Can Cannabis Help With Menstrual Cramps?
If you’re reading this, it’s likely because you or someone you love is looking for alternative treatments to combat the pain of menstrual cramps. Maybe you’ve heard that cannabis is a potential solution. Or maybe you’re just curious. Either way, we’re here to help. Let’s take a look at the question on every woman’s mind: does cannabis help with menstrual cramps?
Cannabis has been touted as a cure-all by many users and it is one of the reasons that you should consider using it. It may help soothe menstrual cramps, increase appetite and reduce pain and symptoms of menopause. Let’s have a look at why cannabis can help with menstrual cramps and how it can be used to treat it.
What Are Menstrual Cramps?
Menstrual cramps — also called dysmenorrhea — are sharp pains that occur in the lower abdomen during a woman’s period. These can range from mild to severe and are most common during a woman’s first few years having her period.
Cramping is caused by contractions in the uterus, or womb, which are necessary to help expel its lining each month. These contractions cause blood vessels to narrow and cut off oxygen to uterine muscles, leading to pain and discomfort. For some women, these symptoms can be so severe that they make it difficult or impossible to live their daily lives.
Everybody knows that life is especially hard for women. As we grow older, the pains of life come more prevalently – more so for women than men. One of the most annoying (and painful) things to strike a woman during her lifetime is menstrual cramps. Are there any painkillers out there that can help us with these pains? Yes! Cannabis can help reduce menstrual cramps significantly, though it may have some side effects. Marijuana for menstrual cramps is a lesser-known use for cannabis, and not something you’ll commonly hear about on a news channel. Like many medical uses for cannabis, the medicinal functions of marijuana are suppressed by bans from mainstream media.
Menstrual cramps are no joke. If you’re a woman who gets cramps, you know exactly how debilitating they can be. But even if you don’t get them, it’s not something that should be overlooked just because it’s a “normal” part of being female. It’s really not normal to be in so much pain that you can barely function properly. Even though menstrual cramps aren’t life-threatening, they can still be serious enough to affect your daily life if you experience them on a regular basis. And yet, OTC pain medication isn’t always effective at relieving the pain of menstrual cramps (especially when you have to take them every single day for days on end).
Between 60 and 90 percent of women experience pain during their period, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. While some might dismiss this as normal, it really isn’t, and women should seek a doctor’s help if they are experiencing severe pain.
But what about those who want relief without getting a doctor involved? Well, some women are turning to cannabis for help. There have been a couple of studies which indicate that cannabis may help with menstrual cramps—and one even went as far as saying that it works better than ibuprofen!
So why hasn’t anyone else done more research? Well, marijuana has had a bad reputation for decades now. Because of this, there aren’t too many doctors who will recommend it to patients—especially since they can’t guarantee that the patient won’t get addicted or find themselves in trouble with law enforcement down the line.
For many women, their period comes with a lot of discomfort: nausea, headaches, cramping. Some women even experience painful rheumatoid arthritis flare-ups. For these women, cannabis may be an effective treatment for their symptoms.
Many people who use CBD oil for menstrual cramps find success in using it before their period starts. The reason for this is because when you start taking CBD on a regular basis before your period starts, it helps your body get used to having more cannabinoids present—and thus can respond more effectively when you do start experiencing symptoms like bloating or headaches during that time of the month.
Some days, you may need more than usual to help alleviate your symptoms. And for many women who use cannabis to treat menstrual cramps and other PMS symptoms, that time of the month — when their bodies are working overtime — is when they feel like they need a higher dosage.
But why? A woman's body is already changing so much on a monthly basis; it makes sense that our weed tolerance would too. The answer may lie in something called endocannabinoid tone (ECT).
What Exactly Is Endocannabinoid Tone?
In order to understand how cannabis helps with menstrual cramps, it's important to know what endocannabinoid tone is. Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors in your brain (and in other parts of your body). These receptors exist in everyone's body, regardless of whether or not they've used cannabis. The endocannabinoid system plays a role in a variety of physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood and memory.
Some women have an imbalance in their endocannabinoid systems which makes them more susceptible to painful periods. We don't know exactly why this happens, but we do know that supplementing Phytocannabinoids (cannabis) can help restore balance and reduce symptoms associated with it.
Your body makes its own endocannabinoids naturally. They act as a counterbalance to anandamide, the "bliss molecule" that also helps regulate pain, menstrual cycles, and emotions. When your endocannabinoid system is functioning properly, it keeps your health in balance. But when it's out of whack, a whole host of problems can develop — including hormonal imbalances and gynecological symptoms like menstrual cramps.
The Endocannabinoid System and Hormones
Your endocannabinoid system plays a major role in regulating your hormones. The ECS uses chemical messengers called endocannabinoids to communicate with receptors throughout your body. When the ECS doesn't function properly, it can lead to hormonal imbalances that affect everything from menstruation to fertility.
Low levels of endocannabinoids are associated with PMS symptoms like breast tenderness, mood swings, hot flashes, and irritability (1). Studies have also suggested that women who experience painful periods have lower levels of both anandamide and 2-AG than their counterparts who experience milder pain
Mind you, this isn’t to say that marijuana is an alternative treatment. There is no “cure” for PMS or endometriosis or whatever other disorder you might have. But the reality is that marijuana helps a lot of people cope. For me, it helps when the only other options are painkillers, which come with their own long list of side effects. So if you are one of those people who suffer from painful periods, don’t hesitate to look into marijuana as a potential solution. It might just be better than what’s found on your pharmacy shelf.
Cannabis is not the magic cure for menstrual cramps, however it’s safe to say that most women give it a two thumbs up when it comes to dealing with the pain. Because it’s all a matter of tolerance and dosage, you should try different amounts and strains to find the right one. But if you want my opinion? Get some cannabis infused coconut oil (you can make it at home or just buy from dispensaries), put a dab on your abdomen or your stomach area, and see how you feel. You could even rub some in your back for extra relief. Check out the link below for one of our highly recommended topicals.