Every woman’s menstrual cycle is different. Some experience periods without any significant symptoms, while others find themselves utterly debilitated and miserable for an entire week each month. For them, finding a treatment that is safe, effective, and convenient could be a total game changer — and new evidence suggests cannabis could be it.
Medical cannabis has become increasingly popular all over the United States in the past few years, with the chemical compounds of the plant leading to groundbreaking medical discoveries and intriguing new treatments. But THC and CBD (and the hundreds of other compounds found in the cannabis plant) aren’t just useful for people suffering with serious or chronic illnesses. There’s a mountain of evidence that suggests it could be useful for menstrual symptoms as well.
However, nearly all of it is anecdotal. The last scientific study into the effects of cannabis on menstrual issues was conducted in 1847, and as cannabis medicine expert Dr. Jordan Tischler told VICE in 2018, “Is cannabis effective for menstrual pain? The answer is, anecdotally, yes. The flip side is, ‘has anyone studied this in a rigorous, scientific manner?’ And the answer is no.”
At the same time, Tischler also said, “For the right condition, and severity of discomfort, I think cannabis is a good bet.” This doesn’t mean that if you want to experiencer milder, less disruptive periods that you need to start smoking cannabis in your room under the cover of darkness. Here are some of the most effective new ways people are using it.
Like the plant itself, many cannabis products are versatile. For example, CBD oil capsules could have pain-relieving effects and help lift your mood at the same time. With that being said, some products are better suited to certain symptoms than others, and here are some of the best matches:
Waking up to an acne breakout is an unpleasantly familiar feeling, and it’s often the first sign that your period is fast approaching. Though hormonal acne usually clears up on its own after a period has passed, it can still have a big effect on self-esteem and body confidence and, ideally, could be avoided altogether.
Cannabis topicals are now some of the most widely used cannabis products. Skin care brands are taking advantage of the plant’s many benefits and incorporating them into their acne treatments, wrinkle-reducing serums, toning face masks, and more. These help to minimize breakouts by reducing the amount of oil that the skin produces and fighting off acne-causing bacteria at the same time.
Using a cannabis topical throughout the month is a great thing to do for your skin, but if you’re happy with your skin care routine and are just looking for a helping hand during the time around your period, a cannabis-infused spot treatment could work wonders for your skin and your confidence.
It’s easy to make light of the mood swings that come with periods, but they’re no laughing matter for the women who have to endure them. Hopping from extreme anger one minute to sadness and anxiety the next is mentally and emotionally exhausting. It drains us, leaves us feeling utterly out of control, clouds our judgement, and creates a feeling of instability in our home and work lives.
This is especially true when you know in just a few short weeks you’ll have to go through it all again. But what if you could find something that helped you maintain balance even during the roughest periods? Vaping cannabis is one of the most popular ways to harness the mood stabilizing properties of the plant. It’s widely used across America as a home treatment for anxiety, and studies show that it can help relax your mind and mood.
You do have to be careful with vaping, though, as some vape oils have toxic chemicals in them. However, finding a good quality CBD oil to vape (and a quality device to vape it from) when you’re riding the emotional rollercoaster could help to make periods a whole lot less traumatic for both you and your loved ones.
According to the Mayo Clinic, bloating is one of the most common signs that your period is coming. It’s caused by changes to your hormone levels (as is pretty much everything else during your period) and varies significantly from woman to woman. While some notice little or no bloating, others report that they struggle to zip up their jeans and fit into their clothes while they have their periods.
Just like hormonal breakouts, this can cause feelings of low-self-confidence and body shame. But more importantly, it can affect appetite, cause lethargy, and lead to low mood and motivation. Luckily, there are cannabis bath products that can help.
Cannabis-infused bath bombs and bath salts help to relax the abdominal muscles and provide relief to bloated bellies. Running a hot bath and adding your favorite cannabis products to the water can be an important act of self care when your body needs it the most — and if nothing else, it’s incredibly soothing.
Of course, the menstrual symptom that’s best known and loathed is cramps. As the womb sheds its lining, it contracts and causes spasm-like sensations that can last from just a few hours to a full week for some women. Women have historically struggled to find a solution to this problem, which causes many to take time off work thanks to the relentless and physically exhausting pain.
Cannabis is the first potential remedy that’s showing real effectiveness without the negative side effects caused by prescription pain medications. It’s not exactly a new treatment, but it does seem to be an effective one: if it was good enough for Queen Victoria to use for her menstrual cramps hundreds of years ago, it’s good enough for us.
Times have changed quite a bit since then, and these days women don’t have to smoke or eat cannabis in order to find relief. The latest trend is cannabis-infused suppositories which, when inserted into the vagina, have a relaxing effect on the internal muscles of the womb and are reported to significantly reduce pain. They’re marketed as a remedy for period cramps and PMS, though as gynecologist Dr. Adeeti Gupta told Refinery29, they’re “not FDA-approved and there are no clear studies showing any evidence of benefit or harm.”
If you only suffer from mild cramps, then they might not be worth the hefty price tag (Foria’s award-winning suppositories retail at a gasp-inducing $72), but if you suffer from severe menstrual pain that inhibits your ability to move around and live your life during your period, they could be worth a try.
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