Women’s health is an area of medicine underserved by current medical treatments, leading women to suffer in silence. Over 86% of women have painful periods, 25% have chronic pelvic pain lasting more than 6 months, and 1 in 10 suffer from endometriosis. 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer, yet a ground-breaking treatment has not been developed in over 20 years. In 2020, 50 million American women will be post-menopausal, yet few advances have been made in treating menopause without hormone treatment. Clearly a new approach to women’s health is warranted.
There is strong anecdotal evidence in women as well as research in rodents to support a role of the endocannabinoid system (eCS) in women’s health. All components of the eCS is present in the female reproductive system, with levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide reaching their highest levels in the uterus. The eCS is tightly linked to estrogen levels that fluctuate with the menstrual cycle and menopause, and eCS dysfunction may be linked to medical conditions impacting women. Finally, women who self-medicate with cannabis report symptom relief in menopause, pelvic pain, and many other conditions.
The WMEDS Study is a long-term health study focused on safety and efficacy of cannabinoid medicine in women. The WMEDS Study will consist of a survey, observational registry, and clinical research trials. We are looking to enroll over 100,000 women in the United States over several years.
The exploratory aims of this research study include: 1) Determining normal blood levels of anandamide across the lifespan and menstrual cycle in women. 2) Assessing the impact of cannabis use in women on quality of life across the lifespan. 3) Determining the safety of use of cannabis products in women taking hormonal contraceptives or hormonal replacement therapy. 4) Examining the effectiveness of different cannabis products, routes of administration, and cannabinoid ratios on relief of pelvic pain, menopausal and post-menopausal symptoms, autoimmune disorders, mood, and treatment of breast cancer.
This large-scale, multi-state population study is expected to net huge returns on investment, as previous projects such as the Women’s Health Initiative have. Our patient database will be mineable for future studies as well as available for recruiting patients for other studies. We expect thousands of articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals and hundreds of ancillary studies to be generated from the data generated from the WMEDS Study. Finally, we expect to develop commercial products and diagnostic tests that will greatly enhance quality of life for female patients.