Around 80 per cent of women are thought to experience period pain at some stage, but there are some things you can do, in the comfort of your own home, to help.
There is nothing worse than being curled up at home with period pain. Alongside cramping, it can be normal to feel discomfort around your abdomen, lower back, and thighs.
While home remedies can sound a bit old fashioned, some of them really do work.
Here are five home remedies that can help you to combat the pain, with or without CBD.
1 – Exercise
Exercise, however gentle, may feel like the last thing you want to do when you have period pain.
Practising relaxing exercises such as pilates or yoga can really help with muscle pain. Yoga can include breath work, meditation and relaxation techniques which can boost mental and physical well-being.
CBD is a great addition to any yoga practice. It can be used in a topical or oil format and applied to the body or taken orally. It is thought to interact with the receptors in the brain potentially sending signals to the neurotransmitter, serotonin. Exercise is also thought to interact with serotonin to produce endorphins. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter responsible for your mental health and lower levels are sometimes associated with anxiety.
If not used during yoga, CBD can certainly help to reduce the pains associated with exercise afterwards. A study found that cannabinoids may potentially protect against inflammation. However, it’s worth noting that this study was on inflammatory pain from multiple sclerosis rather than DOMS.
2 – Applying heat
When it comes to period pain, there is nothing better than a fluffy hot water bottle in front of the TV.
A heated patch or wrap can also work when applied to your abdomen as the warmth relaxes the cramped muscles. CBD patches can also be applied to the area before adding a hot water bottle over the top.
The heat can also help to boost circulation while also relaxing the muscles. Some hot water bottles, wraps or patches can have added herbs or essential oils.
3 – Essential oils and terpenes
Terpenes are the active aromatic molecules found in plants that cause smell and taste. Most people associate them with cannabis plants as they are high in concentration but there are other plants or fruits such as pine needles, lavender and lemon.
Some terpenes or essential oils may help us to relax such as linalool found in lavender. Could they also help with period pain?
Pinene in particular can help by allowing more oxygen into the system which is why it is often associated with feelings of calm. It is a bronchodilator that opens up the lungs to allow more oxygen which in turn is transmitted to the bloodstream and tissues. Deep breathing may in turn increase the relaxation felt as more oxygen hits the brain.
A study from 2019 showed that inhalation of alpha-pinene potentially reduced anxiety in mice. The mice were observed for dizocilpine (MK-801-) induced schizophrenia-like behavioural abnormalities including hyperactivity and anxiety.
There are lots of CBD products that now have added terpenes or blends that cater for particular issues such as sleep or anxiety.
4 – Water
Staying hydrated during your period is a must but the type of water you drink, matters.
Drinking too much water can be a problem as it flushes nutrients from the body but too little water can mean dehydration. Switching to warmer water instead of ice cold, can ease cramps as it increases the blood flow to the skin. This helps the muscles to relax.
While plain hot water may not be to everyone’s taste, there are lots of different ways to increase your water intake. Increasing your consumption of watery foods such as cucumber or watermelon can help too. Teas or hot chocolates can be a good addition as they contain warm water.
CBD can often be found in not just water products but also tea or coffee too. It’s easy to add a drop of CBD to a hot drink but unless it’s water-soluble, you may find it sits on the top.
5 – Adaptogens and herbs
Adaptogens are able to adapt their function in the body depending on what you need at the time you consume them. This could be any physical or biological need. Some herbs, roots and mushrooms fall into this category and there has been a huge increase in the number of products including these.
Some of the best herbs include:
This is a root from Peru that was traditionally used in medicine to regulate hormones. It has a high percentage of protein, unsaturated fat and minerals which can provide a health boost. When it comes to period pains and PMS, it may help to decrease mood swings
Turmeric is thought to be great for inflammation in the same way CBD works. This is why the two are being added to products aimed at conditions such as arthritis. A review from this year on turmeric for anti-inflammatory has revealed it may help with osteoarthritis (OA). The researchers concluded that over the ten studies examined when compared with a placebo, there appears to be a benefit of turmeric on knee OA pain and function.
It can be easy to make your own home remedy of CBD and turmeric by adding both to coffee to make a spiced latte.
Siberian Ginseng can help with mental fatigue and brain fog as well as sleep. It can be a real struggle to get to sleep when you are experiencing pain. It can also help to release stress aiding a good night’s sleep.
Cannabis legalisation not linked to adverse birth outcomes – study
Researchers studied the relationship between the liberalisation of cannabis laws and key indicators of child health
Legalisation of cannabis in the US is not linked to any significant adverse outcomes for child health, according to a recent study.
New data shows that changes in legal status of cannabis in US states is not associated with increases in adverse clinical birth outcomes.
Researchers at Purdue University studied the relationship between the liberalisation of state-level cannabis laws and two key indicators of child health – birthweight and gestational age.
Their findings were published in the journal Population Research and Policy Review.
While the authors reported a trend which indicated a reduction in average birthweight and gestational age for some groups of women following the relaxation of cannabis penalties, they acknowledged that these changes were not linked to any “increases in clinically meaningful birth indicators associated with adverse child health.”
The findings are similar to those reported in a 2021 study which found “no statistically significant effect of medical cannabis laws on the proportion of newborn hospitalisations”.
The authors concluded: “Our findings indicate that cannabis policy liberalisation may be contributing to lower average birth weights and reduced average gestational age, but not in a manner that has increased low birthweight (<2500 g) infants or preterm (<37 weeks) births.
“These results indicate that while cannabis policies have not led to increases in adverse clinical birth outcomes overall, these trends are worth monitoring to ensure that increases in clinically relevant child health outcomes do not emerge as the nationwide trend toward liberalised cannabis policy persists. “
They added: “Although our study does not show substantial changes in adverse birth outcomes, policymakers should be attentive to opportunities to strengthen child health by considering policies that minimise consumption, particularly heavier forms of consumption, by prospective parents.”
While the evidence base around the effects of cannabis use during pregnancy on perinatal is growing, studies assessing the potential impacts of cannabis exposure are mixed.
Some observational data has identified a link between exposure and low birth weight and/or an increased risk of preterm birth. However others have failed to substantiate these claims once adjusting for other factors, such as tobacco smoking.
The majority of the existing studies have been done on recreational cannabis, accessed through the illicit market, which tends to contain higher levels of THC than that in medicinal cannabis.
There have been very limited, if any, studies exploring the effect of prescribed cannabis on perinatal health, as advice from clinicians is that women should refrain from using cannabis medicinally or otherwise whilst pregnant or breastfeeding.
Can cannabis help with menopause?
Juicy Fields explores how cannabis could help women with some of the symptoms brought on by menopause.
Juicy Fields explores how cannabis could help women with some of the mental and physical symptoms brought on by menopause.
Menopause is one of the most challenging transitions women face as they go through dramatic physical, psychological, and vaginal/uterine changes.
The stage is characterised by symptoms such as insomnia, night sweats, hot flashes, pain, inflammation, and mood swings.
Although there are various medical alternatives to deal with the unwanted and uncomfortable symptoms, a study conducted in 2021 by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research showed that women experiencing menopause (perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause) in Alberta were significantly using cannabis to relieve symptoms. Sixty five per cent of the participants had ever used cannabis to relieve menopausal symptoms, while 35 per cent of the group were using marijuana during the period the study was conducted.
Another study presented to the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) in 2020 had similar conclusions. In a sample of 232 women from Northern California, 27 per cent indicated using cannabis to manage hot flashes, night sweats, and insomnia.
Ten per cent of the participants expressed interest in using cannabis, while only 19 per cent utilised hormone therapy to combat menopause symptoms. From the studies, one can conclude that women are shifting from hormonal medication and switching to organic, natural alternatives, specifically cannabis. This piece explores everything about menopause and its symptoms and how cannabis can help alleviate these conditions.
What is menopause?
Menopause is a period in a woman’s life that can stretch 10 or more years. During this period, their reproductive hormones go through a natural decline. This marks the end of the menstrual cycle and, consequently, their fertility. It is divided into three stages;
Perimenopause: this includes the years leading to menopause. Most women experience this during their early to mid-40s, although others can begin early during their 30s or late 40s. The woman will experience biological disturbances characterized by irregular menstrual cycles and varying hormone levels during this time.
Menopause: this is when a woman stops having her menstrual period for 12 consecutive months. One will not know when they are experiencing menopause until the 12 months have gone by. Common symptoms during this stage include vaginal dryness, night sweats, hot flashes, and sleep issues.
Postmenopause: this refers to the period after a woman has stayed 12 consecutive months or more without menstruating – after menopause. Symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats begin to fade or disappear entirely.
Physical, psychological, and vaginal symptoms of menopause
As mentioned earlier, menopause is a life-changing transition with its fair share of problems. It is attached to a host of symptoms, which can be classified as either physical, psychological, or vaginal.
Physical: symptoms include fatigue, pain and inflammation, heart palpitations, headaches, dizziness, stiffness, insomnia, and chest discomfort.
Psychological: symptoms include anxiety, depression, lowered sex drive, lack of concentration, memory loss, and mood changes.
Vaginal/uterine: symptoms include dryness and pain during sexual intercourse.
The relationship between cannabis, the endocannabinoid system, and cannabis
Does cannabis help with menopause? To answer this question, we must first look into the endocannabinoid system. This is a system comprising endocannabinoids, receptors, and neurotransmitters. This cell-signaling system utilizes these components to support normal body functioning, aka homeostasis. It regulates and controls various immune system, cardiovascular, nervous, and reproduction (including fertility and menopause) functions.
During menopause, the ECS is disrupted, which causes changes in various related biological systems. Cannabis interacts with the ECS on different molecular levels to support its function of maintaining homeostasis, thus relieving the menopause symptoms.
The research into how cannabis directly relieves menopausal symptoms is currently unavailable. However, cannabis is known to have potent analgesic, anxiolytic, antidepressant, appetite-stimulating, sleep-inducing, antiemetic, and muscle-relaxing properties that can play a significant role in managing symptoms like pain, inflammation, mood swings, depression, anxiety, and sleep issues. Below is a highlight of top menopause symptoms and how cannabis can help combat them.
Hot flashes and night sweats
These symptoms are the primary reasons why women turn to cannabis. THC, the most abundant cannabinoid in cannabis, is associated with lowered body temperatures. The cannabinoid supports thermoregulation, which is handy for women experiencing hot flashes and night sweats. Ever heard of THC-induced hypothermia? This may happen when THC is taken in high doses. Identifying the right amount of cannabis to consume may help mitigate the disturbing hot flashes and night sweats.
Mood swings, anxiety, depression, and concentration
Anecdotal and scientific evidence point out the effectiveness of cannabis’ mood-boosting and regulating, antidepressant, and focus-boosting properties. Its anxiolytic capability is dependent on various factors, such as the dose taken and the consumer’s tolerance level. These psychological issues affect most women undergoing menopause due to the numerous changes, discomforts, and uncertainties they go through.
Vaginal dryness and low sex drive
Cannabis can help with vaginal dryness and low sex drive in either of two ways; first, its calming, relaxing, and mood-boosting properties coupled with clear-headedness may support a return of the sex drive. Secondly, CBD lubricants have been known to decrease inflammation in the vaginal area, increase blood flow in the area, and support muscle relaxation.
Pain and inflammation
Cannabis is a powerful analgesic and anti-inflammation agent. It is utilised by numerous cannabis consumers to treat pain resulting from conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, MS, sciatica, and headaches. Athletes have been known to incorporate cannabis in their pre- and post-workout regimes to combat muscle aches, pains, and injuries.
Fatigue and insomnia
Cannabis is a powerful muscle relaxant that, when consumed, melts all the tightness and tension away. It also promotes full-body relaxation and sleep. It helps restore one’s sleep pattern and promotes a regular sleep cycle.
Although not directly, cannabis has been proven to help relieve menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, pain, anxiety, inflammation, depression, sex drive, and insomnia. There is a need for more research to link the two together. This will facilitate the identification of proper cannabis strain genetics and dosage for managing perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause symptoms.
Leading crowdgrowing platforms like JuicyFields’, are making medical cannabis accessible for more and more people. You too can join the platform and start making profits with every harvest.
Medical cannabis and endometriosis – “I can live a normal life”
Thirty-two-year-old Megan has lived with the symptoms of endometriosis since her teens.
Megan, an Australian medical cannabis patient living with endometriosis, shares how the plant has helped in managing her symptoms.
Thirty-two-year-old Megan has lived with the symptoms of endometriosis since her teens. At times she’s experienced such intense pain that she struggled to leave her house.
“I honestly believe I would have ended up suicidal within the next few months if I didn’t pursue and get approved for medicinal cannabis when I did,” she said.
During Endometriosis Awareness Month in March, Cannabis Health interviewed several patients across the globe who live with the often-debilitating symptoms of the inflammatory condition.
Endometriosis is present in about one in 10 women and non-binary people aged between 25 to 40 in the United Kingdom – but can affect people at any age.
Cells similar to those lining the womb grow elsewhere in the body, such as the bladder, ovaries, colon and rectum, and react to changing hormones in the menstrual cycle.
They grow thicker in the middle of the cycle and then break away and start to bleed before being slowly reabsorbed by the body. This process can cause inflammation, pain and new scar tissue.
Megan, who lives in Australia, explained that she was only officially diagnosed with endometriosis in February this year.
Lengthy diagnosis is common as the condition can mirror others and is widely misunderstood among many doctors – the average time from onset of symptoms is seven and a half years.
“I’ve always had painful periods – I just always thought they were meant to be painful,” Megan told Cannabis Health.
“I didn’t question it until early 2018 my periods stopped for about three months and when they returned it was like everything was turned up and the pain was excruciating.”
In early 2019 Megan was told she had adenomyosis, a condition in which the inner lining of the uterus breaks through the muscle wall of the uterus.
Symptoms can include lower abdominal pressure, menstrual cramps, bloating and heavy periods.
Her GP at the time suggested that she may have endometriosis as well, but it was not confirmed until surgeons performed a laparoscopy – keyhole surgery of the abdomen or pelvis.
People who have endometriosis often suffer from painful periods, painful sex, pain in the lower abdomen, pain on passing a stool and urinating, or lower back pain.
This can then lead to difficulty sleeping, an inability to focus on daily tasks, and in some cases a mental health decline.
Over the years Megan has tried NSAIDs, codeine and oxycodone in an attempt to manage the pain.
“I’m somewhat unlucky that I don’t respond to a lot of painkillers… so I was always ‘pushing through’ the pain and essentially burning myself with heat packs,” she said.
Meanwhile, she was using cannabis recreationally, but it took a comment from her partner to realise that it was also helping to dull the symptoms of her two conditions.
“I was mid-flare about 12 months ago and we’d run out of cannabis. It was a long weekend in my city so all the dealers we knew were sold out,” she recalled.
“I was curled up in bed with my heat packs and my partner said then I should see if I can get into trials for medicinal cannabis or a prescription for it.
“He’d picked up that it was the only thing that would help my pain and being reliant on black market wasn’t ideal long term.”
She was initially nervous to make an appointment at a clinic, because she did not think she would get approved.
“Everyone downplays endo so much, I was worried I’d get the same kind of dismissal about my symptoms and pain that so many doctors had done in the past,” she said.
She finally applied for a prescription last summer, and because she was able to show all the painkillers she had tried that had not worked, the process to approval was fairly quick.
Among the methods she uses to take cannabis are ingesting CBD and THC oils, and cannabis flower to vape.
“The CBD oil helps with overall symptoms – definitely reduces anxiety and nausea and has a huge impact on reducing pain,” said Megan.
“THC oil I’ll use more on days when the pain is worse than my normal levels, or when I get a random flare up some days, it helps to take THC oil and flower together to get through it.”
Despite how much it helps her, Megan has experienced some negative comments due to her use of cannabis, particularly before she was given a prescription.
“I think a lot of people still just view it as this evil illegal drug and don’t understand that it’s such a powerful and useful plant and tool in treating people’s illnesses,” she explained.
However, after getting a prescription she said her friends and family had been “surprisingly supportive”.
She continued: “I’m not sure if it’s because it’s issued via a prescription that makes people more approving of it, or if it’s just because they can see the effect it’s had on me since starting it. Maybe a combination of both.”
Getting a prescription for cannabis made a huge difference to her wellbeing.
“With cannabis I can live a pretty normal life,” she added.
But in the long term, Megan is worried for women who have endometriosis, and the dismissive nature of some doctors when it comes to the benefits of cannabis for pain.
“I’m scared for the next generation of endo warriors who are going to be pushed onto these incredibly strong medications,” she said.
“I really struggle to comprehend how some doctors will be happy for their patients to be on really strong pharmaceuticals every day to manage their pain, but can still be so anti-cannabis.”
Alongside the cannabis, the laparoscopy – during which surgeons removed some of the offending cells – also helped to significantly ease the pain of the endometriosis.
She stressed that it is vital that more surgeons are trained in expert excision surgery as a more permanent solution for patients.
- How THC and CBD work together in the brain – new study
- Four of the best CBD transdermal products
- Grow Pharma launches new low-priced flower range for UK patients
- New grant funds for “life changing” medical cannabis prescriptions in Jersey
- Research to shed light on how UK clinicians view medical cannabis
- Why patients in Europe are accessing medical cannabis
- News2 years ago
Community extends support to cannabis icon Rick Simpson
- News2 years ago
Cancer survivor claims cannabis oil helped her beat brain tumour
- Case Studies2 years ago
CBD oil and fibromyalgia – a case study
- News2 years ago
NHS lines up cannabis medicine manufacturing
- News1 year ago
Living with chronic fatigue – my CBD story
- News1 year ago
UK grants second licence to grow high-THC medical cannabis
- Insight2 years ago
I’ve gone from a wheelchair to walking thanks to cannabis
- Feature2 years ago
Medical cannabis could help long-term effects of COVID-19, says David Nutt