When it comes to harrowing period pain, we would like just about any remedy to relieve us from the torturous menstrual pain. When we say that it is 'that time of the month', it's really us addressing the chronic pain that comes with menstruation rather than the process itself. Now we all stick to the several home remedies or pop paracetamol as the last resort. But what if someone tells you that there is a new and better alternative to treat your period pain that does not involve popping pills? In fact, it involves weed!
Intense Period Pain
A 2018 Dutch survey found that 85% of women have experienced painful cramping when menstruating, 77% suffered from mood disorders and their related symptoms, and 71% experienced extreme feelings of exhaustion and tiredness. More than a third highlighted that menstrual symptoms stopped them from performing their normal daily routine. Another survey found that every nine in ten women in the UK experience period cramps, or suffer from primary dysmenorrhea, the medical term for painful periods. It was found that their work performance was significantly less efficient during this time. Although most women try resorting to a heavy dosage of pain killers for those facing chronic pain, and hot water bags for those just looking for pelvic pain relief, there are not many substantial remedies for period pain relief. The age-old discomfort that surrounds menstruation is a major part of the reason that hardly any effort has been made to find effective treatments for Pre Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) and period pain. On the contrary, statistics show that there have been five times as many studies on the subject of erectile dysfunction as there have been on PMS, despite the fact that 90% of women have experienced PMS symptoms, while only 19% of men have been affected by erectile dysfunction.
Considering how agonising this period pain is for most women, it was only a matter of time before this became a more serious health issue for further examination. Amongst the many pain killers such as ibuprofen, that are rated best for treating severe pain symptoms, a derivative element from Cannabis called Cannabidiol (CBD) has come to light as a turning point. CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant, and according to experts, it triggers CB (cannabinoid) receptors found in the human body's natural endocannabinoid system. These receptors help to regulate our organs, immune system, and nervous system and, when they interact with CBD, have exhibited the ability to reduce inflammation, anxiety, and even menstrual pain. CBD is usually found in a number of forms like CBD coffee, CBD jelly beans, CBD oil, and even CBD dog treats. These items containing CBD have essentially proven to settle anxiety and paranoia in adults. A 2015 review of 49 studies found evidence that "strongly supported" CBD as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Cannabis or Marijuana Tampons
Several countries have approved CBD to treat pain related to multiple sclerosis and arthritis. Although there have been published research studies on using CBD for pain management, there have been no substantial studies on it being a pain reliever. The theory remains that when it comes to menstruation, CBD can alleviate the pain created as the uterus contracts to expel its lining, thus reducing high inflammation. This is where the 'cannabis tampons' came into the scenario.
As it turns out, CBD is great at providing relief to the source of pain, as a significant amount of the body's CB receptors are located in the vagina. These tampons are typically made from hemp-derived CBD oil, cocoa butter, and coconut oil and are to be inserted vaginally. As they don't contain any THC, they are completely non-psychoactive and aren't capable of offering any kind of a high. It has been noticed that after around 20 minutes of using this vaginal suppository, consumers report feeling a dramatic decrease of pain, as well as a lightening of mood. To top it all, the special coating of CBD oil on these tampons creates a type of protective barrier that's able to prevent the loss of cotton fibres, which lowers the risk of bacterial vaginal infections, as well as Toxic Shock syndrome.
Many women have found great relief using CBD tampons. A leading company called Foria, known for a number of cannabis vaginal suppositories that aim to ease discomfort during the monthly menstrual cycle, without giving women any psychotropic high. Their online testimonials say the products helped them with lower back pain and worked for measurably longer time periods than any traditional painkillers. One woman reported in Broadly that her cramps disappeared within 20 minutes of the suppository use. Another Foria user, Megan said her pain was normally unbearable, but after administering the Foria suppository, she "was able to prevent the worsening pain and cramping and piercing pains in my vaginal canal."
Made of cocoa butter, distilled THC oil and an ingredient called CBD isolate which is grown from organic hemp, the vaginal walls absorb the medication directly into the bloodstream, and the cannabinoids are supposed to cause the nerves in the uterus, cervix and ovaries to block out pain and relax the muscles. Foria says patients with a medical marijuana card or a doctor's letter, can use both the suppositories and traditional tampons at the same time. You must first insert the suppository, as per the guidance, and keep it in for about 15 minutes before inserting a regular tampon.
A 30-year-old woman from Santa Monica, Gretchen, told HuffPost that she suffered from excruciating cramps and pelvic pain for years. About five years ago, she was diagnosed with endometriosis, which is a painful condition where tissue that makes up the uterine lining grows outside the uterus. Even though she tried several pain management remedies to soothe the pain like ibuprofen, topical CBD oils, even smoking weed, nothing could take her pain from an eight to a three on a scale. Then she came across a company that sold menstrual CBD suppositories, or CBD tampons that to her surprise her pelvic pain miraculously disappeared - at least for a couple of hours. "CBD suppositories have definitely taken the place of pain pills for me, which I didn't think was possible," she said. "Once I was aware of my pain scale and kind of the before and after effects, I was like, 'Whoa, this stuff is powerful.'"
UK's first clinically validated CBD tampons were launched by Daye earlier this year. The female health research company launched the tampons after almost three years of research, trials and testing, and are available to buy on their website. These Daye tampons promise to offer a dye and pesticide-free natural alternative to medication for women who frequently experience a painful period, thanks to the CBD present in it. They are built from absorbent fibres and are lab tested and approved to hold them to the highest standard. Even though Daye's tampons are yet to be tested by outside labs or non-affiliated scientists, their own clinical trials show the products to be as effective as anti-inflammatories.
Even though the sale of CBD products in India is pretty controversial, the ones legally available are scarce in supply. CBD oil is one of the only legitimate products available in the country to cure anxiety or paranoia for adults, but we are yet to see CBD used in products to deliver menstrual pain relief.