Can Cannabis Alleviate Menstrual Pain? | cannabisMD

Can Cannabis Alleviate Menstrual Pain?

Is cannabis suitable for helping with menstrual pain relief?

Cannabis is said to be great for chronic pain so there is no reason why it shouldn't work for the MOST chronic of all pain. Image Credit: By ViDi Studio on shutterstock

Pain and cramping are a common challenge for many women before and during their menstrual cycle. In fact, severe cramps, which are caused by uterine contractions, affect 10 out of 100 women (half of all females experience some sort of cramping) forcing many to reach for acetaminophen, heavy-duty pain killers, and even hormonal birth control in an attempt to reduce the discomfort. But, as more and more research and health studies on cannabis and cannabinoids are starting to reveal, the pain associated with menstruation just might be alleviated without having to turn to a bottle of pills.

Painful menstrual cramps are caused by chemicals in the body called prostaglandins, which bring about mild to severe cramping in the lower abdomen and lower back — the more prostaglandins a woman has, the more intense her cramping will be. For most women, an over-the-counter pain reliever will allow her to get through the day. However, if you’re one of the 5 to 10 percent of women who suffer from a severe form of PMS called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), cramps often become a debilitating symptom that interferes with daily life.

Beyond PMDD, there other risk factors that increase the likelihood of having menstrual cramps. These can include:

  • Being younger than 30
  • Reaching puberty early (at or before age eleven)
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Have not given birth
  • Heavy bleeding during periods
  • Smoking

Cannabis For Menstrual Relief?

The use of cannabis to relieve menstrual cramps has a long history — it dates as far back as 2000 BCE when women, including Queen Victoria, used cannabis to alleviate their menstrual symptoms. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary active chemical in cannabis, is a natural muscle relaxant which, when it works with our body’s natural endocannabinoid system, can lessen the cramping caused by prostaglandin. In addition, the euphoric effects of THC can help regulate mood swings, another common side effect of the menstrual cycle. Studies show that cannabidiol or CBD can offer benefits on its own or when working together with its counterpart, THC, the cannabinoid known for psychoactive effects.

Other potential benefits of cannabis use during menses include:


Clinical tests on CBD’s antidepressant properties show that it’s fast-acting and enduring, and, since CBD is safe for daily use, it can ease symptoms during the entire cycle.

Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea can come before or during your period due to hormonal changes or prostaglandins, and both THC and CBD cannabinoids may be effective treatments.


Your body’s hard at work during your period, and, according to recent research, using CBD oil may help treat fatigue associated with it. In order to prevent increased tiredness, be sure to avoid THC and to take low doses of CBD at a time.

Tension and Tight Muscles

A 2017 study conducted at the University of Chicago supports the claim that low dose THC can reduce body tension, with the caveat that taking too much may cause anxiety.


CBD oil could be among your most trusted defenses against acne, according to clinical studies. Vaping CBD oil or taking it orally could help fight acne from the inside, while topical CBD treatments are shown to be effective when applied directly to your skin.

Cannabis and Your Period: The Bottom Line

If you want to think beyond the pill bottle when it comes to treating your menstrual pain, cannabis extracts can tackle many of your symptoms all at once. Talk to your doctor if you’re considering THC and CBD oil treatments for your menstrual woes and consult The Guide to Treating Menstrual Cramps with Cannabis to learn more about how menstruation affects your body and the ways cannabis may offer lasting relief.

The content on cannabisMD is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Megan Solga
Megan Solga
Megan Solga is an international educator and mental health advocate with a background in medicinal cannabis research. She enjoys whiskey, bluegrass, and life in the mountains.

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