For women awaiting a cure for Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS), you won’t find it in cannabis. And, for women contemplating pregnancy, cannabis should not be their go-to solution for pain relief.
But, more than 10 percent of women in their reproductive years suffer mild to severe symptoms from Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), severe mood disorder with many physical symptoms. Bloating, breast tenderness, crying, mood swings, and more affect as many as 75 percent of menstruating women with slight to aggravating symptoms preceding their periods.
Symptoms may strike seven to ten days before the onset of menses, but PMDD escalates psychological, physical, and behavioral symptoms as the days go on. Everything seems to hit at once: anxiety, depression, emotional sensitivity, feeling overwhelmed, irritability, and isolation. Aches, fatigue, headaches, and insomnia join the bloating and tender breasts.
For women who suffer from PMDD, it amounts to a monthly typhoon of pain and discomfort.
No one knows what to do?
There is no known cause for the multi-faceted syndrome and its multiple symptomologies. So, much is going on and going on at cross-purposes. But, you can easily infer that it has something to do with hormones since it only occurs in premenstrual women.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, common treatments lifestyle changes, nutritional supplements, and herbal remedies.
- Lifestyle Changes reduce caffeine and alcohol intake along with regular balanced meals rich in carbohydrates but low in salt and fat along with regular exercise and sleep.
- Nutritional Supplements include calcium carbonate, magnesium, tryptophan, and vitamins B6, B12, and E.
- Nonpharmacologic treatments include anger management, cognitive-behavioral therapy stress management, support groups, and patient education.
- Herbal remedies mentioned by MedicalNewsToday are Evening Primrose Oil and Chaste Tree Berry.
What do pharmacists say?
Harvard Medical School remarks, “One of the most common PMDD treatments is progesterone supplementation, but the studies consistently find no evidence that a deficiency of this hormone contributes to the disorder.”
Harvard goes on to say that the hormone therapies that do work succeed “by interrupting aberrant signaling in the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal circuit that links brain and ovaries and regulates the reproductive cycle.”
The most fluid option, then, lies in Serotonin Reuptake Receptor Inhibitors (SSRIs). There is some instinct to prescribe anti-depressants and mild ones like citalopram work for some symptoms.
SRRIs, on the other hand, work on the nervous system. When the system transmits a message, at the end of each neural cell, it reaches the end of a nerve a synapse where it releases the energy to spark the end of the next nerve to continue carrying the message.
Serotonin is one of the chemicals necessary to the communication between nerve endings. The first of the nerves described here must suck back (reuptake) the serotonin, or it will continue to antagonize that second nerve.
So, when there is a chemical imbalance, something needs to restore the flow. SRRIs do that by managing the flow of serotonin and its reuptake.
And, what do cannabists say?
Cannabis works similarly. The chemical compounds in cannabis release cannabinoid receptors to map over to the brain’s naturally generated endocannabinoids. THC clings to CB1 cells to alter the harmony, and CBD runs interference by reducing reuptake of anandamide, “the bliss molecule.”
It’s why people regularly use cannabis products including marijuana to relieve anxiety, depression, pain, and stress. So, many women with PMDD use cannabis as an option to prescription painkillers, anti-depressants, and sleep aids.
Consider the following strains for treating PMS and PMDD:
- Agent Orange: This hybrid with a moderate 10% THC will not ruin your day. It lifts and energizes and encourages you to get more out of your day. It belongs in every woman’s medicine cabinet for the relief of depression, fatigue, lethargy, nausea, pain, and stress.
- Black Cherry Cheesecake: A hybrid high in Indica, it relieves pain with a dessert-like taste. The solid, relaxing, bodily high may last up to three hours.
- Blue Dream: A fruity and sweet Sativa-dominant strain triggers a mind-blowingly potent and pleasant, euphoric and relaxed, energized and motivated full-body relaxation and a gentle cerebral lift.
- Chernobyl: Sativa dominant, Chernobyl packs a euphoric high and hours of total pain relief behind a lime sherbet aroma. Dreamy, lasting, cerebral effects improve mood and outlook.
- Dutch Treat: This hybrid calms hormonal mood swings while relieving pain and creating a calming cerebral high that combats insomnia, stress, headaches, and depression.
- Purple Urkle: This Indica will knock you back and down for a good night’s sleep without cramps or pain, strong enough to use very late in the day.
- Querkle: This heavy Indica (80:20) lifts mood and spirit after a strong berry and rich grape aroma. Heavily euphoric and cerebral, this strain is meant for after dinner and into the evening.
- Super Silver Haze: This Sativa strain produces energetic and long-lasting effects for fighting stress, depression, and pain.
- White Widow: This 60% Sativa (mind) and 40% Indica (body) produce a powerful and energetic euphoria, a reliable remedy for stress relief, depression and physical pain.
- Wonder Woman: A Sativa/Indica 50:50, Wonder Woman has all the power to vanquish enemy symptoms and still let you go about your day’s activities.
Some caution here
Cannabis smoking, vaping, and edibles have reliably relieved the symptoms related to PMS and PMDD. But, victims should not use without caution:
- Women considering pregnancy must accept that the introduction of any foreign substance, especially through smoking, puts the woman and fetus at risk.
- Victims are cautioned to avoid mixing cannabis intake with any prescription pharmaceutical. Prescribing doctors must know of any treatments including cannabis, nutritional supplements, and herbal remedies.
- The severest cases of PMDD may require psychiatric care and antidepressant therapy. PMDDD patients must not supplement their treatment plan without notice to their doctors.
So, you might reasonably conclude that pain and stress relieving cannabis products are suitable for PMS and mild cases of PMD. For others, it can helpfully supplement routine care. And, in the most serious cases, it might be part on any treatment agenda with practitioners’ knowledge and approval.