals in the brain and reducing the perception of pain in women with Endometriosis.

Linalool is characterised by having a sweet, woody aroma and is known for its cleansing and sedative effects. Apart from cannabis, this terpene is found in other plants like coriander, lavender, and basil to name a few.

4. Beta-Caryophyllene

Beta-caryophyllene is a terpene found in many plants, including cannabis, and is known for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. It may help to reduce pain and inflammation, making it a potential treatment for Endometriosis. Beta-caryophyllene acts as a natural pain reliever, reducing the intensity of Endometriosis-related pain and improving overall quality of life. Beta-caryophyllene has been shown to protect the gastrointestinal tract from inflammation and injury, which could be beneficial for women with Endometriosis

Medical Cannabis for Endometriosis

While more research is needed to fully understand the benefits of terpenes in medical cannabis for Endometriosis, many women have reported significant relief from their symptoms by incorporating terpene-rich medical cannabis products into their treatment plans. Whether used alone or in combination with other therapies, medical cannabis shows promise as a natural and effective option for managing Endometriosis symptoms and improving quality of life.

If you're considering using medical cannabis to manage your Endometriosis symptoms, be sure to consult with a healthcare professional to develop a personalised treatment plan that meets your needs.

At Cantourage Clinic, we're dedicated to providing women with the information and resources they need to make informed decisions about their health and well-being. Our team of expert Pain Specialists are dedicated to providing personalised treatment plans tailored to your specific needs, including the use of medical cannabis for symptom management. Contact Cantourage Clinic today to learn more about how cannabis and its terpenes can help you live a fuller, more comfortable life with Endometriosis. Considering medical cannabis but unsure if you qualify? Take our FREE eligibility checker for a personalised assessment.

References

Endometriosis Statistic: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/endometriosis#:~:text=Endometriosis%20affects%20roughly%2010%25%20(190,age%20women%20and%20girls%20globally.

Endometriosis Statistic in the UK: https://www.endometriosis-uk.org/endometriosis-facts-and-figures#1

Endometriosis symptoms: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/endometriosis/

Side effects of conventional treatment: https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/endometri/conditioninfo/treatment#:~:text=As%20with%20all%20hormonal%20treatments,bone%20loss%2C%20and%20vaginal%20dryness.

Benefits of Myrcene: https://www.medwellhealth.net/unveiling-the-potential-benefits-of-cannabis-for-endometriosis-symptoms/

Benefits of Limonene:   https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26154535

Benefits of Linalool: 10.3389/fpsyt.2021.583211

Benefits of Beta-Caryophyllene: https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17040467

About Cantourage Clinic Ltd

Cantourage Clinic is a CQC registered clinic, combining a team of qualified specialist physicians, nurses and educators with cannabis industry professionals; joining forces with the sole focus of providing care and excellence for patients wishing to explore cannabinoid therapies.

For more information on how Cantourage clinic could help, click here for more information.

Cantourage Clinic offer specialist consultations for the following conditions.

- Pain

- Psychiatry

- Neurology

- Gastroenterological

- Oncology

- Palliative Care

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