Key takeaways.

  • How can you use cannabis for your period cramps?

    Cannabis is best used as an analgesic (i.e. pain killer, or pain reliever) so consider consuming indica cannabis strains to relax the muscles. Otherwise, use cannabis topicals for localised pain relief.

  • How can you use food to reduce period cramps?

    Foods that support liver health can be really helpful — eat lots of cruciferous vegetables and antioxidant rich fruits like goji berries, blackberries, and beetroots.

  • Which herbs can be helpful with period cramps?

    Ginger is a great herb to increase blood flow. Consider adding cinnamon, motherwort, crampbark and dandelion root. These can all help promote the flow of the period.

  • Any other tips?

    Make a ritual out of your period hack. Take a few minutes to drink that cup of tea or have a cannabis-infused bath and focus on relaxing your muscles. Having a ritual can help you develop a better relationship with your period and reduce PMS and period pain.

There’s absolutely no reason why something as natural as a period should be uncomfortable, dreaded, or hated. But for many it is this way. It’s even been somewhat ingrained that period pain is normal. But does that sound right to you? Getting a period is as natural and normal as going to the toilet or sleeping — so why is pain considered normal? 

There are some biological explanations for painful periods. Diseases like endometriosis, Crohn’s disease, and other inflammatory conditions can cause painful periods. Less obvious things like hormone imbalances can also play a role for those who develop period pain later in life, too. But for most, period pain is just an accepted monthly occurrence that seems to happen spontaneously — sometimes bad, sometimes average, sometimes not at all. 

In herbal medicine, we take a little tangent from plain old biology. The foods we eat and the toxins we surround ourselves with can alter the consistency of our body fluids in very minute ways, altering the way all the tubes have to function to move those fluids. And after all — the body is just a bunch of tubes! With these concepts, you can learn how to hack your period cramps with cannabis, food, and herbs — a trifecta for menstruation self-care.

How does your lifestyle affect your period cramps?

How to Hack Your Period Cramps With Cannabis, Food, and Herbs | Wellness | My Supply Co.

Have you ever wondered how the turn of events in one of your menstrual cycles might affect your period cramps? For example, have you ever noticed that your period is heavy and painful after a particularly stressful month? Or a month that you perhaps weren’t taking very good care of your physical health with diet etc?

Our lifestyle choices can affect the way a period feels when it happens and the PMS leading up to it. The food we eat, the amount of alcohol and drugs we consume, whether or not we’re on the contraceptive pill, and how we relate to stress can all impact how painful a period is.

For example, did you know that it’s the liver’s job to metabolise hormones like estrogen? If your liver is overloaded (because of excessive drinking for example) and can’t do its job, those hormones get dumped back into the bowel and are resorbed into the bloodstream. Excess estrogen is linked to period pain and premenstrual symptoms. If the liver is struggling for whatever reason, it can be hard for the body to properly excrete hormones.

Other dietary factors can also play a role, such as iron levels. Anemia is also associated with period pain (remember that blood consistency we were talking about). In herbal medicine, seeing as iron is heating, we say that the blood becomes too cold. When that happens, it easily congeals, making clots that are painful for the uterus to excrete. 

The really good news is that I’ve got a few simple hacks for you to reduce your period cramps with cannabis and basic foods and herbs that you can find in the supermarket. I’ll give you tips on how and when to include these hacks throughout your cycle and the kind of benefits you can expect to see.

How to hack your period cramps with cannabis.

A collage art of women in a spa filled with rose petals and a giant cannabis plant in the background.

The major role that cannabis has to play in menstrual pain is that it is analgesic. It is a pain killer for most and a muscle relaxant, which can help to reduce the spasms in the uterus causing the pain. There is some evidence that cannabis can assist with endometriosis, but in terms of average period pain, it’s primary role is as a pain killer.

There are a few ways that you can use cannabis as pain relief for a period. You can consume cannabis with edibles or flower or oils, you can use cannabis topically, such as in a bath bomb, or you can use a cannabis suppository. All of these ways are outlined in this article about how to use cannabis for period pain.

But there’s one remedy that’s especially useful. And that’s a cannabis topical in the form of a bath bomb or bath salt. I say this because bath bombs and bath salts often contain magnesium, a mineral that is known to assist with period cramping and pain. It also happens to be that through the skin is the best way to absorb magnesium

Topical cannabis helps to reduce muscle spasms and provide localized pain relief. So as you’re probably imagining, cannabis and magnesium make a lovely pair in the bath tub for cramping muscles and period pain. 

For extra relaxation purposes, consider bringing your favourite indica vape to the tub with you. Indica strains are relaxing and sedative, giving your muscles and cerebrals a chance to relax and let it all flow. If you’re not into vaping, consider indica edibles as a sweet treat before jumping in the tub.

CBD vs. THC for period pain.

When it comes to tackling period pain, CBD and THC often emerge as key players, each offering unique benefits and considerations. Let's break down their roles in managing menstrual discomfort.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is celebrated for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties sans the mind-altering effects associated with THC. Research suggests that CBD-rich treatments can significantly alleviate pain, anxiety, and depression symptoms in individuals dealing with moderate to severe menstrual issues. Additionally, CBD's potential to relax smooth muscle cells could make it a valuable ally in combating menstrual cramps.

On the other hand, THC, the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, also boasts pain-relieving capabilities. However, its mind-altering effects may not be everyone's cup of tea. Studies hint at a synergistic relationship between THC and CBD, where their combined action may outshine their individual effects—a phenomenon often dubbed the "entourage effect."

Recent research delves deeper into the dynamics between these compounds. Some studies suggest that THC/CBD combinations yield promising reductions in pain scores, although not all findings reach statistical significance. Moreover, investigations into the interaction of orally administered THC and CBD shed light on how CBD can modulate THC's effects, potentially intensifying its pain-relieving properties.

There are additional studies and reviews that have explored the effects of CBD and/or THC on period pain:

2019 review of studies into CBD as a treatment for PMS suggested that cannabis may be helpful with chronic and acute pain relief, and cannabis and CBD may provide relief for similar symptoms.

2020 research review concluded that it is not possible to definitively state that CBD is solely responsible for reducing pain symptoms, as many products used in studies contain THC as well.

While there is limited data focusing specifically on using CBD for menstrual cramps, CBD’s anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties may help provide relief, according to a 2015 animal study with rats.

real-world evidence study from a Canadian medical cannabis clinic found that CBD-rich treatment has a beneficial impact on pain, anxiety, and depression symptoms as well as overall well-being for patients with moderate to severe symptoms.

Research published in Frontiers in Immunology found that CBD can reduce inflammation that causes breast pain and bloating during periods.

In 2021 and 2022, studies tested the capacity of CBD in lowering period pain, often combining THC with CBD for a more effective formulation.

These studies highlight the potential benefits of CBD and THC for period pain, but also underscore the need for more research to fully understand their effectiveness and safety. It’s also important to remember that individual responses to CBD and THC can vary, and consulting with a healthcare professional is advisable before using these substances for period pain management.

From the pantry.

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3 CBD : 1 THC Oil offers the perfect harmony of CBD and THC to tackle period pain, menstrual cramps, and muscle spasticity. The high CBD concentration relieves inflammation, relaxes your nervous system, and eases your body back to homeostasis, while the THC interacts with different pathways to reduce pain and inflammation.

Just be aware that our products are seriously potent. If you're new, you'll benefit more from starting with a lower dose and working your way up. We cover this in-depth in our cannabis dosage guide. For a guide that's specific to CBD, check out our CBD dosage guide.

How to hack your period cramps with food.

A collage art of Charlie Chaplin holding a golf club and a golf bag full of green beans. A concept of food and health.

I briefly mentioned how even just a weakened liver from toxins or drugs can affect how you metabolise hormones like estrogen or cortisol. So you can also use food to strengthen your metabolic processes, build your blood, and regulate hormones. 

The first step is the obvious, albeit difficult one. Avoid processed carbohydrates and refined sugars as much as possible. But carbohydrates themselves are actually very important for people — so enjoy lots of whole grains, vegetables and legumes. 

If you’re not eating red meat, it’s important to consider from which sources you’re getting bioavailable iron and Vitamin B6. Omega-3 and Omega-6, which are essential fatty acids that can be found in fatty fish such as salmon, are also important for menstruating people. Regular consumption or supplementation with essential fatty acids is also thought to help with period cramps and PMS.

Throughout your cycle, include lots of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts and similar leafy greens) as these vegetables are liver heroes. They help the body eradicate toxins, they contain antioxidants, and they help to reduce inflammation. Cruciferous vegetables are able to do this because they contain compounds called indoles. In addition to broccoli, enjoy all matter of purple fruits and vegetables. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, goji berries, and beetroots should be a big part of the diet of anybody with PMS and period cramps. Think about the colour of blood and how these fruits resemble that!

Seed cycling.

Seed cycling is a regime that rotates between certain edible seeds throughout the menstrual cycle. It is controversial in that there’s no scientific evidence yet that this technique is effective. It’s rumoured to work by regulating the estrogen-progesterone ratio, two hormones which dominate the menstrual cycle. It’s a simple, naturopathic regimen.

Here's how to seed cycle:

Let’s start on the basic premise of a 28 day period. Even if you don’t know period biology very well, imagine it as one cycle with two halves. In the first half, your body is preparing for ovulation and in the second half, it’s either pregnant or it’s preparing to menstruate. They’re separated by a fertile period of a couple of days when fertilization is possible. 

Day 1 marks the beginning of your period. Between days 1 and 14, your body should be producing a lot of estrogen to prepare for ovulation. So each day for days 1-14, eat 1-2 tablespoons of flax and pumpkin seeds. These seeds contain plant-derived estrogen and can help the body boost estrogen levels. 

Between days 14-28, progesterone prepares the uterine lining to thicken and be expelled. So in this part of the cycle, naturally progesteronic seeds are used to help boost progesterone levels and bring on a smooth period. For these 14 days, you can eat 1-2 tablespoons of sesame and sunflower seeds

Use the seeds however you want — in smoothies, on salads, blended into seed butter. It’s entirely your choice. It’s important to remember that hormones aren’t the same as neurotransmitters. They’re slower acting. It can take up to 3 months for hormone levels to regulate and for the benefits of foods to be observed on period health.

How to hack period cramps with herbs.

An illustration of a jar full of orange slices; a concept of how to hack your period cramps with herbs.

Remember earlier when I mentioned how the consistency of blood can change ever so slightly as well as its “temperature”, so to speak? This is where herbs come in. Think about blood as a fluid. When fluids are warm, they are soft, flowing, and move easily through passages. When they are cold and hardened or thick, they don’t easily travel through passages. We can use herbs to help warm the blood so that it can be expelled easily.

If you haven’t already, you should drink ginger tea on the days you get your period. You can drink it every morning if you like, but it’s an especially useful herb when you’re experiencing period pain. 

Consider adding cinnamon, crampbark, dandelion root, or motherwort to your herbal tea, as well. These are uterine tonics and blood stimulants while crampbark is an analgesic and muscle relaxant. Add some rose petals or chamomile flowers to soothe the soul at the same time. 

Make a ritual out of your period hacks.

All of these period hacks will be even more effective if you can manage to make a ritual out of them. By that, I mean turning your bath into a consciously relaxing experience and not just a “prescribed activity”. Same goes with the foods and the herbs. When you’re drinking your tea or your smoothie, sit down with it and take time to focus on yourself and your body.

The ritual part connects you better to your period. Seed cycling even helps you follow and track the days of your period. This is another way to tune into cycles, your own cycle, the moon cycle, and the ritual that is a monthly bleed. When you have your period, indulge yourself and don’t work too hard. The more you can relax, the less pain you’ll experience and the freer you’ll feel.

Do you already have some period pain rituals? What are your favourite hacks for period cramps or which ones did you try? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Read: 3 Ways to Use Cannabis for Period Pain

Read: CBD And Cannabis For Endometriosis

Read: Treating PCOS With Cannabis: Does It Work?

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