Menstrual Pain: Can Medical Marijuana Help?

Soft Secrets
06 Aug 2020

While some health experts are still reluctant to prescribe medical cannabis for menstrual pain and cramps, the plant has a vibrant history of being used exactly for this purpose.

Most women suffer from cramps, mood rollercoasters, and daunting fatigue once a month. Yes, aunt Flo comes with a lot of trouble. Menstrual pain is hell sometimes, but can medical marijuana be of any help?

While various over-the-counter medications seem to soothe menstrual symptoms in women, they come with a fair share of side effects and tend to lose the impact over time. Subsequently, in an effort to find a natural, side effects free treatment for period pain and cramps, some women are turning to Mary Jane. 

As of recently, there’s a lot of debate about whether medical marijuana can alleviate the painful effects of period cramps. In 2017, New York legislators who legalized medical marijuana in the state, proposed a bill to add dysmenorrhea (fancy word for period cramps), to the list of conditions that qualify for taking medicinal cannabis. The bill is currently on the floor calendar. 

However, the burgeoning medical cannabis market already has a number of medicinal cannabis products for that part of the month. For example, Whoopie Goldberg back in 2016 launched a line of pot-infused products for menstrual pain, which includes a bath soak, a balm, sipping chocolate, and herbal tinctures. “I want to go nice and slow with this. I don’t want this to be a joke to people. It’s not a joke to women,” Goldberg told USA Today at the time.

Marijuana Has Been Used for Menstrual Pain 

While some health experts are still reluctant to consider medical cannabis for treating menstrual pain and cramps, the plant has a colorful history of being used exactly for this purpose. 

In 16th century China, cannabis was given as a medicine for period-related pain. Some 300 years later, cannabis reportedly found its place in the royal palace of England when it was given to Queen Victoria for menstrual cramps, prescribed by her royal physician.

However, modern-day medicine is still skeptical about the credibility of cannabis as a treatment for menstrual pain. Gynecologists and health experts cite the lack of research and only anecdotal evidence for their reluctance to advise their patients to use plant-based products for period cramps.

In a 2015 research conducted by the University of British Columbia, 85% of the 192 women surveyed said they had used marijuana to treat menstrual pain, and 90% said 'it was effective at relieving the pain.' However, other researchers indicate that cannabis might have side effects on the hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle. But, so have other medicines, such as contraceptive pills.

Menstrual pain is most commonly caused by the release of prostaglandins, hormone-like substances that trigger cramps in the uterus by reducing blood supply and causing horrific spasms. To date, there’s not much in the medical arsenal to treat dysmenorrhea, except for oral contraceptives that stop ovulation and therefore prostaglandin production, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories or ibuprofen.

Meanwhile, women in California and Colorado can use ‘cannabis tampons’ with a cookie dough scent. The idea is that CBD, the non-psychoactive component found in cannabis, has pain relief properties therefore it can help the muscles to relax and prevent spasms. The tampons made by Floria include both of the active ingredients found in cannabis, THC and CBD. 

How cannabis tampons work? The cells lining the vaginal wall absorb the cannabinoids and block the nerves from signaling the pain signals to the brain. The absorption is done locally, so it reduces the psychoactive high from the drug. Medical marijuana has so far been found to successfully treat various types of pain, including migraines and chronic pain. Hopefully, it soon becomes a go-to solution for all women who dearly need relief from menstrual pain.

Also read on Soft Secrets:

Is CBD Effective for Menstrual-Related Symptoms?

Transdermal Cannabis Patches for Pain, Inflammation, Sleep

When Can Medicinal Cannabis Help?


Last updated on March 19, 2024

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