Just when you thought you’ve heard everything about the vagina—now there are vaginal suppositories infused with CBD and THC (the active relaxing and euphoric ingredients in cannabis) marketed to alleviate cramps, increase libido, provide lubrication, and improve the health of your vagina and vaginal microbiome. Say what? That’s right, weed for your vajayjay.
Where was this wacky idea born? According to the 2002 book Women and Cannabis: Medicine, Science and Sociology, women have been stuffing their vaginas with pot to ease childbirth pain since the dawn of millennia. They claimed it eased conditions and they ground marijuana into honey and applied it to the vagina for pain and cramps.
Women have also used cannabis as an aphrodisiac over time, thinking that getting high made for better sex and stronger orgasms. So, it was only a matter of time before companies packaged the active ingredients in cannabis and used them in vaginal products like suppositories, sprays, and lotions. These products claim better vaginal health and better sex to improving the vaginal microbiome, the mix of healthy bacteria that live in the vagina.
Could Your Vaginal Microbiome Benefit from a Cannabis Product?
It seems unlikely. One study that looked at 11 products marketed for intimate use in and on the vagina including lubricants, vaginal moisturizers, washes, deodorants, and suppositories, found that some of the products inhibited the growth of lactobacilli, the main type of bacteria that creates a healthy vaginal microbiome.
The study also reported that one product had a more significant impact on inhibiting Lactobacillus iners, when compared to the others that also inhibited lactobacilli. Lactobacillus iners is a type of lactobacillus that is more common in Black women. Researchers thought this was of great concern for Black women since studies usually find they may use intimate products more frequently than white women.
Some estimates say that at least 75 percent of women in the U.S. will experience episodes of vaginitis such as Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) during their lifetime. Having products marketed to women, and especially Black women, for vaginal health and wellness only to be exposed to untested ingredients is problematic. If those products then inhibit necessary vaginal microbiome bacteria and subject them to vaginal burning, itching, and irritation, then that is unconscionable.
The Problem with Cannabis for the Vagina
The potential health concerns aren’t limited to itching and burning either. Studies have also shown that vaginitis and abnormal vaginal bacteria are linked with a significantly higher risk of pre-term birth and miscarriage as well as an increased risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, chlamydia, and Gonorrhea. What’s more, some early research also indicates that a disrupted vaginal microbiome can increase the risk of cervical cancer.
Skip Cannabis Vaginal Products And Keep Your Vaginal Microbiome Healthy
With the onslaught of legalized cannabis and hemp, there is also a proliferation of products marketed to women for the vagina containing these “newfound” ingredients. But the jury is not only out, but it’s also protesting. The products are considered supplements and are unregulated, and companies can use any ingredient they want regardless of safety standards, testing, or clinical reviews, for which there are few. Nor are companies required to test their products on the vaginal microbiome and see if it disrupts the health of the vagina or decreases its lactobacilli.
Some researchers think that these products may even contribute to widespread cases of bacterial vaginosis.
For now, skip products containing CBD or THC, the active ingredients in cannabis. Claims are often unfounded, unresearched, and without regard for how the products or their ingredients can disrupt the vaginal microbiome, causing lasting complications.