Can cannabis help with problems related to the female menstrual cycle like menstrual cramps and endometriosis? For women who have always had issues with their menstruation (or perhaps their reproductive system), this question is worth exploring.
The great news is that cannabis does have a history of being used for a range of menstrual problems. Many cultures around the world that have used cannabis for various ailments back in the good, old days also used the plant to ease the pain and discomfort associated with women’s monthly periods.
For one, in China, according to middle century Chinese text, there are ancient remedies recommending the use of weed for menstrual disorders. Then there’s ancient Persian texts that cited the use of cannabis to calm female uterine pains.
Of course, there’s also Queen Victoria, who was known to receive doses of cannabis for menstrual discomfort. She got these monthly doses throughout her child-bearing years. In fact, Sir J. Russell Reynolds, who was the queen’s personal physician, had written in the Lancet Journal in 1890 that cannabis is of “great service” when it comes to alleviating menstrual cramps.
Now, how does cannabis help with menstrual discomfort and pain?
Science does not say a whole lot as to how cannabis works exactly. This is because, admittedly, not many large-scale studies had looked into the effects of cannabis on women who suffer from menstrual pain.
The existing research on the use of pot in the treatment of pain essentially focuses on the kind of pain that is related to the nerves. And menstrual cramps does not exactly fall under neuropathic pain category.
However, according to Dr. Charles Pollack, director at Thomas Jefferson University’s Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp, explained that weed works with the receptors in the endocannabinoid system, and there are many of these receptors found in the uterus. Tetrahydrocannbinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and other cannabinoids in cannabis bind to these receptors so as to induce therapeutic and pain relieving effects.
The discovery of the presence of cannabinoid receptors in the female reproductive system also led to scientists into believing that cannabis can help women with endometriosis. Endometriosis is a disorder where the tissue lining the uterus — called endometrium — grows outside the uterus thus causing painful menstruation.
Pollack said that researchers are still looking into whether cannabis helps relieve pain associated with endometriosis or slows the growth of the endometrium.
He added that it is possible for women suffering from painful menstrual cramps to benefit from the anti-anxiety effects of weed.
As to whether you should use cannabis for menstrual cramps, you can check out the advice of medical cannabis doctors like Dr. Rachna Patel.