Women and Weed: Hidden Medicinal Benefits to Help us at our Worst
As a growing industry continues to rise in popularity, so comes the knowledge of the wide array of benefits that cannabis has outside of the recreational use of “getting high”. Study upon study has been done, and is still being done to investigate the incredible medicinal benefits that cannabis has to offer.
Ladies, let’s just take a moment to acknowledge just how much your period sucks. That’s right, we’re going to talk about it. The fact is: roughly 66% of Canadian women are not comfortable talking about their periods , which is one of the contributing factors for many turning to cannabis for relief of everything from cramps and irritability to severe migraines. Many doctors don’t take menstrual pain seriously, refusing to prescribe much-needed medications, and Midol or similar equivalents simply don’t work for everyone (or only work on one of many symptoms).
Cramps and PMS
Think back to your last time of the month: did it ever feel like a beluga whale jumped four feet in the air and landed square on your uterus? You are not alone. A large portion of the female population suffers from PMS-related symptoms, with up to 20% of women suffering from periods that are so severe that they interfere with daily activities.
The good news: you may not have to rely on popping handfuls of painkillers for five days straight to make it through. Cannabis has anticonvulsant effects, which can help reduce the feeling of being stabbed multiple times in the ovaries for hours on end. One way it does this is by working with the human body’s endocannabinoid system and mimicking cannabinoids already present in your body that are often responsible for pain relief.
Cannabis contains over 85 known cannabinoids, but the two you are most likely familiar with are THC and CBD. THC is the part of marijuana that provides psychotropic effects, and paired with CBD, it provides a ton of analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. For severe pain management, edibles or vaporized cannabis are the quickest ways to feel the effects. CBD oil and edibles are said to work for up to 4-6 hours.
In addition, you may try applying what is referred to as a ‘topical’ to your stomach for added anti-inflammatory effects. You can speak with your doctor or search our database for a list of tailor-made products. The reality is that the amount of cannabis that you need to treat your cramps and other symptoms may be less than the number of painkillers many women pop to get through the day. And with trends of switching to more natural treatments, cannabis might just be the solution many women are desperately seeking.
What About Cannabis Tampons?
Yes, you heard correctly – cannabis tampons. The debilitating discomfort that many women experience has created a product to treat the problem right at the source. A company called Foria sells tampons made from three ingredients: cocoa butter, THC Oil and CBD Isolate (99.9%). Unfortunately, these magical herbal lifesavers are only currently available in California and Colorado, and only with a doctor’s note or medical marijuana card. Foria claims that the tampons “maximize the muscle relaxing and pain relieving properties of cannabis without inducing a psychotropic ‘high’ .”
For some, a natural treatment like these suppositories may be the only relief they get to feel each month. Sadly, though, these products aren’t cheap: a four-pack of these will run you $44.00 USD. That may seem like a lot to many, but may also seem cheap compared to the bedridden nightmare that is the reality to some. As the medical market in Canada matures, we hope to see many of these similar products offered here.
Stress and Anxiety
Ask any pot user and they will tell you that using marijuana helps them to relax. When you think about the chemical component of cannabis, you realize it’s slightly more complicated than that. It’s important to note that there is scientific evidence to back up the fact that cannabis reduces pain in general, not to mention that many women swear by it. The anxiolytic properties of CBD reduce anxiety and help reduce mood swings. Paired with the THC, it also greatly increases the quality of your night’s rest. Cannabis works by blocking your fatty acid amide hydrolase, which breaks down anandamide, which lowers feelings of depression and anxiety. You might need to use a little bit more weed during your period than you use on the regular, but the effects are undeniable.
As we mentioned earlier, Cannabis contains anti-inflammatory properties. When you use a lotion, cream, oil or salve infused with cannabis, it binds to a network of receptors called CB2. They work where applied and can’t breach your bloodstream, helping to avoid the psychoactive effects of some THC products. Using them as topical treatment provides localized relief of pain, soreness, and inflammation which can in turn, dull the appearance of scars and stretch marks. Though more scientific evidence is needed, it’s rumoured that there are many other topical benefits to using cannabis for treatment of psoriasis, dermatitis, and itching.
Finally, cannabis has shown to reduce monthly occurrences of migraines, and it is also a known anti-emetic, helping decrease feelings of nausea and vomiting, whether period related or not. A study from the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Colorado looked at the effects of cannabis in migraine sufferers, and the results confirmed what previous users say and prior studies had begun to discover. Of the 121 participants, nearly 20% claimed that medical marijuana helped to prevent migraines while 85% of subjects reported having fewer migraines per month with cannabis. Surprisingly over 11% of people claimed that their migraines stopped entirely.
Rather than reaching for painkillers, that is both tough on your stomach and can cause liver damage with long-term use, why not try something natural next time you feel shark week setting in.