Connect with us
  • ciitech

Feature

Is cannabis a girl’s new best friend?

Published

on

Every 28 days, give or take, women from all walks of life and every corner of the globe experience the same phenomena – menstruation – and everything that comes with it.

From cramps to mood swings, cravings to dizziness, the monthly episode can wreak havoc causing more and more women to look for alternatives to standard medication, including birth control, to help them alleviate and manage the symptoms – mainly cramps.

When menstruation begins, the uterus contracts to help expel its lining – these muscle contractions are triggered by hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, which are vital when giving birth.

As the uterus is unable to differentiate between a baby and its own lining, the process occurs each month.

The higher the level of prostaglandins, the more intense the menstrual cramps and, as many women know, cramps can range from a simple inconvenience to a significant annoyance.

In the most extreme cases – which are more common than you’d imagine – they can be debilitating, affecting both personal and professional life.

Any woman who has visited a medical professional for something to relieve menstrual cramps (or period pain) will know that the most commonly advocated product is ibuprofen.

Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, this is something it has in common with cannabis and CBD products.

According to a United Patients Alliance (UPA) survey conducted in 2018, the most popular reason for cannabis use was for the relief of pain (10.7 per cent) with other conditions such as headaches, migraines and neuropathy also listed among primary reasons.

When combined, 65 per cent of medicinal cannabis users in the UK cite the relief of pain as either the primary or secondary reason.

In 2015, 192 women were asked by researchers at the University of British Columbia if they had used cannabis for the relief of menstrual pain. 85 per cent said they had with almost 90 per cent of these saying it was effective.

While cannabis is available for purchase legally in Vancouver, and this is a very small study, the findings did suggest that women were increasingly turning to cannabis and CBD for regular pain relief.

Despite mounting research into the power of cannabis to alleviate many types of pain, NHS England’s official line is that, “the current evidence for use of cannabis-based products for pain is not sufficiently developed yet; whilst individual patients may perceive benefit, this hasn’t been fully tested in comparative, randomised, controlled trials in large numbers of patients.”

Certainly there is no evidence-based consensus that cannabis is an effective treatment for menstrual cramps., with studies limited to non-existent. But while guidelines for pain relief in the UK are restrictive, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to prove it works.

Edie Horstman, a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, wellness blogger and freelance writer, has been taking CBD since 2018 and acknowledges in an article for reset bioscience that while she has found CBD eases her period-related pain, every woman’s body is different.

She writes: “Research in the last decade may point to its potential for interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) to help modulate pain and inflammation.

“As this system plays a part in managing stress and anxiety, incorporating CBD around the menstrual cycles might help the ECS minimise mood swings, which are standard during monthly cycling.”

There simply isn’t enough evidence to say for certain whether cannabis can interact with prostaglandins for the relief of period pain, but the relaxing effects it has can certainly help.

While the British Columbia study found that the most common ways women were consuming their cannabis was through smoking and eating, alternative methods have become available.

The product Foria Relief, for example, is a cannabis-filled suppository which is inserted directly into the vagina with the core function of relieving period pain.

While seemingly the most direct route to the cause of the issue, many experts in the gynaecological field have expressed their concerns regarding its safety and how that entry point differs from the lungs or other organs.

But those looking to ease their monthly discomfort using cannabis products don’t have to go to such extreme lengths. While many celebrities, including Jennifer Aniston and a Kardashian (Kim, naturally), sing the praises of the products, Whoopi Goldberg has taken it to the next level.

Not only does she love CBD products, she also co-founded a company specialising in the legal distribution of medical cannabis and CBD products specifically aimed at relieving period pain.

The vast range of products, from tinctures and oils to bath salts and body balms, aimed to offer alternatives to ingestion or inhalation to relive cramps.

Although there isn’t much research on the subject, it doesn’t mean that CBD and cannabis don’t work for the relief of period pain.

And with a quick internet search revealing many online outlets citing this very reason as the purpose of their products, we believe women looking for alternatives to traditional medication to solve a monthly problem may be increasingly finding their answer.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Feature

How CBD lube is heating things up in the industry

Published

on

The CBD wellness industry is booming, so it was only a matter of time before cannabidiol slipped between the sheets.

The American market is overflowing with lubricants and intimacy products to help couples spice things up in the bedroom, but the trend has so far been relatively slow to catch on in the UK.

Although much of the research is anecdotal, many fans have touted its benefits, which are said to include reducing pain and anxiety during sex, increasing arousal and boosting the intensity of orgasm.

This side of the Atlantic, UK CBD producer Medivita is one of the first companies to catch on to its potential.

They teamed up with Sam David at Bnatural to launch their first lubricant earlier this month, after noticing a boom in the adult toy industry during the coronavirus lockdown.

“During lockdown, we were discussing which industries were succeeding, and the two that were performing the best were alcohol and adult toys,” Medivita director, Mike Peates told Cannabis Health.

“We saw CBD lube as a product which had to come to the UK.

“It’s a little bit different to what’s on the market at the moment. There’s a lot of cosmetics and skincare out there but only one other lubricant in the UK, so if people want CBD lube they have to import it from the States.”

Since having the idea Mike has learned how the lubricant can help women experiencing issues such as vaginal pain, dryness and irritation.

It is particularly beneficial for those with gynecological conditions such as endometriosis and vaginismus, where the vaginal muscles automatically tighten up whenever penetration is attempted.

CBD is thought to decrease inflammation, increase blood flow and help with muscle relaxation, which means it could provide welcome relief for those experiencing pain during intercourse.

One woman, who lives with both endometriosis and vaginismus, is Laura, 29, who chronicles her health journey through Instagram account The Endo Monologues.

She first tried US brand Foria – which is renowned for its products aimed at improving women’s health – in 2019.

Now Laura claims CBD lube has allowed her to enjoy having sex again.

“My boyfriend and I use CBD every time,” she said.  “It helps the blood flow and reduces pain internally and around my vulva, so I can enjoy sex as opposed to finding it a really painful experience.

“I’m at a point now where I can have penetrative sex and it doesn’t hurt, which is a huge thing that hasn’t happened for a long time.”

Laura vapes CBD and applies the lube 15 minutes before the couple plan to have sex.

She explained: “There’s a warming sensation and you can feel the blood flow increasing, so there’s also that element to it, but for me, it’s more about the fact that it relaxes my muscles and it makes it less painful.

“Sometimes it’s still uncomfortable but it’s definitely helped me to overcome the fear of it hurting.”

She added: “When you live with any chronic illness which affects your ability to have sex, it really takes a toll on your mental health.

“I don’t think I’d be having sex at this point if it wasn’t for CBD. I think it’s something I would still be trying to overcome.”

Mike who has been in contact with Laura since the launch of Medivita’s lube, is now offering discounted rates to followers of The Endo Monologues who live with endometriosis.

But you don’t necessarily need to be experiencing pain and inflammation for CBD lube to boost your sex life, as wellness journalist Ruby Deevoy discovered.

She was initially dubious about trying The Tonic Clit Spritz with her partner recently but found it helped get her in the mood.

“I was pleasantly surprised by how effective it was,” she said. “I’m generally pretty dubious about putting anything on my easily-irritated nethers, so I was a little nervous when I read that this particular lube contained terpenes found in Tea Tree, Eucalyptus and Menthol.

“But I needn’t have been, it was extremely gentle and barely noticeable when first massaged in.

“The inclusion of these extracted terpenes, plus the 100mg CBD made for heightened sensitivity in the best possible way.”

Ruby added: “It’s hard to completely relax and enjoy sex with a three-year-old sleeping next door, but the CBD lube helped amplify sensation and as a result, keep my awareness wholly on the task at hand.

“It’s definitely a product I’ll be using again. In all honesty, it was the best sex I’ve had in quite a while.”

However, Ben Hofmeister, founder of UK CBD brand Kokora warned not to get too carried away.

“As CBD is a potent, natural anti-inflammatory, in the right context it can help reduce inflammation pain, and due to Endocannabinoid receptors being present throughout the female reproductive tract, it can heighten female senses,” he said, while recommending sticking to a natural coconut-oil base.

“CBD is also well known for supporting the processes to reduce stress and anxiety including promoting the production of Anandamide, commonly known as the ‘bliss’ molecule.”

He added: “I think a CBD lube can help, but I don’t think it should be relied upon.”

Continue Reading

Feature

“If only my uterus could talk”: The story behind The Endo Monologues

Published

on

The woman behind unflinching Instagram page The Endo Monologues talks to Cannabis Health about battling to get a diagnosis, using her platform to help others – and why she shouts about CBD at any opportunity.

Laura – as she’s known to her followers – asked me not to reveal her surname as she prefers to remain anonymous.

It might seem odd for a social media star with almost 6,000 followers to shy away from the limelight, but it’s not Laura they’re there for – it’s Patricia, her angry uterus.

The 29-year-old, who has endometriosis – a chronic condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places and reacts with the menstrual cycle each month – launched her Instagram account The Endo Monologues at the turn of 2020.

It came about after a few too many drinks on New Year’s Eve (as all good ideas do) and an upsetting incident at work where a colleague assumed her bloated stomach was a baby bump.

“When I have a flare I bloat and it tends to look as if I’m pregnant,” says Laura.

“I thought, that is a really offensive question. I was telling my friends about it at the pub and I said ‘if only my uterus could talk’.

She adds: “After a couple too many, I announced I was going to start a blog from the perspective of my uterus.”

The satirical diary of a woman and her reproductive organs as they battle endometriosis, adenomyosis, vaginismus and vulvodynia was born.

Endometriosis is the second most common gynecological condition in the UK, affecting around one in 10 UK women – although frequent misdiagnosis and a lack of understanding and awareness mean this figure could well be higher.

Symptoms include pain, nausea, intense fatigue and in some cases infertility – with sufferers experiencing heavy, excruciatingly painful periods, and many like Laura being completely debilitated by their menstrual cycle each month.

It takes an average of seven and a half years to get a diagnosis. Laura battled for around a decade before she got hers.

“I started my period when I was 11 and they would last two or three weeks at a time, but my mum and grandmother all had a similar experience so it was just perceived to be normal in my family,” she says. “I just pushed it to the back of my mind.”

Over the years medics dismissed her as just having ‘bad periods’, but by her early 20s they were leaving her bed-bound each month, she was missing university and it was becoming painful to have sex.

Still, Laura says she wasn’t taken seriously, with one doctor suggesting it was a result of her ‘being promiscuous’.

Others ran tests which appeared to come back clear. All returned with the same conclusion – she just had heavy periods.

It wasn’t until a routine check-up for the contraceptive pill where a nurse mentioned a note on her file of suspected endometriosis.

“I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about,” remembers Laura.

“After that, I was rushed through and referred to a gynaecologist.

“In August 2016, I had a laparoscopy and there was endometriosis on both my ovaries, bowel, bladder and my pouch-of-Douglas and it was stage four – so really deep infiltrating endometriosis.”

In January 2019 Laura travelled to London to visit a stockist of the US brand Foria, which is renowned for its products geared towards supporting women’s health.

“I don’t like taking painkillers and I had smoked cannabis before in Amsterdam and it had helped with my symptoms, so I thought I’ve got nothing to lose at this point,” she says.

“I ended up buying the CBD lube and a vape.

“In the last year I’ve started to explore more CBD products and I’m actually at a point now where I barely ever take pharmaceutical painkillers, I can rely completely on CBD.”

Laura now takes around 30-40mg a day – upping her dose if she’s having a particularly bad pain flare – and uses balm and muscle cream on specific areas.

Meanwhile, CBD lube has allowed her to have penetrative sex with her boyfriend again.

“I have vaginismus [when the vaginal muscles automatically tighten up whenever penetration is attempted] that came as a consequence of having really negative experiences with pelvic exams, so not only did it hurt to have sex, but I was also involuntarily tensing,” Laura explains.

“We use CBD lube every time now and for the most part it relaxes me, I can actually enjoy having sex.”

Laura’s boyfriend, who she has been with for most of her post-diagnosis journey, is one of the few people who know about her secret internet identity.

The Endo Monologues, which began as a personal wellbeing project, is now a place thousands of fellow sufferers turn to for advice and a sense of community.

“It just exploded – the fact that I’m now near to 6000 followers just absolutely blows my mind,” she says.

“It’s helped my wellbeing tremendously but it’s also really connected me to other people. I’ve made some really lovely friends and get messages every week from people thanking me.”

Laura continues: “I feel very privileged that people trust me and ask for my advice because there’s a lot of misinformation out there.

“I feel like it’s my responsibility now to spread awareness and make sure people get the right support and education.

“It’s not just a wellbeing project for me anymore, it’s a port of call for people to get information and that’s something I feel really strongly about.”

Laura also uses her platform to share recommendations and reviews of her favourite CBD products, with brands queuing up to feature on her blog.

“I never expected to have so many companies contacting me,” she says.

“I have become really passionate about it because it’s made such a difference to my life. CBD means I can function on a day to day basis. If I forget to take it for a day or two, I literally can’t get out of bed.”

And she’s the first to admit she will mention it at any given opportunity.

She laughs: “Whenever I get asked for recommendations I’m just like ‘have you tried CBD?’”

Find Laura at www.theendomonologues.com and on Instagram @theendomonologues

Continue Reading

Feature

Slow and steady wins the race – a Q&A with the CBD Sloth

Published

on

Tom Bourlet – aka the CBD Sloth – tells Cannabis Health how his award-winning blog became the go-to place for those wanting to know more about CBD.

Tom Bourlet has only been using CBD for 18 months, but his blog the CBD Sloth is renowned for helping people find the right product for them.

It won the Media of the Year award at the Cannabiz Summit in Malta just six months after it launched in early 2019 and Tom was invited to be a judge in the CBD category at the Men’s Health awards.

Here he reveals how much the industry has changed in such a short space of time – and what he’s learned so far along the way.

Tell us a bit about you, what’s your background – and do you have a ‘day-job’?

As well as CBD Sloth, I have worked in marketing for a decade now and outside of the CBD world, I’ve been writing my travel blog www.spaghettitraveller.com for seven years.

How did you discover CBD?

I was doing some freelance work with a beauty brand that was considering launching some products that would contain CBD. I didn’t know much about it at the time so I began researching.

I became transfixed with the potential of cannabis and how it was being used to help people with various ailments. But I was also frustrated by the limited levels of regulations in place and felt nervous to try CBD oil, with negative stories coming from brands that didn’t have high standards. I even found a few CBD brands that refused to provide their lab reports – which would hint that they might have lower levels of the cannabinoids they’re stating, they could have pesticides present in the oil or they might not even have a lab report to show.

Why did you set up the blog?

I wanted to provide a place where people could quickly check whether the brand provided lab results and what the certificate of analysis showed, a place where the brands were held accountable and where I could offer real, genuine advice without an ulterior motive.

I still think there needs to be a greater level of transparency from brands. Every time I talk with a brand I’m reviewing, I try to offer advice if I don’t feel their website is offering everything the customer needs to know.

Did you feel people should have somewhere reliable to turn to for advice?

CBD products cost such a large amount of money and people are putting their trust in these brands. When I review products or where I list the best CBD brands, I’m not basing my opinion on anything commercial, I’m basing it on how well it worked for me and whether I feel they’re providing the best quality product at the right price.

I have found that paying a higher price doesn’t necessarily mean a higher quality of product. Some brands overprice their products and call them ‘premium’ without any real differentiation.

How has CBD helped you?

Before CBD, it used to take me around 40 minutes to fall asleep at night. I’m not going to say I fall asleep the moment my head hits the pillow, but it now takes around three to five minutes. CBD isn’t sleep medication, it doesn’t make you tired or drowsy, but it completely alleviates any stress or anxiety in my mind, which allows me to drift off without a million thoughts going through my head.

Are you surprised by how much the blog has taken off?

Surprised would be an understatement! It is becoming increasingly clear that there are a huge amount of people asking questions around CBD and predominantly landing on brand pages, which are trying to sell to you, so I loved offering an unbiased viewpoint and sharing my experiences with others.

It has been an amazing journey and I’m keen to see where it takes me in the years to come – the website traffic has doubled in the last three months alone.

What have you learned since you started out?

There is a real community feeling within the CBD industry. CBD brands are not all started by entrepreneurs trying to make a quick buck, but are often set-up by people trying to find a solution to a health issue they or someone close to them has.

I’ve also learned that brands will mix CBD into anything. I’ve tried CBD coffee, tea, gin, rum, honey, brownies, flapjacks, chai latte and chocolates. I’m not sure what’s next but I’m always guaranteed an occasional surprise.

I’ve recently begun learning more about the other cannabinoids present in cannabis, of which they all have their own set of benefits and potential uses as treatments, but we need a lot more test studies into them in order to fully understand their potential. CBG is probably the fastest-growing behind CBD – I can see CBG oil being a huge seller in a number of years.

Find Tom’s blog at https://www.cbdsloth.com/

Continue Reading

Recent Articles


Trending