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Lifestyle, Research

The Best Cannabis Strains for Menstrual Pain

Lemetria Whitehurst

by Lemetria Whitehurst

March 22, 2024 08:00 am ET Estimated Read Time: 6 Minutes
Fact checked by Kymberly Drapcho Medically reviewed by Dr. Abraham Benavides
The Best Cannabis Strains for Menstrual Pain

Menstrual pain, also called dysmenorrhea, is the quintessentially annoying monthly discomfort experienced by most biological women during their fertile years. This painful but necessary biological process, which ranges from mild discomfort to severe cramps, can interfere with daily activities and quality of life in general.

Traditionally, premenstrual symptoms (PMS) and the more severe premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) are managed with over-the-counter medications. Research doesn’t show a clear benefit for PMS when using combination birth control pills (levonorgestrel plus ethinylestradiol) or other hormonal medications. Science has also yet to find any medicine effective for PMDD, and the side effects of hormonal medications need to be considered.

However, in recent years, attention has turned to more holistic approaches for relief. Among these, certain cannabis strains have emerged as a viable alternative. By its very nature, this miraculous plant offers an alleviating natural remedy. 

So, why is cannabis such a good alternative, and which strains work the best for PMS symptoms? Here’s how cannabis has become a pivotal treatment for menstrual pain in women, signaling a shift in how women manage their reproductive health.

Understanding The Science Behind Menstrual Pain and How Cannabis Can Help

Commonly referred to as dysmenorrhea, menstrual pain presents as:

  • Stomach cramping
  • Back pain
  • Nausea
  • Headaches

This is due to the release of prostaglandins, hormone-like substances involved in pain and inflammation responses. With PMS, the body’s production of prostaglandins increases, leading to the contraction of the uterine muscles, resulting in pain and discomfort.

They are also responsible for other symptoms associated with menstrual pain, such as stomach aches and headaches. Psychiatric symptoms like anxiety and depression can also appear or worsen in susceptible individuals during PMS, especially during PMDD.

So, how does cannabis work to get rid of these unwanted symptoms?

The power of cannabis for menstrual pain stems from its interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). Notably, ECS receptors are plentiful in the female reproductive system, including the vagina. This makes topical cannabis applications, like creams or suppositories, especially beneficial for localized relief from menstrual discomfort.

Furthermore, the percentage of THC vs. CBD in a strain is key for addressing specific symptoms. For example, strains that tend to have more THC can offer pain relief in addition to psychoactive effects, while CBD provides anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving benefits without the high.

Traditional Treatments for Menstrual Pain Need Improvement

Traditional approaches to treating menstrual pain have primarily revolved around the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and pain relievers like acetaminophen

These OTC medications are often the first line of defense and go-to remedies for millions of women. They are historically praised for decreasing the production of prostaglandins, which in turn lessens uterine contractions and inflammation and relieves pain. 

However, their relief comes with a few caveats. Prolonged use of NSAIDs and acetaminophen has been associated with a range of adverse side effects. These include, but are not limited to, risks to liver health, damage to the kidneys and stomach lining, and the potential development of ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding. 

As a result, these issues reinforce the need for limited and cautious use of OTC medicines.

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  • Larger purchase limits
  • Peace of mind
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  • Access to higher potency strains
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  • Skip the line at the dispensary

Cannabis Strains for Menstrual Pain Relief

In a quest to help mitigate the risks associated with using OTC medications for menstrual pain, some cannabis strains are becoming increasingly popular for their natural healing abilities. 

These strains target the multi-layered nature of PMS symptoms. Some of the best strains for period pain include:


Known for its high CBD-to-THC ratio, ACDC can help reduce inflammation and pain without making you feel high. It can be particularly useful for those seeking relief from cramps and body aches with little buzz.


As a sativa strain with a high CBD content, Harlequin is praised for its ability to combat inflammation and pain while also providing a mild, uplifting effect. It may be helpful in managing headaches and mood swings.

Sour Diesel:

This hybrid strain can offer an energetic lift for those experiencing fatigue and pain. It’s renowned for its ability to provide pain relief while elevating mood and providing an energy boost thanks to its blend of stimulating citrus terpenes.

Granddaddy Purple:

As an indica, GDP is ideal for those who have trouble sleeping due to menstrual pain, Granddaddy Purple has sedative properties that can help promote relaxation and sleep. It may also be helpful in managing nausea and muscle spasms.

Blue Dream:

The sativa-dominant hybrid Blue Dream offers balanced effects that alleviate pain and anxiety while uplifting mood. It is suitable for daytime use and may help with cramps, nausea, headaches, and mood changes without making you feel tired.

Ginger Punch (Hobbit):

Known for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, this strain can help with nausea and digestive issues, making it a good option for those who experience gastrointestinal symptoms during their period. It’s high in terpenes like limonene and delta-3-carene that can help regulate and calm stomach movements.

It’s helpful to note that effects can depend on your body chemistry, the strain’s cannabinoid profile, and the consumption method. As always, it’s best to start with low doses and go slow, especially if you’re trying a new strain or are new to cannabis.

Unconventional Remedies: What Are CBD Tampons?

A lot of clever products have emerged as a result of the expansion of the cannabis industry. Did you know that CBD-infused tampons are a thing? 

By delivering CBD directly to the affected area, these tampons offer targeted relief from cramps, inflammation, and pain, harnessing CBD’s anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties in a powerful new way. This direct application method maximizes cannabinoid absorption in the pelvic area, providing a steady and possibly more effective relief compared to other consumption methods for menstrual pain.

The Final Takeaway

Using cannabis for menstrual pain relief offers hope for those seeking alternatives to traditional medications. With an understanding of how cannabinoids interact with the body’s ECS and also non-cannabinoid receptors, and the emergence of CBD-infused tampons, we now have access to a wider range of options for treatment of dysmenorrhea. 

As we continue to embrace these holistic approaches, remember to consult your doctor or pharmacist, who’ll help you evaluate personal health conditions when selecting the most suitable method. Ultimately, this shift towards combining natural and targeted treatments paves the way for more personalized menstrual pain management, a major step forward in health and wellness.

Note: The content on this page is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be professional medical advice. Do not attempt to self-diagnose or prescribe treatment based on the information provided. Always consult a physician before making any decision on the treatment of a medical condition.

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