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Cannabinoids in the Treatment of Dysmenorrhea, Endometriosis, and Adenomyosis 
by Dr. George Branning
 
­As body systems go, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is an infant, having been discovered in the waning decades of the twentieth century. For over a hundred years, science had been trying to isolate the mysteries of cannabis.
The discovery of the cannabinoid receptors CB-1 and CB-2 in mammals, and the subsequent recognition of the ECS as the largest regulatory system in mammalian physiology, has made careers, as well as created career paths in science. But for the millennia prior, you didn’t have to be a scientist to understand, or enjoy the potential of cannabis on the human story. Discovered in pottery dating back to the Egyptian pre-pyramid dynasties, cannabis has been used as intoxicant, medicine, as well as tool of the shamanistic art as long as there has been civilization.
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Historically, humans have looked for relief from their discomforts since they could pose the thought in their developing primate minds, and nature was their abundant pharmacy. A female’s pelvic pain is mostly unique and distinct from their male counterparts; it is with, and without, cyclicality and may, or may not be, correlated with menses (latin, mensis: month). This, too, demanded a solution.
The primary pain maladies of the female pelvis are, dysmenorrhea, endometriosis, and adenomyosis, and historically, cannabis has been a favorite choice for the specific dimorphic discomforts of a woman’s pelvis. In fact, in my gynecology practice, a significant amount of my patients use cannabis on a monthly, or daily schedule, specifically to help with pelvic pain or monthly cramping. I had always assumed it was the psychoactive properties of THC that gave them relief, which I’m sure it does.

But it’s the other, non-THC cannabinoids (CBD being the most abundant and most well-known), that are likely the major contributors of relief from the cyclical nagging of pelvic pain. As research on the ECS expanded exponentially, one of the first questions asked was, “Where does it exist?”

It was initially assumed to be a part of the central nervous system, which would make sense, given cannabis’ psychoactive effects. However, CB-1 and CB-2 receptors were found throughout the body and, furthermore, a significantly large concentration of cannabinoid receptors were found in the female reproductive system...

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Dr. George Branning, F30A Contributor

Dr. Branning received his undergraduate degree from The University of Texas in Austin, before completing medical school at UT Southwestern in Dallas. He then finished his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas. After 23 years of practicing general Ob Gyn, and delivering over 4000 babies, Dr. Branning delivered his last baby in 2018, and instead has dedicated his practice to functional gynecology and medicine for women and their partners. In addition to having a busy general gynecology and robotic surgery practice in Frisco, Texas, Dr. Branning has dedicated a large portion of his time to hormonal health, functional sexual wellness, and preventative health care to his patients.

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