National Endometriosis Awareness Month: Is Endometriosis a Qualifying Condition for a FL MMJ Card?
Endometriosis Awareness takes place during March with the goal to raise awareness of a disease that affects an estimated 200 million women worldwide. Endometriosis is a common health problem for women. Researchers believe that more than 6 ½ million women in the United States have endometriosis.
One of the main symptoms of endometriosis is chronic pain, which is one of the approved conditions the state of Florida allows to qualify for a Florida Medical Marijuana Card. To see if you qualify for your Medical Marijuana Recommendation take this survey in five minutes or less!
What is Endometriosis
Endometriosis is a common gynecological condition in which the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus or womb, or the endometrium, is present outside of the uterus. This condition is affecting around 2 to 10 percent of American women of childbearing age.
Endometriosis is most often found on the:
- Fallopian tubes
- Tissues that hold the uterus in place
- The outer surface of the uterus
Other sites for growth can include the cervix, vagina, vulva, bladder, bowel, or rectum. Rarely, endometriosis can also appear in other parts of the body, such as the lungs, brain, and skin.
During a regular menstrual cycle, this tissue builds up and then is shed if there is no pregnancy. Women with endometriosis develop tissue that resembles endometrial tissue outside of the uterus, sometimes on other reproductive organs inside the pelvis. Every month, this tissue responds to the menstrual cycles’ hormonal changes by building up and breaking down just as the endometrium does. As a result, there is bleeding inside of the pelvis which leads to swelling and scarring of the normal tissue.
If the ovary is involved, blood can get stuck in the normal ovarian tissue, resulting in a “blood blister” surrounded by a fibrous cyst, called an endometrioma.
Symptoms of Endometriosis
The main symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain, mostly during the time of the menstrual cycle. While many women experience cramping during their periods, those with endometriosis typically experience menstrual pain that’s far more intense than usual.
Symptoms of endometriosis can include:
- Pain. Women with endometriosis may have many different kinds of pain. These include:
- Very painful menstrual cramps.
- Chronic pain in the pelvis and lower back.
- Pain during and/or after sex. Usually described as a “deep” pain.
- Gastro-intestinal pain.
- Painful bowel movements or pain when urinating during menstrual periods.
- Bleeding or spotting between menstrual periods.
- Abnormal or heavy menstrual flow.
- Digestive problems. Diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or nausea, especially during the menstrual cycle.
The amount of pain is not always related to the severity of endometriosis. In fact, some women with severe endometriosis can experience no pain, while others with a mild form may have severe pain and other symptoms.
Endometriosis is sometimes mistaken for other conditions that can cause pelvic pain, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCSO.)
Standard Endometriosis Treatment
There is still no known cure for endometriosis, but treatments are available to manage the symptoms and issues it causes.
- Medicine. If you are not trying to get pregnant, hormonal birth control is usually the first step in treatment. The main options available are:
- Extended-cycle or continuous cycle birth control. These types of birth control are available in the pill or the shot and help stop bleeding and reduce or eliminate pain.
- Intrauterine device (IUD) to help reduce pain and bleeding. The hormonal IUD prevents pregnancy for up to 7 years. But the hormonal IUD may not help manage the pain and bleeding due to endometriosis for that many years.
If you are trying to get pregnant, your doctor may prescribe a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist. [A] This medicine stops the body from making the hormones that control ovulation, menstruation, and endometriosis growth. This route of treatment causes a temporary menopause, but it helps control the growth of endometriosis as well.
- Surgery. If the symptoms are severe enough and the medicine is not providing relief, surgery might be the best option. During the operation, the areas of endometriosis can be located and removed. Afterwards, hormone treatment is often restarted.
Endometriosis and Medical Marijuana
While the methods mentioned above can help control the uncomfortable symptoms caused by endometriosis, there is supporting evidence that marijuana can help control the condition. The body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) has many roles but one of its main goals is to maintain homeostasis, which is the body’s ideal balanced state. Cannabis contains phyto-cannabinoids which are natural substitutes for the endogenous (endo) cannabinoids the body produces. Whenever there are deficiencies or other issues in the body, the phytocannabinoids like THC and CBD can be used as replacements for the endocannabinoids.
Cannabis also interacts with the N-arachidonyl glycine receptor (NAGly receptor), more commonly known as the GPR18 receptor. CBD blocks the activation of the GPR18 receptor which stops endometrial cells from migrating. On the flip side, there is also research that shows THC encouraging the migration of cells by activating the same receptor. So, if using THC for its pain-relieving qualities, you will need to take CBD to help counteract the cell growth.There is also evidence that certain cannabinoids can stop endometriosis cells from proliferation.
Best Strains to Use to manage Endometriosis Symptoms
Those interested in using medical marijuana to help relieve the symptoms associated with endometriosis could benefit the most with strains high in CBD. While CBD does not produce psychoactive effects, it still provides relief from inflammation, pain, and more medical conditions. The best high-CBD strains available for patients in Florida are:
- AC/DC: Sativa dominant strain that provides uplifting and energizing effects without added anxiety.
- Harlequin: Effective pain-killing strain because of its THC:CBD ratios.
- Cannatonic: Provides pain relief while also lifting your mood
Some other strains that are higher in THC but still beneficial for endometriosis symptom relief are:
- 9 Pound Hammer: Provides long-lasting pain relief and coaxes users into a deep uninterrupted sleep.
- Sour Jack: Great pain reliever that is uplifting and energizing for mornings when you need a little extra motivation.
Qualifying for your Florida Medical Marijuana Card
After many improvements, the process to qualify for your medical marijuana is pretty straight forward. As long as you have been diagnosed with any of the below mentioned, then you can get your card with any one of our knowledgeable physicians by booking here.
A Qualified Patient Must:
- Be a permanent or seasonal Florida resident
- Be diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition by a qualified physician
- Be entered into the Medical Marijuana Use Registry
- Obtain a Medical Marijuana Use Registry Identification Card
Qualifying Medical Conditions:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to the others listed.
- A terminal condition diagnosed by a physician other than the qualified physician issuing the physician certification.
- Chronic nonmalignant pain caused by a qualifying medical condition or that originates from a qualifying medical condition and persists beyond the usual course of that qualifying medical condition.
The overall process to obtain a medical marijuana card in Florida is around two full weeks depending on the speed of applications and appointment availability. Typically, everything runs smoothly and once you get the state approval you are legally allowed to purchase products from a medical marijuana dispensary.
If you or a loved one suffers from endometriosis, or if you have been diagnosed with one of the above mentioned health conditions, book a risk-free appointment with a Florida Medical Marijuana Physician! If you still are not sure if you could be eligible this survey will let you know!
With over 25 years of specialty training in Internal Medicine, as well as fellowship training in Functional and Sexual medicine, Dr. Maginso added Plant Medicine (Medical Marijuana) to her niche practice as of 2017. She is licensed in the State of Florida and attended the University of the East (UERM) in Quezon City, Philippines as well as the University of Medicine and Dentistry in Newark, NJ.
She joined DocMJ in 2019 to align with a known group of compassionate physicians that empower their patients to be better versions of themselves. Her favorite hashtag is #powerpassionperformance, using the combination of optimized bioidentical hormones, medical marijuana, plasma therapies, and sexual wellness.
She is an author, speaker and community advocate for Medical Marijuana, Sexual Health, and the empowerment of mature women.