Cannabis has long been associated with derogatory stereotypes and negative connotations. The world’s long history of demonizing the psychoactive effects of cannabis particularly dissuades women from smoking. According to a survey conducted by Van Der Pop, a cannabis lifestyle brand, about 77% of women who don’t smoke refrain due to social stigma, and 66% admitted that they hide the fact that they smoke for fear that their peers will associate them with undesirable stereotypes or underestimate their intelligence.
“Anecdotally, at least, for men, their fears around consumption are about legality — jail time and losing insurance or whatever,” says Van der Pop founder April Pride. “For women, it’s ‘What does this say about you as a mother? A serious woman? The people you’re hanging out with?’”
These judgments, however, are formed out of a misunderstanding and ignorance of what marijuana can do for women and their health. Medicinal marijuana is in no way a new concept, as ancient civilizations used the herb to treat migraines, insomnia, and other disorders. Today, more and more women are starting to smoke to enhance their wellness routines.
“Cannabis legalization is creating an insatiable appetite for information. Women are looking for alternative non-toxic, plant-based, holistic remedies for health and cannabis falls into all of those categories,” Anna Duckworth, cofounder of a women-centered cannabis magazine called Miss Grass, told Forbes. “That’s why women are adopting cannabis as a wellness tool and making it a part of a much bigger approach to self-care.”
Cannabis’s role in women’s health is largely behavioral and mental. Women suffer typically from anxiety, depression, insomnia, and eating disorders much more often than men, and cannabis has been connected to breaking down the barriers of these mental illnesses. But smoking weed or applying topical products can do a lot more than help you get into a better headspace.
Is There a Link Between Cannabis and Reproductive Health?
The short answer—yes! Smoking cannabis is helping women and nonbinary people all over the world cope with vaginal infections, side effects of menstruation and menopause, decreased libido, and other not-so-fun stuff that comes with having a vagina.
When it comes to women using cannabis to feel better on a day to day basis, painful or debilitating symptoms are the herb’s main target. Thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD, marijuana has been strongly linked to easing joint pain and migraine symptoms.
Cannabis’ ability to relieve severe pain applies well to symptoms associated specifically with the female reproductive system. Obama Kush, for instance, is one of many strains that are well-known for their ability to alleviate menstrual cramps. Cannabis has also helped many women deal with hot flashes, insomnia, and joint pain associated with menopause, whose symptoms are not typically well-alleviated by traditional medication.
Cannabis and Your Sex Life
Maintaining a healthy sex life isn’t just about keeping your head and heart happy, it also is a major contributor to keeping your vagina functioning its best, and has been strongly linked to keeping your immune system running like a well-oiled machine. But our sex drive and vaginal health inevitably go through changes due to aging, life circumstances, mental health, or medications, so we don’t always get the amount of action that keeps us in tip-top shape.
If you’re noticing undesirable changes like lack of sex drive or increased dryness, you want to make sure you consult a physician to make sure it’s not indicative of a larger health problem. But these things often happen due to circumstances outside of our control, and cannabis may be able to help you get your sex life back on track as cannabinoids like THC relax blood vessels, increase blood flow, and alter the way your body responds to pleasure, pain, and other sensations.
Applying cannabinoids directly to your vulva will encourage increased blood flow into those tissues, which you can do by using a cannabis-based lubricant. For instance, Quim Rock’s Intimate Oil (so-named for a 17th-century slang term for vagina), is coconut oil-based and infused with tea tree oil and THC, making it both a vaginal supplement and sensation enhancer. It can help you relax your muscles during sex, increase natural lubrication, and be more eager to have sex in the first place. It can even help with outside-the-bedroom issues like itching.
Smoking particular strains can help increase your sex drive on the spot. One of our favorite strains for this kind of use is Green Love Potion, a heavy Indica that initiates a “creeper” high that makes the body feel warm and tingly while keeping you lucid. For a full guide to what strains will increase your libido, check out this article.
Listening To Your Body
Cannabis’s impact on women’s health can’t just be measured by its direct medical properties and analgesic use. Miss Grass published a short blog post earlier this year in which a user described how cannabis saved her from an eating disorder. Actor Bella Thorne began smoking weed to help her sleep when she was struggling with the emotional toll of a new role. A mother recently took to a parenting blog to explain how switching from Klonopin and Xanax to cannabis helped her dispell panic attacks, get more sleep, and cope with the often overwhelming nature of raising children.
A lot of the information driving the conversation of cannabis and women’s health is anecdotal, but that doesn’t make it less credible or sincere. The fact is there are women in the world who are finding ways to cope with depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, all of which disproportionately affect women, through cannabis. There are thousands of studies and reports disputing the physical effects of cannabis on the human brain, and sure, it’s important to consider the science behind what you are smoking. But pain relief and mental illness are extremely personal, and women seeking to remedy these health barriers should look no further than their own bodies to tell them if cannabis is the answer.