Forget the Mydol (or in worse cases Darvon). New York women suffering from severe menstrual cramps may soon be able to turn to marijuana for relief from the painful effects of dysmenorrhea with the (prospective) passage of new legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan) to expand legalized use of the drug to treat a variety of medical conditions. Legislation in New York, as well as 29 other US states already allows medicinal marijuana to be used in the treatment of ailments ranging from PTSD to Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s to AIDs and various types of cancer etc.
Rosenthal, who wrote the bill with the help of comedian Whoopie Goldberg (who currently markets her own line of medical marijuana products for menstrual pain) was also responsible for sponsoring state legislation to eliminate the tax on tampons and sanitary napkins, as well as the move to provide free tampons in schools, prisons, and homeless shelters.
According to the Mayo Clinic, dysmenorrhea (aka painful periods) affects 20%-90% of females, beginning with their first menarche, (particularly if they begin before the age of 12) and those who have heavy periods, irregular periods, as well as girls who have low body weight. Symptoms include pain in the lower abdomen, lower back, and/or pelvis, as well as nausea and diarrhea. While most painful periods don’t seem to have any underlying cause, gynecologists should conduct a pelvic exam as well as an ultrasound to rule out more serious concerns including inflammatory disease, bladder pain syndrome (interstitial cystitis) and extopic pregnancy.
Meanwhile Dr. Charles Pollack, director oft Thomas Jefferson University Hospital’s Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp in Philadelphia, PA, told Live Science that although more research regarding the benefit to using marijuana for menstrual cramps still needs to be done, “it’s not out of the realm of the possible” that the drug could be helpful for women with menstrual cramps,”
The reason for this, he went on to explain, is that chemicals in marijuana are able to “bind to an “abundance” of endocannabinoid receptors found in the female reproductive system.”
According to Foria (a company well-known for its cannabis infused vaginal lubricants) this medical fact has led to the creation of its marijuana infused tampons said to alleviate menstrual pains. According to the company’s website, once inserted, the ingredients3 organic ingredients, extracted cannabis oil, and a cannabidiol (CBD) isolate, and cocoa butter “activate these receptors and trigger nerves in the uterus, cervix, and ovaries to block pain and relax the muscles without inducing a psychotropic high.”
While available in the UK, the tampons are currently only available in the US to women in California and Colorado and require a medical marijuana card or a doctor’s letter to buy them. It should also be noted that the Foria tampons and suppositories have yet to receive FDA approval, or tested in clinical trials.
Note: Other common treatments for dysmenorrhea include aspirin, taking Magnesium or vitamin B, heating pads, massage, acupuncture and birth control pills as well as the IUD with progestogen. Other women report yoga and other exercise helps, while I, personally, found drinking elderberry wine as well as St. Joseph’s wine from Cyprus soothing.