Women living in New York who suffer from severe period pain could use medical marijuana to ease their cramps after proposals allowing its use were approved by a local health committee.
Painful periods – known as dysmenorrhoea – affect around 20 per cent of women to the extent that daily activities are interrupted, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.
A new law adding dysmenorrhoea to the list of conditions that make someone eligible to buy medical marijuana has been put forward by Democrat Linda Rosenthal, a member of the New York State Assembly.
The bill, which was overwhelmingly approved by the Assembly’s Health Committee in a vote of 21 to 2, will now need to be passed by the New York Senate and Governor Andrew Cuomo before it is made law, reported Newsweek.
If the measure is passed, dysmenorrhoea will join conditions including epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain on the list of conditions that allow patients to carry a card letting them buy cannabis legally for medical use.
Ms Rosenthal told the magazine the reason painful periods had not yet been considered for inclusion on the list was that the imbalance of men in positions of power means “some issues that are just about women have gotten shortchanged and that’s because it’s not in men’s everyday consciousness”.
Smoking or eating marijuana is not permitted for medical purposes in New York. Approved forms of the drug include liquids and oils for vaporisation, or oral capsules.
Scientists have called for further research into the medical use of marijuana – an “area of huge untapped potential,” according to an Oxford associate professor involved in a new academic programme in the field.
Tampons and lubricant infused with cannabis to reduce pain caused by cramps without causing a ‘high’ have been praised for their efficacy in online reviews, but have not yet been tested in clinical trials or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Ms Rosenthal previously helped pass a law removing the sales tax on sanitary products and is also working to make feminine hygiene products free for women in prisons, homeless shelters and schools, according to Newsweek.
Cannabis is a Class B drug in the UK, but the cannabidiol CBD, which does not create the ‘high’ associated with recreational use, has been reclassified as a medicine by the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
This means doctors can, in exceptional cases, prescribe medicines containing CBD to be manufactured or imported for a patient’s use.