Study Summary: Cannabis for Gynecologic Pain

Updated: Oct 9

A February 2022 research study entitled "Medical Cannabis for Gynecologic Pain Conditions: A Systematic Review" that was published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology explored the potential role played by cannabis in reducing pain in gynecological conditions.

The study explained that the human endocannabinoid system (ECS) "is involved in pain perception and inflammation" and that cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) from hemp and cannabis interact with the ECS by binding with microscopic cellular receptors.


Medical cannabis is increasing, so we sought to characterize patterns of cannabis use for gynecologic pain," reported the scientists.

"Given that use of medical cannabis is increasing, we sought to characterize patterns of cannabis use for gynecologic pain and its effectiveness as an analgesic," reported the scientists.


The Study

The design of the study was one of a literature review that analyzed previous studies about the topic of cannabis for gynecological pain or pain in general. The scientists reported that they "searched PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus, Cochrane, and ClinicalTrials.gov" for keywords that included "woman," "cannabis," "pain," "pelvic pain," "endometriosis," "bladder pain," and "cancer."


To be included, previous studies had to be published in English between January 1990 and April 2021 and not involve animal subjects. "Studies were included if they evaluated nonpregnant adult women who used cannabinoids for gynecologic pain conditions (eg, chronic pelvic pain, vulvodynia, endometriosis, interstitial cystitis, malignancy)," reported the study.


"Study types included were randomized controlled trials (RCTs), cohort studies, and cross-sectional studies," noted the scientists. Of the 3,822 unique citations found in their search, 59 "were considered for full review," resulting in only 16 meeting their strict inclusion criteria.


Results

The study's review and analysis of the 16 studies that met its inclusion criteria revealed that cannabis use among women suffering the range of gynecologic pain conditions listed above ranged from 13 percent to 27 percent.


"Most women ingested [ate] or inhaled cannabis and used [it] multiple times per week," reported the researchers. Dosage of cannabinoids is critical to positive outcomes. The researchers found that dosages of CBD and THC were up to 2,000 mg and 70 mg, respectively.


"Pain relief was reported by 61-96 percent of study participants analyzed."

Cannabis Gave Most Women Pain Relief

Pain relief was reported by 61-96 percent of study participants analyzed. "All six prospective cohort studies and one RCT...reported significant pain relief," noted the research. It found that the average decrease in pain was a considerable and statistically relevant 3.4 points on a 10-point visual analog scale.


Conclusions

"Survey data showed that most women reported that cannabis improved pain from numerous gynecologic conditions," concluded the study's authors.


However, the scientists noted that "interpretation of the studies is limited" because of important variances between the individual studies, including "cannabis formulations, delivery methods, and dosages" and that these differences "preclude a definitive statement about cannabis for gynecologic pain relief."


View the original study.


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