Cannabis for Painful Menstrual Cramps
Cannabis was widely known to be used by Queen Victoria through her adult life.
There is a lack of quality research regarding the use of cannabis for painful menstrual cramps. However, there is more and more research happening concerning the benefits of marijuana medically. There is literature that dates to the 1800s that highlights medical marijuana being used to ease menstrual problems. With over 80% of menstrual women suffering from some type of period-related pain or cramping, could cannabis be the pain relief we’ve been looking for all those years?
Natural Pain Regulation
Our bodies naturally produce their own type of cannabinoids called endocannabinoids, these compounds make up the body’s endocannabinoid system and help regulate the body’s pain function. Marijuana, or cannabis Sativa, contains more than 100 different types of cannabinoids. These compounds have certain properties that help cross the blood-brain barrier and move easily into the cells. This is especially beneficial when the compounds are THC or CBD, both of which have natural pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. CBD, the active component that does not get users high, may ease pain whilst THC, the psychoactive component, may produce calmness.
During menstruation, chemicals known as prostaglandins work with hormones to trigger contractions in the wall of the uterus and cause a painful cramping feeling. The menstrual pain is not unique, other medical issues like endometriosis can cause similar issues. It’s hard to treat pains due to a women’s monthly period as they are dependent on the history of the patient and their personal medical conditions.
Although over the counter painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs or hormone treatments are common, they are not always effective. Cannabis has anti-inflammatory properties, which is why it can help menstrual pain. Feeling relaxed in general can help ease the cramps but it depends on the individual’s menstrual cycle.
A Long-Serving Solution
Using cannabis for medicinal purposes is nothing new, it has been used to treat obstetric and gynecological conditions across many cultures for centuries. As early as the 9th century, Parisian texts list cannabis as a relief for “calm uterine pains”. It was widely known to be used by Queen Victoria through her adult life. Her personal physician, Sir J. Russell referred to Cannabis as “one of the most valuable medicines we possess.”
Foria’s cannabis suppositories are the most well-known out-of-the-box pain relief solutions, but there are some fears over the quantity of the active ingredients and how safe the entry point is. Creams, rubs, butters, and bath salts are a good way of consuming cannabis for menstrual cramps and inflammation relief. Topically administered cannabinoids (especially CBD) have no psychoactive properties but will still bind to your cannabinoid receptors in the peripheral nervous system and interrupt the pain signals to your brain. Medical professionals recommend sufferers stick with the classic inhalation or the low dose of a vaporized flower.
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The lack of research takes many people off using medical cannabis, the shortage of evidence means some people fear taking marijuana as they are unsure of the safety of it. Although, based on limited evidence, there is guidance on who should not inhale marijuana for menstrual pains.
It’s not recommended to be inhaled if you are:
- Under 25 years old
- Have a family history of psychosis
- Have had or currently are having a substance abuse disorder
- Have heart or lung disease
- Are trying for a baby
Everyone has a different opinion about CBD and THC and how safe it is. More people, medical professionals and medical establishments, have come to accept the medicinal component of the cannabis Sativa plant as a legitimate form of pain relief.
If standard over the counter treatments aren’t working to eliminate the pain from your periods, you should talk to a doctor before trying something new. Many people feel scared, or embarrassed to talk to their doctor about period pains or about medicinal cannabis, but it’s important to know your options and be open with your physician.