Female Cycle Syncing and Cannabis
You may have noticed a new term floating through the zeitgeist of women’s health – “cycle syncing”. While this term was trademarked fairly recently by Alisa Vitti, Functional Nutritionist, HHC, AADP, founder of Flo Living, the concept has existed for some time. At its most basic, cycle syncing refers to tracking your menstrual cycle month to month while recording symptoms, emotions, energy level, and a variety of other factors. The purpose of cycle syncing is the acquisition of hormonal and bodily awareness based on the phase of your cycle in which you find yourself. This awareness can be used to inform your behaviors and habits at different times in your cycle, allowing for optimization across many aspects of life.
Many women are finding cycle syncing to be an empowering approach to managing their menstrual cycle. Indeed, understanding the natural hormonal fluctuations that accompany different phases of the menstrual cycle can be a game-changer when it comes to improving mood, mental and physical health, communication, and more. Cannabis and its variety of cannabinoids can expertly complement each phase of the menstrual cycle. This article will explore what is happening in each phase of the menstrual cycle and how different forms of cannabis can support you throughout. The time is now to fully harness your power as a woman with the help of plant medicine.
The women’s menstrual cycle is roughly 28 days long and consists of four phases: the follicular phase, ovulation, the luteal phase, and menstruation. Each phase is facilitated by a hormonal cascade that occurs naturally in the body and results in certain physiological events within the body. These hormonal and physiological events result in a variety of symptoms. In real talk, some of these symptoms are very pleasurable (high energy levels, mental clarity, increased libido) and some of them are less desirable (mood swings, irritability, bloating, cravings, cramping, brain fog). Understanding which phase of your cycle you’re in, and how to mitigate the undesirable symptoms that may accompany that phase through behavior and supplementation with cannabis is the difference between feeling like you can take on the world, and wanting to stay in bed. Let’s begin with the first phase after menstruation, the follicular phase.
The follicular phase typically occurs during days 6 – 16 of your cycle. At this time, your body’s estrogen levels are steadily increasing, resulting in increased sex drive, energy, and overall feelings of willingness to take on new things. Creativity and the ability to see things with a unique perspective come easily. With these factors in mind, there are a few ways cannabis can enhance this enjoyable time in your cycle. When you feel libido increasing, get open-minded and try a topical CBD during intimate moments with your partner. This can enhance the sensations of touch and heighten pleasure. Your mind’s inclination toward creativity at this time of the month also sets the stage for very powerful existential experiences through the use of psychoactive forms of cannabis like Delta 8, Delta 9, and Delta 10. Keep in mind that set and setting are always crucial to a good experience when using these psychoactive forms of cannabis. (see article on set and setting).
As the follicular phase comes to an end, you enter the second phase of your cycle; the ovulatory phase. Generally, this phase is short and occurs between days 14 – 18 of your cycle. During the ovulatory phase, women feel a powerful surge of energy due to a significant increase in estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Your body emits pheromones that make you more attractive to the opposite sex, and facial features are the most symmetrical at this time. Did we mention your sex drive is through the roof? If it sounds like this is nature trying to get you pregnant, it is exactly that. You are at your most fertile, and this short phase of your cycle is the only possible time you can become pregnant. Depending on your family planning goals, this can be a blessing or a curse. But either way, you can harness the power of the ovulatory phase in massive ways. Because communication and energy are at their best during this phase, your productivity can skyrocket. Use cannabis in its CBG form to bolster this state, as some research points to the possibility that CBG can support the growth of new brain cells. CBG also supports healthy inflammatory function, which will help your body recover during this high activity time in your cycle. If you aim to avoid pregnancy, use caution when having sex during the ovulatory phase. Once you’re safe in that regard, topical CBD can be used to amplify intimacy during this already very stimulating time. Get wild!
Your body completes the ovulatory phase once an egg has been released and remains unfertilized. With that event in the rearview, you enter the luteal phase during days 18 – 28. This is an uncomfortable phase of the cycle for most women. Estrogen and progesterone peak and then steadily decline, leading to a rise in the stress hormone cortisol. As this phase progresses, metabolism and appetite speed up as energy levels plummet. Your body needs roughly 250 extra calories per day during this phase, and cravings for carbohydrate-rich foods can be powerful. You are also likely to experience bloating and fatigue in this phase. Increased cortisol during this phase can lead to anxiety in even the most cool-headed of individuals. For those who generally struggle with anxiety and mood, this phase of your cycle can be very challenging for your mental health. Self-care is essential during the luteal phase, and cannabis can support your restorative efforts in many ways. CBD in any form will reduce stress and anxiety while increasing serotonin, which can improve your mood and help you feel more positive. CBG’s powerful anti-inflammatory properties can ease symptoms of bloating in the body. Sleep can be challenging due to the anxious mindset that often accompanies the luteal phase, but a cocktail of CBD + CBN can provide calming relief for a racing mind. While psychoactive forms of cannabis like Delta 9, Delta 8, and Delta 10 aren’t harmful during any phase of your cycle, they may cause an already increased appetite to become uncomfortably insatiable, so use caution during this phase.
Menstruation is the final phase of the cycle, lasting 4-6 days and marking the first 1-6 days of a new cycle. In this phase, hormones are at their lowest levels, resulting in low energy, cramping, and body aches. Topical CBD on the lower abdomen can provide relief for menstrual cramps, and CBG taken internally will support a healthy inflammatory process in your body. Due to increased efficiency in the communication between your left and right brain during this phase, your mind is primed for excellent reflection and introspection. Cannabis in the form of CBD or the mildly psychoactive Delta 10 can reduce any anxiety that may be lingering from your luteal phase while enhancing your focus in this reflective state. Take before journaling or relaxing in a calm setting for optimal results. Because Delta 10 THC is not associated with the paranoia or anxiety that some psychoactive forms of THC can provoke, it functions as a great option for those interested in experiencing a mild and soothing high while menstruating. When your bleed has ended, the menstrual phase is complete and your body returns to the follicular phase as hormone levels begin to rise again and a new cycle starts. Spend some time writing down what went well for you this cycle, and what you’d like to manage more optimally in your upcoming cycle.
Better Living Through Plant Medicine
The modern woman deserves to live an optimized, rich life. Achieving that objective while riding a 28-day rollercoaster of hormones in a 24-hour world is challenging, but not impossible. We hope the insights provided in this article have empowered you with the plant-powered tools needed to move confidently through your days.
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