Ah, PMS – it’s the most wonderful time of the month….by absolutely no one’s standards. Technically called Premenstrual Syndrome, it’s something that occurs a few days before the menstrual cycle. It’s like Aunt Flo shipping her luggage ahead of her arrival.
Not all women suffer from PMS, but most do (at least at one time or another). It’s marked by symptoms of tender breasts, bloating, cramps, headaches, mood swings, and losing it because why the hell did someone use the last of the toilet paper and not replace the roll!
Per Web MD, PMS is normal – it’s caused by changes in the endocrine system that make the hormones which control the menstrual cycle. Like women themselves, a female’s endocrine system is highly complex – so much so that medical experts aren’t sure why PMS exists in some women and not in others.
There are certain things that do predispose women, however. These include a family history, age (PMS is less common during the teens and twenties and begins to find itself as a woman hits her thirties), mental health disorders (such as anxiety and depression), high amounts of stress, a lack of exercise, diets low in magnesium, calcium, and vitamin B6, and excessive caffeine intake (say it ain’t so, cup of joe).
Women stop having PMS when their periods end. Thus, after menopause, PMS is DOA.
For many women, PMS is a nuisance but not something that dominates life. Some women, however, have symptoms so severe that it impacts their everyday existence. And it’s not necessarily limited to the days right before menstruation: symptoms can occur right after ovulation.
The symptoms are extremely wide-ranging: more than 150 symptoms are linked to this syndrome. They’re not consistent, either: you may have awful PMS one month and hardly notice it at all the next. Women with more severe forms of PMS typically experience bloating and weight gain (up to ten pounds is occasionally possible), a lack of energy, back pain, food cravings, sleep problems, constipation or diarrhea, sadness, irritability, aggression, panic, trouble concentrating, and withdrawal from family and friends.
PMS can also worsen other existing medical conditions. It can impact seizure disorders, allergies, mental illness, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, and chronic fatigue syndrome
The good news is that PMS is fleeting: the symptoms go away about three days after a period starts. The bad news is the cycle starts up again. Come on, menopause! Let the countdown begin.
Why Cannabis Helps PMS
Cannabis has long been heralded as a cure for PMS and other menstrual related issues. According to the Telegraph, some in England even argue that marijuana should be legal because Queen Victoria used it to relieve menstrual pain. Of course, the fact that legalizing marijuana would generate a ton of tax revenue helps the argument as well.
The reasons cannabis works for PMS are many, including:
It helps breast pain: Yep, breast pain is a boob – it happens because the increase in progesterone leads to swelling. Cannabis is thought to help because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
It eases cramps: Many women use marijuana as a way to control their cramps…their stupid, stupid, cramps. Not a lot of research has gone into why it is useful in terms of specific menstrual benefits, but cannabis is a pain reliever so it makes sense that it relieves all types of pain.
It helps with headaches: Periods are a headache! In fact, migraines tend to accompany menstruation on a regular basis – estrogen helps regulate our perception of pain and when it’s low, our perception alters. Cannabis is well known for treating headaches:
Headaches are one of the main reasons medicinal marijuana is prescribed
It helps with nausea: While many women don’t need an appetite stimulant around their periods – we’re already starving, thanks – they may need something to quiet their nausea. Marijuana is an antiemetic – it eases nausea when consumed. Like headaches, nausea is one of the main reasons for obtaining a medical marijuana card.
It promotes sleep: PMS tends to disrupt sleep – Aunt Flo gets in the way of Mr. Sandman. Marijuana, especially when it’s indica, induces sleep, though it does interfere with the REM cycle.
The Best Strains for PMS
If you suffer from PMS, cannabis might help, but the type of strain matters. A hysterectomy might help too, but pot is way less drastic (and lots more fun). Some of the strains best known for helping ease PMS symptoms include:
Thai Tanic: Sativa dominates this strain – it offers users a sense of euphoria, happiness, and stress reduction. It’s not foggy and tends to keep people clearheaded, something you may or may not want depending on how bad your PMS is.
Purple Urkle: The Purple Urkle is very strong: newbies to the doobies beware! If your PMS involves severe pain in the form of cramps, headaches, or backaches, the P.U. can answer the call. It’s not a strain you want to take before work, unless falling asleep in the breakroom is encouraged.
Chocolope: This strain is energizing and offers a strong mental high (but it’s still good for daytime use). It’s helpful for PMS because of its ability to treat stress and anxiety. It sounds like chocolate; ergo, it must be good!
Orange Bud: Orange Bud is dominated by Indica and offers relaxation, energy, euphoria, and inspiration. Some people find it good for creativity while others find it benefits meditation.
Orange Bud, is not a great daytime strain
Some people experience couchlock with it while others compare its strength to that of narcotics.
Dutch Treat: This strain is a hybrid that regulates the mood and provides pain relief. But it’s not so heavy that you can’t function or get things done. Still, it’s high in THC and offers some psychoactivity. It’s a good flower for socialization. You know, for the times when we want our periods to sync up with our friends’.