The miracle of life is truly something to behold. That said, for women, this is not always all fun and games, and what we are talking about here is the period or the menstrual cycle. When a woman menstruates, her uterine lining sheds itself and is expelled from the body.
Throughout this process, a hormone known as prostaglandin is released. This hormone causes the uterine lining to suffer from severe contractions, which are otherwise known as cramps.
These can be extremely painful and last for several days every single month. Some women suffer from such severe cramps that it completely sidelines them until they are over. This is no joke!
To help try and stop these cramps, many women take basic anti-inflammatory and NSAID medications, such as ibuprofen. These often help to slow down or stop the release of prostaglandin, therefore stopping these menstrual cramps from occurring.
However, NSAID medications don't always work, and some people also suffer from unwanted side effects. For this reason, many people are starting to turn to alternative medicines to try and treat. Cramps, with weed or cannabis being one of them.
Although the evidence surrounding weed as a treatment for period cramps is somewhat limited at this time, there are some indications that it may work to help relieve some of the pain associated with these cramps.
If NSAID medications can help stop the production of prostaglandin, and therefore stop cramps from occurring, can cannabis do the same? Today, we will take a closer look at how exactly weed, particularly THC and CBD, affect period cramps.
- Does smoking weed help with cramps? – The answer is yes! There are some strong indications that smoking weed helps reduce pain caused by period cramps, and pain in general.
- Although weed may not stop cramps from occurring, both THC and CBD, may help to reduce the pain felt due to those cramps.
- For period cramp pain, cannabis can be smoked, vaporized, applied topically, applied sublingually, ingested, and even applied directly to the vagina.
Does Weed Help with Menstrual Cramps?
It may very well be the case that weed can help with menstrual cramps. However, exactly how cannabis provides relief for women suffering from menstrual cramps is somewhat unclear. This is due to the fact that both THC and CBD don't work in the same way as NSAIDs, which are generally used to treat period cramps.
Remember, these NSAID medications help to stop the production of prostaglandins. They do this by binding with the so-called COX receptors in your brain and other tissues. This is how Advil works to help stop period cramps from occurring.
However, CBD and THC both do not interact with those COX receptors and therefore don't influence the production of prostaglandins. Weed does not help to prevent the production of the hormone responsible for causing period cramps.
That said, according to this particular study, it is shown that weed can help women suffering from menstrual cramps.
Interestingly enough, of the 192 women surveyed, 85% of them said that they had regularly used cannabis to treat menstrual pain, with nearly 90% of these same women saying that it was effective in terms of pain relief.
Now, these women did not necessarily say that cannabis stopped their cramps from occurring, but that there was significant pain relief. A strain such as Pink Prosecco could be just what you need.
What Does Research Say About Weed and the Menstrual Cycle?
Admittedly, the research regarding weed and the menstrual cycle is somewhat scarce, but there are some key findings that we can share with you here. So, as mentioned above, one study indicated that nearly 90% of women who take cannabis to treat menstrual cramps and pain find some degree of relief.
That said, this study did not look at exactly how cannabis, either THC or CBD, helps to reduce the pain caused by menstrual cramps. After all, as we've already discovered, weed doesn't affect the production of prostaglandin, and therefore does not prevent period pain from occurring in this sense.
However, there may be some other basic explanations as to how cannabis helps the pain caused by menstrual cramps. There are quite a few studies out there that prove that cannabis is an effective reliever of pain.
This study showed that out of 1000 people, 80% of respondents who used medical cannabis to treat a variety of painful conditions said it was very effective. The use of cannabis for pain and treatment in these cases was so successful that most of these people stopped taking their over-the-counter pain medications.
The issue here is that this study did not actually look at the relationship between cannabis and menstrual pain, but simply between cannabis and pain in general. That said, due to the way in which cannabis helps block pain, it stands to reason that it can also help block the pain caused by menstrual cycles.
Research shows that cannabis is an effective analgesic, which means that it blocks pain signals. While it does not necessarily treat the underlying cause of the pain, it stops pain signals from getting from your nerves to your brain. It therefore reduces or even eliminates your perception of pain. So, technically speaking, even if you are having menstrual cramps, you might not feel them as much or at all thanks to weed.
Another explanation in terms of how weed might help prevent or relieve period cramps from occurring has to do with how it affects your mental state. Cannabis is shown to stimulate various neurotransmitters in your brain, particularly those related to your pleasure center.
Weed increases the overall production and functionality of both serotonin and dopamine, which are so-called brain chemicals that make you feel good. These are chemicals that help produce feelings of euphoria, elation, happiness, and they just make you feel good and.
At the same time, they might also help to reduce symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. It is thought that the state of euphoria and happiness that these brain chemicals put you in, thanks to the consumption of weed, can also help reduce your overall perception of pain.
With all of that being said, there are some other studies that have been performed on women's menstrual cycles and cannabis. For instance, this one particular study showed that women who frequently used cannabis showed greater variations in the length of their menstrual cycles. It was also shown that the women who consumed cannabis regularly had a much heavier flow during their period.
As far as pain relief is concerned, studies show that taking weed orally tends to be best for gastrointestinal symptoms and mood improvement. On the other hand, when cannabis is inhaled, it tends to be more effective at pain relief. Therefore, it would serve to reason that a combination of edible cannabis and vaporizing or smoking would provide the biggest relief from menstrual pain.
How Does Weed Help with Period Cramps?
If we are being 100% honest, we don't know exactly how weed helps with period cramps, although it likely does.
Now, according to that study above where up to 90% of women said that weed helped stop pain from period cramps, it does actually work and there is some hope here. However, how exactly it works has not been confirmed.
As mentioned above, prostaglandin, the main hormone responsible for the occurrence of menstrual cramps, is not affected by the consumption of cannabis.
However, weed is shown to have a variety of analgesic and painkilling properties. These may be enough to reduce or even stop the pain associated with these menstrual cramps.
Furthermore, it may also be the case that the sense of mental wellness and euphoria created by the consumption of cannabis helps to create a state of mind where the perception of pain is diminished. In other words, those feel-good brain chemicals can make you feel so good that they virtually make you forget about the pain you are suffering.
It could also be the case that THC acts as an anti-inflammatory. Inflammation often occurs in the uterine lining during the menstrual cycle, which can lead to increased pain and cramping. Therefore, if THC acts as an anti-inflammatory, it may help prevent or relieve some of the inflammation associated with the menstrual cycle.
What About CBD? Does CBD Help with Period Cramps?
Although there is a good deal of research that has been performed on the effects of cannabis, particularly THC, on menstrual cramps, there is much less research that has been performed on CBD and the menstrual cycle.
In fact, research on CBD and the menstrual cycle, especially in relation to period cramp pain, is virtually nonexistent.
However, there are some things we know about CBD, and based on those pieces of knowledge, it is safe to assume that CBD at least has the potential to stop period cramp pain from occurring. So, how might CBD help with period cramp pain?
- One explanation might be that CBD or cannabidiol functions as an analgesic. According to these studies, CBD exerts analgesic properties. Once again, this means that it can block pain signals from reaching your brain. Therefore, although it may not treat the underlying cause of the menstrual cramps, it does reduce your overall perception of the pain caused by them.
- A big aspect of menstrual cramps is a large amount of inflammation in the uterus. Well, CBD is shown to be an anti-inflammatory. Therefore, if CBD can help treat inflammation, then it should be able to help treat inflammation associated with menstrual cramps, and therefore help relieve pain and cramping symptoms in this sense.
- Simultaneously, CBD may also help relieve some symptoms associated with menstrual cycles by acting as a mood regulator. Just like THC, CBD may also be able to help increase the function of neurotransmitters in the brain, therefore altering the way that serotonin and dopamine function, and possibly also increasing their production. The feelings of happiness, euphoria, and elation created by these brain chemicals, combined with their potential to relieve symptoms associated with depression, stress, and anxiety, mean that CBD may also be able to help reduce the perception of menstrual pain in this sense.
All that said, this is more speculative than anything else, and there is more research required on this front. However, as you can see, there is great promise for both THC and CBD to act as effective treatments for menstrual cramps and the pain caused by them.
Smoking Weed for Period Cramps vs Consuming Edibles for Menstrual Cramps
Above, we looked at one quick study which stated that consuming edibles tended to be more effective at relieving gastrointestinal symptoms and for elevating mood, whereas inhaling or smoking cannabis was better for pain relief.
Therefore, when it comes to pain relief for your menstrual cycle, it serves to reason that smoking cannabis is the best solution. It would also serve to reason that vaporizing would be a better solution than consuming edibles. Do however keep in mind that this study was not associated with menstrual cycles directly, but with pain in general.
The only thing to keep in mind here is that if you smoke or vaporize, it will probably make you cough very hard. If you cough hard, you'll contract your abdomen, which could cause increased pain in your uterine area.
Flexing and contracting your abdominal muscles every time you cough probably won't feel good if you're already having cramps. However, everybody is different, so it might just be a matter of trial and error to see what works best for you. Check out some of these strains that are shown to be effective muscle relaxers!
How to Take Cannabis for Period Cramps
There are a few different ways to take cannabis for menstrual cramps, so let's take a look at what some of the most common and effective methods are.
You can always go with the classic method of smoking cannabis. You can grind up your cannabis and put it in a joint, a blunt, a pipe, or a bong. Many people prefer this method, especially in terms of pain relief, because the cannabinoids enter your bloodstream very quickly.
It just takes 5 or 10 minutes at the most for you to feel the full effects, and those effects can last for up to four hours. Our own Botany Farms Delta-8 Blueberry Diesel Strain could be just what you need!
Sticking with the method of inhaling your cannabis, you may also choose to vaporize it. Vaporizing cannabis is generally considered much healthier than smoking because the vapor isn't nearly as harmful to your lungs as smoke.
That said, the effects are more or less the same here. It'll take about 10 minutes for you to feel the full effects, and those effects can last for up to four hours.
We think that vaporizing is the better solution when compared to smoking, particularly due to potency. Vaporizer cartridges often contain up to 90% THC, or even higher, whereas regular cannabis flower usually doesn't contain over 25%.
Therefore, if THC is the painkiller you're looking for, then you'll get way more out of a baby cartridge than out of cannabis flower.
Edibles and Oils
Moving on, your next option is to ingest oils and edibles. Now, we could separate this into two separate categories, edibles and oils or tinctures. With edibles, you are looking at lollipops, gummies, cookies, and everything in between.
You simply chew these and swallow. It can take anywhere between 30 and 90 minutes for you to feel the full effects, but those effects can sometimes last anywhere between 4 and 10 hours.
Due to the way in which the body processes THC when it is consumed orally, it also ends up being much stronger and lasting longer. Therefore, if you're looking to get the most bang for your buck and you want the maximum possible effects from all the cannabinoids, ingesting them is best. If you want to give this a shot, take a look at our Botany Farms Delta-9 Microdose Gummies.
We could also talk about cannabis tinctures or oils, which are when cannabinoids are infused into very strong alcohols or oils. For comparison, this is like the medical version of an edible.
It provides you with all of the same benefits of an edible, without actually being a real food. Moreover, with oils and tinctures, you generally apply these sublingually, which means that you let them sit under your tongue for a couple of minutes.
The mucus membranes under your tongue contain a lot of blood vessels, which allows cannabinoids to be absorbed into your bloodstream very quickly, much quicker than regular edibles.
Keep in mind however that when you apply oils and tinctures sublingually, you still end up swallowing them anyway. Therefore, when taking a cannabinoid oil sublingually, it acts very fast due to quick absorption, but also lasts for a long time due to ingestion. If you want to try a sublingual application, check out our Botany Farms Live Resin CBD Tincture.
You may also try using a variety of cannabis oils, creams, and salves for topical application. If you don't want to ingest cannabis or inhale it, using a topical application might be your next best solution. For anybody who doesn't know, this simply means rubbing it on your skin directly above the affected area.
There are some indications that topical THC and CBD products may be able to help reduce localized pain directly in the area where they are applied. Yet, there is no conclusive research at this time which would indicate that topical cannabinoid products help to relieve menstrual pain.
A Vaginal Oil
A new type of product that hasn't been out for too long is the cannabis vaginal oil. These are formulated specifically to be applied internally and outside of the labia, all without affecting the pH balance of the vagina.
Because the interior of the vagina is composed of mucous membranes, the cannabinoids are absorbed extremely quickly.
Although there is not much research on this front yet, due to the fast absorption of cannabinoids by mucous membranes, and thanks to the research that indicates that THC may help reduce menstrual pain, it serves to reason that a vaginal oil might be an effective solution.
Final Thoughts – Does Weed Help With Cramps?
So, does smoking weed help with period cramps? The bottom line here is that there is great promise that weed can help with period cramps. THC shows great potential here, and CBD isn't far behind. Now it's for you to figure out what works for you and what doesn't.
Between smoking, vaping, sublingual application, edibles, topicals, and vaginal oils, you should be able to find at least one product that reduces or even puts an end to the pain caused by menstrual cramps. This Platinum Candy strain might provide you with some relief.