We all have our own special descriptions for the torture that is that time of the month. For Elizabeth Miller, it’s “like a mouse is nesting in my ovaries and gnawing its way out— sometimes it feels like it’s chewing out the front, sometimes the back.”
Cramps aren’t the only killer part of her period. “I used to think PMS stories were a joke,” says Miller, a data manager in Oakland, California. “Now I fit every stereotype.” She blocks off three days per month in red on her calendar, the subject field marked “It’s only hormones—don’t act crazy.”
Her symptoms got so bad, Miller convinced herself she had ovarian cancer or some other disease, but a slew of tests pointed to no: It was just part of menstruation. Even more frustrating, no treatments really worked. Then last fall, she landed on a Reddit post about “weed tampons”— nonabsorbent vaginal suppositories made from the cannabis plant. The products contain cannabidiol (CBD), a pain-relieving compound, and tetrahydro cannabinol, or THC (aka the stuff in pot that makes you high). Although she’d never been a toker, in a mixture of desperation and excitement, Miller got a box from California- and Colorado-based company Foria.
Within minutes of inserting one, her cramps started to melt away. She didn’t feel stoned (the majority of users won’t, says a company rep), just relaxed. “Usually, I take ibuprofen,” say Miller. “This was better. It also seemed to help allay my crazies.”