Severe dysmenorrhea, the medical term for menstrual cramps affects 20 percent of women each month. Some pain is so extreme it prevents going to work or other normal activities. Activities such as cigarette smoking have been shown to worsen symptoms.
Modern medicine usually prescribes Acetaminophen (Tylenol is the most common OTC label). Some sufferers have reported cannabis to be an effective treatment for cramps. But cannabis’ status as a federal Schedule I drug and male-dominated state houses have hurt making it widely available in states where medical marijuana is in wide use.
Anecdotal evidence points to three major benefits of using cannabis for dysmenorrhea:
Pain relief. There are two major compounds in marijuana that affect the human body. One is THC. It largely contributes to the euphoria and appetite commonly associated with use. The other is CBD. It provides relaxation and pain relief, but not euphoria. Some CBD treatments such as gelcaps and balms have no THC at all.
Muscle relaxant. Both CBD and THC have proven to be natural relaxants that can ease both muscle pain and the spasms associated with cramps.
Mood. For many cannabis users, the euphoria associated with THC makes them feel more upbeat.
New York state currently allows marijuana use for certain medical conditions. A bill before the legislature would add dysmenorrhea to it.
“This is a woman’s health issue and for years women have suffered in silence. There’s Midol. You can take Advil, but really nothing more,” Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, a Democrat, who introduced A528, told Newsweek.
The measure passed in committee 12-2. It now moves to the state Senate and Assembly. Rosenthal is optimistic about eventual passage. The two no votes were Republican men.
“Men have really been (the ones) who’ve run state houses, governorships, presidencies, and some issues that are just about women have gotten shortchanged and that’s because it’s not in men’s everyday consciousness,” she told Newsweek.
There are several methods to use cannabis for Dysmenorrhea. Smoking is the most common. Some advocates suggest vaping as a less harmful method, though there is some science to show it still is hard on the body. The company Foria sells cannabis suppositories in California and Colorado. And Whoopi Goldberg is on the case.