Cannabis may help treat symptoms of PCOS. Photo credit: Evato/diego_cervo.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common syndrome that solely affects women and young girls. It affects 6% to 12% of women in the U.S. or as many as 5 million women of reproductive age.
What is PCOS?
PCOS is a genetic, hormonal, metabolic and reproductive disorder that, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is one of the leading causes of female infertility in America.
While PCOS affects women’s reproductive system, the CDC reports that it is also linked to other serious conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and endometrial cancer.
Post from @pcosaa on Instagram.
The most common symptoms of PCOS are irregular periods, headaches, weight gain and depression, according to Healthline.
In the female reproductive system, there is an imbalance of reproductive hormones causing a healthy menstrual cycle problem by not releasing eggs every month as they should. As a result, PCOS may develop, as well as other other conditions.
This syndrome does not have a solution that works for every woman individually. Although, according to Euphoria Wellness, cannabis is shown to significantly help women with PCOS ease their symptoms and treat hormone imbalances.
To understand why, experts are looking to the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and female reproductive system, which work in tandem with one another.
The Female Reproductive System and Cannabis
Located in all human bodies is the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system promotes homeostasis and signals molecules, calling them into action. It is made up of receptors — CB1 and CB2 receptors. Endocannabinoids, or chemicals produced by the body, bind to the receptors. Seeing how the body can make up these endocannabinoids supports the idea of cannabis as a solution to easing pain.
Similar to endocannabinoids, cannabinoids from cannabis — including THC — also bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors demonstrate how cannabis interacts with the ECS by responding and bringing back balance to the body. In other words, these receptors and the THC bind together like a lock and key, easing inflammation and pain where the body needs it.
As a result, patients with PCOS have found relief by using medical cannabis. More specifically, sufferers report having less inflammation/pain. Additionally, cannabis use may also reduce levels of obesity, and help treat insulin resistance.
Research also suggests that cannabis helps with other symptoms of PCOS, including depression, sleep apnea or insomnia, and anxiety.
Post from @pcosaa on Instagram.
In comparison to other treatments, cannabis may provide relief with little side effects. For example, medications for PCOS may increase estrogen levels, and may not work well with other medications, according to the PCOS Awareness Association.
However, medical cannabis’ side effects include dry mouth, dizziness and rare paranoia.
Treating PCOS with Cannabis
According to Euphoria Wellness, issues with the ECS can result in PCOS. But, cannabis can naturally help dysfunctions in the ECS. As a result, it helps PCOS sufferers find relief by improving appetite, controlling mood swings and easing pain throughout the body.
But what strains work best to help ease symptoms of PCOS?
Remedy and Mr. Nice are two indica-dominant strains (meaning they produce more “body highs” rather than mental highs) that may be effective for treating the condition. Women with PCOS most commonly use these two strains, according to Leafly.
The first strain — Mr. Nice — may fight best against pain. Women with PCOS recommend this strain to help alleviate stress, pain, depression and insomnia while still being functional.
Mr. Nice starts off as a slow effect, but can quickly change into a powerful one.
However, for those who prefer more of a body and mental high, Remedy would be the right guy to have. Remedy is an indica-dominant strain. However, its main effects are boosting focus and reducing inflammation, anxiety, depression and pain presented within or outside the body.
But aside form flower, there are fortunately a variety of THC or CBD rich products on the market aimed at women’s health. One such company is Sleepcys, founded by Cash Arroyo. Arroyo, who sufferers from PCOS, founded Sleepcys after years of finding relief from cannabis. And now, she’s sharing her remedies (like her CBD Bubble Baths) with others.
Post from @Sleepcys on Instagram.
Overall, cannabis proves useful in helping women fight against PCOS. Understanding the ECS and how well cannabis interacts with it shows a natural response that many other medications can not.