Episode 51

Show Notes

Using CBD for period pain relief: Why weed works for menstrual cramps.

Eighty percent of women experience period-related pain at some point in their life, and period cramps are the most common complaint. But did you know that cannabis is an extremely effective treatment for these symptoms? 

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a chemical found in the cannabis plant. Unlike its relative, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD does not cause a “high.” CBD is a compound with great therapeutic potential but is very understudied. CBD has natural anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties that can help with various types of pain, including menstrual discomfort.

Similar to NSAIDs (i.e. Ibuprofen), CBD can help relieve menstrual cramps by reducing inflammation and pain. Some studies have shown that CBD can be an effective pain relief alternative with minimal side effects. Many women have found CBD to be effective in reducing severe pain caused by conditions such as endometriosis, PCOS, and PMS symptoms such as irritability and mood swings.

On today’s show, we’ll break down why CBD works for menstrual cramps & give you tips on how to find the right CBD product, whether it’s CBD oil, edibles such as CBD gummies, or even suppositories, so you’re all set for your next menstrual cycle.

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April Pride: This podcast discusses cannabis and is intended for audiences 21 and over. Ready for some good news? Cannabis is going to make your life a lot better at least once a month.

Welcome back to How To Do the Pot. I’m April Pride. 80% of women experience period pain at some point in their life, and menstrual cramps are the most common complaint. But how many women know that cannabis is an extremely effective treatment for these symptoms?

April Pride: On today’s show, we’ll break down why CBD works for menstrual cramps and give you tips for how to find the right products so you’re all set for your next cycle. And as always, if you like How To Do the Pot, please share it with someone and rate and review us on Apple podcasts. It helps more people find our show.

April Pride: Dr. Jessica Knox, a Harvard trained MD and co-founder of the American Cannabinoid Clinics, helps us out with a refresher on period pain. First, what are menstrual cramps?

Dr. Jessica Knox, The American Cannabinoid Clinics: For a lot of the reproductive issues, whether it’s dysmenorrhea, right? So that’s menstrual cramps, which is probably one of the most common things that women experience as related to our sex, dysmenorrhea is due to basically prostaglandin release. As our endometrial tissue breaks down and we have a period, prostaglandins are released to cause uterine contractions and cramping to cause inflammation.

April Pride: Cannabinoids are proven to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory benefits. How does CBD help reduce painful cramps?

Dr. Jessica Knox, The American Cannabinoid Clinics: We know that CBD can inhibit the enzyme that creates prostaglandins. So if we can use CBD on somebody who has menstrual cramps, we can often reduce their pain because we’re reducing the root cause.

April Pride: CBD soothes inflammation in the uterus, decreases the sensation of pain and relaxes the muscle contractions that induce cramps. The endocannabinoid system, or the ECS, is a system in your body similar to the nervous system or the cardiovascular system. We all have one, and it’s responsible for regulating homeostasis or balance in the body.

April Pride: The ECS can be worn down by poor quality food, pollution, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, stress, aging, or genetics. To learn more about the ECS, listen to episode one of How To Do the Pot.

For today, what you need to know is this. After the brain, women’s pelvic region has the most cannabinoid receptors than any other part of the body. Cannabis can effectively impact and soothe the pelvic region. Support from CBD or THC can help restore balance in the body and solve for women’s common monthly symptoms.

April Pride: Why isn’t this common knowledge? Lack of research, but there is hope on the horizon. Mathew Gerson is the founder of Foria, a California-based sexual wellness company that has been a leader in finding alternative cannabis-based and other plant-based solutions for women’s pelvic pain.

Mathew Gerson, Foria: Dating as far back as people have been writing about plants and medicine, women have been singing the praises of cannabis for menses and for menstrual pain. And so it was very much out there in the open, but for a number of reasons, there just hasn’t been a lot of research dollars spent on studying painful menstrual cramps, which is amazing.

Kiana can speak to some of the data. It disrupts the lives of hundreds of millions or billions of people every year, and we don’t really have a lot of options. I think, what is it, Midol, is the over-the-counter option that a lot of people look to. And it was a hiccup drug that got rebranded, and they put some new chemicals in it and then pitched it as a pain drug for menstruation.

April Pride: We are very happy to hear about Foria’s collaboration with the Harvard researcher.

Mathew Gerson, Foria: Dr. Staci Gruber, who is at Harvard and she’s at the Mind Institute, and her research group has been studying cannabinoids for a few years now. And she actually came to us interested in looking at the use of CBD specifically in a suppository, in a vaginal suppository to help with menstrual pain.

Mathew Gerson, Foria: And she was shocked to find that in looking at the published medical literature, no one had done a study on this. This is one of the most celebrated uses of cannabis in all the historical record. It’s an observational study.

It will be published, but it’s not a double-blind placebo, sort of the gold standard. It’s a step towards that, but it’s a good one because it’ll raise the eye level of other researchers and go “Oh, maybe this is something worth pursuing a little bit deeper.”

April Pride: Kiana Reeves, Foria’s chief brand officer, shares more about a solution for period pain that you may not be familiar with yet, suppositories.

Kiana Reeves, Foria: So the suppositories for intimacy were really designed to help internal muscle structures get a high dose of cannabinoids that will help the muscles relax, soften, allow for more blood flow, receive those kinds of vasodilating benefits. And they both enhance pleasure, and they’re not just reducing pain for people.

They’re also enhancing the pleasure experience because the more blood flow you get into the region, the softer those muscles are, the better everything feels to touch, to penetration, to any type of movement. It really allows you to be much more in the experience of pleasure. And so every product we have in our intimacy line is directly enhancing people’s experience with pleasure. And if they do experience pain, it’s helping diminish that as well.

April Pride: Dr. Jess has one more reminder before you buy.

Dr. Jessica Knox, The American Cannabinoid Clinics: The question should always be, what is the quality and safety of my cannabis medicine?

April Pride: Hemp-derived CBD can be purchased online and can ship to all 50 states, but it’s not regulated. CBD or THC products purchased from a licensed dispensary must pass rigorous state testing requirements to be sold. Check out our website page called How Do I Buy the Pot to learn about how to read a certificate of analysis, or COA, and know what key quality metrics to look for when shopping for weed.

April Pride: For today’s high five, what are the best products for kids battling cramps without over-the-counter or prescription meds?

April Pride: Number one, inhalation. This is the fastest acting. Within a few minutes, you’ll feel better by vaping or smoking, and you probably only need CBD. We trust the quality of the CBD vape pens from Tonic and Bloom Farms available for purchase online and can ship to all 50 states.

April Pride: Number two, tinctures. Just as Midol typically kicks in after 15 or 20 minutes, so do oil tinctures that are administered under your tongue for 30 to 60 seconds. Increase your frequency for a few days before your period for best results. You may need more milligrams than you think, so check in with yourself and pay attention to how much CBD is in each dropper. A small dose is 10 milligrams, and a larger dose is 50 to 100. We trust Rosebud CBD, which can ship to all 50 states, or Chemistry, which is only available in California and does include THC.

April Pride: Number three, topical creams. Rub on the painful spots on your lower abdomen or your back, and they can also be used on your temples to help with hormonal headaches. Try Sagely Naturals or Equilibria.

April Pride: Number four, suppositories, treatment that goes right to the source and looks like a tampon without the applicator. If you’re experiencing cramps, wash your hands and put the suppository in, just like you would a tampon.

You can choose to put a tampon in afterwards, but remember to lay on your back for 15 to 20 minutes so that it can do its work on your pain and you don’t lose any of the product once it’s turned from its solid form into liquid. Try a suppository from Foria or Mellow CBD.

April Pride: Number five, tea. Drink your cannabis beverage or add honey with CBD to get additional support for your symptoms. Kikoko teas and honey are available in California and do include THC. Potli CBD honey is available online and can ship everywhere.

For today’s strain, Blackberry Kush, a staple for pain management. Relaxes menstrual cramps and diminishes anxiety, stress and insomnia brought on by changing hormones. May bring on the munchies, couch lock and dry mouth.

Medicine Woman, pollinated specifically for pain relief. It’s a muscle relaxant that offers a clear-headed high. ACDC, it’s a CBD-dominant strain, typically 20 to one, 15 to one, non-intoxicating and good for those prone to anxiety, improves mood and promotes feelings of contentment.

April Pride: And for days podcast, April likes Last Day produced by two women who have lost brothers to overdose deaths. Season one of this reported podcast explores the many factors affecting our country’s addiction crisis. It’s honest, it’s heartbreaking, but it’s hopeful, even funny at times, just like grief can be.

April Pride: Ellen likes How I Built This hosted by Guy Raz, How I Built This Resilience with Jennifer Neundorfer of January Ventures, an investment firm focused on entrepreneurs often underrepresented in business, including women and people of color.

April Pride: How To Do the Pot. Listen to Natural MD Radio hosted by Aviva Romm MD. Episode 129, Cannabis and Period Pain. Can It Really Help?

April Pride: Thank you for listening to How To Do the Pot, brought to you from my garage. Let us know what you think. Find us on Instagram @dothepot, and you can follow me @AprilPride.

For lots more information and past episodes, visit dothepot.com. Thanks to my co-founder, Ellen Scanlon, Madi Fair, our brand manager, and our producer, Nick Patri. I’m April Pride, and we’ll be back soon with more of How To Do the Pot.



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