We all know that cannabis has the healing power to treat medical alignments and serious diseases, from cancer to clinical depression to chronic pain. Basically, if you have pain anywhere in your body, you can most likely turn to cannabis for some type of effective relief.
But did you also know that cannabis is something of a miracle worker for those who suffer from menstrual-related pains and cramps? While it may not exactly regulate a menstrual cycle, cannabis can greatly reduce the pain associated with it.
It’s true. Cannabis companies, such as the one launched by Whoopi Goldberg (yes, that Whoopi Goldberg), have been creating new, innovative products to help combat the misery of period cramps. Whoopi & Maya specializes in external cannabis rubs, tinctures, bath soaks, as well as edibles. Another company called Foria — which also sells cannabis and CBD lubricants — sells vaginal suppositories that are inserted as you would a tampon.
However, since these products can quickly get more expensive than tampons and other hygiene products, you don’t necessarily need to purchase these specific items to reap the benefits of medical cannabis for cramps. While some women have been known to buy or make their own weed tampons (by heating, combing, straining, and cooling Cocoa Butter, coconut oil and a gram of concentrate weed, if you’re wondering), don’t discount oral consumption to treat your monthly (or otherwise irregular) woes. (Plus, you can try microdosing CBD if you don’t want to feel that head high.)
The tradition dates back to centuries-old medicinal rituals. The earliest historical references to treating menstrual symptoms with cannabis comes from the 7th century B.C.E., when cannabis — as hemp seeds — was mixed with beer, according to Dr. Ethan Russo director of research and development at the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute in Prague. The plant was also inserted vaginally by women in ancient Egypt.
Additionally, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, there’s even been a scientific case study on cannabis and period pain — published in 1847!
While historical anecdotes don’t necessarily provide accurate or scientific proof that cannabis is effective, it does show that this practice — especially when applied to period pain — is nothing new. It also emphasizes the lasting legacy holistic medicine and traditions have, proving that cannabis has been widely accepted for much longer than prohibition has been enacted and enforced.
Doctors don’t quite know the specific impact of cannabis because the government restricts cannabis research for medical purposes (or for any other purposes, really). This goes back to cannabis being listed as a Schedule I drug under the outdated and ridiculous Controlled Substances Act. Descheduling cannabis at the federal level will help us better understand the effects — as well as any disadvantages — of using the plant to treat menstrual cramps and other medical conditions.
While cannabis can be used medically to treat period pain, United States medical marijuana programs do not currently include it as a qualifying condition. Hopefully that will change in the future, but in the meantime, you can count on states with recreational policies enacted to find specific products (such as Whoopi & Maya’s products). Additionally, those who have another qualifying condition under a state medical cannabis program — and who menstruate, of course — would also have access.
Unfortunately, that still leaves many people with debilitating period-related pain without access to the plant, especially if they suffer from a pelvic disorder like endometriosis, which further exacerbates period pain.
Needless to say, people with periods have been using cannabis to treat menstrual cramps for centuries — but in order to march forward, it’s important to include menstrual cramps in medical research as well as state medical cannabis programs.