Can weed relieve menstrual pain?
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Top things to know:
Cannabis is believed to have therapeutic uses for illnesses and pains, including menstrual discomfort
Researches are still scarce, but some studies already show effectiveness of cannabis on the relief of menstrual pain
Worldwide, there has been a noticeable trend in favor of legalising cannabis for medical and recreational use
If youвЂ™ve ever visited a healthcare provider for painful periods or cramps, you may have been recommended anti-inflammatory pain medicines or hormonal birth control (D). However, people with menstrual pain often look for other alternatives to painkillers and birth control (B).В
Medicinal plants have been used by many cultures for thousands of years for the treatment and prevention of diseases and their symptoms (A). Cannabis is one such plant that may relieve or lessen menstrual pain (12). Menstrual pain is commonвЂ”about half of people who menstruate have some pain for one to two days each cycle (C).
The use of cannabis (also called weed and marijuana, among other names) for the treatment of pain has been identified in various places around the world pre-Christianity. ItвЂ™s believed that medicinal cannabis was introduced to European medicine when physicians first observed the use of the substance in India. The introduction of cannabis in the Americas may have occurred when African slaves who were taken to Brazil brought the plant with them (2).В
What does research say about weed and the menstrual cycle?
Cannabis is believed to have therapeutic uses for a variety of illnesses, including but not limited to chronic pain, headache, epilepsy, symptoms of multiple sclerosis and gastrointestinal disorders (E).В
The science around cannabis and its ability to relieve menstrual pain is scarce, and more research is needed. In 2015, researchers from the University of British Columbia, asked a sample of 192 women if they had used cannabis to relieve menstrual pain. Marijuana is available for purchase from dispensaries in Vancouver.В
Of all the women surveyed, 85 percent said they had used cannabis for menstrual pain and almost 90 percent of these women said it was effective at relieving the pain (12).В
These participants said that the most common ways they consumed cannabis were smoking and eating. Other research indicates that using it might have side effects on the hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle.В
A study of 47 women between 17 and 29 years old who habitually consumed cannabis for at least one year found alterations in progesterone, prolactin and testosterone.В
Compared to women who didnвЂ™t use cannabis, these women had more frequent menstrual variations, including shorter cycle length and heavy periods (16). This study didnвЂ™t look specifically at period pain, but the results might have indications for period pain since frequency and intensity of bleeding can impact pain.
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A global panorama of cannabis use
Worldwide, there has been a noticeable trend in favor of legalising cannabis for medical use. But before digging into the details of current legislation in some Western countries, it’s important to clarify the uses of this substance and understand the arguments that usually accompany its prohibition.В
Uses of cannabis
There are several possible types of cannabis usage:
Medical purposes: usage eases symptoms of diseases or assists in treating an existing diagnosis.
Scientific purposes: usage as a tool to investigate the substanceвЂ™s roles in people’s health or diseases (3).
Recreational purposes: usage for pleasure.В
The status of cannabis around the world
For governments around the world, the more well-known reasons for prohibiting the use of cannabis are:
The psychotropic aspect of cannabis, meaning the alteration of the central nervous system.
The addictive aspect , or the difficulty in controlling its consumption.
The prohibition, in addition to criminalising the consumption of cannabis, imposes several inhibitors to conducting scientific research (3).В В
Countries like Canada, United States and the Netherlands are remarkable for having opener politics around cannabis. When it comes to Canada, since the 17th of October, 2018, it has allowed the recreational and medicinal use (5). In the United States, more than 20 states allow its medicinal use, and in the Netherlands since 2001 the medicinal and research uses have been allowed, and under strict control the purchase and consumption of soft drugs have been allowed (3).
As cannabis becomes more popular and mainstream, novel ways of using it for sexual and reproductive health are emerging. Vaginal suppositories and bath salts with THC are being marketed to people with periods as a solution for cramps (15). ThereвЂ™s even arousal lube with THC marketed to intensify sexual pleasure (15).
This diversity of approaches for the consumption and use of cannabis might help increase its popularity. Ideally, as more people use cannabis for period pain, researchers will produce more science about the risks and benefits, in hopes that we learn all the effects of cannabis for women and people with cycles.
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Ideally, as more people use marijuana for period pain, researchers will produce more science about the risks and benefits.
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.