There is little evidence to show a directly harmful effect of cannabis in pregnancy. However, cannabinoids consistently amplify the toxic effects of nicotine and alcohol on the fetus. Preclinical research suggests one possible reason: activating the CB2 receptor with anandamide can decrease the expression of a transporter gene in the placenta. This gene encodes a protein which pumps a variety of chemicals out of the placenta, so its inhibition allows toxins to accumulate. It is also common in cancers where it protects the cancer from chemo.
Adenomyosis is a menstrual complication that causes heavier bleeding and pain during a woman’s period. About one in five women suffer from it. As with most female diseases, it is poorly studied and consequently hard to treat. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is known to be involved in reproductive tissues, and it is dysregulated in pathologies like endometriosis, so it makes sense to consider the ECS in this condition.
Endometriosis is a poorly-understood condition causing severe chronic pain and alterations in a woman’s menstrual cycle. As an understudied disease, treatment is limited. Scientists surveyed over 400 Australian women to see what actions they took to treat their pelvic pain. Cannabis, heat, CBD oil, and dietary changes were rated most effective by women, in that order. Unfortunately, more women used alcohol than cannabis to manage symptoms; self-medicating with alcohol promotes chronic inflammation and led to worsening pain and fatigue in over half of such women.
It has long been known that resinous cannabis flower tops are well endowed with medicinal components. But that’s not the only part of the plant that has been used for therapeutic purposes. Cannabis roots have also provided relief for various ailments in traditional cultures.
Both milk thistle and cannabis convey therapeutic benefits that are mediated by the endocannabinoid system.
Misinformation can masquerade as science, especially when it comes to cannabis. Adrian Devitt-Lee highlights how analysis can be skewed for a variety of factors and gives insight on how to spot faulty research data.
The discovery of the endocannabinoid system has breathtaking implications for nearly every area of medicine, spawning a revolution in medical science.