Recent findings show that period pain can be as painful as a heart attack – something women have been saying for years. Period pain can range from a dull ache which can make certain activities and clothing uncomfortable, to full blown PMDD or endometriosis – a condition celebrities like Susan Sarandon and Julianne Hough have spoken publicly about suffering with.
However, when consulting their doctors about severe period pain, women are often left walking away with frustrating ‘solutions’ – like relying on strong painkillers or going on hormonal birth control. Many women do see birth control as an answer to their problems – some hormonal contraceptive devices like Nexplanon can lessen or even stop your periods for up to three years.
Many women on the contraceptive pill find themselves skipping over their seven day ‘break’ in which their period falls, because they fear the oncoming pain and cramps that can come with your period. However, hormonal birth control isn’t suitable for everyone, and putting the responsibility on women to pump a cocktail of hormones into their systems from a young age all to avoid chronic pain, doesn’t seem like the right answer. Hormonal birth control can also interfere with seizure medication, making it unsuitable for women suffering with epilepsy.
Period pain is usually severely downplayed – with many women being told that their suffering is ‘just cramps’, and to pop a painkiller and get over it. At the same time women are often painted as hysterical monsters for three to seven days of each month, when in reality we’re just trying to get by and deal with the pain while living our normal lives.
With increasing legalization across America and Canada, companies are finally looking for more creative ways to market cannabis and CBD related products to consumers. For a long time, the cultural image of cannabis users has been quite narrow. The image most people have of someone who uses marijuana is often an average looking, underachieving white guy in his late teens to mid-thirties with little to no life ambition (thanks, Judd Apatow). On the other hand, cannabis use is also linked with ideas of black youth and rap culture, which contributes to the criminalization of black youth from a young age.
However, society is slowly beginning to realize that – shock! women smoke too – and that there is a huge untapped market for feminine related beauty and self-care products. After suffering with endometriosis for much of her life, actress Whoopi Goldberg launched her own line of cannabis infused menstrual products in 2016, after learning that there was little to no impulse by current manufacturers to cater to these issues. It just goes to show that there are still prejudices in place that mean people don’t see women as users of cannabis and CBD products, and so companies are losing out on manufacturing products accessible to over 50% of the population.
Whoopi Goldberg’s line includes a tincture, CBD body butter, bath salts, and raw cacao infused with CBD. Companies like Foria are even making ‘weed tampons’ – vaginal suppositories made of cocoa butter infused with THC and CBD, that dissolve from your body heat once inserted into the vagina. This allows the treatment to be absorbed into the body much faster than when taken orally, allowing for a higher dosage of THC and CBD without the psychoactive effects. While this is still a very niche market, these products have been shown to greatly reduce menstrual cramps and discomfort – while also reducing the need to rely on narcotics and strong prescription painkillers.
CBD may be an incredibly effective way to treat muscular pain and contractions, as well as possibly providing relief from the stress that can exacerbate pain. The potential ability of CBD to help reduce anxiety and balance your mood is also effective for dealing with the mood swings that can come with the hormonal rave you can experience when menstruating. More research needs to be done but women who have tried CBD and cannabis menstrual products have reported that it did not get them ‘high’ and worked very effectively to curb their pain, while still leaving them clear headed.