Treating Your Menstrual Cramps with Marijuana

Inspired by our segment on cannabis advocate Simone Fischer and interested in exploring pot as a treatment for your own period pain? Here’s what you need to know:

Is it legal in your state?

If you’re an adult who lives somewhere that’s legalized recreational marijuana (that would be Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, Washington State and Washington, DC), you’re free to toke up however you see fit.

But even if legal weed hasn’t reached your state yet, you may still be in luck. Check out NORML’s guide to medical marijuana laws to see if your doctor can hook you up with cannabis to ease your suffering. (Keep in mind, though, that not all medical marijuana laws are created equal: while some states consider chronic pain a THC-worthy condition, others restrict marijuana use to a handful of fatal illnesses.)

Are some strains better than others?

There are many different strains of marijuana, and they’re not all created equal. If you’re still struggling to figure out the difference between indica and sativa, being asked to choose between strains like Obama Kush, Sour Diesel, and Lemonhead can feel pretty overwhelming.

Fortunately, there’s no need for you to start from scratch: In her years as a cannabis writer and medical marijuana patient, Fischer’s done a ton of research on pot and period pain, and combined her findings in a few handy guides. Suffering from PMS or PMDD? Fischer has recommendations for those conditions here. Doubled over from endometriosis? This list of strains might be more your speed. Also, here’s a fun fact: The marijuana strain Jillybean was specifically designed to ease the pain of menstrual woes.

Do I have to smoke it?

While some people enjoy the sensation of smoking, it’s not for everyone. But you don’t have to smoke to get the health benefits of marijuana. If you’re a crafty type, you can always bake your own edibles with the strain of your choice. Prefer to outsource that labor to someone else? Dispensaries regularly offer weed-infused snacks, body lotions, soaking salts, and other items—many of which offer all the pain relief of cannabis (with none of the psychotropic effects).

And if you live in California, you’re especially in luck. Whoopi & Maya, a California-based medical marijuana company—founded by, yes, actress Whoopi Goldberg—offers a line of cannabis products (a soaking salt, tincture, chocolate spread, and lotion) specifically designed to offer menstrual relief. (Unfortunately, another period pain-focused venture seems to be no more. Foria, the company behind the “weed tampon” that made headlines a few years back, now focuses exclusively on pleasure products.)

It may take some time to figure out the exact cannabis regimen that eases your period pain, but with a little experimentation—and the help of a good budtender—you’ll hopefully be able to find the same relief that’s helped Fischer conquer her period pain and take charge of her life.