I Tried THC Tampons for My Endometriosis Pain

Warning: This is a high you may not want to experience.

THC Tampon
Photo: Emma Darvick

I've been dealing with stage IV endometriosis for more than a decade now, so it's fair to say I've tried just about every possible cure and pain management tool available. I've done the acupuncture, the diets, the prescription pain meds, the surgeries, and at one point, I was even drinking a squirrel poop tea concoction made especially for me by a "healer."

Yes, it tasted as bad as it sounds—and it didn't do a thing to rid me of the endometriosis pain.

But that's kind of the point: When you are dealing with a chronic condition that causes near daily pain, you're willing to try just about anything to stop it.

And that's how I found myself shoving marijuana wax up my vagina one balmy weekday afternoon in Seattle.

People have taken to calling them pot tampons, but the packaging labels them suppositories. As far as I know, they are only available (so far) at dispensaries in Washington, Colorado, and California. I actually live in Alaska, where marijuana is completely legal, but they haven't made it here yet.

Either way, they really are just little bullets of wax infused with THC, so I wouldn't recommend treating them as an actual tampon. Yes, they get shoved up there, but they won't do a darn thing to protect you from bleeding over.

And in fact, as I quickly learned, they actually contribute to quite a mess themselves.

So how did I find myself in the position of trying one of these pot tampons? Well, I just so happened to be in Washington for a friend's wedding when my period started last summer. And it was bad. And I was miserable. But I was also somehow supposed to pull myself together and watch one of my best friends walk down the aisle.

Which is how I found myself at a local pot shop looking for solutions that might help me navigate the day. And when the woman behind the counter suggested I try their pot tampons, promising relief without the high, I was sold.

I put half of one in as soon as I got back to my hotel, not exactly sure what to expect. Even though the saleslady had told me they wouldn't get me high, there was a pretty high dose of marijuana in these things, so I was afraid to try a whole one at once.

When that half was safely in my cervix, I slapped on a new pad and walked out the door, praying for relief so that I could truly enjoy the day with my friends.

That relief never came. What did come was the pungent smell of marijuana seeping from my nether regions as the wax began to melt and soaked into the pad I was wearing. Every single person I talked to, walked by, or even merely glanced at seemed to notice. I smelled like I'd been hotboxing for a week, and no matter how hard I tried to keep my legs closed, the aroma was overwhelming.

So that was fun.

As soon as I could get back to my hotel room, I ripped off the pad I was wearing and put my Diva Cup in instead—reasoning that at least that would hold the melted oil in, so that maybe, just maybe, not everyone would be able to smell it on me.

I also may have put the other half of the pot tampon in, because at that point, what did it really matter anyway? I was still in a fair amount of pain, with no signs of relief, and I was hoping that maybe the full dose would help.

It really didn't. As the night wore on, I popped extra strength Tylenol like candy and counted down the minutes until I would finally be able to go to bed. When that time came, I wrapped myself in a heating pad and laid flat on my back with my knees pulled to my chest, practically crying in agony.

Let this be the point where I say: Endometriosis is an awful disease, and I wouldn't wish that pain on anyone.

As the minutes ticked by, and the heat from the heating pad seeped into my skin, I began to feel a slight release of pressure. My body started to relax, my cramps seemed to ease, and I felt myself calming in a way that hadn't seemed possible just a few hours before.

But then, I realized why—I was definitely high. The telltale fuzziness of my brain, the way things seemed to be moving slower, the fascination I suddenly had with the lights outside; there was no doubt about it, my pot tampon had someone found its way into my bloodstream.

I didn't have time to think about how this wasn't supposed to happen, how the sales lady had told me these wouldn't get me high. Because it was happening, I was high, and soon I was very high. Perhaps the highest I've ever been. Lying there, completely still in the dark, envisioning all kinds of paranoid scenarios. Like the police knocking on my door and taking my child away for being an unfit mother who gets high while her kid is asleep.

I had gone over the edge of fun, relaxed high, deep into the darkness of paranoid, panicked high.

And it took me hours to come down.

When I finally did, after getting some much-needed sleep, I made my way back to the pot shop just down the road. There had to be something else in those tampons besides marijuana, and they needed to know before someone else went down the same rabbit hole I did.

But when I told the woman behind the counter the story of my vaginal high, she didn't seem concerned. Instead, she laughed.

"I don't get it," I said, feeling a mix of annoyed and misunderstood.

"You're not supposed to use a cup with those," she told me. "It traps the melted cannabis inside and doesn't absorb it. It sounds like when you laid down, you dumped it all back up inside yourself—basically shocking your system with a whole lot of melted cannabis at once."

And that's the story of the time I accidentally got my vagina high.

Needless to say, I wouldn't recommend trying pot tampons. At least not for pain relief.

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