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How Cannabis Can Help with Period Cramps

Period pains, menstrual cramps, dysmenorrhea -- the condition may have different names, but the pain it causes is just as excruciating. For many women, having period cramps can mean hours of debilitating pain, often causing them to miss one or two workdays every month. This condition typically manifests as muscle cramps in the tummy, but it can also spread to the back and thighs. It can come in the form of dull but constant cramps or intensely painful spasms, and its intensity can vary every period. 

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What Causes Period Pain?

During menstruation, the womb contracts vigorously to shed its lining. The contraction compresses the blood vessels lining the womb, temporarily cutting off its blood -- and oxygen -- supply. The lack of oxygen, then, prompts the tissues in the womb to release chemicals that trigger pain.

Prostaglandin, a hormone-like substance that encourages the womb muscles to contract, plays a big role in making the pain worse. In some cases, however, severe period cramps are caused by disorders like endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and adenomyosis, just to name a few.

There are limited options when it comes to dealing with period pain. The condition is often treated using common painkillers such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or paracetamol, but codeine or naproxen can also be prescribed to people who experience severe pain. Lifestyle changes, such as exercise and relaxation techniques, may also be recommended. These days, however, many period pain sufferers find the relief they need by turning to medical marijuana.

Can Cannabis Relieve Period Cramps?

Cannabis has only gained wide acceptance as a means of treating pain in the last few years, but it has been used to relieve period cramps for a long time. Even Queen Victoria was said to have used cannabis tinctures for this very purpose. What makes cannabis an effective relief for period cramps? The answer lies in the cannabinoids found in marijuana, particularly cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid. This substance binds with cannabinoid receptors in the brain and body, changing the way a person senses pain. The female reproductive system -- the uterus, in particular -- has a lot of cannabinoid receptors.

Cannabis products specifically made for relieving period cramps come in many forms. The way these products affect the body depends on their components, such as their THC-CBD ratio, and how they are used. Some of the most popular forms of cannabis products for period cramps in the market today include:

  1. Vaginal suppositories
    While often marketed as cannabis tampons, vaginal suppositories aren’t really designed to catch menstrual fluids. These products are typically made of butter and cannabis oil. To use, simply insert the product and keep it in for at least 15 minutes. Upon melting, the suppository is absorbed by the vaginal walls and directly enters the bloodstream. Then, the cannabinoids in the product will bind with the receptors, relaxing the muscles and blocking out pain in the cervix, ovaries, and uterus.
  2. Tinctures
    If you wish to experience the full benefits of concentrated CBD, then tinctures are the best way to go. Ingest a few drops of this potent painkiller and expect the pain to go away in just a few short minutes. Pick a tincture that has a high CBD to THC ratio should you want to neutralize the pain without feeling wonky after. CBD tinctures are pricier compared to the other products in this list, but since they’re quite potent, you won’t tear through a bottle as quickly as you might think. THC tinctures, on the other hand, are more affordable.
  3. Flavored edibles
    Hit 2 birds with 1 stone by stocking up on your favorite cannabis edibles. Cannabis edibles will not only satisfy your cravings, they’ll also help relieve period pain. Cacao-flavored products, for one, can be made into hot chocolate, mixed with ice cream, or eaten by the spoonful. Again, take note of the CBD-THC ratio so you’ll get the exact effect you’re aiming for.
  4. Body and skin balms
    Many pain relievers and relaxants come in the form of body and skin balms, and cannabis products are no different. Warm the balm up in your hand first before applying it over your body. Some body and skin balms are designed to be applied to your ladyparts, while some are not, so check the label first.
  5. Bath salts
    It is a well-known fact that heat can help soothe menstrual cramps. You can maximize the relaxing effect of a hot bath by using cannabis bath salts. A 30-minute soak can do wonders for your body. Be aware, though, that bath salts high in THC can make you feel pretty high, so you may want to avoid using it before doing something that requires your full attention.

Where they are available, cannabis products specifically made for combating and relieving menstrual cramps are doing wonders for women. These items not only provide their users with a means to manage pain, they also give women peace of mind whenever the red days draw near. 

Alleviate Cramps. RELIEF Helps Your Body Feel Better.