Women everywhere are lighting up to cure their menstrual woes.
Last year, Whoopi Goldberg announced a new business venture: a medicinal cannabis line to treat menstrual cramps. Ever since, the medical industry (patients included) have been waking up to the idea that cannabis is a great solution for heavy periods. Additionally, Newsweek reports New York women will be able to legally acquire medical cannabis for menstrual cramps if the state’s medical marijuana bill passes.
But using cannabis to treat menstruation isn’t a new idea. According to Ethan Russo, who is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington, the earliest historical reference to using cannabis as medicine is in 7th century BCE where “hemp seeds were mixed with other agents in beer for an unspecified female ailment.” Additionally, in Egypt, cannabis was administered vaginally.
“Women have been self-medicating naturally for centuries while the medical establishment disregards both our ailments and our cures,” explains Spimm co-founder Jenn Lauder who uses cannabis to treat abdominal cramps, migraine headaches, and mood swings during her period. “[Cannabis] presents the opportunity to have [women’s medical] concerns taken seriously and to feel empowered to take charge of our health through the amazing potential of cannabis.”
To learn more about the plant’s medicinal value, I spoke to New York City-based psychiatrist and editor of the Pot Book, Dr. Julie Holland, as well as several women who use cannabis to treat their monthly symptoms.
“It’s frustrating how often the concept of cannabis for menstrual cramps generates snickers and silly jokes because half the population has this burden of discomfort every month,” explains Dr. Holland in a phone interview with Helloflo.
For many, cannabis is an “essential piece of the puzzle,” says Danielle Guercio, 30. “The pain is dramatically reduced by a combination of an anti-inflammatory, over-the-counter, like Aleve, and cannabis,” she adds. “Without one the other doesn’t quite have the same power to really knock out the intensity.”
Puff, Pass & Paint founder Heidi Keyes, 31, quickly learned the medicinal benefits of cannabis after trying cannabis over a decade ago. “[Edible gummies] help to relieve not only stomach cramps and backaches, but to curb the crankiness, sadness, and sometimes panic that for me come with PMS,” she says. “I rarely, if ever, take pain pills, only as a last resort or if I’m traveling and don’t have access to cannabis.”
Plus, there are many ways to use cannabis to treat menstrual cramps that don’t get you stoned, Dr. Holland explains. She recommends low-dose or transdermal products as well as vaginal or rectal suppositories and CBD-dominated strains.
For instance, Avital Norman Nathman, 37, uses both CBD products and a topical cannabis lotion to treat menstrual pains, but doesn’t get a “high” feeling from their use because both types of products don’t have an adequate amount of THC. Norman Nathman applies the topical cannabis lotion on her lower back and sides to fend off intense back pain she gets while menstruating.
Additionally, cannabis helps treat other diseases on top of menstrual-related woes. Emma Chasen, 24, has a rare genetic MTHFR mutation, which causes severe menstrual pain and prevents her from taking birth control. Before finding cannabis, she took up to 15 Aleve pills and would still feel immense pain, but didn’t want to consume large doses of Morphine every week. That’s why cannabis is the safest option for treating her symptoms.
Men (and many women) may think using cannabis to treat menstrual pains is a stretch, but it’s not: the plant has historically helped women resume with their everyday lives and activities, despite their monthly cramps.