Periods are a part of life for a lot of people. They’re not necessarily an awesome part of life, but they’re a part of life. For me they’ve been a part of life that I dread. 

Earlier in November I woke up, realized my period had started, drove three hours down the road, gave a presentation, did some errands while I was out of town, turned around, drove home, hung out with my family, and went to sleep. The startling part of that is that a month prior (and basically EVERY month prior, except for when I was pregnant) I would have probably had to cancel the presentation and stay at home in bed with a steady supply of Tylenol and a hot water bottle.

My husband has known about my debilitating cramps and headaches and other menstrual maladies for a long time. For a while, he’d suggest I take a few hits of whatever weed he had squirrelled away, and I’d say no because I didn’t want to end up super-high or super-anxious off of mystery weed.

Of course, knowing I had a six-hour round trip and an important presentation to give I obviously did not get up and take any hits of anything at all that day. But I did take CBD oil, as I had been doing for a few weeks at that point. I didn’t even realize how different things were until a week or two later when my husband was in total shock when I casually mentioned what had happened. Like, oh yeah, I wasn’t in excruciating pain this month. Huh.

He did the I-told-you-so thing: I’ve offered you weed during your period all the time and you never took me up on it!

I thought about it — and the difference is that this time, and every time in every scenario from now on, I can choose something that works for me. I can take CBD oil because I still have to drive and work. I can pick a balanced strain, or something high in THC, or something that I know makes me sleepy, or something that I know makes me happy. And I know that I could have done that prior to legalization through online sources (because I live too remotely from any in-person craft growers) or through medical cannabis, but it never crossed my mind.

Cannabis products for treating menstrual pain

The idea behind using cannabis for menstrual pains is all about prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are a substance in the body that increase as one’s menstrual cycle begins, and it’s prostaglandins that cause inflammation, increased sensitivity to pain, and uterine contractions. Usually people do things like take an anti-inflammatory medication, or apply heat with a water bottle or a hot bath. 

CBD and THC are substances that scientists are researching for its anti-inflammatory properties. They can also reduce the sensations of pain, distract from it, and relieve a lot of the discomfort and symptoms of menstruation. As cannabis is researched more and more, I’m hopeful that scientists and researchers will put resources into specifically investigating the potential for reproductive health, but for now, I can at least anecdotally say that cannabis works for my menstrual pain — and if you look around for others’ experiences, it’s a thing that works for many.

As the federal government allows for more legal cannabis products (insert eye rolling emoji here) I’m hoping that our Canadian market will have similar things to elsewhere around the world, like Whoopi Goldberg’s Whoopi and Maya line of edibles, bath products, and topicals designed specifically for menstrual pain, or Foria’s relief line.

Until then, if you’re trying to stay legal you’ll have to work with straight up CBD or THC flower, or some of the oils sold by government-approved LPs. For me, CBD oil is doing the trick, but there are certainly products on the grey market that look appealing. 

I’m a big fan of baths for basically any reason and cannabis plus baths plus pain relief is about as good as it gets. Birch + Fog has OMNI Melt, an infused epsom salt soak (use TREELINE for $20 off your order) that harnesses the power of THC to help you feel relaxed and comfortable. Miss Envy’s bath bombs are a similar setup, without having to measure out or scoop the bath product — just drop it in and enjoy.

Budmail has a few things that have piqued my interest, too — namely, Mota’s  Yoni line (referral link for $25 off!). There’s a dark chocolate bar, well-suited to any menstrual woes, with 20 mg of THC and 10 mg of CBD per square. They also have a medicated balm designed for PMS and menstrual pain.  

These are also DIY-able things! If you make cannabis infused coconut oil (which is on my to-do list), you can infuse your own bath products or edibles, or use it as a topical. Having these ready-made products is convenient and controlled, of course, but if you want to save a bit of money and have the time to get crafty or get cooking, the options are pretty much endless.

If you’ve struggled with menstrual pain or cyclical pain and symptoms and cannabis is working for you, I’d love to hear what you’re using and what impact you’ve seen. I’m crossing my fingers that this month wasn’t a fluke for me, and that I can experience this level of relief going forward.