Women may soon get a say in how they manage period pain in New York. Specifically, NY State women may soon use cannabis as a natural remedy for period cramps. The state is considering adding cannabis for painful periods, known in the medical profession as dysmenorrhea, to its list of qualifying conditions.
Member of the New York State Assembly, Democrat Linda Rosenthal, put the bill forward. The Independent reports on the overwhelming support the bill received from the Assembly’s Health Committee. A vote of 21 to 2 might make it possible for women suffering dysmenorrhoea to buy medical marijuana once Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York Senate give their approval.
Period pains an important women’s issue
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, painful periods affect 20% of women to the extent that they can’t complete daily tasks. If the measure gets passed, dysmenorrhea will find its place alongside conditions such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic pain and Parkinson’s.
Ms Rosenthal says that cannabis for painful periods didn’t make the list previously is because men occupy most positions of power. Since period pain only affects women, men haven’t considered it a priority.
New York won’t permit edibles and smoking medical marijuana. The law allows liquids, vaporization of oils, or capsules for medical use.
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Women say cannabis for painful periods works
It seems NY State is paying attention to what women have been saying for a long time: cannabis relieves their cramps. To date, Whoopi Goldberg has received the most media attention for expressing this opinion owing to her celebrity status.
She agrees that women don’t have to get high on cannabis to get relief, and she agrees that smoking is out.
Other women have suffered in silence. As painful as their condition may be, it isn’t life-threatening and doesn’t grab headlines easily. Their stories are real, but they’re only starting to get attention now.
Ms Rosenthal is well known for helping to get laws passed to remove sales tax on sanitary products. She also worked towards getting female products to women in prison, shelters for the homeless and schools for free. Now, she’s turned her attention to another important women’s health issue, and she seems likely to succeed.
The world is watching you, Ms Rosenthal, and women are rooting for you. Let’s hope your cannabis bill makes it through the legislative process. There’s a good chance that you’ll earn the eternal gratitude of the one in five women. Their lives are seriously disrupted once a month, every month!
And who knows? Maybe other governments will follow suit. They can use your ground-braking bill as a template for including dysmenorrhea in their own medical cannabis programs.
What about the science?
As far as science goes, we only have evidence that cannabis works for pain and spasms in general. Nobody has studied cannabis for painful periods as such. But maybe it’s time to start listening to the ladies. If it works for them, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t have it.