Cannabis Science

Does Weed Help With Cramps?

nine tampons against a blue background

While marijuana research is ongoing, evidence is pointing to marijuana being useful to help with some health problems. Pain, which plagues so many people worldwide, is one of those problems. Over the past couple of years, there have been talks about marijuana helping with period cramps? Are these claims true? Does weed help with cramps or is it just misinformation. Here’s what we know. 

Photo: Unsplash

Does Weed Help With Period Cramps?

As mentioned before, there is evidence that weed helps with different types of pain. There are studies showing that weed may be beneficial for migraines or for chronic pain like in the case of sickle cell anemia. 

Interestingly, Queen Victoria was prescribed weed for help with period cramps. However, there aren’t any studies focused on weed and period cramps. At the same time, we know stoners have used weed for cramps and have said they work. More on that later. 

In regards to weed’s effectiveness in treating cramps, Leena Nathan, an obstetrician-gynecologist at UCLA Health, told Vice, “It’s hard to say, just based on how cramps during menstrual cycles work.”

According to Vice, doctors and scientists aren’t clear about how weed could help cramps. Yes, there is some understanding of how weed helps pain in general. As Very Well Mind states, endocannabinoids which are part of the endocannabinoids play a part in pain and inflammation relief. In addition to that, THC and CBD have analgesic (pain relieving properties). Very Well Mind states weed works by releasing “the “feel-good” hormone dopamine in the brain while reducing inflammation in the nerves and joints.”

However the way these cannabinoids work may not impact period cramps.

To further explain, Vice states, “Cramps are largely caused by hormones called prostaglandins, which are released from the lining of the uterus and signal it to contract”. Vice continues to explain that prostaglandins also cause inflammation that leads to more pain. 

As Very Well Mind explains, other medications used to treat menstrual such as Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) target and bind to the COX receptor in the brain and elsewhere. Weed isn’t known to target that receptor. In addition to that, there’s no evidence that the cannabinoids affect prostaglandin production. 

So, How Can Weed Help?

All hope isn’t lost. Weed may still be useful. According to Very Well Mind, THC may cause euphoria. Euphoria may reduce your pain perception and therefore make you feel better. As for CBD, Very Well Mind says, “CBD’s effect on menstrual cramps remains unknown and largely unsubstantiated.”

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However, Nathan told Vice that they can’t fully recommend using weed to relieve menstrual cramps. Nathan is erring on the side of caution due to the lack of information on the efficacy and safety of doing that. 

What About Marijuana Tampons?

We did a whole article on marijuana tampons and if they work for menstrual cramps or not. Many people report that they do work for them. Marijuana tampons are inserted into the vagina and the cannabinoids pass through the vaginal mucosa to the problem area. After about 20 minutes, the cramps should be gone. 

Here’s a Buzzfeed video showing two people trying marijuana tampons and reviewing them:

Women Try “Weed Tampons” For Period Cramps

Sounds too good to be true? Not everyone is buying into the hype. Nathan told Vice that they’re not sure about how safe these tampons are. Vice says, “We don’t know how, or how much, of the active ingredients might be absorbed into the vagina, or how that entry point might be different from the lungs.”

What About CBD Oil For Menstrual Cramps?

Besides ingesting weed and using a weed tampon, people have tried CBD oil to relieve menstrual cramps. CFAH says that CBD and its products, including oil, may help to relieve cramps. 

Their reasoning is that CBD inhibits COX-2 and so could relieve period cramps. CFAH says, “By focusing solely on the COX-2, CBD can reduce inflammation without causing stomach irritation and other side effects linked to typical over-the-counter pain relievers.”

To use CBD oil to relieve cramps, CFAH suggests:

  • Place your desired dose under the tongue. Effects take about 15-20 minutes.
  • Add CBD oil to food or drink. Effects take about 40–90 minutes.
  • Add CBD to a vape pen. Effects take 5-10 minutes

Other Marijuana Products for Cramps

There are several other weed products that people use for cramps such as tinctures. There isn’t much research done on it. However, what we do have are reviews done by people on their periods. 

In the As/Is YouTube video below, people use a tincture, bath salts, and a body balm infused with weed:

Women Try Whoopi Goldberg’s Weed For Period Pain

The women that reviewed the products say that they do work for them. 


Period cramps are a pain, no pun intended. Does weed help with cramps? While there are other over-the-counter options, some stoners rely on weed to help with cramps. However, there isn’t a lot of science showing that they do work. On the other hand, regular people have been reviewing weed and weed-infused products and claiming they work. Naturally regulation and safety of some of these products are questionable. Finally, if you have really bad cramps, it’s worth paying a visit to see if there is something seriously wrong.


About Trevann

Trevann is Stoner Rotation’s Jamaica-based lead writer for the Science section of our cannabis blog. She graduated with honors receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of West Indies, Mona. For the last three years, she has covered some of the biggest questions around cannabis and health underpinned with research from supporting studies, medical journals and scholarly articles. Got something on your mind? You can reach her at [email protected].