Medical marijuana for urologic chronic pelvic pain It is generally acknowledged that many patients are not satisfied with the contemporary medical approach to the management of urologic chronic CBD, or cannabidiol. It’s believed to cure everything from insomnia and epilepsy to pain and stress — but is it all hype? Women often experience pelvic pain, or pain below the belly button and above the legs. Have you ever considered CBD to help reduce the pain? Here's what you need to know.
Medical marijuana for urologic chronic pelvic pain
It is generally acknowledged that many patients are not satisfied with the contemporary medical approach to the management of urologic chronic pelvic pain syndrome (UCPPS). Many have turned to marijuana or cannabis because of its strong anecdotal reputation of providing benefit to patients with chronic pain. In a condition in which patients are struggling to cope, the marijuana story appears to offer hope.
What is marijuana?
Marijuana or cannabis contains hundreds of known compounds (421 chemicals and counting), including cannabinoids (more than 60). Delta 9-tetrahydrocannibinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the most widely studied to date. THC (the psychoactive cannabinoid) stimulates appetite, reduces post-traumatic stress disease (PTSD) symptoms, and can be used as a sleep aid. CBD (the non-psychoactive cannabinoid) reduces inflammation, relieves anxiety, and reduces seizures. The combination of CBD and THC may act as a muscle relaxant, relieve spasms, reduce nausea, and relieve pain. At least that is the theory.
Painful lessons learned from the UCPPS clinic
We have been prescribing medical marijuana for a number of years and are slowly figuring out how to do this properly. We had no textbook, no manual, and no instructions. The literature did not help us. It was really trial and error, with our patients teaching us the optimal strategies for the use of marijuana in UCPPS. Herein, I share the seven most important lessons we have learned.
Lesson 1: Basic research supports the theoretical use of marijuana
If you prescribe marijuana for your patients with UCPPS, you can be reassured that there are many potential theoretical mechanistic pathways by which marijuana has shown possibilities for benefit in basic science research. These include theoretical analgesic, antiemetic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, relaxant, and anxiolytic properties.
Lesson 2: Clinical research does not provide strong support for the use of marijuana in UCPPS
Unfortunately, there are sparse clinical research studies to support the use of cannabis in UCPPS. In fact, there is almost none and we have to rely on what little clinical evidence is available for the use of marijuana in other chronic pain syndromes. There is at least some literature attesting to the possible benefits of medical marijuana in spastic disorders, PTSD, irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatic diseases, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, inflammation, and chronic pain. Unfortunately, there is just no solid, long-term data for UCPPS management. The available literature suggests that marijuana can reduce pain by 37%, or a total of 0.5 points on a pain scale of 0–10. Inhaled cannabis results in short-term reductions in chronic neuropathic pain for one in every 5–6 patients treated. But the use of medical marijuana is also associated with known adverse side effects, which include dizziness, dry mouth, nausea, fatigue, somnolence, euphoria, vomiting, disorientation, drowsiness, confusion, loss of balance, and hallucination.
Lesson 3: Marijuana is better than opioids
For patients who are having trouble coping because of pain that has not responded to the standard therapies outlined in this supplement, turning to opioids as the last resort is not usually the best approach. Opioids, at best, offer around a 30% improvement in pain and at worse, offer a paradoxical slow exacerbation in pain intensity. With even minor pain relief comes the possibility of physical or at least psychological dependence to opioids, with desire for further increasing doses with diminished returns. Marijuana has fewer downsides, with the possibility of similar pain relief, better psychological coping, and less chance for addiction and dose escalation.
Lesson 4: Recognize patients at risk
All patients with UCPPS are not candidates for medical marijuana management. Patients with a history of substance abuse, diversion risk, and mood disorders should never be prescribed cannabis as a treatment option. If they decide to use the substance on their own, then it will not be a medical error in judgement, but rather a patient-only decision.
Lesson 5: Patient education is the key to successful use of medical marijuana
Patient education should provide a clear understanding of the benefits (30–40% reduction in pain) and risks of medical marijuana ( Table 1 ). The different modes of administration (oral, smoking, vaporization), must be a part of the teaching process. The advantages and disadvantages of the various routes of administration are described in Table 2 .
Understanding CBD: What We Know, What We Don’t Know, What We SHOULD Know
At Pelvic Pain Doc , we strive to stay on the cutting edge of current health trends. We want the best for our patients so we believe it’s our duty to offer the very best pain management techniques. The latest player in the fight against chronic pain? CBD, or cannabidiol. It’s believed to cure everything from insomnia and epilepsy to pain and stress — but is it all hype?
When new health trends emerge, it’s a constant challenge to know for sure whether they’re safe and effective or not. As New York’s pelvic pain specialist , Dr. Sonia Bahlani always has her patients’ well-being at heart, so she’s done the research to help you make the best decision for your health. Is CBD safe ? Does CBD treat chronic pain? Can CBD cure pelvic pain? There’s a lot we still don’t know about CBD, but there’s increasing evidence that it could be an effective complement to a holistic pain treatment plan.
If you’re curious about whether CBD is right for you, here’s everything we know so far about CBD and how it works.
What is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound found in marijuana and hemp. In other words, it’s the part of marijuana that doesn’t get you high but is believed to provide a host of health-promoting benefits. CBD has rapidly become everyone’s go-to solution for health problems of all kinds, but research is still in its infancy. We have a long way to go before we can truly say that CBD has a positive effect on pain or any other condition.
At the same time, CBD is highly unregulated. The FDA treats it as a dietary supplement — not a medication — so there’s nothing to guarantee that what you see is what you get. This means that a CBD product may contain much lower or higher doses than listed on the label. Since the most effective therapeutic dose of CBD for various conditions is unknown, this lack of regulation could potentially be dangerous to your health.
Hard Facts About CBD
CBD has been getting a whole lot of media buzz in recent years, with new CBD manufacturers and cannabis stores cropping up on every corner. It’s easy to get caught up in the hype and believe that CBD is the magical cure-all we’ve all been waiting for, but how much of it is actually true?
To break down the myth about CBD and its mystical healing properties, let’s start with what we know for sure about this elusive compound.
- CBD can treat epilepsy. CBD is a proven treatment for severe childhood epilepsy syndromes that typically don’t respond to anti-seizure medications. Many studies have shown that CBD can reduce, or even eliminate, seizures in patients with these conditions. In fact, CBD is so effective against severe forms of epilepsy that the FDA recently approved the first cannabis-derived epilepsy medication .
- CBD can prevent insomnia. Believe it or not, the connection between CBD and sleep dates back to around 1200 A.D., when it was mentioned in an ancient Chinese medical text. Modern studies also show that CBD may help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
- CBD may help alleviate anxiety. A number of studies have shown that there is a link between CBD and anxiety, but many researchers attribute this to the placebo effect. Basically, if we believe CBD will reduce anxiety, it will, regardless of any real scientific effect.
- CBD may help treat chronic pain. Various studies have explored the relationship between CBD and chronic pain conditions, including arthritis, and inflammatory and neuropathic pain. These studies suggest that CBD may help lower or inhibit pain and inflammation, but further research is needed.
- CBD is unregulated. Since CBD is considered a supplement and not a drug, it isn’t subject to the same federal regulations as traditional medications. Doses vary from product to product, which can make it confusing (and potentially harmful) for people to treat their own conditions. It’s important to speak with a medical professional like Dr. Bahlani before you start to use an CBD product.
Time Will Tell if CBD Can Help with Pain
When it comes to CBD and pelvic pain , there are a lot of unknowns. But even though the research isn’t definitive, there’s also increasing evidence that CBD can treat conditions of all kinds, including chronic pain and inflammation.
For now, we know that an estimated 50 million Americans suffer from chronic pain , and approximately 15% of women (and 3-6% of men) will experience chronic pelvic pain at some point in their lives. It’s clear that pain has become an epidemic and traditional medicine isn’t giving people the relief they deserve.
That’s why many people with chronic pain are turning to CBD, desperate to try anything to find relief. Will it help to alleviate your pelvic pain? Maybe. Will it prevent your pelvic pain from ever coming back? Probably not. We still need to see a lot more research to fully understand CBD’s role in pain management. If you’re suffering from pelvic pain, the best thing you can do is visit a pelvic pain specialist to create a treatment plan that addresses your specific needs. Call Pelvic Pain Doc today to book a consultation.
CBD For Pelvic Pain and Painful Sex by Julia Rubin – VuVatech.com
Pain is one of our body’s ways of letting us know that something is wrong. Women in particular often experience pelvic pain, or pain below the belly button and above the legs. This can be caused by a number of things, from cysts to digestive problems. Some women experience pelvic pain after giving birth. Others have a more serious medical condition that is causing the pain, such as endometriosis, which has no cure despite popular assumption.
It is very important to see a doctor if you have pelvic pain. But no matter the cause of your pain, know that cannabis can be of great help! It has been used for centuries around the world to cure ailments and alleviate symptoms, and research has shown that it is safer than the use of opiod pain medications.
How Cannabis Offers Pain Relief
Our bodies make natural chemical receptors called endocannabinoids. They are part of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), a harm reduction system found in the brain, nervous system, and elsewhere. They keep everything from our sleep to our appetites running smoothly. It is a common misconception that these receptors only live in the brain and nervous system. They can also be found in the skin, gut, and reproductive organs. They are even found in break milk!
Researchers continue to find evidence that the ECS is important when it comes to treating pain and inflammation.
When our bodies cannot naturally heal themselves, cannabis can be a great helper. The cannabis plant has properties that mimic endocannabinoids and gives the body and brain a boost.
There are two main compounds found in cannabis: THC and CBD. Both are very effective in managing pain. THC gives us that familiar “high,” while CBD does not. For instance, medicinal CBD oil contains small amounts of THC, so users get all of the benefits of cannabis without altering their state of mind. A Canadian study found no serious side effects of medical cannabis after one year of pain treatment.
Way back in 1988, researchers in London found that cannabis is up to four times more effective than aspirin at treating inflammation. That’s great news, as aspirin can result in fatal overdoses, while cannabis cannot.
Prescription opioids like oxycodone can also cause nausea and vomiting, while cannabis might relieve your tummy troubles and increase your appetite. Opioids are also addictive.
States like Oregon, California, and Washington have seen a decrease in opioid overdoses. It’s no wonder, as cannabis is legal in all three of them, and many are trading in their opioid drugs for medical weed.
Understanding Your Pain
It is important to try and find the root cause of your pain. Acute pain is sudden and intense, while chronic pain is long-lasting and consistent. It can even get worse over time. Usually, it lasts for three months or longer.
Acute pelvic pain might be caused by PMS, stomach troubles, or a ruptured cyst. Chronic pelvic pain may be the sign of an underlying disease, such as adenomyosis. This condition causes pain during periods and pressure on the bladder. Other sufferers might have chronic pelvic pain syndrome, a condition found in men that is caused by inflammation of the prostate gland. Symptoms include fatigue, difficulty urinating, sexual problems, and general pain in the pelvic region.
At 2011 study at the University of California at San Francisco concluded that cannabis can be a powerful remedy for chronic pelvic pain. In 2014, researchers found that 61 percent of people who had used cannabis to treat chronic pelvic pain syndrome showed improved symptoms. While cannabis may not work as well for everyone in pain management, it’s definitely worth giving a try.
Finding the Best Strains for Your Pelvic Pain
Pelvic pain can make daily life very difficult. Symptoms might include bloating, cramps, spotting between periods, and lower back pain. When it comes to treating pain, some strains of cannabis are far more effective than others. It is always important to think about what time of day you are using cannabis, and what kind of pain you are having.
Inflammation is a natural immune response that helps the body heal itself. It is also often the root cause of pain. Cannabis can treat inflammation and relieve pain all across the body.
Strains with a high amount of CBD help reduce inflammation without getting you high. If you need to work, operate machinery, or concentrate on tasks during the day, high CBD strains are probably your best bet.
For instance, Cannatonic contains less than six percent THC and will leave you calm and relaxed. It’s a popular strain for those with chronic pain. Harlequin, a sativa dominant hybrid, has a CBD/THC ratio of 5/2.
Canna-Tsu is also a sativa dominant hybrid and is very popular in providing pain relief while leaving you clear-headed and happy.
“The popularity may be related to the effects on symptom relief and the fact that higher CBD products produce less cognitive disruption and therefore leave patients more functional and clear-headed,” Dr. Sherellen Gerhart told HelloMD.
However, if you want more THC or have some downtime, try strains like Sour Diesel, which can give you a boost of energy and creativity. OG Kush, an indica dominant hybrid, can be great for back pain relief and muscle spasms. Try smoking or vaping some in the evenings, as it also works to treat insomnia.
Some believe the best strains for pain relief contain both CBD and THC. When combined, they work together to increase each other’s powerful effects.
Topical Cannabis Creams are Always an Option
If you don’t want to smoke, vape, or eat edibles, topical cannabis cream can be a great alternative for relieving your pelvic pain. Types of topicals include lotions, balms, or oils that absorb directly into the skin. It’s non-addictive, powerful, and all-natural stuff. Plus, they won’t get you high. Cannabis cream works wonders to reduce inflammation and relax the muscles.
Simply apply the cream directly to where you are having pain. Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and foods high in fat and sugar while you are using the cream can also help de-stress the body. Every topical cream is different. Some have cooling menthol, while others create a warming sensation. OG Kush Cream even contains emu oil, which helps the skin absorb it nicely.
Eat Some CBD Edibles
Edibles with high amounts of CBD, like Cheeba Chews, are a delicious way to relieve inflammation. If your pain is related to your period, try OM EDIBLES™. They’ve been endorsed by the likes of Whoopi Goldberg, who strongly advocates for medical cannabis legalization. (She even has her own product line for menstrual cramps called Maya & Whoopi’s OM EDIBLES™).
Try Taking a Cannabis Bubble Bath
It may sound simple, but a nice, warm bath can really help relax your muscles and ease your pain, especially if cannabis is involved.
Add cannabis bath bombs (which you can make at home) to warm bathwater, and let your body enter a deep state of relaxation. This relaxing soak can also help with eczema and various skin issues. We also recommend not letting the water get too hot, as scalding water can amp up your nervous system instead of calming it down.
To make your bath truly unbelievable, smoke or vape a great strain of pain-relieving cannabis while soaking in the tub. You’ll thank us later.