Article by Gabby Bess, Broadly
A lot of women have tried to turn to cannabis to mitigate the symptoms of menstruation, which can be terrible and many. The company Foria now makes a suppository specifically for cramps that contains THC, and it isanecdotally said to ease the discomfort. But others have yet see any difference in their period pain after ingesting weed.
I previously reported a story for Broadly about how the cannabis industry markets weed to women. In that article, Broadly contributor and former dispensary worker Mira Gonzalez fell into the latter category.
“Once I bought this bottle of ‘menstrual cramp pills’ at my dispensary, but it wasn’t an effective painkiller at all,” she told me. “When I had a job at a dispensary, women would come up to me all the time and ask for recommendations on what to buy for cramps, and I honestly couldn’t recommend anything that had worked for me.”
In other words, there’s a lot of conflicting information out there about what cannabis can and can’t do. That’s namely because weed, while reported to be wonderfully helpful for a number of conditions, is woefully under-researched and under-tested. No one really knows what it can and can’t do—or how it does or does not do it. Most testing on the drug has been in preclinical animal trials, which don’t always reliably translate to human models. There’s a lot surveys done on people who use cannabis but those don’t even test the plant itself.
Earlier this month, Dr. Ziva Cooper, a researcher with the Columbia University Medical Center who I interviewed for the weed marketing article, published an analysis of two new studies to hopefully add some clarity to cannabis and its effects on women. The double-blind studies appeared to confirm for one of the first times in a human trial, that there are measurable sex differences regarding the effects of cannabis. Specifically, she found that after comparing responses to a painful stimulus in the laboratory, the drug reduces pain more effectively in men than in women. What’s truly crazy here, though, is the study found that after men smoked cannabis, they were able to tolerate more pain. For women, the drug had no effect on their pain tolerance whatsoever.