Now that cannabis is legal in Canada, there’s been a boon of interest in its applications to health and nutrition.
There’s actually a wealth of cannabis products, from oils to edibles to vaginal suppositories, that claim to ease period pain. More than 80% of menstrual women experience some form of period-related pain, so it cannabis a savoir or a quick cash grab before real research is conducted?
The short answer: TBD. There is growing evidence on the effectivness of cannabis for chronic, non-cancer pain, but relating specifically to dysmenorrhea (painful periods) is still hazy.
What’s the thought process of cannabis helping with cramps?
The cannabis product manufacturers claim that cannabidiol (CBD), which does not produce psychoactive effects, can help ease pain.
Dr. James MacKillop, director of the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research at McMaster University, says menstrual pain “reasonably” fits within the traditional definition of “chronic, non-cancer pain.” Some preliminary trials on rodents suggest females may have greater sensitivity to these analgesic effects, MacKillop says, though no one understands why.
Dr. John Thiel, provincial head of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Saskatchewan in Regina, says cannabinoid receptors have been found in the female reproductive system. In theory, this could mean cannabinoids are effective in treating pelvic pain. In his study of 134 patients with chronic pain, those that used cannabis (60% of participants) reported a positive effect.
“Thirty percent reduced their opiate usage for analgesic for pain, which is a big deal,” he said.
Thiel did say, however, that the study was small, and did not include dose response or pharmacokinetic data. But, there’s enough there to encourage further research, he says.
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