Ask a Stoner: Cannabis and Menstrual Cramps

Dear Stoner: Would cannabis help with pain from menstrual cramps? I smoke weed sometimes, but wondered if CBD or edibles might help.

Dear Tisha: Using cannabis extractions for menstrual cramp relief dates back to Queen Victoria, but the supporting science is still hazy. Menstrual cramps are triggered by prostaglandins, which are inflammatory compounds that affect pain receptors in the brain and body tissue. Anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen can bind to those pain receptors to block the inflammatory compounds, but THC and CBD are believed to target neuropathic and joint pain, and don’t have any direct effect on cramping pain. Tinctures, bath soaks and suppositories intended for cramping are all out there, however, and women have been learning through experience.
click to enlarge
Typically, it’s ingredients like lactose or chocolate that upset stomachs.
Cannabis stimulates dopamine in the brain, providing euphoria and an easing of pain perception, while anecdotal evidence and surveys have shown a link between medical marijuana and menstrual pain relief. In a university survey of 192 Canadian women, 85 percent said they used cannabis products to treat menstrual pain, and 90 percent of those women said it was effective. Whether cannabis works on your cramps or not, be prepared to feel some effects from the THC, because it will be absorbed.

Send questions to [email protected]
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Herbert Fuego is the resident stoner at Westword, ready to answer all your marijuana questions.
Contact: Herbert Fuego