Due to the side effects of endometriosis treatments, and the risk of dependency for available pain relief, many Australian women are turning to self management strategies including breathing techniques, yoga, dietary changes, heat – and cannabis.
This is the finding of a new study conducted by researchers at NICM Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University and published in Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Australia.
Of the 484 women surveyed, 1 in 8 were using cannabis. It was rated the most effective self-management strategy, reducing pain and other symptoms to the point that other medications could be reduced by 50 per cent or more.
Some minor side effects were reported, with 1 in 10 women using cannabis having experienced drowsiness, increased anxiety or rapid heartbeat.
Due to the timing of the study, most cannabis use would have been illicit due to regulations on medicinal use. As such, the cannabis used would not have been quality controlled and researchers could not obtain specific information about varieties and composition.
The other main limitation of the study is that, as a self-reported survey, the positive or the negative effects of strategies may have been over or underestimated.
As there is currently no research into the effectiveness of cannabis use for endometriosis, the researchers are calling for both further research into current self-management and into potential management with medicinal cannabis.
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