Treating menstrual symptoms with marijuana
By Brittney MacDonald, Life & Style Editor
If you were born biologically female and are relatively healthy, chances are you’ve had to deal with having your period. Going through your menstrual cycle often means constant and persistent pain, as well as uncontrollable emotional responses and the weight of social stigma. For those of you who have never experienced it, it’s a little like having the flu for about a week. You get the fever, the aches, the extreme fatigue, and the temperamental stomach—throw in the fact that your body is losing key nutrients, so you’re most likely anemic as well, and that will give you a general idea of what it’s like. And let’s not forget the constant paranoia of the all-dreaded “accident.”
Unfortunately, having your period is feminine specific, so even the most understanding man is incapable of being truly sympathetic. That isn’t to say a well-intentioned boyfriend, friend, or relative isn’t a great asset to have during this time—but according to our male-dominated society, having your period just isn’t that much of a concern. Don’t believe me? Ever try and call in sick on your first cycle day? Generally, the first day or two is when the cramps are at their worst—for some it even impairs their ability to walk. But if you try to call in sick and use menstruation-related pain as an excuse, you run the risk of being accused of being overly dramatic, and it could also get your fired.
Personally, I am not aware of any cases where someone has argued this as a case of gender discrimination and won, but I am aware of a few who have done so and lost. Their defence? Plenty of women go through it every day and they’re fine. Women are socially conditioned to think that acknowledging the negative aspects of their femininity, such as their menses, is a sign of weakness. If you’ve ever taken a gender studies course, you’d know that this is because our society is patriarchal and men find periods “icky”—that’s totally a technical term, by the way.
But not to fear. We have hit a point in time where the feminine voice is becoming increasingly harder to ignore. Strangely enough, this has greatly affected the growing legal marijuana industry.
It’s no secret that young women have been using pot to combat period symptoms since the ’60s. We can see this portrayed in popular movies like Ginger Snaps and The Virgin Suicides. But I guess no one told the legal marijuana industry—at least, not until Whoopi Goldberg and her business partner, Maya Elisabeth, came along.
In 2016, the two women launched a line of products that feature cannabis specifically to treat menstrual symptoms. When asked what inspired this, Goldberg told BuzzFeed that it arose when she questioned a friend who worked at High Times—a magazine themed around marijuana use—about someone marketing the drug towards people who suffer from menstrual cramps. Her friend claimed that the market was “too niche,” which Goldberg and Elisabeth found an unacceptable and frankly untrue excuse. In the same interview with BuzzFeed, Goldberg attributed this attitude as sexism, claiming that “…if a guy has these cramps there would be all kinds of shit out there for that.”
The line itself is called Whoopi & Maya and consists of various creams, bath salts, tinctures, and a chocolate-flavoured spread. The focus is on relief of cramps, but the products also help with relaxation and mood stabilization, including PMS-related depression. People who have tried the products have had mostly positive results, even in cases where the sufferer had other menstrual disorders or ailments that worsened their period experience to near unbearable levels.