Friday July 26, 2019
Women stand to benefit from cannabis legalization in many ways – it helps improve local economies, increases medical and therapeutic options for the family, and serves as an excellent hobby and fashion statement. But perhaps one of the biggest reasons more women are turning to cannabis is because of the relief it provides from the discomforts of the menstrual cycle.
Cannabis Improves PMS and Menstruation Discomfort
The menstrual cycle is the process in which a female’s body prepares for potential pregnancy. If a pregnancy has not occurred at the end of the cycle, the build-up of tissue lining the uterus sluffs off and expels itself through the vaginal canal in the form of blood and bloody tissue. The process is triggered by a reduction in estrogen levels which can also result in mood swings, acne, sleep disturbances and pain. Painful uterine cramps are common as the muscle works to expel the unnecessary tissue, but other pains such as lower back pain and headaches are also common during “that time of the month.” Add to that depression, nausea, bowl problems, and muscle fatigue and you’ve got yourself a crummy 4-8 day stretch of discomfort that most women have been forced to adjust to.
Some over-the-counter products like Midol or hot pads can help ease discomfort, but they don’t do much for the mood swings, the acne, or the random instances when you feel like you’re getting punched in the gut (and they certainly don’t make it easier to deal with that difficult co-worker from the office). But cannabis can! In fact, cannabis products can improve most of the symptoms of PMS and menstruation.
Cannabis and PMS
Menstrual discomfort does not begin when the bleeding does. For many women (84 percent, in fact), PMS, or Premenstrual Syndrome, is the first indication that a period is about to start. PMS typically begins 7-14 days before a period begins and is marked by symptoms like cramps, breast tenderness, fatigue, mood swings, and acne. But cannabis can help reduce pain associated with cramping and tenderness, improve sleep patterns to minimize fatigue, elevate and stabilize mood, and even improve skin conditions when used topically. Estrogen drops twice in an average cycle – once just after ovulation and another time days before menstruation – which also drags down mood-moderating serotonin levels resulting in issues like depression, anxiety, and irritability.
Interestingly, cannabis may be able to increase serotonin production and regulate its absorption thanks to the presence of cannabinoid receptors on serotonin neurons. Consuming cannabis when serotonin levels are low (when someone is about to start her period, for example) may therefore help lessen the intensity of those ill effects. In other words, it’s not just the “high” that makes you feel better but rather the way cannabinoids help regulate hormone fluctuations so they aren’t as extreme.
Cannabis and Estrogen
As noted, PMS is marked by a drop in estrogen levels which is also the cause for most of the corresponding discomfort. And though, yes, cannabis can help ease these symptoms, low levels of estrogen make cannabis less effective. That’s right: during the very time of the month when you need weed the most, you’ll also need more of it to feel its effects.
According to Rebecca Craft, a psychologist from Washington State University who has been researching cannabis’ impact on female hormones, “…We’re finding with THC…that you get a very clear spike in drug sensitivity right when the females are ovulating – right when their estrogen levels have peaked and are coming down.” This variable tolerance for cannabis women face throughout the month is one major reason cannabis studies tend to focus on men but should also highlight the importance of caution when dosing with edibles or concentrates. What you needed to get you high last week may be too much this week so go slow!
Best Cannabis Products for PMS
Women have been using cannabis to treat menstrual discomfort for centuries, but modern cannabis features products designed specifically for the need. Whether looking for generalized relief through the use of balms and bath soaks or more focused relief through via cannabis vaginal suppositories there is a pot product designed to help.
Whoopie Goldberg and her business partner, Maya Elisabeth, are among the first entrepreneurs to fashion a line of cannabis products specifically addressing female discomfort but other female-friendly cannabis products and brands include Moxie Meds and Foria relief products.
Of course, for those who would rather go the more traditional route, good ol’ flower will work just fine. Some of the best strains for menstrual pain include Blue Dream, White Widow, Strawberry Cough, and Blackberry Kush. These strains make our list of “Best Strains for PMS” because they all contain high levels of CBD for pain relief and moderate levels of THC to help improve mood. Some are more sedating, though, while others more uplifting so choose your strain based on your specific needs and energy levels for best results.
With cannabis’s myriad of benefits, it’s no wonder so many women are choosing to consume it to ease the symptoms of PMS and menstrual discomfort. Whether consumed daily to promote healthy serotonin levels or as needed to bust the blues and painful cramps, cannabis can help women live more comfortable lives no matter what time of the month it is.
Have you ever tried cannabis for period pain? Share your tips and favorite female cannabis products with our readers in the comment section below.