A push is on to uncover better health care for women through cannabis
The numbers are staggering. 38% of women around the world suffer from some type of chronic disease, yet only 4% of R&D funding is being used to address women’s health care needs. Not able to find resolution through mainstream options, this has led women to turn to alternative therapies, such as marijuana.
During CannMed 2018 at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) last week, Asana Bio Group (ABG) discussed a link between marijuana and health. The Israel-based company’s Global Relations Director, Meredith Rose Burak, asserted, “Cannabis has an immense untapped healing power for women’s health. The female reproductive system has the highest concentration of endocannabinoid receptors after the brain, making women particularly responsive to the medicinal properties of the plant.”
To that end, ABG is now beginning clinical trials that use cannabis to treat endometriosis. The trials build upon a plethora of anecdotal evidence, as well as a few studies on animals, that have shown how cannabis can relieve the disease’s symptoms, as well as stop its spread in some cases.
The trials are going to be important for women – and doctors – around the world. According to Dr. Ethan Russo, the director of R&D for the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute and a psychopharmacology researcher, stated, “Since we can’t do any proper clinical work or research (with cannabis) in this country, it will continue to be forbidden territory unless there is a sea change in attitudes and science to back it up, especially since OB-GYN doctors are extremely conservative, sometimes to the point of paranoia…I’d like to emphasize that historically cannabis was always part of mainstream medicine in obstetrics and gynecology but it fell out of that status as a byproduct of prohibition.”
According to Russo, cannabis was used as far back as ancient Mesopotamia, which used a cannabis-infused combination to help women in menstruation. It was also used in Egypt to help during childbirth. Cannabis would be mixed with honey and introduced vaginally to relieve contractions.
The previous research that shows how women can benefit from cannabis was supported by Dr. Rosemary Mazanet, the chief science officer of Columbia Care. She said, “The existing data using synthetic THC [tetrahydrocannabinol] cannabinoids to relieve pain in these conditions is encouraging, but the studies were small and CBD [cannabidiol] was not used. Because we know that CBD and minor cannabinoids have strong anti-inflammatory effects, we hope that compounds containing a combination of cannabinoids THC, CBD, and minor cannabinoids may reduce pain as well as inflammation.”