Many people use marijuana for migraines or are on medical marijuana for anxiety. Some people use weed as a sleep aid, as part of their cancer treatment or to stimulate their appetite when it needs it.
There is even a type of CBD oil – a concentrate derived from the cannabis plant – which has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of two different forms of epilepsy, Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Many other suspected health benefits of cannabis oil have yet to be determined.
But what about women and weed?
Increasing numbers of women are learning about various cannabis health benefits and starting to explore them for themselves. Women already play a major role in the cannabis industry and there are large numbers of cannabis products specifically designed for women.
Let’s take a look at the ways in which people, in general, are starting to turn towards marijuana and its potential health benefits. As well as those benefits which might be of use to women in particular…
What are the health benefits of cannabis?
Generally speaking, many of the health benefits of cannabis are yet to be discovered or defined. This is largely because of the difficulty researchers have in obtaining cannabis to run tests with.
For example, in the US, despite it being legal for medical purposes in most states (thirty-three at time of writing), the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) still classes cannabis as a Schedule I drug. That’s the same classification as heroin.
To study it, researchers need to get a license. And this state of play does not seem likely to change any time soon.
This means that most of the benefits of smoking weed, vaping it – or otherwise activating and accessing the cannabinoids and other beneficial compounds within the plant – are still technically unproven on a scientific basis. This despite reams of anecdotal evidence and, in many cases, effects which are essentially common knowledge.
The benefits which have been researched to some degree include:
- Reduction of chronic pain and inflammation
- Anti-emetic properties, especially relating to chemotherapy
- Reducing spasticity caused by MS
- Taking marijuana for anxiety has been shown to reduce it
- To stimulate appetite, especially for AIDS and cancer patients
People take medical marijuana for a wide range of other health conditions though. Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s, wasting syndrome and a variety of mental health conditions are among the most prevalent.
How does marijuana benefit your health?
The cannabis plant contains 113 known cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are organic compounds which, when taken into the human body, interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system.
Your body’s endocannabinoid system could almost be thought of as a series of biological locks and keys. The cannabinoids receptors in the system can be imagined as the locks and the cannabinoids the keys.
Your body produces a variety of endocannabinoids itself. These fit into the locks of the endocannabinoid system to produce a range of different effects. The cannabinoids in cannabis (these are sometimes called plant cannabinoids or phytocannabinoids) can also produce a range of effects.
This is probably an overly simplistic explanation. But it is enough for most people to get an idea of how cannabis can have a beneficial effect on your health.
So what about women and weed?
More and more women are exploring the beneficial effects of cannabis to deal with a wide number of general complaints as well as those unique to women:
Migraines are by no means only an issue for women. But out of those people who suffer regular migraines, the majority – somewhere around 74% in the US – are women.
For non-sufferers, it is important to note that migraines are not the same as common headaches. They can include:
- Severe pain
- Dizziness and loss of balance
- Distorted vision
- Sensitivity to light and sound
Taking medical marijuana for migraines has become the choice of many thousands of people, large numbers of them women.
Many women are starting to realize that many of the undesirable physical and mental symptoms of having their period can be addressed with marijuana. Menstrual cramps not least among them.
Drinking alcohol can leave you feeling bloated and uncomfortable. Not to mention giving you a headache and even worse symptoms if you over-indulge.
Cannabis, on the other hand, tends to leave the user feeling a little sleepy and perhaps hungry (possibly desirable symptoms). But it rarely has any “hangover” unless you seriously over-indulge for a long period of time.
This makes it a handy alternative for relaxation, as many women are finding out to their benefit.
4) Getting creative
Depending on the strain of cannabis you buy, many people find that cannabis stokes their creative fires.
Famous female artists and actors from Lady Gaga to Rihanna to Susan Sarandon have told how they use a little cannabis to get into a creative frame of mind.
Medically speaking, this appears to be because cannabis stimulates cerebral blood flow to the frontal lobe of the brain. That’s the part associated with creative activity. This was supported by research reported in the Berkeley Medical Journal back in 1992 and by other experiments in 2002.
Some of the strains best known for the creativity they promote are Purple Haze and Jack Herer.
5) Stress reduction
Again, stress is not purely a women’s issue. However, there are huge numbers of women out there for whom stress is a constant daily companion.
Not dealing with stress can have a huge negative effect on your life. It can even affect you physically, with hair loss, skin conditions, digestive problems and the stereotypical but still very unpleasant sleepless nights all being common symptoms.
Most people who take medical marijuana for stress reduction prefer a strain which is high in CBD.
6) Time to yourself
It is still the case that women are more likely to be required to fulfil more roles in their life than men do.
On average, it is more likely for women to have additional family or childcare roles in addition to their careers and social obligations.
Some women have started to see the advantages of combining their personal time activities with a little cannabis for the enhanced relaxation effects which many strains produce. Again, once upon a time, alcohol might have been the automatic choice.
But avoiding alcohol, a substance which is technically a depressant, is usually a good idea if you want to avoid any negative effects the next morning. Or even later the same evening depending on how alcohol affects you.
Different forms of marijuana
If you are someone new to the idea of trying marijuana, it is easy enough to get confused by the plethora of different terminology out there.
This can make it difficult to decide to determine what might be suitable for you. Here’s a short list of the most common types of cannabis products you might be able to buy in your local dispensary:
Cannabis plant in raw form – be sure to check the strain and strength information on the label. Ask the people behind the counter if you need to know more.
Cannabis concentrates – concentrates are purified extracts of cannabis. Usually, they are referred to by the type of cannabinoid which was targeted by the refining process, predominantly CBD and THC. There are many different types of concentrates. Again, be sure to check the quality of yours by seeing where it was grown and by what processes if possible. For example, everything in the K.I.N.D. range is grown in American soil using organic, natural processes.
Cannabis cartridges – these are the “carts” or cartridges you load into your vaporizer. They contain a certain type of cannabis concentrate.
Cannabis edibles – edibles are things like gummies and other snacks which contain cannabis. These taste great! But that’s not their only major advantage. Like concentrates, you know precisely how much CBD, THC or other cannabinoid is in them. This makes it easy to regulate your dose.
Cannabis pills or tablets – you can also buy cannabis concentrates in straightforward pills or tablets. Another easy option for dose regulation.
Cannabis tinctures – tinctures are cannabis concentrates dissolved in alcohol. They are often home-baked into edibles, added to beverages or used sublingually.
How do I take medical marijuana?
There are many ways you can take cannabis. The one which will be best for you will depend on your personal preferences, the type of medical marijuana you have bought as well as – sometimes – the effects you want to create..
Many people like to take marijuana by:.
- Smoking it – the oldest way of taking cannabis and still one preferred by many people. However, smoking is, of course, probably the most unhealthy way you can choose to access the potential medical benefits of the plant. Even many traditional users these days are experimenting with other methods.
- Eating it in edibles – many people prefer edibles, as they are often called these days, as an alternative to smoking. Cannabis concentrates in the form of THC and CBD tinctures are a great option if you prefer this method. The most well-known edibles are probably cannabis cookies or brownies. But a huge number of cannabis recipes are available for almost any type of cuisine you care to name. There are also ready-made edible gummies and others for sale in many places.
- Vaporizing it – the vaporizer, “vape” or “vape pen” is one of the newest and cleanest ways of getting your daily dose of cannabis. All you need to do is place a cartridge in your vape and inhale to get a dose of often pleasantly-flavored cannabis in vapor form.
- Using it topically – applying a cream, lotion, spray or oil on your skin is another alternative.
- Using it sublingually – this refers to the method used by people who prefer cannabis tinctures. They use a pipette to place a couple of droplets of cannabis concentrate beneath their tongue for fast and easy absorption by the body.
Whichever method and format seem like they might be best for you, it is always worth consulting your doctor if you are taking cannabis to deal with a specific health condition.
But for the women who take marijuana for migraines, menstrual cramps and numerous other problems, cannabis is already a vital part of the way they choose to live their lives.