Whatever you want to call it – Aunt Flow, shark week, your alternate personality “Mindy”, that-time-of-the-month – there is no getting around the one hard truth: Periods suck.
A whole week of cramping followed by a week of ovary-action, can be draining on the body and mind. The influx of hormones, the unstoppable food cravings, the bloated midsection and the acne (my god, the acne) are just some of the unpleasant symptoms experienced by women who are PMSing or menstruating. From heating blankets and hot water bottles to Midol to just giving in and feeding the “PMS Monster”, most women have tried everything to get relief… so what if I told you there was another way?
That time of the month can be broken down into two categories: PMS and Menstruation. PMS is where most of the uncomfortable and moody feelings come into play, but menstruation is no picnic either! Fortunately, cannabis can help with both. Now, I am sure you are probably thinking that this sounds a lot like a fairytale, but hear me out.
Cannabis and Aunt Flow
The symptoms surrounding menstruation and PMS vary from woman to woman (and even cycle to cycle) but consist of a few commonalities including: tenderness, bloating, fatigue, irritability, changes in mood and emotional stability and acne. Now you’re thinking – how in the world can cannabis fix all of that? Well…
The human body has an endocannabinoid system, which is found throughout the entire body and affects all systems from digestive to vascular to reproductive. This is key as the endocannabinoid system is the home for the receptors that cannabis uses to communicate with the body. Through these receptors, cannabis cannabis can regulate the release of neurotransmitters and more. It is the communication between the endocannabinoid system and the cannabinoids found in cannabis that allow the incredibly therapeutic effects to take place.
While there are two main components that can be derived from cannabis, THC and CBD, a 2008 study by the US National Library of Medicine found that THC has 20 times more anti-inflammatory properties than Aspirin! This translates to a powerful PMS aid and makes THC a clear choice for women looking assistance with:
Thanks to the anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties of cannabis, it can help with all types of chronic pain – including cramps! In fact, Whoopi Goldberg (and many other celebrities) have touted the relieving powers of cannabis when it comes to their monthly visitor.
Yes, we know we are difficult, but we literally cannot help it! Menstruation results in a large hormonal fluctuation, particularly estrogen, which can have an adverse effect on mood and emotional stability (ice cream and a spoon, anyone?). Fortunately, THC is our hero yet again. Thanks to its ability to bind with the endocannabinoid receptors in the brain, it is able to manage the release of neurotransmitters, resulting in a more balanced emotional state. CBD can also be a great alternative to THC in this case and is well-known for its ability to relax and soothe the body and mind.
Did you know that women are at 25% greater risk for migraine headaches in the week leading up to their period? This number jumps to 71% within 2-days of menstruation. Not to mention that over 50% of women who experience migraines associate it with their period. Thankfully, cannabis is well-known to provide migraine relief and help reduce tension.
Alleviating Breast Tenderness
Breast tenderness may sound like a party, but we women assure you it is not. Different women can experience various levels of pain – even to the point of not being able to wear a bra! Fortunately, the anti-inflammatory effects from cannabis can help to reduce this swelling and relieve some of the discomfort.
Soothing the Intestines
With all the activity going on between the hips, a lot of woman can experience stomach tension or gastrointestinal upset due to hormone fluctuation. Remember how I said the endocannabinoid system was everywhere? Yup, you guessed it – you can find some of the largest clusters of receptors in the intestine. This means cannabis is extremely effective at calming muscle spasms or aches and alleviating pain and gastrointestinal discomfort.
Assisting With Sleep
Another fun fact – approximately 67% of women toss and turn for 2 or 3 days out of each menstruation cycle, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Not only does sleep deprivation have an adverse affect on health and productivity, it can also affect mood. Fortunately, THC can help women fall asleep faster! For woman who do not want the psychological effects from THC, CBD is also a proven night aid. Trust me, you’ll sleep better.
Not sure if “saved the best for last” fits, but acne is another major issue for women suffering from their monthly bout of PMS. So much so that 63% of women experience acne flare-ups at this time of the month! This is directly relating to hormone fluctuations, specifically an increase in progesterone, which leads to an increase of oil production that can clog the skin. Not only that, but acne is stressful – and stress can lead to more flair ups! While this is hardly fair, fortunately cannabis and hemp-products can be very helpful in managing acne due to the anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory effects.
How To Use Cannabis for PMS Relief
If you have never used cannabis before, you’re in luck. With the growing movement towards legalization, there are more products available to help us ladies than ever before! Today, there are several ways you can use cannabis for relief of PMS symptoms.
Smoke a Joint
Still the most tried and true method, smoking a joint is a simple way to consume cannabis that many users still love. This method delivers the THC direct to your bloodstream within 10 minutes of inhaling, and the effects can last for an hour or so. This is perfect for beginners who need to control their dosage – or those of us who just enjoy a good, ole fashioned drag!
Vape It Up
Vaping is where it is at these days! Almost every local and online cannabis dispensary stocks some form of vape pen and cartridge. Most of these vape oils are 70-90% THC and can pack quite a punch, especially for a novice user. Similar to joints, these are a great option for controlling dosage.
Have a THC-Infused Bubble Bath
You know those fun new products I mentioned? THC bath bombs are one of the latest to hit the market – and they are fantastic! While you won’t get “high” persay, THC can be absorbed through the skin and does provide some relief. It is the perfect option for someone who is fatigued from being on their feet all day, or is battling premenstrual cramping.
Pop a Gummy
For the more experienced cannabis-connoisseurs, a great method of relief can be to pop a cannabis edible. Typically infused with 25mg, 50mg or 100mg of THC, these edibles are a potent resolution to PMS. Once ingested, edibles are processed through the liver, which converts THC into a more potent form. This results in a 60-90 minute delay for the effects. However once they hit, they can last for hours. Edibles are ideal for individuals who suffer from insomnia during this time of the month or those with more severe cramping.
Ideal Strains for PMS
- Blue Dream is a strong Indica Dominant stain that is ideal for treating PMS. With potent pain relief and a soft cerebral high, Blue Dream is perfect for relieving cramps and nausea while balancing mood.
- Romulan is a near pure Indica that produces heavy body relaxation and mild cerebral euphoria, which are perfect for beating the period blues.
- Banana Kush is an Indica dominant strain with an applaudable high and sleep inducing effects. This strain is ideal for those ladies that suffer from insomnia during their time of the month. It is also excellent for battling cramps and other body aches.
- Apple Jack is a highly euphoric strain that is the perfect adversary for mood swings or PMS related depression. This is a great daytime strain to get you up and moving – even when you don’t feel like it!
- Pineapple is a balanced hybrid strain well known for its happy and relaxing effects. This strain is a great choice for boosting mood and relieving muscle spasms or pain, such as cramping and headaches.
Bear in mind, THC can sometimes increase anxiety in individuals predisposed to anxiety or panic attacks.
For women that are looking for relief but are concerned about side-effects, CBD is a great alternative. This component has been proven time and time again as a medical substitute for individuals suffering from epilepsy, muscle spasms and even PTSD. FairCannaCare currently stocks Charlotte’s Web, Cannatonic and ACDC which are all high CBD, low THC strains.
PMS is a tough reality for the majority of women who are of reproductive age, but cannabis provides an opportunity for relief. While we have to go through it each month, we no longer need to suffer every step of the way. Choose cannabis and stop dreading Aunt Flow!