By Dr. Craig Hauser, Kannavis Clinical Director
“A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”
This is what medical researchers thought of PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) when they published their findings regarding its cause at The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
While PCOS is estimated to affect one in ten women of childbearing age — with 30 percent of these women exhibiting all of its symptoms, no one knows for sure about its cause. Currently, researchers are looking into genetic and lifestyle influences because signs and symptoms are apparent in women of any age and ethnicity.
Not All PCOS Symptoms are Created Equal
If you are currently dealing with PCOS symptoms, you are probably feeling overwhelmed and confused about possible treatments. Should you undergo the same set of treatments as your friend who was also diagnosed with PCOS years ago?
As with most conditions with unknown cause, PCOS treatments are usually focused on its symptoms. The syndrome has 3 hallmark symptoms:
- Hair and skin problems
- Irregular menstruation and fertility issues
It’s worth noting that the syndrome affects the endocrine system, resulting in hormonal imbalance. While this could have an impact on the body’s glands, the hormones produced by the endocrine system controls more than your reproductive system and its organs. These hormones also control other bodily functions such as insulin levels, metabolism, mood, digestion, and body temperature. This is when medical cannabis can help women with PCOS.
Treating PCOS Symptoms Naturally with Cannabidiol
So which PCOS signs and symptoms can be addressed by cannabidiol? Does it really work?
First off, let’s have a quick review of the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS is a signaling network in the body that is mainly responsible for maintaining balance (also known as homeostasis) in the body. The three critical components of the ECS include the following:
- Cannabinoid receptors on the surface of cells. They transmit “information” from the outside to the inside of the cell. There are two primary cannabinoid (and the most studied) receptors: CB1 and CB2.
- Endocannabinoids- small molecules that activate the cannabinoid receptors.
- Metabolic enzymes that break down endocannabinoids after the body utilizes them.
Current research literature suggests that imbalance in the ECS, whether too little or too much, could be one of the underlying causes of PCOS. It seems like activation of endocannabinoids and overexpression of cannabinoid receptors, especially CB1, may be associated with insulin resistance in women with PCOS.
So how can medical cannabis help?
The cannabidiol or CBD in cannabis shares the same chemical makeup to endocannabinoids in the body, allowing them to interact with cannabinoid receptors to help keep the ECS running smoothly. As a result, women with PCOS who are planning to supplement their existing treatments with cannabidiol might benefit from the following:
- Curb anxiety and cope with depression. A 2007 study revealed that women with PCOS were more likely to suffer from depression than the general population.
- Ease pelvic pain. In a 2017 survey examining the use of cannabis as a substitute for opioid-based pain medication, 97% of the research participants “strongly agreed/agreed” that they are able to decrease the amount of opiates they consume when they also use cannabis. Meanwhile, 81% “strongly agreed/agreed” that taking cannabis by itself was more effective at treating their condition than taking marijuana with opioids.
Where to Get CBD for PCOS in Maryland?
The first step to taking control of your PCOS is to understand why it’s happening. The factors you can control in PCOS are stress, diet, and unhealthy lifestyle choices. Making the symptoms go away requires making dietary and lifestyle changes.
Your next step is to locate a competent doctor who is familiar with PCOS symptoms and have dealt with women with PCOS in the past. Bonus points if the doctor’s practice is rooted in integrative and functional medicine. A good PCOS doctor would be able to provide a personalized treatment approach to your symptoms including the possible use of CBD and the right marijuana strains for you.
Are you looking for a dispensary in Maryland to talk to about marijuana and how we can help with PCOS? Send us a quick message to learn more.