Cannabis has been used to treat a wide variety of medical conditions and symptoms since thousands of years ago. But do you know that weed also helps with a bunch of problems that have been plaguing women throughout the ages? We are talking about problems related to the female menstrual cycle.
Cannabis has been used as menstrual remedy for ages
Cannabis has a long history of helping women ease pain and discomfort associated with their monthly period.
A Chinese text in the middle century referred to ancient remedies that recommend the use of marijuana for menstrual disorders. Ancient Persian texts have also cited the use of marijuana to calm uterine pains.
Queen Victoria was also known to receive monthly doses of cannabis for menstrual discomfort throughout her child-bearing years. In fact, Queen Victoria’s personal physician, Sir J. Russell Reynolds, wrote in 1890 in the Lancet Journal — which is one of the oldest and most well-respected medical journals in the world — that cannabis is “one of the most valuable” medical drugs, being of “great service” in simple spasmodic dysmenorrhea (or more commonly known as menstrual cramps).
These are just a few examples. Surely, there are many other age-old medical writings from other parts of the world that mention cannabis as treatment for menstrual pain and other menstruation-related problems.
Does cannabis really provide relief from menstrual pain and discomfort?
Yes. Many women attest that using weed in some form relieves pain, cramps, and discomfort associated with their monthly periods.
You can actually search the Internet for articles and videos where women who suffer from period pains and other related issues like endometriosis review a variety of cannabis products designed and formulated for this purpose. You will hear first-hand testimonies of how specific brands and products — from balms, bath salts, oils, tinctures, edibles, joints, and even vaginal suppositories — work for these women.
Here are a few examples:
1. Review from Bustle here.
2. Article and interview from Merry Jane here.
3. Question and answer at Quora here.
You can also check out this YouTube video by As/Is of women trying out female-friendly products from Whoopi & Maya.
How does cannabis help with menstrual pain and discomfort?
Science does not reveal a whole lot as to how exactly cannabis products work to ease menstrual cramps. This is because there haven’t been any large-scale studies that looked into the effects of cannabinoids on women with menstrual pain.
Existing studies on the use of marijuana in the treatment of pain mainly focus on the neuropathic kind, or pain related to the nerves. Menstrual cramps do not fall under the neuropathic pain category.
However, Dr. Charles Pollack, director of the Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp at Thomas Jefferson University, explained that cannabis works because there are many endocannabinoid receptors found in the uterus. Cannabinoids in cannabis — including tetrahydrocannbinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) — bind to these receptors to induce therapeutic effects.
The discovery of these receptors in the female reproductive system has lead to scientists thinking that cannabis may help women with endometriosis — the painful disorder where the endometrium or tissue lining the uterus grows outside of the uterus. Pollack said that one area of research is looking into whether marijuana helps with easing the pain of endometriosis or slowing the growth of the endometrial tissue.
He added that it is also possible that women who suffer from painful menstrual cramps benefit from marijuana’s anti-anxiety or anxiolytic effects.
Should you use cannabis for menstrual cramps?
To put things simply, the lack of data makes it difficult to draw conclusions regarding the effects (and side effects) of cannabis when used for menstrual relief.
However, if you are one who suffers from severe period-related pain, discomfort, and even PMS, and if you live in an area where medical cannabis is legal, consider yourself lucky because you have the option to take advantage of this natural alternative that not all women have access to.