Any woman who’s ever experienced menstrual cramps knows how to do two things: swear out loud and count down the days until menopause. If you’re in this category, you’ve probably tried all sorts of avenues. You’ve popped Advil. You’ve turned up the heating pad. You’ve sat in a warm bath until your fingers looked like Benjamin Button (at the movie’s beginning). You may have even called Kotex, asking them if – somehow, anyhow – they could pull some strings.
It’s possible you found relief doing one – or many – of the above. But if not, if menstruation is still cramping your style, consider a little meet and greet: introduce Aunt Flo to Mary Jane.
Why Periods Hurt
Periods aren’t painful for everyone: around fifty percent of women don’t experience consistent pain (the other fifty percent hate these women).
Some cramping is so severe that it interferes with daily lives
Women stay home from school, they miss work, and they skip out on social functions because of the intensity.
The reason cramps hurt is because of the uterus; it contracts to expel its lining. This process is helped along by prostaglandins, lipid compounds that produce hormone-like effects. While the actual contraction of the uterus accounts for most of the pain, prostaglandins increase inflammation, which likely adds to the overall discomfort.
Women are prone to menstrual cramps if they are younger; if they went through puberty before the age of eleven; and if they’ve never given birth. Certain conditions also make cramps both more likely and more intense. Some of these include endometriosis, uterine fibroids, cervical stenosis, and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.
Traditional remedies don’t work for everyone. A warm bath, for instance, is hard to take to the office. Over the counter pain relievers also come with their own risks. The Federal Drug Administration recently doubled down on its warning that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. This class includes common menstrual medications such as Aleve, ibuprofen, and Midol Extended Relief.
Aspirin is also an NSAIDS, but it doesn’t put users at risk for heart attack or stroke (conversely, it is often used as a preventative measure for these two maladies). However, taking aspirin while on your period comes with a unique inconvenience. Because it thins your blood, ingesting enough of it can potentially turn the Crimson Tide from a steady stream to a raging river. In other words, you’ll never wear those white shorts again.
Tylenol is also an option, but its impact on the liver is well publicized. While taking it as directed is likely safe, many people take more pills than they should because of their level of pain. Too much can lead to both short and long-term liver damage. This isn’t to say it’s not an option, but if your cramps don’t respond to the recommended dosage, treating menstruation with acetaminophen might be the same as treating it with Crown Royal.
Cramping Out: The Strains for Pain
If you’re not responsive to the more typical cramp treatments (or you’re simply sick of them), weed provides you with other choices. Some of the most effective strains include:
It might sound like a presidential sofa, but Obama Kush is actually a hybrid strain made up of both indica and sativa; it’s well known for numbing the physical pains of menstruation. Not only is it good for cramps, but it can remedy breast tenderness and headaches. In keeping with marijuana’s chilled reputation, it influences mood, calming the stress the spike in progesterone often causes.
Like many things, if it contains the word “cheese” you know it has to be good. The indica in Cheese is effective for fast pain relief. The results should last two or three hours, giving you enough time to research whether you really need to keep your uterus after all.
As mentioned above, some women experience cramping so bad it’s classified as severe. Purple Urkle may help – it’s a very heavy indica with pain-relieving qualities that other strains lack. The bad side is it’s not something conducive to productivity. Your cramps will go away, but so will your desire to get anything done.
A strain that is 100 percent indica, El Nino is smooth, but earthy. It’s also very mellow, something that can help cramps by relaxing the body (tension and stress only compound the monthly monster). It’s quite potent, like Purple Urkle, and thus something you don’t want to take before any activity where sound judgement and clarity are required.
White Widow is made up of mostly indica, but it has a little sativa as well. The indica produces a nice high that is ideal for relieving mild cramps. If your cramping is too severe, this might not be strong enough, but it does the trick for those whose pain levels teeter between “not too bad” and “I want to die.”
Unique to other strains, Jillybean was created specifically for female health.
It works for many women who experience cramps and PMS, but it’s particularly effective for those who have endometriosis. This is a condition that occurs when tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside of it, surrounding the ovaries and bowels. It tends to make menstruation extremely painful.
Dominated by indica, this strain produces a relaxing effect; people often ingest it as a stress reducer. It’s also quite skilled at eliminating headache pain, making it ideal for anyone who, in the lamest added bonus ever, gets migraines with her PMS.
Commonly known as Blueberry Haze, this strain is great for the woman who feels as though her uterus is truly trying to escape from her body. A cross of Blueberry and Super Silver Haze, it’s known for its euphoria and cerebral stimulation. But it’s also ideal for those whose periods equal several days of chronic pain. User beware, however, taking too much might lead to paranoia or psychedelic effects, leaving you to mistake your tampon for a microphone. During a company presentation, of course.
Sour Diesel has received a sweet reception from its users: it’s well known as a fan favorite. The high is uplifting and mindful, subduing cramps in the process. It’s also not so overly strong that it’ll leave you stuck on your couch, so excited about a twenty-six-year-old episode of Saved by the Bell.