The medical community still doesn’t quite understand the mechanisms behind period pain. The cramps that women experience during their monthly cycle is a result of contractions of the uterus to release the lining. The hormones involved in that contraction are called prostaglandins, but outside of that, we don’t know why some women have period pain worse than others.
There are a couple of medical conditions that can lead to extreme period pain – such as endometriosis. But in normal, healthy, menstruating women, it’s still extremely common to experience period pain. What’s that about?
In terms of traditional herbal medicine, there are a couple of different ways of thinking about period pain. If the period is thick, with a lot of blood clots, the pain is typically associated with passing the blood clots. Thinning the blood and preventing something called “blood stasis” is a way to deal with that kind of period pain. Alternatively, it’s because the blood is too cold — coldness is not associated with movement, but with stasis. It’s therefore painful to generate the movement required to expel it. So another way to deal with period pain is to warm the blood in the days leading up to menstruation.
Cannabis can help.
The primary ways that cannabis can help reduce period pain are:
- CBD and THC are both analgesic, and therefore work on natural pain-sensation mechanisms to reduce the feeling of pain
- CBD and THC are both muscle relaxants, and can therefore reduce the spasm associated with menstrual cramping
Is cannabis going to help fix the reason that you have period pain in the first place? Well, probably not (although there’s ongoing research into the relationship between the endocannabinoid system and endometriosis). But cannabis can definitely help you sail through your period with less cramping, less pain, and less irritability.
Here are three ways you can use cannabis to help you cruise through a period, symptom free.
1. Cannabis suppositories and pessaries
Technically, a suppository goes up the backside, while a pessary goes into the vagina. For the purpose of periods, we’re talking about pessaries, but these terms often get thrown around interchangeably.
Using a cannabis suppository or pessary might sound a little unconventional, but it’s a great way to deliver cannabinoids directly to the uterus and uterine muscles. As muscle relaxants, THC and CBD can help to reduce spasms in the uterine area, therefore reducing period pain.
However, THC typically works better in a pessary than CBD. This is why most pessaries designed for period pain are THC-based.
It’s not always easy to get your hands on suppositories or pessaries, but it’s ok because you can easily make them at home.
You can use a bullet-shaped mould, or even a long ice cube tray (the kind that makes long sticks of ice). You can simply cut them into the desired size.
It’s as simple as melting coconut oil, adding your desired amount of CBD or THC oil, pouring it into the mould, and letting it set in the fridge. Insert one into your vagina when you feel the pinch of period pain, and your pain should slowly subside.
Beware that inserting cannabis into your vagina or rectum won’t actually make you high. There may be mild psychoactive effects, but the effect will be more localized than systemic.
2. Oral cannabis oils, capsules, and edibles
To support the process, you can also ingest cannabis orally. This allows cannabis to enter the bloodstream and reduce irritability and cramping.
Whether you’re using oils, capsules or edibles doesn’t matter. Oral consumption helps to deliver cannabinoids into the blood — which helps you switch off pain sensations from the brain, rather than just localized treatment.
If your period cramps arrive on a day that requires working or otherwise, you can consider using CBD instead of THC. This way, you can manage pain without the cognitive effects of THC. But this isn’t a hard and fast rule — if THC works better to reduce your pain, you can consider edibles, capsules, or oils with THC in them.
THC-rich edibles and tinctures are welcomed remedies at night, as they don’t just help to relax the muscles and mind, but can help to induce sleep if cramps get in the way of that.
From the pantry
CBD Isolate Tincture 1000mg
This tincture is made with 1000mg CBD isolate, and delivers a potent hit of CBD in the event that your period pain is taking over your day.
Indica 5:1 Wigglers
The Indica 5:1 Wigglers are the perfect night-time edible when you’re experiencing period pain and muscle cramps. The combination of THC and CBD makes it easy to get to sleep, and easy for the muscles to relax.
3. Warming cannabis topicals
FInally, you can simply use cannabis topicals over the abdomen and uterine area for localized pain relief and muscle relaxing. Cannabis topicals are often used in the event of muscle pain and soreness, and can be used for period pain in the same way.
For the best results, you can add other warming essential oils and plants to your cannabis topical. Consider mixing in essential oils of cinnamon, cassia, and ginger. Or you can add camphor oil to your topical. Adding something warming helps to stimulate the flow of blood, reduce clotting, and reduce spasms. Simply add essential oils and mix with a paddle-pop stick!
Use it generously over your belly and inside the thighs, or anywhere that period cramps radiate.
From the pantry
Canna Pain Bar
The Canna Pain Bar is made with 50 mg THC for a stronger pain relief experience. It’s also enriched with the kinds of warming oils we mentioned – it’s got camphor, eucalyptol, cajeput, peppermint, and arnica.
Sweet Mandarin CBD Heart
You can consider using a bath bomb for full blown relaxation of your uterine muscles. Add essential oils to the bath to make it even more warming!
Which ways do you use cannabis to treat period pain? What are your own tried and tested recipes? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!