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Your Period Sucks But Cannabis is Here For You

Emily Robertson
cannabis, medical cannabis, woman with period, period pain, headaches, CBD, THC, menstrual cramps, pain relief, back aches, hormones, endocannabinoid system

Menstrual cramps are just the tip of the “period mountain”, but cannabis can scale all that, no problem.

Menstrual cramps are the unwanted, yippy dog that comes around to visit with your Aunt Flo, the one that drives your hormone-ravaged brain into insanity as you lay in fetal position begging for it to just shut up. For some women, every period it’s abdominal pain, nausea, migraines, bloating, diarrhea, and mood swings. Sometimes all of this is enough to put you right out of commission for the day.

There’s seemingly no effective treatment (despite recent research showing that period cramps can be as painful as a heart attack). Women have to suffer from puberty to menopause every single month with just a hot water bottle and Ibuprofen between them and someone else’s untimely death. Is it any wonder that women have taken matters into their own hands and tapped into the flow of feminine wisdom? Women are increasingly turning to cannabis to manage menstruation symptoms, and here’s what your sisters already know:

Female Dod Holding out cannabis leaf

Cannabis Relieves Pain

One of the more disruptive aspects of PMS is the pain associated with it, whether as menstrual cramps or aches around your abdomen and lower back. It can make sleeping more difficult, sitting uncomfortable, and even just carrying small items an unpleasant task.

Cannabinoids (CBD and THC) have long been acknowledged for their pain relieving qualities. CBD relaxes your muscles, removes tension, and reduces bloating. The cramps you experience in your abdomen are contractions that are triggered by hormonal levels. Regardless of their root cause, cannabis can offer relief.

Digestive Upset

Though diarrhea is a less common symptom than bloating, it certainly can be a more unpleasant one. Cannabis can act as both a muscle relaxant to soothe gastrointestinal stress and as an anti-inflammatory to stop you from running to the toilet. There are many cannabinoid receptors lining the gastrointestinal tract; activating these can improve gut motility issues. Menstrual diarrhea is commonly related to prostaglandins being released in cause contraction of the uterus. Prostaglandins are highest in the first three days of menstruation.

Woman clutching stomach with digestive upset

Headaches

The menstrual migraine is something that adds gasoline to the fire when you’ve already got a painful abdomen. Unfortunately, many women face headaches and migraines the week before their period. According to a 2016 study, inhaling cannabis can significantly reduce the effect and frequency of headaches and migraines.

It’s the drop in estrogen that is usually the root cause. Research shows that for women prone to migraines, the risk of having one increases by 71% in the two days leading up to the start of menstruation.

Woman with Migraine holding ice pack on her head.

Mood Swings

Finally the kicker – the one for which people tease and provoke women. While mood swings may be the least of your concern (who wouldn’t be grumpy after dealing with 3 days of painful cramps, headaches, bloating, and a sore back?) cannabis can have that added benefit of helping you manage them during your period.

After all, mood swings aren’t fun for the woman experiencing them either. It can be disorienting to have dramatic shifts in emotion, and can actually impede a woman’s ability to focus. Cannabis, mostly through the actions of THC on the brain, has mood stabilizing effects.

Types of Cannabis Treatment

There are a variety of ways to treat these symptoms. You can always opt for the quick method – smoking or vaping. If you need immediate pain or migraine relief, then this is the way to go.

However, topical creams, cannabis chocolate or medibles, and cannabis infused bath salts are also great allies. And as every woman who has faced period cramps knows, there’s nothing better than a hot bath to relax your muscles. Adding some infused bath salts can provide extra relief.

If you want to avoid the psychoactive effects of THC, a strain higher in CBD is your go-to (like ACDC). Alternatively, you can micro-dose a high THC strain. The goal is to find what works for you and your lifestyle.

Emily Robertson

Emily Robertson has been writing freelance and contract work since 2011. She has written on a variety of topics, including travel writing of North America and the growing legalized cannabis industry across the globe. Robertson has a master’s degree in literature and gender studies, and brings this through in her writing by always trying to explore different perspectives. Born and raised in southwestern Ontario, Robertson moved to Glasgow, Scotland in 2016 to undergo her doctorate in Scottish Literature. She lives in the West End with her dog, Henley.

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