Cannabis as treatment for symptoms of endometriosis


This study investigates the efficacy of cannabis for the treatment of endometriosis.

Frau mit Händen auf dem Unterleib

Justin Sinclair of Western Sydney University, Australia, and his research team conducted an online survey to investigate self-management strategies to cope with pain among women with endometriosis.

Additionally, they investigated the perceived efficacy and tolerability of cannabis use as well as potential changes in pharmaceutical medication use. A total of 484 Australian women with endometriosis aged 25 to 36 years took part in the online survey and were included in the final analysis.

Self-management strategies included physical strategies (exercise or stretching), psychological strategies (for example meditation or breathing techniques), and lifestyle interventions (for instance dietary changes, alcohol consumption, or the use of cannabis).

76% of women reported using self-management strategies within the last 6 months. Among these women, 48 (13%) reported having used cannabis for endometriosis pain management. No information on the composition of cannabis products used (THC/CBD ratios) was available. The Pelvic Pain Impact Questionnaire was used in order to assess the severity of endometriosis symptoms in several domains: energy level, sleep, stomach or gastrointestinal function, sitting, work or school, physical activity, and wearing tight clothing.

Women using cannabis for pain management reported higher impairment on this questionnaire than women who did not use cannabis. Self-rated efficacy of cannabis use for pelvic pain was evaluated on a scale of 0 to 10. Self-rated effectiveness on pelvic pain for cannabis was 7.6, with 10 being most effective. Each of the 48 women who used cannabis for symptom management was able to reduce the use of other pharmaceutical medication related to endometriosis and pain, 27 women by more than half. In addition to alleviating pelvic pain, cannabis use improved other symptoms very common in endometriosis, such as sleep, anxiety, depression, and gastrointestinal symptoms including nausea and vomiting.   

Sinclair and colleagues showed that cannabis use was associated with significant improvement of abdominal pain, sleep, anxiety and depression, as well as gastrointestinal problems. In addition, women using cannabis reduced the use of other pharmaceutical medication (for example pain medication).

This study provides evidence for the efficacy of cannabis in the treatment of endometriosis. 



:  Sinclair, J., Smith, C. A., Abbott, J., Chalmers, K. J., Pate, D. W., & Armour, M. (2020). Cannabis use, a self-management strategy among Australian women with endometriosis: results from a national online survey. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada42(3), 256-261.