pain has a way of keeping us from being present in our daily lives. As women, we’re susceptible to a very intimate kind of pain in the form of period cramps, endometriosis and PCOS symptoms, or other painful conditions like vaginismus. Need a solution? Cannabis can help.
Certain components of cannabis help decrease inflammation and work synergistically with our bodies to have an analgesic effect — that is, cannabis can address both the cause and symptoms of pain. These days, with CBD mania at its peak, there are endless opportunities to reduce pain using cannabis products. One of the best delivery methods for cannabis-based relief might surprise you: CBD suppositories.
Weirded out? We get it. Using suppositories can be a cringe-worthy concept for the uninitiated, but so highly efficacious that they shouldn’t be neglected as a solution for pain. Suppositories have been used in natural health protocols for centuries and Foria took inspiration from that approach, creating CBD suppositories that work quickly to “directly impact the nerve endings of the uterus, cervix and surrounding smooth muscle tissues.”
Curious about using CBD suppositories for period pain relief? There’s definitely a bit of a learning curve here for some of us. We interviewed Foria’s founder, Mathew Gerson to learn the full story about why suppositories work so well for period pain. Here’s everything you need to know…
What The Heck Are CBD Suppositories?
Suppositories are a solid delivery form of CBD that are inserted either vaginally or rectally, where it dissolves and delivers a concentration of the natural medicine for relief from uterine cramping, vaginal relaxation, and inflammation relief.
Foria’s Basics Suppositories are formulated with premium broad-spectrum CBD (which contains a full complement of terpenes and cannabinoids, unlike products which use cheaper but less effective CBD isolate). (Foria’s California-and-Colorado-only version of the suppositories includes CBD and THC, but provide relief with little or no psychoactive effects.)
Each of Foria’s suppositories delivers 100mg of CBD directly to the area that needs it most, inviting a tension-and-inflammation melting effect at the source of discomfort. The CBD is infused into 100% organic, fair trade cocoa butter and shaped into a bullet-shaped suppository about half the size of your pinky. If you’ve ever used a tampon, inserting these tiny suppositories is nothing in comparison.
Okay… But Why?
There are a dense number of cannabinoid receptors in the pelvic girdle. According to Gerson, “It makes sense for us to deliver these active compounds from the hemp/cannabis plant as close to the source of the problem as possible. The suppository made the most sense for harnessing the analgesic benefits of cannabis or hemp to help with the reduction of chronic pain and cramping.”
Compared with CBD edibles and tinctures, these suppositories activate local receptors much faster, delivering a concentrated dose of anti-inflammatory CBD that is quickly absorbed into the local tissue at the source of pain. Read testimonials here.
“Because you bypass the liver, you don’t have to go through the digestive tract. There’s potentially a lot of upside in terms of the way you’re metabolizing the active compounds — whatever they may be, cannabis or hemp,” Gerson shared. “You could get greater efficacy for products that otherwise have to pass through your digestive system and go through all the stomach acid, and take time to metabolize. If you can bypass that liver metabolization then you have a localized absorption of the cannabinoid that works really well for diminishing pain.”
Compared to many over-the-counter products available to women who experience period pain, which often have chemicals in them that are known to disrupt overall health and well being, CBD suppositories relieve pain without side-effects. They work quickly, naturally, and with incomparable potency. Scientists have shown that — similar to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen — CBD also reduces inflammation and inhibits the enzyme responsible for producing contractions and pain. However, unlike NSAIDs, CBD’s anti-inflammatory benefits come without upsetting digestive enzymes that make NSAIDs notorious for stomach upset.
How Do Hemp + Cannabis Help Reduce Pain?
Our bodies are born ready to receive the benefits of cannabinoids — we all have an innate endocannabinoid system that contains receptors specifically made to attach to the healing compounds of cannabis. Gerson told us, “I’ve hung out with some scientists who say that the reason cannabis is the most widely used plant compound on the planet is not purely about the buzz, it’s because your body desires it on a deeper level. We have a deficiency because of the way we live in the modern day, and the way we eat, that we no longer get enough nutritive density in our diets for our body to create its own endogenous cannabinoids, so we’re drawn to plant sources of cannabinoids. And it’s not just canabis: black pepper, clove, chocolate, and maca all contain cannabinoids or substances that interact with our cannabinoid system.”
Cannabis can be used therapeutically to help optimize general homeostasis and to keep your body in balance. According to Foria’s site, CBD and other cannabinoids can also treat painful menstrual cramps in the following ways:
Anti-inflammatory | Cannabinoids have many anti-inflammatory activities beyond reducing production of inflammatory prostaglandins. For instance, THC activates endocannabinoid receptors (CB2) located on your immune system’s killer cells (macrophages). When these receptors are activated, they prevent macrophages from releasing inflammatory proteins (cytokines).
Pain-relieving | Although prostaglandins and other inflammatory molecules can make pain-perceiving nerves more sensitive, cannabinoids fight back by desensitizing these nerves. Both CBD and THC target nerve receptors that help decrease the sensation of pain (TRPV1 and CB1, respectively). Additionally, not only does CBD desensitize TRPV1, but these soothing effects can spread to neighboring pain receptors.
Muscle-relaxing | Menstrual cramps are exacerbated by contractions of the smooth muscle lining the uterus — and cannabinoids are widely recognized to relax smooth muscles. THC and CBD both target different receptors embedded in the muscle tissue to relax contractions.
Vascular-relaxing | Blood vessels are also lined with smooth muscle, and when cannabinoids trigger this smooth muscle to relax, blood flow increases. Increased blood flow could help provide relief to oxygen-starved tissues, further decreasing painful cramps.
What Do Suppositories Treat?
Menstrual Pain | This extends to period pain and painful symptoms from PCOS and endometriosis. By reducing inflammation, relaxing muscles and assuaging our body’s pain response, CBD can bring major relief for pain. CBD can be most effective when cramping starts, or even before that, to help prevent runaway inflammation and pain.
SEXUAL DISCOMFORT | Because CBD can relax muscle tissue, it may benefit women who experience painful penetration — especially in combination with Foria’s arousal oil, Awaken. Gerson says that most customers report inserting the suppository about an hour before intercourse, followed by gentle foreplay and manual stimulation using Awaken. (Just a precautionary note: these oil-based products aren’t compatible with latex condoms.)
BACK PAIN | Gerson shared his personal experience with the CBD suppositories for relieving lower-back pain. “I have an L1 herniated disc in my lower back, and when it flares up, I get sciatica, and it goes down my leg keeping me up at night. So I’ll take one or two suppositories, which help me sleep.”
FITNESS RECOVERY | “People will use them for recovery from really intense training because they’re looking for the non-psychoactive benefits, and the anti-inflammatory effect benefits recovery. It’s a nice way to get the benefits distributed through your system.”
HOW TO: Lay on your back in a comfortable position. Insert the suppository into your vagina as deeply as possible using a finger or a tampon applicator. A cushion or pillow under your buttocks will help the CBD oil remain as close as possible to the tissue of your cervix and uterus. This yin-yoga position can also help release pelvic tension. Relax and enjoy for 10 to 20 minutes or longer if you are comfortable and have time. Just be aware that when you stand up again, some of the oil might exit the body, so a panty liner or tampon can help. (And if you’re using a tampon instead of a menstrual cup, you might need to double up on suppositories — since the tampon can absorb away some of the medicine.) For faster relief, you may benefit from using Flow, Foria’s CBD Vaporizer.
Feeling awkward about it? The Foria team recommends using this as an opportunity to connect to your body as a whole, not a part. “We make sex products so we talk very openly about explore your own body, taking comfort at all parts of your own body. And as a culture we’ve kind of disassociated some parts from other parts,” Gerson shared. “We’re trying to celebrate the body in its wholeness, and this as a way to get more comfortable with the region of your bodies.”
What Will I Feel?
This varies from person to person. Gerson shared: “It will melt within ten minutes of being put into the body so the receptors are there, they’re going to be activated by the oil. Most people experience the benefit within the first half hour. Some people will put another one in to see if that helps and if they need a stronger dose.”
How long does the effect last? “Some women will report back to us that they had 12 hours of relief, and some women say, ‘Hey, I got only two hours of relief, and then I had to use another one in.”
Which Suppository Is Right For Me?Foria Relief | Foria offers two variations of this product: The original features both THC and CBD, a product you can only get in legal cannabis markets in Colorado and California. “THC is actually a remarkably effective compound for so many, many things, one of which is pain and inflammation. As is CBD, but in different ways. So we are definitely fans of the whole plant approaches to working with cannabis,” said Gerson.
Foria Basics | The second variation, Foria’s Basics Suppositories, was developed so more women could have access to the benefits of the hemp-derived product — it’s legally allowed to be sold online. “We researched and determined that a CBD product alone without the THC, also prove to be efficacious and beneficial for a strong percentage of women. Both of them have received tremendous accolades by third party reviewers, from Buzzfeed to Cosmo to individual user testimonials. And if you can get access to the THC version, I would encourage someone to experiment and try and see which one is better.”
The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs.