Cannabis, in all its many forms, has been known to have significant health benefits, from decreasing chronic pain to calming anxiety. Thus it is no surprise that cannabis can be infinitely helpful when it comes to managing your period and everything it entails.
As women, we have all experienced some form of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) or menstrual symptoms at least once in our lives. While the symptoms and experiences vary from woman to woman, many of us can all agree that it is bothersome and gets in the way of us living our lives.
PMS includes a whole host of symptoms that occur a week to two weeks prior to the start of your period. It can include mood swings, headaches, bloating and food cravings. PMS usually ends once the period begins. And, as we all know, menstruation can bring a whole new swarm of issues with it. While the PMS phase can overlap with the menstruation phase, they are generally considered to be a separate stage of the menstrual cycle. We will be dealing with the most common symptoms experienced through both PMS and menstruation below.
One of the worst parts about getting your period is the cramps that come with it. Ranging from dull discomfort to crippling stabbing pains, menstrual cramps are the one symptom that we could all live without.
Many women experience painful menstrual cramps (clinically called dysmenorrhea) before or while on their period. These cramps are caused by an excess of prostaglandins, a hormone-like chemical released by the uterine lining in preparation for shedding, interfering with bodily functions. These cramps can extend toward the lower stomach, lower back and even the thighs. Anti-inflammatory drugs are most effective in relieving these symptoms and are usually what is prescribed by doctors.
How to treat it:
The CBD, cannabidiol, in cannabis has amazing anti-inflammatory properties. It also relieves pain in all its forms. This makes it the perfect choice for treating menstrual cramps.
CBD can be taken in the following forms
- Smoking cannabis with high CBD
- CBD creams and gels rubbed on the painful areas
- CBD bath bombs
Headaches and migraines make every day functioning difficult and tiring. Popping pain medication to relieve your symptoms can often lead to daytime drowsiness and reduced motor skills. This can severely impact your working and day to day life.
These headaches are usually caused by the drop in estrogen before the start of menstruation. This, paired with the secretion of prostaglandin during your period, is oftentimes a trigger for migraines in many women.
How to treat it:
Both CBD and THC can be used to treat migraines and headaches as both offer pain relief properties. CBD aids with inflammation and pain relief. It also staves off nausea and auras associated with migraines. Many use it as a preventative measure rather than for immediate relief as CBD takes longer to affect the system than THC. THC is used for instant relief and can make the user drowsy, allowing them to sleep off the migraine.
Smoking is usually the best form to treat headaches and migraines as pure cannabis has both CBD and THC in it. The THC will provide instant relief, while the CBD will keep further headaches away. You can get mixed oils that contain both compounds but they are hard to find in the right ratios. Do not attempt to mix oils by yourself! Make sure to consult your supplier or physician before mixing anything.
While no one likes to talk about it, diarrhoea and constipation are common symptoms of PMS and menstruation. While having just one of these symptoms is tough enough, many women report having both. Nausea also falls into this category.
Constipation is believed to be caused by the buildup of progesterone prior to menstruation. As progesterone levels decrease once menstruation begins, constipation often goes away on its own.
However, this shift in hormones is also an invitation for diarrhoea to make its way forward. It is believed that the excess levels of prostaglandins in your system also affect your intestines, causing them to contract randomly. This means that the digestive process is sped up and efficiency is lost, causing things to be ‘pushed out’ quickly. This results in loose stools and frequent bathroom trips.
How to treat it:
Orally ingested CBD oils are known to have relieving effects on the bowel, relaxing contractions and easing ‘the flow of things’. They can also be taken as a preventative treatment.
There is nothing worse than trying to slip into one of your little black dresses for a night out and looking like you’ve suddenly entered your second trimester of pregnancy. Bloating is a painful and irritating symptom of menstruation that affects the greater populous of women.
Most bloating is caused by changes in estrogen and progesterone levels. These changes can shock the body causing it to retain more salt and water before and during menstruation. This retention and abdominal swelling can also cause gassiness – another difficult to manage symptom that we could really do without.
How to treat it:
CBD has been known to boost digestive functions by supplementing the body’s natural endocannabinoid system. By filling in gaps within the system, CBD can rectify a hoard of digestive issues, reducing gas and alleviating bloating. Any form of ingested CBD can assist in reducing these symptoms.
One of the most annoying symptoms of menstruation is that giant red pimple that pops up a day or two before your period is about to arrive. Gleaming like a beacon in the night, it is hard to cover up and even more difficult to get rid of.
This premenstrual acne is a result of the increased progesterone levels prior to your period. Progesterone stimulates the production of sebum, a thick oily substance that naturally lubricates the skin. Excess sebum trapped beneath the top layer of skin causes acne. Progesterone may also cause swelling and redness of the skin
How to treat it:
CBD is extremely helpful in this case. Its anti-inflammatory effects help reduce redness and swelling. It also balances the production of sebum, limiting more acne from developing. CBD also has high anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that prevent infections and pollutants from entering the skin.
Some people opt for CBD creams and serums applied topically to the affected area, while others choose to ingest CBD oil as a long term preemptive measure. Depending on the severity and frequency of your symptoms, chose what works best for you.
“I hate you. I love you. I hate that I love you.”
These words by gnash summarize what it’s like to have mood swings. One minute you could feel on top of the world and the next, you could be yelling at your stapler for being out of staples.
These mood swings can be minor or extreme, depending on a host of factors. It can also trigger depression and anxiety in individuals who are prone to such episodes. While many believe this to be a result of hormones, it is actually a result of the body’s perception of the hormone changes.
How to treat it:
While cannabis cannot cure mood swings, it can manage the severity. By interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), it helps to stabilize homeostasis, the state of equilibrium with regard to your moods and other psychological factors.
CBD is most effective in balancing the ECS. It can be taken in the following forms:
Cannabis has a myriad of health benefits that can help you manage your period and PMS symptoms. Whether you choose the preventative approach or the reactive one, Cannabis can help you regain control over your life and live it to the best of your ability.
No longer will you be bogged down when Aunt Flo comes around. Live your life and kick PMS to the curb.
May all your days be high ones!
P.S. If you’re new to using Cannabis and CBD for self-care, get in touch with Amandine and let her put together a bespoke recipe of Cannabis and other herbs that will ease aches and pains, deal with your insomnia and anxiety and bring you back to balance in a natural way! 💚 Schedule a consultation here!
Evarínya is a dancer, a dreamer, a cynic and a lover of glitter.
She began writing at a young age, creating her own private imaginary worlds to disappear into.
While her pursuit of her engineering degree side tracked her for a while, she has returned to the
world she loves in hopes of sharing her experiences and stories.
She believes in the empowerment of women through non-conventional methods and seeks to
uncover the world of cannabis through experimentation and the scientific method.
In her spare time, she reads avidly, sews and paints. She tutors part-time and blogs weekly. You can
find out more about her by reading her personal blog, Mist in the Mountains.