Endometriosis, CBD, and a Journey to Red Moon
Period wellness company Red Moon is the culmination of its founder’s pain, struggles, disappointment — and optimism. Like most other teenage girls when she first got her period, founder Alison Ferrell was excited at this “rite of passage” and entry into womanhood. But her experience quickly soured when debilitating physical pain began accompanying her monthly cycles. It was so severe that only her mother’s Vicodin prescription helped alleviate it. “It helped me to relax and sleep, but it wasn’t good for my body,” said Alison.
Alison’s crippling periods followed her into adulthood, where she reached for regular doses of ibuprofen that compromised her gut and liver. When she found out she was expecting her first child (something she never thought possible), Alison’s pregnancy and birth were relatively easy, but the pain returned postpartum. Subsequent remedies proved futile, and one gynecologist after another misdiagnosed Alison — and even dismissed her concerns.
Period pain and increasing hopelessness dominated Alison’s life. No treatments — even natural ones — were effective, and not knowing the cause of her pain compounded her frustration. But things began looking up when she visited a new doctor. “I finally saw someone who cared,” said Alison, “and I’ll never forget the experience.” The doctor also told Alison the words she’d never thought she’d hear: “I think you have endometriosis.” Endometriosis runs in Alison’s family; her mother and sisters all had hysterectomies because of it, and Alison’s gut instinct told her she had the same condition. Yet, it took years for her to receive the same diagnosis.
What Is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition that affects 1 in 9 women of reproductive age worldwide. It involves the abnormal growth of cell tissue similar to that found in the lining of the uterus. The cell tissue extends beyond the uterus and surrounds nearby organs, such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and bladder. It undergoes the same bleeding process as a menstrual cycle, but it cannot exit the body as normal period blood does. The trapped cell tissue causes pain, inflammation, heavy periods, and sometimes scar tissue.
Although endometriosis doesn’t cause extreme pain for all afflicted women, it can lead to infertility if left untreated. Surgery can remove the excess tissue, but its persistent nature means it can frequently grow back.
Alison’s Endometriosis Treatment and CBD Discovery
With a doctor’s referral — and newfound hope — Alison visited a specialist who diagnosed her with stage IV endometriosis. The condition had caused severe scar tissue and a large ovarian cyst, and her doctor surgically removed the endometriosis from her ovaries, uterus, bladder, urethra, and bowels. Although Alison’s pain lessened after that, it never fully subsided, and she continued struggling to find effective treatments. After broadening her research, Alison discovered CBD, or cannabidiol, the second most prevalent active ingredient in cannabis (marijuana). Reassured by what she found, she began using CBD tinctures, and the results were more than she could have ever dreamed. For the first time since she was a teenager, Alison experienced transformative relief. “CBD became my friend,” said Alison.
CBD and Its Role In Treating Endometriosis
Too many women like Alison have tried various over-the-counter pain medications to reduce the severity of their endometriosis or period symptoms, with varying degrees of success. Alternatively, CBD has emerged as a wholly viable, holistic alternative for women everywhere.
Extensive studies illustrate CBD’s positive effects, promoting an overall improved sense of well-being. Even more significant is that studies show that CBD can do more than relieve pain: it can inhibit the spread of endometrial cells throughout the body. That’s because the human body has an endocannabinoid system, a complex cell signaling network with a series of receptors that help regulate certain bodily functions. The endocannabinoid system was discovered only as recently as the early 1990s, but some researchers believe it can become deficient in some people. More specifically, its two cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, can become deficient and possibly contribute to endometriosis. CBD has been shown to stimulate these CB1 and CB2 receptors, easing endometriosis pain and slowing its progression.
Continuing CBD and Launching Red Moon
With no cure for endometriosis and her subsequent nerve damage caused by scar tissue, Alison continues to deal with the effects of her condition. In fact, her pain returned with a vengeance six years after her first surgery. Alison also became pregnant with her second child during this time, enduring nausea, vomiting, and nearly full-body pressure and pain for months, with an equally painful birth and postpartum. She was also diagnosed in November 2020 with adenomyosis, which is endometriosis that’s grown deep in the muscle of the uterus and cannot be removed or cured. Alison’s doctor removed her fallopian tubes and performed an endometrial ablation to suppress her menstrual cycle. The latter had little effect however, as her period became heavier for about six months. Nevertheless, Alison learned that the key in minimizing her pain was consistent use of CBD, and it’s proven to be a godsend for her.
Alison has also routinely embraced enhanced period mentality and wellness choices. Combined with her CBD use, she’s established a trinity of self-care that further promotes her overall well-being. Alison believes that years of railing against her pain was a psychological disservice; but by espousing self-care, kindness, and respect for her feminine reproductive system, she has overcome her physical struggles more transcendently. Today, Alison regards periods as a divine gift that deserves to be appreciated.
Alison’s optimism came with a desire to help others also struggling with painful periods. That’s when she decided to launch her wellness brand Red Moon to provide a nurturing community for everyone with periods, regardless of gender. Alison had planned to offer traditional menstrual products until her husband suggested she include CBD products. “That’s when everything clicked into place, including my excitement,” said Alison. She spent the next year working tirelessly to make the product available through Red Moon as a period pad. CBD has become Alison’s lifesaver; she wished she had access to these pads during her pregnancies and surgeries, but she’s thrilled she can now offer them to people everywhere.
Red Moon is also the culmination, quite literally, of Alison’s blood, sweat, and tears. But it also represents a way forward for many: achieving a holistic approach to treat period pain, fighting the stigma that sometimes accompanies it, and connecting with people from around the world with similar struggles. “I found life-changing relief and support from Red Moon’s period care,” said Alison, “and I’m hopeful others will too.”
Written by the Red Moon Team & Founder, Alison Ferrell