Medical Monday: PMS and Cannabis

Medical Monday, Patient Education | 0 comments

Cramping, mood swings, bloating – all signs of premenstrual syndrome or PMS. For those of us with a period, there's usually 4-7 days per month that are less than pleasant. For the roughly 34,000 medical marijuana card-holding women in Arizona, treating PMS with cannabis has become a reality. How can cannabis help with your monthly cycle?

Cannabis is not a new method for treating period-related woes. According to medieval texts, women have been treating "sore bosoms" with a cannabis-derived rub since the 11th century. Sore and swollen breasts could be very well a symptom many women experience leading up to their periods because of an increase in the hormone progesterone. Because cannabis has anti-inflammatory qualities, it may help with this particular symptom that countless women are coping with monthly.

Painful cramps, too? Cannabis also has effective pain relief qualities for treating a variety of painful conditions including menstrual cramps.

“Medical cannabis is a very effective therapy for chronic pain patients because it affects people’s perception of pain, has the ability to mitigate the inflammatory process, and has been shown to affect voltage-gated sodium channels in nerves in a way similar to lidocaine,” reports Dr. Mark Rabe, Medical Director of Centric Wellness, am integrative holistic healthcare practice in San Diego, Calif., and Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board at Medical Marijuana Sciences, Inc.

Cannabis offers a natural and effective pain reliever that more and more people are choosing over other painkillers that may have harmful or addictive qualities. Besides treating cramps, cannabis can also effectively relieve migraines, which are another common symptom of PMS. According to one 2016 study, 121 patients were instructed to treat their migraines with cannabis. NORML writes: "Authors reported that 85 percent of subjects reported a decrease in migraine frequency and 12 percent indicated that the use of cannabis prior to migraine onset would abort headaches."

Another aspect of our menstrual cycles is acne. Often times, women will experience a break out before their period. This is also because of that sneaky hormone progesterone which triggers our bodies to produce more oil. Many women know where they're more likely to breakout and will be especially careful with those areas - and CBD has been shown to be another line of defense. In one study, the interaction between CBD and the sebaceous gland, was illuminated. The authors found that, "due to the combined lipostatic, antiproliferative, and antiinflammatory effects, CBD has potential as a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of acne vulgaris."

Cannabis can't and is not able to solve all of our problems. However, it offers some promise in regard to making period-related struggles a little more manageable.

--Words by Taylor Haynes