Can Pot Help With PMS?

This  Tuesday, Democratic Assembly members Tim Eustace, L. Grace Spencer and Angelica Jimenez introduced a bill that would loosen the state's strict medical marijuana law to allow women to get pot-based products to ease menstrual cramps. Taylor West, the deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, a nonprofit trade group, said she's not aware of any other state that specifically list cramps as an ailment authorized for medical marijuana use. But she said that it has likely been prescribed for menstrual cramps in states where doctors have more leeway in prescribing medical marijuana. This is not a joke.  Under current New Jersey law, marijuana is limited to use for a specific list of ailments, including multiple sclerosis, terminal cancer, muscular dystrophy, and other chronic illnesses. It's also approved for seizures and glaucoma if resistant to conventional treatment. That's right, if this is passed, women with severe PMS symptoms will be legally allowed to consume cannabis.  This may be a huge step toward legalizing marijuana; however, I would hope that non-terminal cancer patients, or children suffering from conditions in which science has proven the herbal plant can help with - that they would be considered 'in need' of consuming cannabis as well as PMS sufferers. New Jersey has become more strict with its cannabis laws under the current legislation, requiring each patient purchase a $200 medical card instead of providing doctor's consent.  This law would surely create an entirely new market for cannabis consumption. Whoopi Goldberg has been working along side of edibles manufacturer Maya Elisabeth to launch an edible cannabis line targeting the women who suffer from extreme PMS. The line includes THC-infused creams, bath salts and chocolate. The products are set to be available soon in a handful of dispensaries in California, where users need a doctor's authorization to buy a wide range of marijuana or pot-based products.  Their products would (of course) be available in New Jersey when and if the bill is approved.
Background Information on PMS: Women who suffer PMS likely have different hormonal changes than women who do not. The symptoms of premenstrual syndrome are often physical, behavioral and mental/emotional. Physical symptoms include:
  • headaches
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • gas
  • bloating
  • cravings
  • altered sex drive
  • insomnia
  • sleeping too much
  • lowered coordination
  • fatigue
  • pain -- similar to period cramps.
  • Mental symptoms include:
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • confusion and negative thoughts/feelings
Behavioral symptoms include:
  • mood swings
  • fits of hostility or anger
The severity of these symptoms differs between women with premenstrual syndrome and tend to get more severe as the women near menopause. Medical marijuana has not been shown to aid in restoring normal hormone levels. Therefore, it probably cannot treat the believed hormonal cause of premenstrual syndrome. Nonetheless, it may treat some of the symptoms and is well known to be able to treat others, such as headaches.  It needs to be stated that pot is still illegal in most of the U.S., and is in legal limbo, to some degree or another, in much of the U.S. where medical marijuana makes it available. Medical marijuana is a known treatment for headaches. It has been shown to help treatment resistant migraines and cluster headaches, which are among the most painful headaches a person can experience. There are some theories that medical marijuana affects parts of the brain that cause such headaches. However, it is also known to have limited pain relief benefits as well. Research is indicating that medical marijuana may work well in conjunction with other pain relievers to both increase pain relief and decrease dosages of potentially dangerous pain medications. The Benefits of Pot for PMS:
  • Marijuana can indeed work to temporarily relieve PMDD and PMS symptoms, including anxiety, pain, and more.
  • Most women can use marijuana temporarily, without descending into abuse or overuse, to relieve their symptoms. For these women, it can be a very good solution for occasional and temporary relief.
Other Information to Note:
  • Marijuana is NOT the only natural alternative to antidepressants and birth control hormones.
  • There are many natural alternatives for PMS and PMDD. It is simply incorrect to assume that your choice is either prescription drugs, or marijuana, with no other possible solutions.
  • Marijuana has the potential for abuse. People become addicted to it, perhaps psychologically rather than physically, but there is no doubt that for some people, it lowers their level of functioning, and they’re using it as a way to avoid their problems. Although, more and more people are using it, only when they need it, to deal with insomnia, pain, chemotherapy side effects, and yes, PMS and PMDD symptoms
  • Too much marijuana is a depressant, and that is not a good thing for a woman with PMS and PMDD.
  • When abused, marijuana probably has permanent central nervous system effects. Too much of any drug, including alcohol, does not make you smarter or more stable, and probably does the opposite, and some of these effects—from long term use—are not reversible.
  • It’s always better to treat the cause, rather than just ameliorate symptoms. Marijuana treats the symptoms of PMS and PMDD only. (For many women, this is all they want: something to take the edge off for a few days per month. As long as it is only used for those few symptomatic days per month, that’s fine. More chronic use, however, can aggravate tendencies towards depression and create dependency.)
What are your thoughts?
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