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Could cannabis provide natural relief to those with Endometriosis?

28 March, 2024

Interview by Sofia Roger Williams, adapted by Ashley-Rose Redstone

CEO of the Green Leaf Group and Co-founder of the Cannabis Clinic, Dr Waseem Alzaher, says CBD Oil could be a natural pain relief for those with endometriosis.

28 March marks World Endometriosis Day, a day aimed at spreading awareness of the disease, which affects roughly one in ten women and people who menstruate in Aotearoa.

The inflammatory disease, which occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (endometrium) is found in places outside of the uterus, causes challenges such as severe chronic pelvic pain and sub-fertility or infertility.

The cause of endometriosis is not fully known and there is no definitive cure.

However, recent international studies have shown that cannabidiol — otherwise known as CBD Oil, may provide natural pain relief.

The findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, show CBD can reduce inflammation and bloating, which are prevalent symptoms of endometriosis, and suppress pain receptors, serving as a natural painkiller for those with the condition.

In Aotearoa, the Cannabis Clinic provides care to individuals seeking medicinal cannabis treatment and aims to destigmatise medicinal cannabis and increase accessibility.

CEO of the Green Leaf Group and Co-founder of the Cannabis Clinic, Dr Waseem Alzaher, told The Wire that CBD is more effective and safer to consume than many other forms of pain relief.

Currently, the most common form of pain relief for menstrual pain is anti-inflammatory tablets.

Alzaher says there needs to be more awareness about the dangers of regular and long-term use of painkillers.

“People do not realise that regular and long-term use of anti-inflammatories is associated with bleeding, gastric ulcers, an increased risk of kidney problems, and an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.”

Since medicinal cannabis was legalised in 2020, Alzaher says there have been more opportunities to research how Cannabis can be prescribed for alternative pain assistance.

“We want to give people the option of being able to talk to someone who knows about medicinal cannabis and the product we are prescribing.”

But, Alzaher says there are still negative perceptions associated with cannabis use, that we need to overcome to fully realise its medicinal benefits.

“We can talk about these things without stigma and judgement.”

Listen to the full interview

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ on Air