PMS Symptoms and Medical Marijuana
Pre Menstrual Syndrome – This is one condition that over 75% of women who menstruate will experience to some degree in their lifetimes. It’s a frustrating and often a very painful experience that can make life seem unbearable at times.
Some pro marijuana doctors have started suggesting cannabis for PMS related issues. If your doctor has diagnosed you with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) then you have a condition that allows you to qualify for a medical marijuana card.
There is ongoing research on PMDD and even though the symptoms seem to suggest hormonal fluctuations are the primary cause. Some scientists hypothesize that women who suffer from PMDD are more sensitive to normal fluctuations. These hormones, estrogen and progesterone, are the ones mostly responsible for premenstrual symptoms and these symptoms are more present in women who have a predisposition to the disorder. There may be a genetic and/or an environmental link as well.
The DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition) has defined a list of specific criteria that must be met before a diagnosis of PMDD can be made:
At least 9 of the following symptoms (including at least 1 of the first 4 listed) must be present in the final week before the onset of menses:
- Mood swings
- Irritability or anger
- Depressed mood
- Anxiety and tension
- Loss of interest in usual activities
- Hard time concentrating
- Lethargy and lack of energy
- Dramatic change in appetite
- Hypersomnia or insomnia
- Feeling overwhelmed or out of control
- Breast tenderness or swelling
- Joint or muscle pain
- Sensations of bloating and weight gain
- Sudden feeling of sadness or tearful
- Increased interpersonal conflicts
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Self-deprecating thoughts
- Increased feelings of being on edge
It seems apparent that these disorders are biologically driven and are not just psychological or cultural phenomena since PMDD is found in women all over the world, indicating this is a biological issue.
PMS, however, may not have it’s own definition or requirement for diagnosis in the DSM-V yet it is still a very real condition and the symptoms can be just as devastating to most women.
If you feel less in control of your feelings or mood before or during your period, crying or being stressed out over the smallest thing, you probably already know that is PMS at work. With the changes in estrogen levels life can seem way more complicated that it normally is.
Medical marijuana has shown the ability to stabilize moods. Research has indicated that the active ingredient in marijuana, THC, binds with the cannabinoid receptor in the brain. This helps calm the over reaction part of the brain and can be a huge benefit to coping with emotional fluctuations.
Specific hormonal situations can cause unpleasant, unreasonable outbursts of anger, confusion and depression. Some Researchers have found that low serotonin levels have developed in a number of PMS sufferers. Since serotonin is integral to feelings of well-being and happiness, lack of it can bring on extreme emotional fluctuations.
Science has found that Medical Marijuana can help increase serotonin levels. CBD has shown to help the receptors in the brain that release serotonin. Once serotonin is released into the brain, a woman may feel calmer and more ready to deal with the other stressors of PMS.
Many menstruating women, over 60%, experience a “flare up” prior to menstruating. When the progesterone levels in women increase (usually a week before menstruating), the oil glands in our skin become more active, which can lead to growth of bacteria that can increase the likelihood of acne happening in some women.
Acne is defined by an outbreak of pimples and overall oily skin. Hormones, genetics or infections are the main cause of the over production of sebum (oil). A few studies have focused on Medicinal Cannabidiol CBD and how it affects overactive sebaceous glands and the resulting acne. It was determined that CBD was very effective as an oil-inhibiting agent.
Alleviating Breast Discomfort
In the week prior to menses, many women experience very tender breasts. Again, this is because of the increase in progesterone production during the pre menstrual cycle. The milk ducts in the breast expanding cause the tenderness. Some symptoms are:
- Sensation of burning
- Extreme pain
There haven’t been any official studies on Cannabis topical rubs and ointments, however, because the THC is in a salve, it doesn’t go into the bloodstream, eliminating the chance of having a psychoactive response and the relief is localized to a specific area of the body.
Many women experience horrible headaches before menstruation. This is because of the decrease in estrogen. Estrogen helps the brain regulate the perception of pain. So, if estrogen is low the brain has fewer resources to help reduce the perception of pain.
Throbbing headaches can be debilitating for some and can become migraines, which are experienced by over 50% of menstruating women. Research has shown that the risk of a migraine increases by over 20% a week prior to menstruating and higher than 70% within a couple days of menses.
Cannabis has been used as a treatment for headaches, and in a study that had a number of adults who suffered from migraines, they reported over 80% fewer migraines over a period of time when using marijuana. How you use marijuana may influence how effective the drug will be.
Today’s science hasn’t conclusively proven whether marijuana decreases the pain of menstrual cramps, however, there many women who believe cannabis has made a huge difference for them. There are many over the counter, and prescription, synthetic medications for menstrual cramps, and all of them have some kind of side effect. For some women, the side effects are as bad, or worse than the cramps. Marijuana has already shown it is highly effective in relieving chronic pain. Menstrual cramps are just another kind of pain.
Like most pain medications, marijuana decreases how much the brain recognizes pain. This can result in relaxing the muscles involved in cramping during menstruation. Cannabis has also been reported to shorten the duration of the menstruation cycle as well but some women feel marijuana use during their periods increased blood flow, therefore decreasing cramps.
Cannabis can help you sleep and wake up feeling more refreshed in the morning. One study found that more than 65% of menstruating women have disrupted sleep for up to 3 nights during their menstrual cycle. Not having a good night’s rest can leave women lethargic and unable to take on normal, everyday tasks. There are a number of health issues that can develop from getting less than 5 hours sleep a night. Some of these are:
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure
Many women have trouble sleeping during their menses because of pain. Some women also suffer from insomnia during that time, which can also prevent them from feeling energized and ready for the day.
This is called premenstrual insomnia and can start a couple of days prior to menstruating. Some doctors believe that a drop in progesterone production right before menstruation causes premenstrual insomnia. This would lead to endless nights of lying awake, in the dark, getting more and more frustrated.
Cannabis is a well-known sleep aid and one study showed that a small amount of CBD helped people fall asleep while another study showed that THC helps people fall asleep faster. So these studies showed that cannabis therapies could help with treating premenstrual insomnia and may be the best sleep aid.
There are chemicals in our bodies called Prostaglandins. These chemicals cause the uterus to contract and can affect the intestines and stomach as well. This contracting can cause painful cramping and diarrhea in the first couple days of menses.
But on the other hand, some women will experience constipation instead.
Because cannabis works on the cannabinoid receptors in the digestive tract, it can relieve many painful symptoms, such as:
- Calm muscle contractions
- Decrease stomach pain
- Improve digestion
Cannabis Can Make PMS Symptoms Easier To Live With
Knowing how much Medical Marijuana is needed to provide relief is very important therefore it is very important to work with a Medical Marijuana Doctor to make sure you are taking the correct dose for you. Too much THC can make some symptoms, like anxiety, worse.
Some doctors believe that using cannabis to relieve menstrual symptoms will cause them to suffer from paranoia, overeating, fatigue, and confusion, making the symptoms of PMS worse. But like any drug, the right dose is the right way to take control of the pain and symptoms. A person does not have to be experiencing psycho-activity to get relief from pain.
Advocates of Medical marijuana have been forthright about the benefits of its treatment on many symptoms. Some studies have found cannabis to be very effective in treating hormonal and emotional disturbances, irritability, insomnia, depression, anxiety, and painful cramping. More intense research is needed to continually find and prove the benefits of marijuana use. In states where Medical marijuana is legal, more studies can be conducted but as long as it’s illegal in most states, getting any sort of funding for studies is very difficult.
Many researchers are hoping that an interest in women’s health and the benefits of Medical marijuana will continue to increase as more states legalize cannabis for not only for medicinal purposes but for recreational use as well.
Like any medication, cannabis is not a complete cure. However, a healthy lifestyle combined with moderate cannabis use is more likely to ease PMS symptoms.
Most importantly, women need the ability to choose. Women need the ability to be in charge of their own health. Every single woman who wants to should be able to make the choice to use cannabis for relief of PMS symptoms.
There are synthetic PMS hormone replacement medications available, however, all of them have side effects:
Unusual sensations on the skin, acne, bloating, breast enlargement, dramatic increase or decrease in sex drive, cramps, voice fluctuations, headaches, hair loss, nausea, unusual body hair, and twitching.
The side effects of cannabis use for PMS symptoms: reduced breast pain, cramps, headaches, stomach upsets, and acne. Better sleep and stabilize moods.
Premenstrual Syndrome – PMS
- Crazy moods, irritability, depression, distraction
- Tender breasts
- Food cravings
- A headache, nausea
Paranormal Management Society
It is well documented that hormonal swings profoundly affect behavior and mood. Certain hormonal dispositions turn a woman’s intuition upside down, triggering unwanted, deviant emotions of anger, confusion, and depression. Researchers found low serotonin levels in some PMS sufferers. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness.
“PMS? You’re damned right I have PMS! It stands for Pass My Shotgun, which means you’d better sleep with one eye open, buster.” – Author: Jane Graves
Medical Marijuana Affects Receptors that Regulate Pain and Emotion
Researchers have found that Cannabinoids, the active ingredients of Medical Marijuana can increase serotonin levels. For people that don’t like to get high, there are new non-psychoactive MMJ products that contain a potent ingredient called Cannabidiol (CBD). CBD has been shown to act on the same receptors that release serotonin. This explains in part, why many patients feel much calmer and happier after taking MMJ medication.
Note: It is important to know that the dose amount is very important, taking too much psychoactive (high in THC) MMJ can make some symptoms, like anxiety worse. Very low doses, even 1 mg of THC or so have been found to work wonders with no psychoactive effects at all.
“A startled giggle burst out of me. Paranormal Management Society. PMS. I hadn’t even thought of it like that.” – Rachel Hawkins, School Spirits
Symptoms – Physical
- Joint & muscle pain
- A headache
- Fluid retention
- tender breasts
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Estratest H.S.
- Esterified estrogens / methyltestosterone
Estratest Side Effects:
Abnormal skin sensation, acne, bloating, breast enlargement, changes in sex drive, cramps, deepening of voice, fluid retention, headache, loss of scalp hair, nausea, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), spotty dark patches on the face, unusual body hair growth, unusual body movements. – Source: www.drugs.com
TESTIMONIALS: How Medical Cannabis helps Treat PMS
“Cannabis Oil is a truly miraculous compound. It can provide relief from severe depression, exhaustion, fibromyalgia, PMS, MS and severe pain, anywhere in the body or mind – wherever there is inflammation.” – Dr. Garland
“Women may have begun using the drug to treat cramps as early as the 9th century. A translation of an Arab text from that time says that women used the juice of cannabis seeds to “treat a migraine, calm uterine pains, and prevent miscarriage.” – 2008 Historical Review of Cannabis treatments in obstetrics and gynecology
“The gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) in hemp seeds produces prostaglandin E1, which reduces the effects of the hormone prolactin. Prolactin is thought to play a role in the physical and emotional symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). GLA in hemp seeds may also help reduce the symptoms of menopause.” – Dr. Mercola
“I used CBD Oil once, and my cramps were completely gone, almost immediately.” – Won’t say
MMJ DOCTOR: PMS patients can legally get access to medical marijuana in California by visiting one of our doctors in San Francisco and San Jose.