Cannabis and the menstrual cycle have more in common than you might think.
Both have been shunned by polite society, both have suffered from a campaign of misinformation, and both have undeniable effects on women’s mental, physical, and emotional health.
Despite these benefits, and the fact that cannabis has been used for women’s health since ancient times, most women know very little about their hormonal cycle or what cannabis can do to help. But there is power in knowledge, especially when it comes to your body. Understanding the entirety of your cycle, how it affects you, and how to use cannabis in alignment with these fluctuations is a powerful step forward to maximizing the benefits of a 28-day cycle.
Understanding your hormonal cycle
While the menstrual cycle is best known for mood swings and cramps, it’s so much more than that.
The average hormonal cycle for women is 28 days long and brings with it far more benefits than challenges. Understanding your cycle outside of your period and how it affects your mind and body is the first step to taking advantage of the opportunities your cycle gives you.
A woman’s hormonal cycle is more than just a period. There are technically two phases of the menstrual cycle, the follicular phase and the luteal phase but it is generally broken down into four stages. Each phase brings with it different opportunities and challenges and understanding how these changes affect you will make a big difference in your daily life. 1
The four stages of the menstrual cycle:
- Menstruation. Your period is the most famous phase of your cycle and often thought of as the end, but did you know it’s technically the start? Day 1 of your period is also day 1 of your cycle, and menstrual bleeding typically lasts between 4 – 8 days. During this time, your estrogen and progesterone levels fall and your uterine lining is shed. Many women experience low energy levels during this time as well as PMS symptoms including cramps, mood swings, food cravings and fatigue, making it ideal for rest, reflection, and contemplation.
- Follicular phase. This phase begins on the first day of menses and ends with ovulation, typically lasting 10-16 days. This phase ends when the level of luteinizing hormone surges, resulting in release of the egg. Your libido and energy increase and you may feel creative and capable.
- Ovulation. The egg-releasing phase. The ovulation phase is the middle of your cycle, where your chances of getting pregnant are the highest. This typically lasts 3-4 days. During this stage, your body releases an egg into the fallopian tube, which then makes its way to the uterus. Interestingly, some women may feel a dull pain on one side of their lower abdomen. This pain is called “mittelschmerz” which is literally German for “middle pain.” Estrogen levels start to level off and drop, your uterine lining gets thicker, and you have a surge of testosterone that may leave you feeling confident and ready to take on the world. Ovulation is often a high-energy, communicative, social time for women. (It’s also the time when your libido is the highest!)
- Luteal phase. The luteal phase is the last phase in your hormonal cycle, and it’s a long one, lasting 10 – 14 days. During this phase, your estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels will peak mid-cycle before dropping at the end, right at the start of your period. The hormonal fluctuations mean you’ll feel differently at the start of the luteal phase versus the end. Your metabolism speeds up, which can account for the pre-period munchies. Your cortisol levels also rise, which can leave you feeling on edge or cranky. You may feel social and determined, or you may seek out rest and alone time. Some women experience PMS symptoms during this time. 2
How cannabis can be used in throughout your cycle
As a female plant, cannabis is uniquely capable of helping women at all stages of their cycle. Not only can it lower stress levels and provide relief during the painful parts of your cycle, it also has the potential to stimulate creativity, make your workouts better, enhance sex and help in social situations.
Studies have shown the female reproductive system is rich with endocannabinoid receptors and is sensitive to the effects of cannabis. A review of existing studies concluded that “available evidence suggests that cannabinoid exposure does indeed have measurable impacts on female reproductive function.” 3
Finding relief with cannabis products
One of the most exciting things about the legal cannabis market is the product innovation. Visionary entrepreneurs across the globe are stepping up and using cannabis to create solutions from problems that have gone unaddressed. And since the modern medical system provides limited advice or relief for period pain, cannabis is filling the gap.
Laia’s Menstru-Tummy Oil is one such product. Created by women for women, Menstru-Tummy Oil is specifically formulated to use cannabis and other medicinal plants to reduce pain and discomfort during your cycle.
Laia’s Menstru-Tummy Oil harnesses the healing power of cannabis, plant medicine, and the endocannabinoid system to reduce pain, discomfort, and help you relax. Cannabis extract is combined with Eastern and Western healing plants like St. John’s Wort, chili, black seed, as well as functional terpenes, to bring comprehensive and fast-acting relief. This unique herbal remedy triggers different pain modulatory pathways via CB2 receptors, TRPV1 receptors, and numerous other important ion channels in the body hanks to the blend of CBD, BCP and capsaicin. It can be applied directly to the skin during your luteal and menstrual phases when cramps and pain are most likely – giving a warm embrace before and during your period. 4 5
Laia’s FemBalance is a Germany-based company that believes in the power of women and cannabis. By breaking down taboos around the menstrual cycle and cannabis use, Laia aims to empower women to understand their cycles and their bodies to show up as their best selves. Their products are created for people with a uterus to understand that their hormonal cycle is not a curse or a detriment – it’s your greatest superpower.
- Thiyagarajan DK, Basit H, Jeanmonod R. Physiology, Menstrual Cycle. [Updated 2021 Oct 30]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK500020/
- Reed BG, Carr BR. The Normal Menstrual Cycle and the Control of Ovulation. [Updated 2018 Aug 5]. In: Feingold KR, Anawalt B, Boyce A, et al., editors. Endotext [Internet]. South Dartmouth (MA): MDText.com, Inc.; 2000-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279054/
- Corsi DJ, Murphy MSQ, Cook J. The Effects of Cannabis on Female Reproductive Health Across the LifeCourse. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2021;6(4):275-287. doi:10.1089/can.2020.0065
- Muller C, Morales P, Reggio PH. Cannabinoid Ligands Targeting TRP Channels. Front Mol Neurosci. 2019;11:487. Published 2019 Jan 15. doi:10.3389/fnmol.2018.00487
- Hashiesh HM, Sharma C, Goyal SN, et al. A focused review on CB2 receptor-selective pharmacological properties and therapeutic potential of β-caryophyllene, a dietary cannabinoid. Biomed Pharmacother. 2021;140:111639. doi:10.1016/j.biopha.2021.111639
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