Cannabis for menstrual pain

There has been a blatant disregard for period pain, especially in the Indian society. Taboos surrounding menstruation have resulted in the lack of research to find solutions to a menstruator’s agony. Is medical cannabis for menstrual pain the solution?

A focus group study indicates that 84.1% of women reported the occurrence of menstrual cramps during their menstrual cycles. For most women, the pain associated with cramps occurs every month and can come in the way of one’s daily routine. As per a study published in the British Medical Journal, menstrual pain, heavy bleeding, and mood swings may result in nearly nine days of lost productivity per woman every year.

If you menstruate and suffer from cramps, you must have tried a pill or two to eliminate the pain. However, these allopathic medicines are often associated with side effects like headache, nausea, stomach problems and even harmful long-term effects. Moreover, research shows that only 31 out of 100 women who took painkillers were relieved from the pain caused by menstrual cramps. This led to the search for a better alternative with zero side effects for a pain-free period, and voila – cannabis helped!

Cannabis for menstrual pain
Illustration: Marta Pucci | Source:

What does history say? 

Dr. Ethan Russo, a cannabinoid researcher says that cannabis’s “role in obstetric and gynecological conditions is ancient, but will surprise many with its breadth and prevalence.” 

Persian texts cite the use of cannabis to “calm uterine pains” dating back to the 9th century. A Chinese text from 1596 based on ancient remedies also talks about the effectiveness of cannabis for menstrual disorders. However, when it comes to using cannabis to ease menstrual pain, the most well-known origin story has a royal lineage. It was widely known that Queen Victoria received monthly doses of cannabis indica for menstrual discomfort throughout her adult life.

Cannabis “is one of the most valuable medicines we possess,” wrote the Queen’s personal physician, Sir J. Russell Reynolds in 1890 in the Lancet Journal, one of the world’s oldest and well-respected medical journals. Reynolds went on to write that cannabis benefits many conditions beyond menstrual discomfort, also citing its ability to quell spasms caused by epilepsy disorders.

What does science say?

If you can believe it, there has been scientific research on this since way back in 1847. A 2015 survey conducted by the University of British Columbia found that 90% of the women who use cannabis to relieve menstrual cramps claim it to be effective. However, this study was conducted only across 100 women, which is a rather small sample size. 

Fortunately, more recent studies have found that cannabis could be effective for relieving various types of pain, especially for cancer patients. For example, of the 1,000 legalized cannabis users in a 2019 study, 80 percent of the people who took it to relieve pain said it was very or extremely helpful. Most of them found it so effective that they were able to reduce or stop taking their usual over-the-counter (OTC) or prescribed pain meds.

So – cannabis for menstrual pain? 

It could be a real thing. There’s still not enough research on the effects of both THC and CBD on period pain, but there are studies that point towards cannabis being helpful for pain in general. The major key with cannabis products for menstrual pain will be the quality and sourcing of the products. 

Have you experienced the positive effects of cannabis products like CBD oil for menstrual pain? Let us know in the comments below. 

NOTE – Always consult a doctor before using any CBD or THC products and make sure that it doesn’t react to any of the medications you might be on. 

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