One company is offering a special new way to get rid of period cramps. Foria Relief is a suppository made of organic cocoa butter, extracted cannabis oil, and CBD isolate (a chemical found in marijuana). That’s a fancy of way of saying you put a capsule with weed up your vagina. (Right now it's only available in Colorado and California.)
Foria says its product brings quick pain relief without getting you high, but science doesn't back up the claims yet. "There are no studies and no clinical trials here," says Draion Burch, M.D., an OB/GYN. "When there are no clinical trials and no studies, I cannot recommend it to a patient to use."
That hasn't stopped people from trying it. Writer Sophie Saint Thomas detailed her experience using Foria Relief for the website Racked. Her verdict? Cramps were less painful than usual, and she did feel pretty serene (but not high) when she inserted the suppository and zenned out listening to music.
The swift changes Saint Thomas experienced could be chalked up to placebo effect, but Rachna Patel, M.D., a doctor who specializes in medical marijuana, says the CBD in the capsules could, in theory, help the muscular tissue of the uterus relax and relieve the pain that comes from cramping. "From a theoretical perspective, the science makes sense," Patel says. "But from a practical perspective, further research is needed."
And the doctors we spoke with questioned the company's claim that their capsules won't get you high. Although the absorption method may be different (compared with smoking or ingesting), there is a risk with inserting anything into your vagina, Burch says. "Just like a tampon soaked with alcohol can make you drunk, anything you insert into the vagina can be absorbed by the bloodstream, and has the potential to affect your body," he says. Without studies to investigate this product, we can't really know what the side effects (including getting high) might be.
So for now, Burch recommends taking good old ibuprofen, using heating pads, staying hydrated, eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and even orgasming to help relieve menstrual cramps.