To the victims, PMDD is PMS on steroids. And, cannabis may be a practical and effective comfort.
To put it mildly, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a severe mood disorder affecting almost 10% of women during their reproductive years.
On the other hand, at least 75% of menstruating women experience mild or aggravating symptoms preceding their periods. This Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) is marked by bloating, breast tenderness, mood swings, and crying.
Both strike about seven to ten days before the onset of menses, but PMDD amps up the psychological, physical, and behavioral symptoms. Everything seems to happen in extremis: anxiety, depression, emotional sensitivity, feeling overwhelmed, irritability, and isolation. Aches, fatigue, headaches, and insomnia march the bloating and tender breasts.
For women who suffer from PMDD, it amounts to a monthly tsunami of discomfort.
What to do?
No one knows the causes of either condition although you can infer that, since they only affect menstruating women, that there is a connection with hormones.
Per the American Family Physician, treatments include lifestyle changes, nutritional supplements, and herbal remedies.
- Lifestyle Changes include regular balanced meals (rich in carbohydrates but low in salt, fat, and caffeine), regular exercise, smoking cessation, alcohol restriction, and regular sleep.
- Nutritional Supplements include vitamin-B6, vitamin-E, calcium carbonate, magnesium, and tryptophan.
- Nonpharmacologic Treatments include stress management, anger management, support groups, therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and patient education.
- Herbal Remedies mentioned are Evening Primrose Oil and Chaste Tree Berry.
Pharmacological solutions try to reduce symptoms and improve the quality of life with none of them proving inconclusive as a broad scale solution. Citalopram and Fluoxetine work for some world, but the interest lies in their function as SRRIs (serotonin reuptake receptor inhibitors).
SRRIs work in the nervous system. The nervous system carries messages. When the message reaches the end of a nerve, it releases molecules or neurotransmitters. The energy in these molecules spark the end of the next nerve to continue carrying the message.
Serotonin is one of those chemicals necessary to the communication between nerve endings. The first of the nerves described here must suck back the serotonin, or it will continue to antagonize that second nerve.
So, when there is a chemical imbalance, something needs to restore it. SRRIs do that by managing the flow of serotonin and its reuptake.
And, cannabis, too?
The mechanism of cannabis works similarly. The chemical compounds in cannabis release cannabinoid receptors to map over to the brain’s naturally generated endocannabinoids. That’s why cannabis products including marijuana are regularly used to relieve anxiety, depression, pain, and stress.
For many women, marijuana may be a smart alternative to prescription pain killers, anti-depressants, and sleep aids.
Consider the following strains for treating PMS and PMDD:
- Black Cherry Cheesecake: High in Indica, it relieves pain with a dessert taste. The relaxing bodily high may last up to three hours.
- Blue Dream: A Sativa-dominant hybrid for pain, Blue Dream has enough power to level mood swings. It balances 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.
- Obama Kush: An Indica/Sativa hybrid, this strain effectively reduces physical pain and improves mood. Almost any Kush will do the trick.
- Purple Urkle: This Indica will knock you back and down for a good night’s sleep without cramps or pain.
- 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.
- Space Dawg: The 19% THC tastes like citrus candy and kills any symptoms within minutes.
- Sweet Tooth: A balanced hybrid, Sweet Tooth smells of flowers and berries, but it provides a powerful uplift and euphoria. Users lose stress and headaches for hours.
- 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
Marijuana smoking, vaping, and edibles have reliably relieved the symptoms related to PMS and PMDD. But, victims should not use without some cautions:
- Women considering pregnancy must accept that the introduction of any foreign substance puts the woman and fetus at risk.
- Victims are cautioned to avoid mixing cannabis intake with any prescription pharmaceutical. The prescribing doctors must know of any treatments including cannabis, nutritional supplements, and herbal remedies.
- The severest cases of PMDD may require psychiatric and anti-depressants. Patients must not supplement their treatment plan without notice to the doctors.
So, you might reasonably conclude that pain and stress relieving cannabis products are perfectly suitable for PMS and mild cases of PMDD. 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.