From edibles to oils and vaginal suppositories to vapes, there’s no shortage of weed products doing rounds across the globe. What’s more, many women who use these products claim they help ease their menstrual cramps. But what does science say?
Is there scientific backing to these claims?
Most women experience mild aches or discomfort before and during menstruation. But an unfortunate minority say their period cramps can go beyond annoyance and be so severe to the point they are debilitating.
This brings us to our discussion for this post: medical marijuana for menstrual pain. Can weed help alleviate menstrual pain?
It could be the next significant finding for the scientific community. But there’s still little research on the effects of CBD and THC on period pain. The jury is still out… for now.
Get medical marijuana strains for medicinal purposes. Click the button below to get your medical marijuana card.
What is Menstrual Pain?
Before we delve into the benefits of medical marijuana for menstrual pain, you should first understand what menstrual pain is.
Menstrual pain (cramp) is the throbbing or cramping pain in a woman’s lower abdomen. It creeps in slow and unexpectedly. At first, it can be a subtle discomfort, like someone pricking your stomach gently. As minutes pass by, the discomfort may develop into crippling pain that makes even the simplest tasks like standing up straight utterly unbearable.
This dreadful feeling is called Dysmenorrhea (commonly referred to as cramps). It’s something millions of women across the United States experience every month.
Severe menstrual pain can cause you to miss school, work, and other life-changing activities. While women with less severe menstrual pain usually take OTC pain relievers to manage their pain, you’ll need much more than pain relievers if you have severe menstrual cramps.
Is Medical Marijuana for Menstrual Pain an Effective Treatment?
There’s a big difference between a person who smokes a little weed to blow off steam and someone who used weed products to control or treat a medical condition. Unfortunately, most people overlook this difference, which is why the idea of using marijuana for medical purposes garners a lot of incorrect information.
Although the Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved medical marijuana usage for pain relief, there’s a plethora of evidence showing its effectiveness in treating pain, including menstrual pain. And the possibility for relief looms even more significant as more states revise their laws to approve the use of medical marijuana.
What the Science Says
Unsurprisingly, there’s a lack of quality evidence or research on the benefits of medical marijuana for menstrual pain.
How cannabis is meant to treat menstrual cramps is still unclear and a heavily debated topic.
At its heart, menstrual pain is triggered by the release of prostaglandins (an inflammatory compound) during menstruation. Some women produce excessive amounts of prostaglandins than others, making them experience more severe menstrual cramps.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the most common drugs used to alleviate and treat menstrual cramps. NSAIDs block prostaglandins production by binding to the Cyclooxygenase (COX) receptors in the brain.
In contrast, cannabinoids like CBD and THC in marijuana products exert no activity on the COX receptors. Therefore, they do not influence the production of prostaglandins. Instead, cannabinoids stimulate your endocannabinoid system to release the “feel-good” called dopamine while reducing inflammation in the joints and nerves.
This study suggests that CBD and THC are most beneficial for treating chronic pain and inflammatory joint disorders because neither THC nor CBD affects prostaglandin production. As such, it is still unclear how you can use medical marijuana for menstrual pain and inflammation treatment.
With that said, researchers deduce that THC can help reduce menstrual cramps through its euphoric effects, thereby reducing the perception of pain. On the other hand, CBD’s effect on menstrual pain remains unknown.
Safety and Risks of Medical Marijuana for Menstrual Pain
As medical marijuana may help with menstrual cramps, we must also acknowledge the potential safety issues of using the drug.
Most people consume large amounts of cannabis products hoping that it alleviates pain faster and more effectively. However, large concentrations of THC may lead to other complications. You may develop a dependency on the drug or tolerance for it. Meaning you’ll have to take more with each dosage to get the same pain relief for your cramps.
You must also note that less than a third of all CBD products sold online have the correct doses and ingredients on their labels. So, you might not necessarily be using the right amount as indicated on the label.
The FDA also doesn’t regulate CBD and THC products like it does other drugs. Therefore, mislabeling and misrepresentation are possible.
Some evidence from in vitro and animal studies shows that consuming too much THC could harm female reproductivity. There’s a need for much more studies to determine if there’s any truth to this claim for humans.
Other side effects from consuming excessive amounts of cannabis may include fear, paranoia, panic, or anxiety. Some users may even experience temporary episodes of acute psychosis, with delusions and hallucinations.
Can You Use Medical Marijuana for Menstrual Pain?
We’re still a long way from understanding the benefits and risks that accompany using cannabinoids to alleviate menstrual pain. But as THC products continue to enter the market and gain more approvals from states, we’re likely to see even more studies on marijuana’s effectiveness for cramps.
So, yes! You can use medical marijuana for menstrual pain, mood changes, and other conditions that may result from the crimson wave of pain.
Before taking any CBD or THC products, we recommend that you check with a professional medical marijuana doctor at MD Berry. If there’s even the slightest chance that taking medical marijuana can help alleviate your menstrual cramps, you should use it.
To access weed for recreational or medical use, you’ll need some form of documentation. Apply for your MMJ card today to use marijuana without looking over your shoulders for the authorities.