Does Marijuana Help with Menstrual Cramps?
Most women experience some degree of menstrual pain, with symptoms that commonly include abdominal pain or cramping, lower back pain, leg pain, and headaches. For some women, the effects are made more severe by conditions like endometriosis, or uterine fibroids. If you would rate your monthly pain level as high to severe, you might get greater relief from period pain by incorporating Cannabis into your monthly self-care routine. Keep reading to learn about marijuana for pain relief for severe menstrual cramps.
Using Marijuana for Severe Period Pain Relief
Menstrual pain (dysmenorrhea) is extremely common in women of all age groups and medical backgrounds. In one recent study that surveyed over 400 women, more than 84% reported period pain, including more than 43% who reported consistent pain with every menstrual period. The same study found that women who smoked cigarettes, as well as women who had longer periods, were more likely to report experiencing pain.
Painful menstruation is normal but unpleasant, and in some women, severe enough to disrupt routine activities like work and school. In fact, in the study linked above, nearly a third of the respondents reported missing time from class or social activities due to period pain.
If debilitating period pain is interfering with your life by causing you to avoid your normal activities, you may want to consider Cannabis, which is well known among doctors, researchers, and a diverse body of patients for its pain-relieving properties. If over-the-counter pain medications like Midol (ibuprofen), Advil (ibuprofen), or Tylenol (acetaminophen) don’t help significantly with your menstrual pain, Cannabis could provide the relief you’ve been looking for.
Some lawmakers have already recognized the applications Cannabis could have for severe menstrual pain. As of June 2017, New York legislators are considering adding dysmenorrhea to the state’s current list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana.
“Midol cannot be the pinnacle of menstrual cramp treatment,” said New York Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, who sponsored the bill. “We women demand more; we demand access to pain relieving medication that is safe and effective at relieving menstrual cramps.”
Those are the two keywords for any medication: safe and effective. So how is marijuana safe to use? And how is it effective for menstrual pain, including stomach pain and back pain?
While Cannabis is not perfectly safe in that some risks do exist – for example, there is a slight risk of adverse effects for people with cardiovascular conditions – there are three ways marijuana is considerably safer than the average pain medication:
- Unlike most medications (including acetaminophen, which many people are surprised to learn is one of the most commonly overdosed), Cannabis cannot produce a fatal overdose. The amount that would be needed, in the time needed, is simply not physically possible.
- For most people, Cannabis does not produce serious or long-term side effects. Typical acute effects of Cannabis use include dry mouth, sore throat or coughing, and increased drowsiness, which means it isn’t safe to drive or operate heavy machinery while using Cannabis. It is also normal for Cannabis to increase your appetite, even if you’ve recently eaten.
- Cannabis is safe to combine with most other substances, including your favorite foods and beverages. While it is generally safe to combine marijuana with medication, be advised that high Cannabidiol (CBD – which is a cannabinoid in marijuana, like Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – may interact with conventional medications.
As to marijuana’s efficacy for pain control, this effect has been documented by countless studies and patient surveys. In fact, pain management is arguably one of marijuana’s best-known therapeutic properties. I’ve excerpted relevant findings from several studies on marijuana for pain, which I encourage you to explore.
While Cannabis can be very effective for pain reduction, I advise my patients to stick with oral preparations or vaporization, and avoid using new products like intra-vaginal suppositories. Unlike vaporized Cannabis and oral medications, these products have not been shown to work by peer-reviewed research, and frankly, do not make much sense from a medical perspective.
Medical Marijuana Card Consultations in Boston, MA
In Massachusetts, state-sanctioned retailers are expected to begin selling Cannabis products to personal-use (non-medical) consumers sometime next summer. Following that transition, most adults with valid photo identification will be able to purchase limited quantities of marijuana. That means women will be able to purchase Cannabis products to help alleviate menstrual cramping and other types of period pain.
Until then, a Massachusetts resident may obtain a medical marijuana card to possess medical Cannabis if she is diagnosed with a debilitating illness or condition by her physician. If you regularly experience extreme menstrual pain, talk to your doctor about whether Cannabis could be appropriate.
Inhale MD is a Boston area, Cannabis-based medical practice providing confidential consultations at convenient locations in Brookline and Cambridge, in addition to secure online consultations. If severe menstrual pain is affecting your quality of life, and causing you to miss work or activities you enjoy, Inhale MD may be able to help you get better pain relief.