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Weed And Vagina Problems: The Story Of Lara Parker, Cannabis And Endometriosis Activist

“I was struggling a lot with my (…) inability to have penetrative sex as a straight woman,” explains Lara Parker, as she discusses her experience with endometriosis. Lara now relies solely on cannabis for pain management.

“Marijuana is my medicine, full stop. I really can’t imagine my life without it, and I don’t want to,” she says. “Imagining a life without cannabis gives me great anxiety. I wouldn’t be able to have much of a sex life without it as orgasms can be painful for me because of my conditions — cannabis-infused lube helps this. I wouldn’t be able to eat without the aid of CBD or straight THC, because I am always nauseous.”

But, who’s Lara? And why should you care about her vagina problems?

Lara is a BuzzFeed editor and well-known social media influencer who’s used her platforms not only to promote body positivity and female liberation, but also, and perhaps more importantly and surprisingly, to talk about her vagina problems – coincidentally, the title of her upcoming book. Beyond her vagina, Lara speaks a lot about how she uses cannabis and cannabis-derived products to treat some of the symptoms of her endometriosis, which is in turn responsible for said vagina problems.

Want to learn more about this? Offended with the excessive use of the word vagina? Read on! Either way, you’ll learn something.

From Vagina Problems To ‘Vagina Problems’

Lara was officially diagnosed with endometriosis, a disease where tissue that’s similar to the lining of the uterus (known as the endometrium) is found outside of the uterus – resulting in strong pains, and related pelvic floor conditions, roughly seven years ago.

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“At the time, I wasn’t really sure what it meant for my life. I just sort of listened to everything doctors were telling me, if they even bothered to tell me anything or listen to me at all,” she reveals.

A couple years after her original diagnoses, Lara landed a job as a staff writer at BuzzFeed. She was lucky enough to have editors who allowed her to pick her own topics to write about – maybe there’s some sort of karmic balance to the universe.

“I was struggling a lot with my new-ish diagnoses at the time and my inability to have penetrative sex as a straight woman,” she explains.

While most people she knew and met didn’t know what endometriosis was, Lara was sure other people were suffering from it to. So she decided to publish a story on her experience and the general topic.

“The response floored me because there were just so many people who seemed to be dealing with similar stuff that I was dealing with,” she remembers.

This reaction led her to dig deeper into the issue. She had an outlet to talk about her worsening pain, and knew she could help others struggling connect over it in the process.

“I was struggling a lot with my new-ish diagnoses at the time and my inability to have penetrative sex as a straight woman.”

Persistent and consistent writing on the topic at hand ultimately landed Lara a book deal with St. Martin’s Press. The book, a collection of essays entitled “Vagina Problems,” details what it’s like to live with these conditions and how they impact every facet of a person’s life. It will debut on October 6, 2020.

Endometriosis And Endocannabinoids

To understand how cannabis plays into Lara’s story, we need to rewind a little bit. Let’s take it back to 2015, when Uptown Funk was the talk of the town, and more than 50 women were coming out with their Bill Cosby abuse stories.

At the time, Lara was living in Los Angeles, California, seeing someone who held a medical marijuana card. Despite living in the land of weed, Lara had never tried cannabis. However, one day, while experiencing “horrible endometriosis pain,” her partner suggested she tried smoking some good old MJ, arguing that, if it could help him with his migraines, it might help with Lara’s pain.

“I had nothing to lose so I tried it. I immediately felt my body relax,” she says. “I was less aware of my pain. I felt lighter, happier.

“And I also felt hungry — a sensation I hadn’t really experienced in a long time, since one of my biggest symptoms is nausea and stomach swelling, which often causes an inability to eat.”

“I had nothing to lose so I tried it [cannabis]. I immediately felt my body relax. I was less aware of my pain. I felt lighter, happier.”

After that extremely pleasant experience, getting her own medical marijuana card was a no brainer. And so, the process of getting educated on diverse cannabis products and compounds, its properties, its effects, and its benefits, began.

Oh, what a privilege few women around the world enjoy: discovering medical cannabis and being able to acquire it legally.

“Since that day I have used some form of cannabis every day in my life, whether it be actually smoking it, vaping, dabbing, [applying] balms on my lower back and abdomen, [using] bath salts, edibles, or CBD capsules,” Lara voices. “I rely it on it heavily for pain management and it is the only form of pain killer I use.”

But Lara not only recognizes her access to cannabis is a privilege. She also feels that way about her activism.

“I’m lucky that, living in California as a white woman, most of the people in my life understand and don’t blink an eye at my daily use,” she says. “But I grew up in a very small town in Indiana where marijuana is still highly criminalized. So there were some people in my life, and still are to this day, who have called me a ‘bad influence’ or suggested that I was some sort of drug addict.

“But I’ve always found this odd, because I assume that if I was taking massive amounts of painkillers every day they wouldn’t really blink an eye,” she adds, noting she has an actual medical prescription for marijuana.

“If I had a prescription for another painkiller, would I be called a bad influence? I doubt it. But that sort of reaction only fuels me to talk about it more. I believe in marijuana’s ability to help a lot of people with a lot of different things.”

Having said this, Lara adds a footnote. Cannabis is in no way a miracle drug that will be a cure-all. But it does help her and many other people she knows.

“Marijuana is my medicine, full stop. I really can’t imagine my life without it, and I don’t want to.”

“I believe every single person should have the opportunity to try it and see for themselves if it’s for them. It should not be criminalized,” she says, calling for federal legalization and the expungement of criminal records.

“Marijuana is my medicine, full stop. I really can’t imagine my life without it, and I don’t want to. Imagining a life without cannabis gives me great anxiety. I wouldn’t be able to have much of a sex life without it as orgasms can be painful for me because of my conditions — cannabis-infused lube helps this. I wouldn’t be able to eat without the aid of CBD or straight THC, because I am always nauseous.”

Cannabis Products For Endometriosis

Finally, Lara shared some insights into some of the best types of products to help with endo.

On really bad pain days, the easiest thing for her to do is smoke a pre-rolled Indica joint. It provides her relief and often helps her fall asleep, which really helps her deal with the situation effectively.

“The pre-roll aspect is easiest for me because on really bad days, grinding my own flower for a bowl or setting up my Puffco to dab is too much – when I can’t even get out of bed,” she explains. “I always keep a pre-rolled joint by my bed and couch just in case I am hit with pain suddenly.”

For daily use, Lara relies heavily on CBD capsules. She takes around eight capsules (containing 25 to 30 mg of CBD each) per day when at work, and adds THC balms and rubs on her lower back and abdomen for additional pain relief.

On bad pain days, those where she’s not bedridden but still “feeling awful,” she dabs concentrates or take edibles.

After work, when her pain spreads to her entire body, she will fall back on bath bombs or bath salts in a hot bath.

“It’s heaven,” she comments.

Finally, she mentions CBD and THC vaginal suppositories. “I use THC and CBD lube heavily, not only during intimacy, but also on the day to day for my vulvar pain,” she ends.

We Tried Cannabis Products For Our Period Pain And They Actually Helped

Fifty percent of the population has period pain. Whoopi Goldberg is doing her best to help stop it.

BuzzFeed Motion Pictures Staff

Earlier this year, it was announced that Whoopi Goldberg was partnering with Maya Elisabeth to launch a line of cannabis medical products, aptly called Whoopi&Maya, designed specifically to ease women’s menstrual pain.

The products consist of tinctures, bath salts, a body rub, and a cacao edible. None of them are designed to make you mentally high. They are designed to give you a body high which contributes to pain relief.

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To give you a bit more background, here’s a lowdown on the products we were going to test out.

RELAX: The tinctures (Relax) infuses elderberries, cramp bark, coupled with red raspberry, motherwort, and passionflower. It then adds in raw, organic, unfiltered honey and approximately 100mg of THC per 1 oz. You use it by just dropping a couple of drops in your drink!

SOAK: The bath soaks combine epsom salt, apricot kernel oil, avocado seed oil, sun grown cannabis, jojoba oil, vitamin e, aloe vera, and essential oils. Used by combining with warm water in a bathtub.

SAVOR: The edible cacao treat is comprised of organic raw cacao butter, organic raw cacao powder, organic coconut oil, organic raw agave, sun grown cannabis, sea salt. There are approximately 50 mg of THC for every 2 oz. Can be enjoyed by spoonful, or combined with milk to create a hot cocoa type drink.

RUB: The body balm is made up of a combination of olive oil, avocado seed oil, apricot kernel oil, jojoba oil, beeswax, sun grown cannabis flowers, St John’s Wort, cramp bark, white willow bark, chamomile and essential oils. It also contains approximately 50 mg THC per 4 oz. It is used by literally just rubbing onto your skin with your hand.

I Have Pelvic Pain That Greatly Impacts My Life, And These Products Have Helped

Pelvic pain is incredibly common and not fun at all to deal with! Some of these products may help.

Pelvic pain is incredibly common and not fun at all to deal with! While it’s historically been somewhat of a hush-hush topic because of stigma and shame around this part of the body and the pain associated with it, in the last few years, some incredible products have hit the market designed specifically for people with various forms of pelvic pain. And as someone who lives with some pretty shitty pelvic pain, I couldn’t be more excited to round up some of the ones I’ve seen in the last few years into a handy list. I’m sure I’ve missed some, so feel free to let me know which ones in the comments. In the meantime, let’s get started!

1. Private Packs are wearable hot and cold packs that are marketed as a “modern solution for feminine pain.” And let me tell you, as someone whose vulva loves to burn for no damn good reason, these have certainly come in handy. The packaging is also very cute!

The hot and cold packs come with washable, reusable coverings so you can easily insert them into your underwear or pants whenever you need a little extra comfort. You can get a three-pack plus two reusable sleeves for $34.

2. Sometimes, penetrative sex is painful! Designed with renowned clinicians, the Ohnut is a soft, compressible buffer made from four rings — that can be used together or individually — to adjust when penetration feels too deep, without sacrificing sensation for you or your partner(s). Designed by someone who experienced painful sex, it’s a pretty damn cool invention, if I do say so myself.

According to their website, Ohnut is “worn externally at the base of a penetrating partner (e.g. on their shaft or on a toy), the tool compresses down to act as a soft buffer during sex. Each set comes with four linking rings that allow you to make simple adjustments, so you and your partner can not only discover comfort but also what depths feel really good — for both of you. Ohnut is designed to feel just like skin.” The tool is BPA-, phthalate-, and latex-free, and it’s made from FDA-approved body-safe material. ‍You can get the original set of four buffer rings from Ohnut for $65.

3. Holy shit is pelvic floor physical therapy expensive. And depending on where you live, it can be incredibly hard to access! But nearly *everyone* could benefit from access to pelvic floor PT. Enter Pelvic Gym — an online team of specialists dedicated to pelvic health, all accessible from your living room. Brought to you by the Ohnut team, the site has three core beliefs: Education. Affirmation. Accessibility.

By the time most folks finally get a referral to a pelvic specialist, it’s usually overdue. Years of dismissal and isolation could have been avoided, invasive treatment options forgone, the fear of pain that fundamentally changes the way we exist in the world — could be gone by now. And yet Pelvic Physical Therapy is a mystery for most people. Or it’s too far away. Or it’s too expensive. But with Pelvic Gym, they are aiming to fix all that. And because we can, we chatted with the team and created a special link for any BuzzFeed readers (yes, you!) to get a whole month free to try for yourself. Just use this link! After that, it costs just $10 a month.

4. You know those days where your pelvic floor is just freaking the fuck out for no reason? Me too. That’s when I reach for my Foria suppositories — each suppository has 100mg of CBD and it goes directly to the spot that may need it the most.

Years ago, when these first hit the market, I got to meet with the founder of Foria, who told me that he created this product for the market after making homemade ones for his wife who, you guessed it, lives with pelvic pain! Watching them help her made him realize they could help others, too. You can get a pack of eight for $50.

5. Or you can go with the Mello Bottoms CBD suppositories — they come in a pack of five, and each one has 75mg of CBD.

These suppositories were created by a woman who struggled with vulvodynia for eight years, and I’ve definitely found that they help me manage my pelvic pain. They are pricey, but I definitely recommend trying if you have the means. You can get a pack of five for $60.

6. Orrrr, you can reach for some CBD suppositories from Simple Solace CBD, where a pack of 10 costs $50.

According to Simple Solace CBD’s website, the creator decided to venture into their own CBD product line “after being diagnosed with endometriosis in 2018.” They continued, “I turned to CBD to help with my quality of life. After seeing what it could do for endometriosis symptoms, I decided to share the love with everyone else who has endometriosis that I could reach. This is how Simple Solace CBD was born.” You can get a pack of 10 suppositories that have 100mg of CBD each for $50.

7. For days when loose sweatpants aren’t an option or you need even more support, Nyssa leggings and underwear have an insertable hot or cold pack that can help placate some of the burning you may feel in your abdomen.

I am generally a size small but I sized up to a medium in these to give my abdomen more room, and I would recommend doing the same if you’re interested in trying them out. According to NyssaCare’s site, these leggings are “ideal for those days when you’re living life at home or running errands but want to be wrapped in soft, sleek, comfortable loungewear that’s actually functional.”

Whether you’re enduring the discomfort of fertility treatments, coming out of postpartum, dealing with period pain, endometriosis flare-ups, or generally feeling a bit blah, Nyssa’s VieWear Pelvic Comfort Live-In Leggings are the first eco-friendly leggings “specially designed to discreetly hold an ice or heat pack over the uterus and ovaries or between the legs.” You can get your own pair for $88 (available in women’s sizes XS-2X). They also make a singular ice or heat pack for $13.

8. You know that feeling where your bladder is telling you that you need to pee but you know you JUST peed and can’t possibly have to pee again already? On those types of days, I reach for the pressure-point wizard referred to as the TheraWand.

I learned about this tool from a pelvic floor therapist I saw post-excision surgery in 2020, but I still use it regularly to this day. According to their website, “the brilliant design is employed as a solution for massage by physical therapists and at home for those experiencing sexual and pelvic discomfort. The user can easily manipulate the TheraWand to gently relieve muscles that are tender, tight, or have trigger points.” You can get your own (in two color options) for $34.95.

9. But if my pelvic floor is simply not cooperating whatsoever and I need to do my best to relax it — whether it’s because I’m post-orgasm or my body is just revolting for unknown reasons — I reach for the (vibrating!) Intimate Rose pelvic wand.

It’s the same concept as the aforementioned TheraWand, except that this one vibrates. According to their website, “the vibrating pelvic wand is covered in silky smooth, medical-grade silicone and uniquely designed to reach all muscles of the pelvic floor.” It was created by a pelvic physical therapist to use vibration techniques and ergonomic curves to relieve trigger points in the pelvic floor muscles — including the most deep and hard-to-reach obturator internus and puborectalis muscles! You can get your own, with 10 different soothing vibration settings, for $59.99.

10. If you’re looking for a more long-term investment into your pelvic floor health and know what kegels are, the Elvie Trainer may be for you. Elvie makes it easy as a smart kegel trainer that works with your phone to help you complete pelvic floor exercises.

According to their website, Elvie visualizes pelvic floor movements in real time using biofeedback. The device is sensitive enough to correct contractions or other movements while guiding you through each exercise so that your technique remains on point. At $199, it ain’t cheap! But like I said, it may be an investment for anyone looking to commit to their pelvic floor health.

11. Sometimes, our pelvic floor region needs a little extra softness, kindness, and care. On those days, I find myself reaching for the soft, silky Chiavaye lubricant. With just six ingredients, it always leaves me feeling more soothed.

According to Chiavaye’s website, “founder Kaylyn Easton was inspired to create Chiavaye through her experience suffering from severe endometriosis. Through her personal struggle with endometriosis, multiple surgeries, learning about holistic healing, and listening to other women, Kaylyn realized that the same concepts for skincare could be applied to women’s personal care — especially since women experience so many changes to their vaginal health throughout life. Each ingredient is chosen to maximize benefits.” You can grab a 30mL bottle for $12.99.

12. Dubbed the “eye cream for your vagina,” if I’m not reaching for the aforementioned lube, then I am certainly grabbing my Happy Clam or Smooth Operator oils from Quim.

According to Quim’s website, the oils were created “after years of dealing with persistent vaginal health issues on our own — yeast infections, bladder infections, difficulty climaxing, low libido, allergic reactions to commercial lube — we came together to share what we’ve learned and to bring you formulas that work for us.” I simply cannot emphasize enough how soothing these serums feel on my (sometimes extremely angry) vulva. Quim offers two different options — “Smooth Operator,” which is more of an intimacy serum, or “Happy Clam,” which is more of an everyday oil — and both cost $48. In my experience, a little bit goes a long way.

13. Finally, let’s talk about Gina App, the world’s first app dedicated to sexual pain. When it comes to pain with sex — and specifically vaginismus — there is a considerable lack of research, awareness, and support for those suffering. Gina’s mission is to instill a sense of hope and shine a spotlight on sexual pain.

It goes without saying, but each experience with vaginismus will be different. Gina’s idea, however, is that no one should have to go through it alone. The app, which costs $2.99 to download, offers information on treatment options, informational tidbits about the pelvic floor, and conversation scripts that can be utilized when trying to seek treatment from a medical professional.