Premenstrual Syndrome by Tania

Until the age of 23 you wouldn't have caught me with a joint between my fingers. During my teenage years my elder brother had been involved with drugs and I had first hand experience of what it can do to a family (he has sorted himself out since and is my good old brother once again). The fact that he had been involved with cocaine and speed didn't mean much to me. He had been involved in drugs and that was all I needed to know.

At the age of 23, I decided, after reading an article on smoking ciggies and taking 'the pill', that I had to stop one or the other. I couldn't see myself stopping smoking (somehow that gave me more pleasure than taking the pill), so I decided to talk to my gyno and convinced him that stopping the pill would be the best option for me. I had been taking it for 7 years and wanted to give myself a break. He warned me that I might experience period pains after having stopped but I brushed this aside. After all, what could be worse than pumping your body with chemicals? So I stopped.

He was right, about the pains. Now I'm no wimp, but for months to come I was in unbearable pain for 3 days each month. I had back pains and felt like red hot pins were being stabbed into my womb. Often I couldn't hold any food down and repeatedly took sick days from work to stay in bed with a hot water bottle, a flask of tea, fresh packets of panadol and enough pillows to make sure the neighbours wouldn’t hear my groans and whimpering.

For days afterwards I was tired and felt drained of all energy. A couple of days before the next torturous episode I was moody and miserable knowing that in a couple of days I would be writhing in pain again and there was nothing I could do about it. Effectively this was taking up more than just the 3 days pain. During one such painful episode about 6 months after I had quit the pill, I got a call from a good friend reminding me that we had arranged to meet in town that day. I had completely forgotten and called her back saying that there was no way I was going to make it. She could hear I wasn't feeling right and when she asked what was wrong I just burst into tears and told her that I didn’t know what to do as I didn't want to start taking the pill again but that I just couldn't bear going through the pain every month. She asked me what I would do to get better.  “Absolutely anything" I claimed. She told me she would be round my place in a while and would bring me some 'medicine'. 

She turned up with some hemp tea and a book on healing with hemp. I wasn't completely convinced but tried some tea and found it very pleasant. I decided to go a step further and asked her to roll me a joint. We sat there drinking tea, smoking and chatting away. After about 2 hours she asked me how I was feeling. It was amazing; I had forgotten that I was supposed to be in pain! I felt a bit groggy but otherwise the pain had been reduced to a minor nagging in my lower region. I was amazed.

I started reading all I could get my hands on. Here in Switzerland, though hemp is not officially legal, it is well tolerated and recognised as an effective painkiller. Last summer I grew my very first crop and have not looked back since. What more natural painkiller could I have found than something I can cultivate on my balcony? I am still, 7 years down the line, keeping my period pains at bay with hemp as well as enjoying the occasional recreational smoke, and contrary to many negative assumptions, am fully employed as a translator for a large consulting company and have never felt the urge to use weed as a stepping stone to get involved with other drugs.