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8 Best Strains for Menstrual Cramps

graphical image of an ovary

Throughout history, cannabis has been used to treat menstrual cramps. Depending on their severity, symptoms associated with menstruation can interfere with an individual’s school, work, and social activities. Recent research has found promising evidence that medical marijuana can help with period pain relief and alleviate other post-menstrual-stress (PMS) symptoms such as mood swings, chronic pain, and more severe concerns such as endometriosis.

Based on their unique formulation of cannabinoids and terpenes, some of the best strains for menstrual cramps include:

  • Lavender
  • Blue Dream
  • Skywalker OG
  • Pink Kush
  • White Widow
  • Sour Diesel
  • Purple Urkle
  • Hawaiian Snow

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How Cannabis Affects Menstrual Cramps

Menstruation is when the uterus sheds its lining and unfertilized egg. The muscular organs around the uterus contract and shift before and during menstruation, sometimes resulting in painful cramps.

Over-the-counter painkillers like Tylenol or Midol or hormonal contraception are often used to treat uncomfortable premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and menstrual symptoms. Increasingly, natural alternatives like warm baths, yoga, and cannabis products are taking over as preferred remedies for period discomfort.

While the research is limited, studies are unearthing more evidence on how medical marijuana can help relieve symptoms such as cramps and general menstrual pain. The mechanism by which cannabis alleviates symptoms of more painful periods is uncertain. Some speculation suggests that the psychoactive properties of cannabinoids like THC interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) to help alleviate the sensation of pain.

Cannabidiol (CBD) has also emerged as a promising medical cannabis option for relieving menstrual cramps. The cannabinoid’s analgesic (i.e., pain-relieving) and anti-inflammatory properties can help relax constricting muscles in the pelvis while also helping relieve headaches, back tension, and other period pain-related issues.

While no specific research to date has examined the efficacy of CBD for PMS symptoms, an extensive body of research supports its powerful pain management properties and its ability to lift low moods and relieve anxiety.

Best Ways to Use Cannabis for Period Cramps

The best way to consume cannabis for period cramps depends entirely on the person’s specific physiology, needs, and preferences. For example, those seeking a fast-acting pain reliever may smoke or inhale cannabis flower or concentrates, particularly if they want to treat severe pain.

Alternatively, edibles are slower-acting but much longer lasting, providing more potent effects with smaller doses. For example, those seeking to sleep through the night may choose edibles for longer-lasting symptom relief.

Topicals may also alleviate specific sites of cramping, such as in the lower abdomen or back. Some people who menstruate also have found success with vaginal suppositories that dissolve internally and deliver relief directly to the cannabinoid receptors in the lower pelvic region.

Best Strains for Menstrual Cramps

When it comes to the best strains (i.e., cultivars or chemovars) for menstrual cramps, try to opt for a more balanced ratio of THC to CBD. This will do the trick for those seeking pain relief while balancing the psychoactive effects of THC. Similarly, seek out strains with terpenes that have analgesic or mood-lifting properties. Terpenes to look out for include myrcene, pinene, linalool, and beta-caryophyllene. Of course, what works for one person may not work for another. You may need to try several strains to determine which works best.

Lavender

Lavender is an excellent cannabis choice for those who need relief from more severe pain. This indica-dominant hybrid reportedly produces a potent physical relief that washes away the pain sensation while improving one’s overall outlook on life. Lavender’s high linalool content also contributes to its stress-relieving properties and unique floral scent, while its higher levels of myrcene set users up for a pain-free night of sleep.

Blue Dream

Blue Dream is a gentle sativa strain that produces uplifting results without causing anxiety. Users report that Blue Dream creates a peaceful evening or mild daytime strain that keeps one’s day happy and pain-free. It also contains higher levels of beta-caryophyllene and pinene, which can help mitigate the fatigue associated with premenstrual syndrome symptoms.

Skywalker OG

Skywalker OG is a higher potency cultivar with THC levels often surpassing 20%, though its higher percentage of myrcene and linalool make its high more relaxing and pain-relieving. Beginning users should start with small amounts but will reportedly find effective pain relief for stubborn cramps.

Pink Kush

Pink Kush is a coveted member of the OG Kush family, prized for its strong body stone and long-lasting effects. Its hefty percentage of myrcene also helps to relax stress or anxiety associated with periods, making it helpful for dodging insomnia and achieving restful, lasting sleep. For those seeking effective cannabis pain management and relaxation during their menstrual cycle, Pink Kush offers a delicious and fast-acting option.

White Widow

This balanced hybrid cultivar is beloved for its mood-boosting effects that inspire and relax simultaneously. Those with periods opt for White Widow to relieve unwieldy mood swings and fatigue, savoring its more creative and cerebral high that uplifts more than it sedates.

Sour Diesel

Sour Diesel is another cannabis strain with energizing and uplifting effects producing a gentle, lilting high. When dosed appropriately, this strain is not overly potent yet highly effective. Sour Diesel is a good choice for squashing the depression associated with fluctuating hormone levels while soothing mild to moderate cramp pains.

Purple Urkle

Purple Urkle is a descendant of the indica-leaning Mendocino Purps and is a good choice for evening-time pain relief. Its potent body buzz comes from its higher myrcene and pinene concentrations, which filter out the pain sensation while blanketing the mind in a soft euphoria. When you need to get a good night’s sleep free from cramps or back pain, Purple Urkle may do the trick.

Hawaiian Snow

​​A little goes a long way with Hawaiian Snow, which can lift low moods and banish fatigue in just a few minutes. This award-winning sativa-dominant hybrid strain is an energizing, high-potency choice perfect for electrifying the start of one’s day. Moderate doses reportedly provide pain relief, making Hawaiian Snow a convenient one-stop-strain to address many types of period-related symptoms.

The Bottom Line

While the research on medical cannabis and its potential to treat menstruation symptoms is lacking, many studies investigate cannabis’s potential to relieve pain, anxiety, and other period-related symptoms.

Hundreds of anecdotal reports also celebrate medical marijuana’s ability to alleviate period cramps and other PMS symptoms. If you’re looking for a natural way to address concerns during your menstrual cycle, it’s important to speak to your doctor about the best cannabis products for your specific needs.

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