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Cannabis and Women’s Health

Ease The Symptoms of PMS, Endometriosis and Migraines

 

It can be hard being a woman in today’s world. Although we have more freedom and options afforded to us than ever before, there are still many barriers for women living in modern Canadian society. Access to appropriate healthcare is one such barrier that women must overcome as they continue to juggle their family, social and professional responsibilities. However, there is one emerging healthcare industry that is seeking to empower women and prioritize women’s health: the cannabis industry.  

 

As the nation prepares for recreational legalization of pot, the medical cannabis industry continues to grow. At the forefront of this industry are women leaders. Between the U.S. and Canada, cannabis has the potential to be the first multi-billion dollar industry led by women.

 

And, it’s no surprise. In addition to a long history of female activism in Canada, cannabis also has the potential to help with a variety of women’s health issues.  For a growing number of female patients, cannabis is not just an alternative treatment option but the preferred option for helping ease symptoms associated with PMS, endometriosis, and migraines.

 

So, if you are a woman looking for novel and natural approaches to your health management, cannabis may be the right option for you. If you are looking to be empowered by your health practices, cannabis may be just the answer you’ve been waiting for. Here are a few women’s health issues for which cannabis may be beneficial.

 

Pain

 

Pain, inflammation, and cramping associated with a woman’s menstrual cycle can often be debilitating and managing your pain when you are on your period can be a daunting task. Often, traditional pharmaceutical options provide limited pain relief and result in a variety of side-effects.

 

When it comes to pain, cannabis has a proven track record to help alleviate the experience of pain. Cannabis has a unique ability to provide women with pain relief by acting on our own body’s endocannabinoid system and mimicking naturally occurring cannabinoids produced by our body.

 

The cannabis plant is made up of over 100 cannabinoids, many of which can help decrease the experience of painful stimuli. The two most well-researched cannabinoids, Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) are believed to be primarily responsible for providing pain relieving and anti-inflammatory effects.

 

CBD-rich cannabis strains provide female patients with an added option for managing their pain without the psychoactive effects typically attributed to THC. Many women are relying solely on CBD-rich strains, or choosing to combine CBD-rich products alongside  high THC strains for added therapeutic benefits.

 

Conditions such as endometriosis pose additional challenges to women looking to manage their pain effectively. Endometriosis is a condition characterized by abnormal extrauterine growth and severe pelvic and lower back pain. Hormonal therapy and surgery are usually the recommended treatment options for the management of endometriosis but these options are often accompanied by severe side effects and are unfortunately largely ineffective.

 

Studies show that our body’s endocannabinoid system extends to our sexual organs and is involved in helping regulate symptoms of endometriosis and associated uterine pain. This means that cannabis has a high potential to help alleviate pain associated with endometriosis and to manage the condition more holistically.


 

Migraines, Nausea and Vomiting

 

According to Statistics Canada, there are 2.7 million migraine sufferers nationwide. And if that wasn’t enough of a startling statistic, further research indicates that women are more likely than men to suffer from a variety of chronic headaches and migraines.

 

For some women, the presence of chronic headaches or migraines is tied to their menstrual cycle and hormonal fluctuations. If you are a woman who suffers from migraines associated with her period, cannabis may be a good option to help you manage your PMS and help decrease the frequency and severity of your headaches at the same time.

 

Studies show that cannabis reduces the frequency of migraines and helps with associated nausea and vomiting. A 2016 Study by Rhyne and colleagues found that among 121 adult participants the frequency of headaches reduced from 10.4 migraines per month to just 4.6. That’s more than a 50% reduction in headache frequency!

 

Patients suffering from migraine headaches tend to be long-term sufferers, and may have been managing this difficult condition since their teenage years. Accompanying the often debilitating pain, many patients also experience nausea, vomiting, photophobia and a sensitivity to noise. In addition to providing pain relief and helping reduce the frequency of migraines, cannabis can also reduce nausea and vomiting and help induce a sense of calm and relaxation during this difficult time.


 

Anxiety & Sleep

 

If you’re anything like me, and like many women out there, hormonal fluctuations related to your period can lead to increased levels of anxiety and difficulties sleeping. Although this may not seem like a huge issue, studies show that lack of sleep can significantly impact your quality of life. A lack of sleep can have serious implications on our immune system, our mood and our ability to cope with daily stressors. Additionally, a lack of sleep isn’t very good for helping you juggle a multitude of responsibilities during the day.

 

Cannabis has proven anxiolytic properties and advances in research show that CBD, the non- psychoactive compound in cannabis, is an excellent alternative to the highly addictive world of benzodiazapenes. In addition, research shows that high levels of cannabinoids make for better sleep and that THC is highly sedative. A good night’s sleep is essential for helping manage daytime pain and menstrual symptoms during that time of the month.

 

So, if you are looking to decrease your pain, better manage your anxiety and help improve your sleep this month, a variety of cannabis strains may be right for you. All that’s left to do is empower yourself through research and education and take control of your health! No one else will do it for you.


Ljubica Kostovic is a leading cannabis expert and the Director of Communications and Research at GrowWise Health. growwisehealth.com | lkostovic@growwisehealth.com