Many women experience pain during menstruation, regardless of age, physical condition or medical history. Also, for some of them, the worst times are the ones before this period, suffering from different symptoms known as premenstrual syndrome.
For centuries, medicinal cannabis has been used for its various therapeutic properties, and menstrual pain is no exception. In this article, we suggest you discover the influence of cannabis on these symptoms, and everything you need to know about this plant if you want to use this millenary plant naturally.
Cannabis helps to fight menstrual pain What is premenstrual syndrome?
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a set of symptoms that occurs in the days before the beginning of the period, also known as the luteal phase. Among these symptoms, we will notice:
Breast pain (mastodynia)
Bloating of the stomach
Changes in mood
It can be very difficult to have a normal day when you suffer from these symptoms, so medicine has been interested in fighting them from the beginning. And this does not concern a few isolated cases, since some studies mention 84% of women suffering from this type of pain before or during their menstruation. As with other medical conditions, cannabis appears in the majority of pharmacopoeias worldwide to be very effective in controlling these symptoms, mainly caused by certain hormonal imbalances. Hormone levels vary during menstruation.
Cannabis and menstrual pain
The medicinal properties of cannabinoids, and in particular those related to pain reduction, have been used for thousands of years. We find evidence of this use in remote places such as China and England, where Queen Victoria’s case is famous: her doctor, J.R. Reynolds, prescribed cannabis to relieve her menstrual pain. Let’s now look at how cannabis can influence the different symptoms associated with menstruation.
Soothe sore breasts In the days before the period, many women suffer from breast pain or hypersensitivity due to the increase in progesterone, which results in swelling of the lactiferous ducts. Although we do not yet have conclusive studies directly linking cannabis to the reduction of breast pain during this phase, the famous anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis must nevertheless influence this situation.
Alleviate abdominal pain As in the previous case, the anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties of cannabis – in particular THC or tetrahydrocannabinol – can help to combat common abdominal cramps during the days before menstruation, caused hormonally by contractions in the uterus. Something that, thanks to the many testimonies of its use throughout history, leaves little doubt. Indeed, a large number of patients report a clear reduction in abdominal cramps, nausea and other symptoms related to the digestive system due to cannabis.
Cannabis can be useful during menstruation Limit headaches and migraines Various studies highlight the potential of cannabis to treat headaches and migraines. It has also been shown that almost half of the women surveyed make a direct link between migraines and menstruation, which can be explained by the drop in estrogen levels thinking in the pre-menstrual period, leaving the brain with fewer resources to regulate the perception of pain, which is then felt more intensely. It should be taken into account that to fight against headaches with cannabis the best technique will be to ingest food enriched with cannabinoids, or with a cannabis spray; substances resulting from combustion, on the contrary, favor headaches, smoking would thus be counterproductive.
Fighting insomnia Many women refer to problems in getting to sleep during pre-menstrual periods and menstruation. As in the previous examples, the sedative and narcotic properties of many cannabis varieties are widely known, so it is reasonable to assume that this is an excellent option for restorative sleep. According to specialists, this problem is caused by a decrease in progesterone hormone levels (which varies according to the phase of the cycle, falling sharply a few days before the beginning of menstruation.
As mentioned, the effects of cannabis on sleep are well known by the scientific community, and both THC and CBD are effective in treating sleep disorders effectively. Reduced mood swings The different fluctuations in hormone production during premenstrual periods and menstruation cause, in addition to the symptoms mentioned above, logical changes in women’s moods, which sometimes involve emotional roller coasters, with feelings of anxiety, stress or depression. The wide range of effects of cannabis on the body, from the most narcotic to the most stimulating, helps to compensate for these mood changes, particularly through the antidepressant properties of the different cannabinoids and terpenes.
Cannabis influences mood Estrogen during menstruation Although several hormones come into play during this period (progesterone, prolactin, cortisol, etc.), estrogen seems to be the most important of these.
Women who smoke cannabis may often experience a less pronounced effect during the days of their menstruation. This is due to a sudden decrease in estrogen levels, a hormone that directly affects how our body reacts to cannabinoids. The higher the estrogen level, the easier it is for the body to absorb compounds such as THC, so less grass will have more effect than under normal conditions. On the contrary, during menstruation, this rate is low, which limits the absorption of cannabinoids, when they could be most useful. Also, estrogen has another property, which can limit the activity of the enzyme FAAH (Hydrolase of fatty acid amides). What does this mean? That a higher level of anandamide is released into the body, one of the roles of FAAH being precisely to block its release. Anandamide helps to fight the feeling of anxiety and stress, so a high level of estrogen strengthens our defenses against these symptoms. In this way, estrogen acts very similarly to one of the cannabinoids found in cannabis, CBD or Cannabidiol.
In any case, and since the therapeutic properties of cannabis vary from plant to plant (and from individual to individual), it will be interesting, if cannabis is used to treat premenstrual symptoms, to take note of the variety used, when and in what quantity, the levels of THC and CBD of this variety, etc. in order to obtain the best results, documenting our experience in order to optimize it through observations.