Marijuana and Menstrual Cycle Relief
From Aunt Flo to Shark Week to the Red Scare, there are over 5,000 slang terms for the word, “period.” It’s a little odd that we’ll go so far to avoid using such a simple word, one half the population experiences, but there’s just something about the topic of menstrual cycles that makes many of us uncomfortable. But despite being an awkward conversation topic, the American period is a $2 billion a year industry, with women estimated to spend almost $20,000 on tampons, pads, pain relievers, and more over the course of each of our lifetimes. With marijuana legalization gaining traction, canna-preneurs are seizing a golden opportunity to offer women a different, all-natural option to treat their discomfort.
Using marijuana to treat menstrual symptoms is nothing new; Queen Victoria was using it to soothe her cramps in the late-19th century. Its effectiveness is summed up by Dr. Jennifer Berman, who says, "When a woman experiences menstrual cramps, the uterus is contracting... The muscle goes into spasm, and it releases inflammatory mediators that exacerbate pain. Cannabis, in general, works to relieve muscle spasms by increasing blood flow and decreasing muscle contractions. When you increase blood flow, you help to restore oxygenation to the tissue, thereby decreasing inflammation and lessening discomfort.”
Long after the royals stopped partaking, actress Whoopi Goldberg and business partner Maya Elisabeth are bringing cannabis menstrual relief back. Their new line of products, Whoopi & Maya, launched in 2016, and includes a bath soak, a tincture, cacao for eating, and a topical rub. Goldberg spoke to Vanity Fair about the brand: “For me, I feel like if you don’t want to get high high, this is a product specifically just to get rid of discomfort...This, you can put it in your purse... You can put the rub on your lower stomach and lower back at work, and then when you get home you can get in the tub for a soak or make tea, and it allows you to continue to work throughout the day.” And while the products are great for standard P.M.S., users suffering from P.M.D.D. and endometriosis have experienced positive results as well.
While Whoopi & Maya is the most well-known cannabis relief product, it isn’t the only one on the market. Foria Relief markets a line of vaginal suppositories for menstrual pain that have been positively reviewed by Cosmopolitan magazine, HelloMD.com, Vice.com and more. Inserted just like a tampon, the suppository is small, straightforward, and goes directly to the bloodstream. The company explains how to use their product as such: “We say that one suppository is one dose and that you should consider using the first suppository on the first day of cramping even if bleeding has not yet occurred. Relief is usually absorbed in 15-20 minutes and the effects can be felt for up to 4-5 hours. One to two suppositories may be sufficient on the two worst days of your cycle.”
Though mainly sold in California, cannabis menstrual products are becoming available in other areas of the country, and are an increasingly popular form of treatment. With the positive reception Whoopi & Maya and Foria Relief are receiving, more brands are expected to develop, offering women an even greater selection of soothing options. So, if you’re looking for simple, effective pain relief, developed by and for women, with a list of all-natural, recognizable ingredients, look no further. Ditch the pharmaceuticals, and give weed a try. You might not be Queen Victoria, but you sure will feel like royalty in your cannabis-infused bath soak.