We talked with menstrual sufferers in and outside of the marijuana industry to find out how cannabis helps them cope with that time of the month.
by Emily Berkey
Lead photo via iStock/ Carlo107; all other photos by Emily Berkey
I cried the morning I first got my period. I was thirteen, hormonal, and crampy. But, determined to not let my bleeding vagina stop me, I attempted to play in my regularly scheduled indoor soccer game. After an overly-involved soccer mom yelled at me during the game for not taking an open shot, I started weeping. The coach, who happened to be my dad, pulled me from the game, and I spent the remainder of the match hunched in a pseudo-fetal position on the bench in a futile attempt to ease my cramps.
Soon, I found myself taking monthly vacations from school where I’d alternate between laying with a heating pad and hunching over the toilet, losing my cookies. A few trips to the gynecologist later, I was told to take an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever as well as birth control to ease the pain. In all fairness, the birth control did help, but it didn’t wipe my discomfort out completely, and I still relied on OTC pain relievers. A professor at University College London recently stated that menstrual cramps can be as painful as a heart attack, to which menstrual cramp sufferers on the internet offered a resounding, ‘No shit!’
Over a decade later, I realized I’d never experienced life as an adult woman without hormone-regulating birth control in my system, and set out to meet my prescription-free self. Sans pill, I noticed a marked difference in my mindstate — I was sharper, happier, and felt more like myself. However, my cramps were back to their original soul-wrenching antics. I surfed the net for natural pain relief tips, decided I’d try a CBD-based product, showed up at the local cannabis dispensary, and walked away with a tincture of CBD and THC. I hurried home, sprayed the recommended amount onto my tongue, then hopped in the shower. By the end of the wash, I forgot I had cramps; yes, I was a little high thanks to the THC, but the tincture had completely erased my pain. (This is the product I used, but if you don’t want to feel heady effects like I did, choose one with less THC in it.)
My life was forever changed. 13 years into horrendous period pain, with doctors only suggesting altering my body’s natural hormones or relying on pain relievers with side effects, I had finally found comfort that no OTC medication or birth control had ever given me. I started to try new types of cannabis-based products, like Not Your Granny’s Gummy Candy and pre-rolled CBD joints from my local dispensary to ease my pain, and had conversations with friends who get periods about my personal revelation. These discussions led me to realize that while some period-getters knew of the benefits of cannabis-based products, others were still curious or even hesitant about doing so. So, I decided we need to take the conversation to the internet.
I met with five people who get periods — some of whom work at or own cannabis companies — and talked about how they ease their menstrual pain with the help of pot-based products, what they’re developing to add to the pain relief market, and what advice they have for those reluctant to try cannabis for menstrual management. See what Jasmine, Christy, Esther, Priscilla, and Nai had to say below.
Please note that none of the people interviewed in this article are doctors, and any advice is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical counsel or treatment.
Jasmine is the Creative Director of Cheech’s Private Stash, the cannabis line curated by Cheech Marin of the iconic duo Cheech & Chong. Jasmine is the overseer of all things regarding branding and is ensuring Cheech’s Private Stash carries products tailored to women. She’s also created a page of easily digestible charts to aide cannabis users in choosing the right strain for them. I joined Jasmine for a walk while we talked about products Cheech’s Private Stash is developing, what she personally uses, and advice for those new to using marijuana-based medicine.
MERRY JANE: What products does Cheech’s Private Stash currently offer to help with menstrual cramps, and what do you have in development?
Marin: Right now we’re just flower and we’re in the process of adding vapes and prerolls. We’re developing a whole line of tinctures as well that target specific problems like sleep, anxiety, pain relief, [inflammation], and a line of bath salts. Everything will be on shelves in the next 6 months.
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Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News