Women of New York: It’s time to rejoice. A bill allowing cannabis as a qualifying condition for difficult menstruation and menstrual cramps passed the New York Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday.
That’s right. If you suffer from dysmenorrhea — painful abdominal cramping during menstruation — you can legally consume marijuana under the state’s medical marijuana program.
For many women, cannabis relieves the often debilitating pain. Legend has it that Great Britain’s Queen Victoria suffered from dysmenorrhea and her doctor prescribed cannabis to help her.
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Assembly Bill 582, sponsored by Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), fought for the measure after state lawmakers approved chronic pain and PTSD as qualifying conditions.
“Not only will this improve women’s wellness and productivity during menstruation, but it will also advance New York State in one of the country’s fastest-growing industries,” Rosenthal said before Tuesday’s vote.
Last year, Rosenthal led the campaign to exempt feminine hygiene products from state and local taxes.
Research shows that the two major cannabinoids found marijuana —tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) — can reduce cramps and control pain. Some doctors suggest that the cannabinoids can also help manage the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, including insomnia and anxiety.
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Although studies have not conclusively discovered how cannabis works to combat dysmenorrhea, researchers suggest that THC positively affects the nerves and assists in blocking out pain while also allowing for more pleasant signals to be received by the brain. CBD works in the immune system by suppressing the mechanisms responsible for inflammation. CBD also slows down electrical signaling to muscles and allows them to relax, thereby reducing cramping.
There are products currently on the market that help women with the monthly suffering.
Foria Relief makes a medicated tampon that the company promises will “maximize the muscle relaxing and pain relieving properties of cannabis without inducing a psychotropic high.”
And Whoopi Goldberg entered the cannabis industry with business partner Maya Elisabeth to create Whoopi & Maya, a company dedicated to women’s health.
Goldberg, who has openly discussed her experience with debilitating cramps, credits cannabis for easing the pain.
“This was all inspired by my own experience from a lifetime of difficult periods and the fact that cannabis was literally the only thing that gave me relief,” Goldberg said. “The only products available to us were filled with ingredients we couldn’t even pronounce and I discovered that I was not alone in this. When I looked further, I learned that this area was considered a ‘niche’ … a ‘niche’ that includes half of the population!”