By Maggie McCutcheon
Cramps: a friendly reminder your body is working as it’s supposed to and you’re not pregnant. Also: searing pain so bad for some women they have to miss work or even have to go to the hospital. There are options to help. Hot compresses are lovely but definitely not the most portable (neither is a hot bath) and pain pills like ibuprofen may work but come with risks and interactions and put a heavy load on your system. So what can a busy woman do?
Treating cramps and period-related symptoms with cannabis products may seem like a no-brainer but, when it comes to effectiveness, it really comes down to the type of strain. Since different strains may not be carried by your neighbourhood dispensary, let’s take a look at what makes it effective instead.
As you may already know, the compounds found in the flowers of the cannabis plant are what make each strain unique. Terpenes act with Cannabinoids to work better, faster, and more effectively so fragrance and flavour are going to be signs you’re choosing right.
Since it’s cramps being targeted, the perfect strain will have to be good for pain and for inflammation. Ideally, it may even be a sativa to help cure the moody blues that come around too.
Here are some of the more effective terpenes, their benefits, and strains known for having them. Try a few and see what works:
CBD & Sabinene
CBD is, of course, the poster child for anti-inflammation cannabinoids. It soothes anxiety as well as pain and inflammation and doesn’t get you so twisted you can’t be at work. Naturally, as a professional option, CBD oil or edibles will be the way to go. Another bonus of CBD is that the oils produced also (usually) contain Sabinene. This terpene is found specifically in high quality, full-spectrum CBD oils and is truly effective as it works synergistically with cannabinoids to fight pain and inflammation. Also found in nutmeg, marjoram, and black pepper, its spicy aroma is noticeable even at low concentrations.
Suggestions: high quality full spectrum CBD oil, Charlotte’s Web, MediHaze.
Humulene is found in so many plants and flowers but it is particularly abundant in marijuana. It gives hops its pungent and tangy fragrance, as well as giving sage, ginger, and ginseng their spice. Though Humulene stars as a natural defence for the plant, it is also an effective anti-inflammatory compound and its anti-cancer effects are being researched. A study from 2003 suggests this terpene is as effective against inflammation as steroid Dexamethasone so why not try the natural alternative?
Suggestions: Girl Scout Cookies, White Widow, Headband, Sour Diesel, Pink Kush, Skywalker OG.
The most abundant of all the terpenes found in this beloved plant, Myrcene is also a clutch player. It is responsible for that undeniable weed smell and strains with more than 0.5% Myrcene are known for their sedative effects typically associated with indicas. But it is also known for its ability to fight inflammation and help soothe chronic pain. Mangoes also contain a lot of Myrcene and it’s said that eating one will increase the effectiveness of the cannabis. Who cares if it doesn’t work… they taste amazing!
Suggestions: Skunk XL, Cheese, White Widow, Special Kush, Obama Kush, mangoes.
Hard to pronounce, easy to swallow: Beta Caryophyllene is the only terpene known to act on the endocannabinoid system in the body, or: a population of receptors and transmitters throughout the nervous system that regulates processes like fertility, pregnancy, natal development (pre and post), appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory. It’s also what processes cannabinoids when you consume them. To stop those pain receptors from firing up, you’re going to want to turn to strains rich in this compound. Bonus: this guy targets anxiety and depression really well too. If you’re feeling down and out, Beta Caryophyllene will lift you up… and up.
Suggestions: Sour Diesel, OG Kush, Bubba Kush, Death Star, Blue Dream.