Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a condition that most women who are fertile experience at some point in their lives. They may also develop premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), which is similar to PMS, but in this case the symptoms are more prolonged and severe.
As the campaign for the legalization of cannabis advances and gains more support worldwide, more and more women are turning to cannabis for relief from these symptoms. Perhaps many do not know it, but in fact this practice is not new. Women have historically used cannabis to relieve PMS symptoms.
The oldest reference to the use of cannabis as a treatment for PMS and PMDD comes from the German herb book Kratterbuch written in 1564. In this text Leonhart and Lonicer wrote that “women who bent down because of a disease of the womb stood up again after inhaling the smoke of burning cannabis”.
✅ Conventional treatment for premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder
Premenstrual symptoms include abdominal pain, contractions, cramps, depression, anxiety, irritability, nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal problems, breast sensitivity and even insomnia. To treat these general ailments and discomforts, anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or even hormonal contraceptive methods are usually recommended.
However, there are cases in which women, either because they suffer adverse reactions to anti-inflammatory drugs or because they have certain health conditions, cannot make these choices. There are also cases in which, for personal, cultural or religious reasons, they may be against hormonal contraceptives as a treatment for these symptoms. In these situations, cannabis could be a more than viable alternative.
🧐 How does cannabis help with PMS symptoms ?
Cannabis is gaining more and more acceptance in various countries. However, there are still many where its use is illegal. This has made research on the effect of cannabis on PMS limited. Although more studies are needed, it is known that cannabis can help to relieve many of the symptoms of this condition.
For abdominal pain
Abdominal pain is one of the most common symptoms of PMS. Cannabis can be a great ally, as the cannabinoids THC and CBD get the flat muscle of the uterine wall to relax. This results in increased blood flow, which provides relief to oxygen-depleted tissues, thus helping to reduce pain. With menstruation, the production of prostaglandins, a group of lipids that help with blood flow, also increases. However, this increased production also contributes to inflammation and abdominal pain. The cannabinoides act like powerful anti-inflammatory agents.
For mood swings
In the days leading up to menstruation, levels of serotonin (a mood-regulating neurotransmitter) drop considerably. The relaxing and euphoric effects of cannabis can offer relief to those who struggle emotionally with mood swings, irritability or depression. Cannabinoids stimulate different receptors in the brain and the nervous system to help the body recognize and regulate a wide variety of stimulations and changes, mainly mood and stress.
For nausea and vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms among women who experience severe cramps and contractions. Therefore, when treating abdominal pain these symptoms usually disappear. If the cannabis is used to treat this ailment these associated symptoms will be avoided.
During the menstrual phase, stage 2 of sleep, as well as the REM phase, is altered, affecting the quality of women’s sleep. This can happen from increased nighttime body temperature and cramping, but also from decreased rates of the hormone progesterone. Cannabis has sedative and narcotic properties that can help to obtain a restorative dream. In fact, it has been scientifically demonstrated that THC and CBD are effective in treating sleep disorders.
For gastrointestinal problems
Cannabis can also help with one of the less named symptoms of PMS: gastrointestinal problems. Although few people speak of it, menstruation can cause constipation or diarrhea due to the increase in the production of prostaglandins. This increase causes contractions in the uterus, which affect the nearby intestines. Thanks to the anti-inflammatory power of cannabinoids, this symptom can be treated.
Conditions caused by menstruation can be very annoying and even disabling to women during those days. For those who are not satisfied with an ibuprofen and a hot water bag, cannabis can be a life-changing option.