Australian Endometriosis Patients Find Relief Through MMJ Despite Cost Barriers

Australian Endometriosis Patients Find Relief Through MMJ Despite Cost Barriers

Using cannabis to relieve pain is nothing new. Most states across the United States include chronic pain as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana.

Looking more broadly, people around the world are already embracing cannabis for these pain-relieving effects, along with the additional benefits it provides. Although we still haven't learned exactly how cannabis works to treat symptoms or alleviate certain conditions, many people are taking matters into their own hands with promising results. I am. And these trends could be very helpful in shaping further research and policy.

Recent investigation It was published in the magazine Obstetrics and gynecology A closer look at cannabis and endometriosis symptom management reveals that patients often turn to cannabis for symptom relief, despite continued barriers to access.

Cannabis use in patients with endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue similar to the endometrium grows outside the uterus, commonly causing severe pelvic pain and inflammation. This tissue functions similarly to the endometrium, thickening, breaking down, and bleeding during each menstrual cycle. Endometriosis involving the ovaries can also result in cysts, which can cause inflammation of the surrounding tissue and the formation of scar tissue.

Endometriosis begins during the first menstrual period and can last until menopause. The cause of endometriosis is still unknown, and there is no prevention or treatment. However, there are many treatments available to alleviate the associated symptoms. Some people choose surgery to remove the lesions, while others turn to hormonal intrauterine devices, birth control methods, and opioid-based pain medications for continued symptom relief.

However, given the prevalence of its use, cannabis can be safely added to the list of modern treatments.

In this study, Australian researchers looked at the perspectives of 192 people with a history of cannabis use and endometriosis. The researchers noted that the disease is a “very expensive disease with high out-of-pocket costs for pain and symptom management,” and the cost and availability of cannabis-based medicines (CMBPs) are driving the investigation. It is said that this is the main focus. They also note that current research lacks information regarding ideal products, dosing methods, and efficacy.

Researchers collected data through an online survey of residents of Australia and New Zealand via social media and community-based advocacy platform Respondents included those using either illicit cannabis or legal CMBP prescribed by a doctor to manage symptoms related to endometriosis or chronic pelvic pain. However, the published report only includes data from Australian respondents.

The study found that THC-dominant CBMPs were most commonly prescribed to Australians with endometriosis, and pointed to multiple product use as a common trend, with most people using at least two products. It was found that the use of For those who had only one prescription (23%), it was almost always her THC-based product.

The majority of respondents (59.4%) said they used cannabis recreationally and for endometriosis symptom management, although many used cannabis only for symptom management ( 40.1%).

With the use of legal CBMPs, patients are more likely to be affected by common endometriosis symptoms, specifically sleep (68.9%), chronic pelvic pain (44.5%), nausea (47.9%), and anxiety/depression (45.4%). %) and menstrual pain (38.7%).

They also reported decreases in the use of opioids, hormone therapy, nonsteroidal inflammatory drugs, neuroleptics, and illicit cannabis.

The most common product types, illegal or legal, were oils and flowers.

Investigating the cost and access of cannabis medicines

The results also show that legal cannabis drugs high in THC are more expensive than their illegal “equivalents,” and the additional cost of accessing them legally can lead people to either underdosing (76.1%) or “gap”. He also pointed out that people often turn to illegal cannabis to relieve their symptoms. Cost burden (42.9%).

Researchers believe that relying on illicit cannabis products can lead to using products that have not been tested for safety and quality, leading to poor symptom management, and of course the potential legal implications that come with it. It points out that there is.

Almost all respondents (96.3%) agreed that the cost burden would be significantly reduced if the CBMP was a Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) registered and subsidized product.

The majority of respondents said they would consider changing insurance companies if they found out their private health insurance would not cover the cost of cannabis drugs, with 60.9% saying they probably would, depending on other factors. did. 20.3% said yes, as long as the premium was the same price or less. 11.7% said yes, even if the premiums were higher. Only 7% said no.

The researchers found that patients' willingness to change insurance companies based on this variable was influenced by the “pivotal nature of cost concerns (and perceived effectiveness) associated with affordable access to cannabinoids.” It's telling,” he said. Furthermore, the results suggest the need for further action by domestic insurance companies.

“Given that no well-tolerated alternatives exist for medical management of endometriosis, this is an equity issue that urgently needs to be addressed,” the researchers added.

Limits and future prospects

The researchers point to the self-reported nature of cost, diagnosis, and product consumption as limitations. They also noted that recruitment methods through social media and Cannareviews' patient base, as participants may have had a severe impact on their quality of life or had a more positive experience with illicit or medical cannabis. We also mentioned the possibility that this may lead to recall bias and selection bias. broader population.

Still, the data confirms that many people already rely on cannabis treatment for relief from endometriosis symptoms, highlighting the need for better access.

“Improving access to medical cannabis for this population is important and timely, given the significant challenges in symptom management and self-reported relief of pain and other symptoms,” the authors wrote. concludes. “Reducing costs for both products and consulting, as well as insurance coverage, are areas that need to be addressed.”

With two decades of dedicated experience, Nuggs is a seasoned cannabis writer and grower. His journey has been a harmonious blend of nurturing cannabis from seed to harvest and crafting insightful content. A true expert, they've honed strain-specific knowledge, cultivation techniques, and industry insights. His passion shines through enlightening articles and thriving gardens, making them a respected figure in both the growing and writing facets of the cannabis world.

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