Whoopi Backs CannaMeds for Cramps
Whoopi Goldberg, comedian and co-host of “The View,” announced that she will partner with Om Edibles founder Maya Elizabeth to roll out a collection of marijuana-infused products. The Whoopi & Maya line will include a cream, a tincture, a bath soak and sipping chocolate developed for women suffering from menstrual cramps. Rollout is expected in April, but the products will be available only in California and only to patients with medical marijuana cards. Pricing has not yet been set.
It’s less about getting high than relieving discomfort, Whoopi told Vanity Fair in a recent interview.
This, you can put it in your purse. You can put the rub on your lower stomach and lower back at work, and then when you get home you can get in the tub for a soak or make tea, and it allows you to continue to work throughout the day. Smoking a joint is fine, but most people can’t smoke a joint and go to work.
Men who are in pain can’t go to work either. No purse and no talk show, but anyone with back, neck or knee pain knows that Whoopi may have found the heart of cannabis conversation. When legalization is old news, and the celebrities, cops and capitalists have moved on, marijuana may grow into its most powerful role in promoting wholeness, wellness and pain management without toxins.
Menstrual discomfort can be a very big deal – 48 hours of crippling pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, hot sweats, cold sweats and inability to get out of bed. Forget about going to work. Good luck if you’ve got kids to care for.
Women get told to “suck it up,” get more exercise, eat a better diet and take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen or naproxen. Muscle relaxants and antidepressants also come out of the medicine cabinet. Many of these meds also cause unwanted side effects, such as nausea, insomnia, and constipation. Some doctors prescribe birth control pills to alleviate cramps.
More serious pain is sometimes treated with opioids including oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl, even in the face of evidence an escalating crisis of opioid abuse. As a last result, some physicians recommend surgical removal of the uterus and ovaries, which has the obvious, unfortunate side effect of ending fertility.
Half of earth’s population can be expected to suffer some degree of this at some point in their lives, and the cycle repeats every 28 days. The banality of the pain staggers the imagination.
Cramps, please meet cannabis
Whoopi has said that cannabis was literally the only thing that gave her relief from the discomfort of difficult periods. Queen Victoria used it for cramps, morning sickness and labor pains when her personal physician, Sir J.R. Reynolds, prescribed it for her in 1890. This was presumably before, during and after bearing nine children.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has called on the Centers for Disease Control to look into the potential of cannabis as an alternative to opioids for pain treatment. Hardly a counterculture secret, cannabis as an option for pain relief is well reviewed on many of the online medical resources frequented by self-diagnosers everywhere.
Five indica-dominant strains were mentioned in a 2013 WeedBlog review for treatment of pre-menstrual syndrome. They include:
- Obama Kush;
- Black Cherry Cheesecake;
- Blue Dream;
- Dutch Treat; and
- Purple Urkle.
The problem with some of the smokeables, however, is couch-lock. Were we Queen Victoria, the Viceroy might run the Empire for a day or so. But the rest of us have to be up and out the door.
As reviews of the Whoopi & Maya line begin to become available, they should tell whether the products can provide effective relief without leaving a woman zonked. This would be pretty key information.
Beyond medicine to wellness
Why might cannabis work better than NSAIDs or be safer than opioids in relieving pain? The process is incompletely understood because research has been stymied in the U.S. by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
But the secret appears to lie in the workings of the endocannabinoid system. Some of the active pharmacological components of the cannabis plant are thought to mimic an internal chemical harm reduction system in the human body that keeps health in balance. The big questions behind wellness theory are:
- Are some forms of disease and distress, possibly including menstrual cramps, symptoms of a system out of harmony and, if so
- Does cannabis have a role to play in restoring balance?
Steve DeAngelo, founder of Harborside Health Center, explores wellness theory in his book, The Cannabis Manifesto, A New Paradigm for Wellness. It is particularly tempting to apply this kind of thinking to monthly misery, and it is likely no coincidence that Om Edibles’ approach to cannabis seems consistent with this.
Whoopi is not the only celebrity to turn gangapreneur. Snoop Dogg, Melissa Etheridge, and Wiz Khalifa offer plenty of company. She’s not the only woman of color in the arena, although there are precious few, or the only friend of the LGBT community. But in backing a venture that puts cannabis at the heart of women’s health and nontoxic pain management, she may be offering a unique vision of the long-term role of cannabis in American life.