Excerpted with permission from an article by Dr. Aviva Romm, to read the entire article, see: avivaromm.com/cannabis-period pain; or listen on soundcloud.com
“Unfortunately, there’s no set of dosage guidelines nor one specific form of using Cannabis or CBD that has been shown to be more effective for dysmenorrhea. It just hasn’t been studied enough to reach any conclusions. Each of us has a unique threshold at which we might experience symptom relief, and also different levels of tolerance to the psychoactive effects of THC-containing products should you choose one of those. It can take a bit of gentle personal experimentation to determine whether Cannabis or CBD is right for you, which product, and at what dose.
A basic guideline: start low and go slow.
One additional guideline that I give my patients when it comes to treating period pain, including with NSAIDs, is don’t wait until the pain is miserable to treat; pre-empt it. Do the same with your holistic period pain prevention. If you typically start getting period pain a day or two before you start bleeding, start using calcium, magnesium, and some of the other natural remedies and approaches I mention here (avivaromm.com/dysmenorrhea/) a few days ahead of time, and if needed, start using your chosen Cannabis or CBD product at the first twinge of discomfort.
What products should you consider? In my practice, I primarily recommend starting with products with the greatest safety and the least likelihood of immediate or longer-term side-effects, including:
Can be effective for pain relief, is taken in water so doesn’t require smoking anything, doesn’t cause psychoactive effects, and can be combined with other pain relieving, anti-inflammatory herbal tinctures, for example, a Cannabis-Cramp bark combination is a classic for menstrual pain relief. Tincture dose depends on the product you are using; commercially made products contain varying amounts of THC and CBD, so follow product instructions, start low, and go slow.
A good quality CBD oil product is usually made with an olive oil base, has zero to negligible THC so will not have a psychoactive effect, and can be conveniently taken by dropper with measurements on it to get accurate dosing, or in a capsule. I recommend my patients take the equivalent of 15 mg/day to start. But again, it’s best to start low, and go slow, to see how you personally respond.
CBD topical and suppository products: online companies, like Foria Wellness, specialize in high quality topicals and suppositories for women’s period and pelvic health.
I don’t recommend smoking unless other options just aren’t working for you. If you do find that this is the only way you get relief, keep it to just those few days of the month that you most need It, using only the smallest amount possible amount (for example, one or two tokes off of a thinly rolled joint). Purchase product from a Cannabis dispensary to ensure that it is a clean, good quality product, and ask for a low THC strain.
Another interesting approach for reducing the inflammation associated with causing period pain is the use of hemp seeds. The seeds, which do not contain cannabinoids, are rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), in which women with PMS and dysmenorrhea have found to be low. In one study, a daily dose of 150 to 200 mg over 12 weeks greatly improved symptoms; this dose could be provided by a 5-mL daily dose of hemp seed oil.
Not a Panacea, But Worth Considering Cannabis is not a panacea for all that ails us, as the Cannabis industry might have us believe. And it’s not a panacea for menstrual pain. Much more research is certainly warranted. It’s always important to look at all of your root causes, and treat those. But used safely and wisely, I do think Cannabis and CBD products may help many women with period pain to have a better experience of their menstrual cycles, and with fewer adverse effects than conventional medications. While it has not been associated with teratogenic effects, Cannabis use is generally not recommended for use in pregnancy, so unless for a medically supervised reason, discontinue use should you become pregnant.”