Five Cannabis Strains For Treating Menstrual Symptoms
For the modern woman, menstruation is no reason to slow down. Cannabis has specific mechanisms that help treat the causes of menstrual symptoms. These five cannabis strains are specifically chosen to help relieve period cramps and PMS, helping you remain active, happy, and pain-free during that time of the month.
As female potheads know, cannabis can be a useful tool in reducing period-related symptoms.
Period cramps can be incredibly painful. In 2016, one doctor  compared the magnitude of period pain to that of a heart attack. Period pain varies from woman to woman—some are debilitated by their period cramps, while others don’t experience any pain at all. For others, PMS is the greater evil: the lethargy, depression, and fogginess that precede a period make many women long for their time of the month to begin.
Weed is effective at treating both forms of menstrual malady. Before we explore our five symptom-treating strains, let’s get into some background on the mechanisms of menstrual issues, and their connection to cannabis.
WHAT CAUSES MENSTRUAL CRAMPS?
During menstruation, the body releases prostaglandins, which cause the uterine muscles to contract and expel the uterine lining. Higher levels of prostaglandins can be associated with pain and inflammation, leading to the dreaded cramps. Some doctors theorise that period pain is caused by violent uterine contractions that press against nearby blood vessels and cut off oxygen flow to the uterus and nearby organs. Recent research  suggests that period pain may be linked to inflammation. Period cramps are characterised by pain in the lower belly, and can also be associated with nausea, pain in the thighs, back pain, and constipation. Period pain is most common in women under 30.
Period cramps can also be caused by medical conditions like endometriosis, unequal leg length, and ovarian cysts. If you experience severe, debilitating period cramps and suspect you may have one of these conditions, please seek medical attention. In this article, we’ll be primarily focused on period cramps unrelated to these issues.
Cannabis may play a direct role in addressing the mechanisms causing period cramps. Cannabis has anti-inflammatory effects, and may act on the prostaglandin system itself  . Research shows that THC can also act as a muscle relaxant  , thereby helping to treat cramps indirectly. The uterus also happens to be rich in endocannabinoid receptors, and it’s likely that phytocannabinoids (from the cannabis plant) can help regulate and restore healthy uterine functioning.
WHAT CAUSES PMS?
PMS is caused by low hormone levels leading up to menstruation. Symptoms of PMS can include cramps, bloating, headaches, constipation, low sex drive, depression, mental fog, and mood swings. PMS can occur any time between ovulation and menstruation, though it’s most common in the few days leading up to menstruation. As we’ll see, certain cannabis strains can address symptoms directly.
FIVE STRAINS FOR TREATING MENSTRUAL SYMPTOMS
1. SOLOMATIC CBD
If you don’t want a traditional cannabis high, Solomatic CBD is the way to go. This strain boasts 22% CBD and under 1% THC, giving you a massive CBD content, without the THC buzz. A combination of a Diesel CBD strain and an Asia CBD Auto, Solomatic CBD hits with a nice clean and crisp effect accompanied by a smooth and citrusy-sweet flavour. Ideal for when you are on the go and don’t want to be bogged down with a high!Cramps and PMS bringing you down? These five cannabis strains can help relieve menstrual symptoms and keep you up and at 'em during that time of the month.
Does Weed Actually Work for Period Cramps?
Soma, a marijuana dispensary in Crested Butte, Colorado, only stocks a few dozen of a product called Foria Relief at a time, and they don’t sell them as quickly as some of their other items. But people who come in looking for them know exactly what they’re looking for, and typically say they heard by word of mouth how well they work, according to the store.
Foria Relief is for periods. They’re cannabis-filled suppositories, meant to be inserted directly into the vagina, and sold as holistic treatment for menstrual cramps. It’s one of a handful of pot products claiming to ease period pain—Whoopi Goldberg, for one, has a line of topical ointments, tinctures and bath salts marketed for period pain.
Is there evidence that weed ca help treat period pain?
There’s a solid body of evidence on the pain-relieving properties of marijuana, so using pot for this particular type of pain seems to make sense. In some states, lawmakers are pushing to add menstrual pain, or dysmenorrhea, to the list of conditions that qualify for medical marijuana.
However, there are a few factors to consider before turning to weed each month, and when selecting your weed delivery system. Even though anecdotal evidence, easily found online, points to pot as a period cure-all, there hasn’t actually been any scientific research on it. There’s one scientific case study done on cannabis and period pain—but it was published in 1847.
Just because there hasn’t been any research done on the subject doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work. It does mean, though, that doctors aren’t likely to list it as a medically approved option. “I can’t fully recommend it, because we don’t know everything about its efficacy and safety,” says Leena Nathan, an obstetrician-gynecologist at UCLA Health.
It’s not ideal that there isn’t much research on the subject, says Jordan Tischler, an emergency physician who oversees InhaleMD, a cannabis clinic in Massachusetts. “Is cannabis effective for menstrual pain? The answer is, anecdotally, yes. The flip side is, ‘has anyone studied this in a rigorous, scientific manner?’ And the answer is no.” But that doesn’t discount it entirely, Tischler says. “For the right condition, and severity of discomfort, I think cannabis is a good bet.”
Doctors and scientists also don’t know how, exactly, weed might interact with the causes of period pain. Cramps are largely caused by hormones called prostaglandins, which are released from the lining of the uterus and signal it to contract. The hormones also cause inflammation, which contributes to pain. Birth control pills, which can help with painful periods, reduce the amount of prostaglandin produced during the menstrual cycle. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, like aspirin and ibuprofen, do as well.
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Weed has anti-inflammatory properties, which is one potential way it could help period pain, Nathan says. Feeling relaxed, in general, and dampening pain, might have some effect. And cannabinoids might be able to interact with prostaglandins, though there’s not enough evidence to say for sure. “It’s hard to say, just based on how cramps during menstrual cycles work,” she says.
Are cannabis suppositories safe?
If cannabis is still your drug of choice during that time of the month, it’s worth considering how you’re taking it. Foria’s cannabis suppositories are probably the most out-of-the-box pain relieving products, and Nathan says they raise some red flags. “I’m not sure how safe that would be,” she says. We don’t know how, or how much, of the active ingredients might be absorbed into the vagina, or how that entry point might be different from the lungs. (Experts such as gynecologist Jen Gunter have expressed similar concerns.)
Creams, rubs, butters, and bath salts—topical treatments that you don’t ingest—are also advertised as cramp-relievers. In mice, studies show they relieve pain caused by inflammation, but there’s very limited research on how effective they might be overall.
“Part of what we’re talking about is trying to sort out marketing hype from good doctoring,” Tischler says. He sees patients struggling with menstrual pain, and if they’re interested in using cannabis, he recommends they stick with basic, tried-and-true smoking. “A fairly simple approach, just a low dose of vaporized flower,” he says. “It’s effective, and without a lot of risk.”
If the standard treatments for menstrual cramps like over-the-counter painkillers don’t work, Nathan says people should talk to their doctors before trying something new. “There are other medications that can help,” she says. “There are lots of methods we can use that are evidence proven. People who don’t necessarily talk to doctors might be hearing things anecdotally, and going with that information.” It’s hard to know what’s reliable, she says, and what’s just someone’s opinion.
Nathan guesses that some patients might be scared, or embarrassed, to tell their doctor if they’re using something like marijuana to treat a medical problem themselves. “But I would encourage everyone to be open with their physician, even if it’s something out of the ordinary.”
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