Destigmatizing (and degendering) Cannabis and Menstruation with All Day Sunday Co.
Updated: Apr 21, 2021
Last week, we sat down and (virtually) met up with Marley and Vicki, the co-founders of All Day Sunday Co. All Day Sunday is in the business of pleasure and wellness; their mission, in the words Vicki, is to “empower people with uteruses to take control of pain.” They create CBD and THC products for menstrual pain, and they want their products to be the alternative to over-the-counter pain relievers, like Advil and Tylenol, which when taken regularly and in high doses, can have detrimental effects on organs like your liver and stomach (Rafaniello et al., 2016). In other words, All Day Sunday wants to give people the agency to manage their pain as they see fit (and to have options that won’t slowly break down their stomach lining).
We were excited to meet with them and bring them into the development of our curriculum, and we’re so glad we did. Marley and Vicki are young, queer business owners who are absolutely overflowing with knowledge about the intersections of cannabis and wellness, pain management and misinformation, and stigma and health. They’re tackling the big issues of chronic pain and pharmaceutical misinformation with a pleasure-centered and queer-inclusive lens.
Marley and Vicki met on Tinder and started experimenting with making their products at home in the kitchen. As they became friends (and later business partners) their mission shifted from sexual wellness to pain relief.
Marley: We realized that the secondary use, which was pain relief for menstruation and endometriosis, was actually a lot more powerful and really, kind of, giving something to an underserved market.
Heather: And I love that idea of moving to the market that you think needs it more. Because there is just a ton of sexual stuff out there.
Marley: And that’s great; we support that, we love that. But, unfortunately the reality is that there aren’t a lot of options out there when it comes to pain relief. Really, it’s Advil and Ibuprofen.
People are becoming aware that these drugs, especially when taken regularly, can be harmful. Marley brought up the fact that for people with severe polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or endometriosis, pain management requires taking large quantities of these pills regularly. There aren’t many options out there for dealing with that level of consistent pain. And finding ways to live alongside pain, and to do so with agency, can be both pleasurable and empowering.
Al: There’s also so much pleasure in being able to live your life pain-free, and have sex pain-free, so in my opinion [All Day Sunday] is in fact a pleasure product as well as a wellness product…
We asked All Day Sunday if they could speak to the intersections of cannabis products and wellness and they had a lot to say about some fascinating research. They’re the experts, but we can break it down here:
Basically, CBD and THC products work so well as both a sexual aid and pain reliever because they are vasodilators, which means they promote blood flow. When applied to the skin or internally this increased blood flow allows for more oxygen to reach the desired area, which helps to mitigate the pain caused by period cramps, PCOS, and endometriosis (Patcher, Batkai & Kunos, 2005). There’s also exciting new research showing correlations between endocannabinoid systems (the part of our nervous system that produces and recognizes endocannabinoid neurotransmitters) and the endometrium (the lining of the uterus). These studies suggest that endometriosis might be in part caused by a deficiency in the endocannabinoid system, and cannabis products help to balance out the body (Bilgic et al., 2017).
Unfortunately, cannabis products are still stigmatized, despite their slow but steady legalization. Cannabis is only fully legalized in 15 out of 50 states in the U.S., and even in these states cannabis use is regulated and restricted. We asked All Day Sunday if there were misconceptions about cannabis products that they wanted to clear up. They spoke about the stigma around cannabis use, which originated back with the Reagan-era War on Drugs. The War on Drugs exponentially increased the criminalization of people using and distributing recreational drugs. This legislature was also disproportionately harmful to Black and Brown folks who were profiled and arrested at immensely higher rates than white people. The on-going War on Drugs led to a whole host of cultural and material damages, like higher police budgets and racialized stereotypes and stigmas about cannabis use. The harmful effects of this racist policy are still playing out today, especially in over-policed communities of color, and the stigma around cannabis products lingers, even after the government has doubled-back on its groundless claims about the dangers of using cannabis recreationally.
Vicki: [Cannabis] should be a tool that should be completely normal for the wellness community, at this point. It’s a tool that helps you get in touch with your body.
It’s important to note that All Day Sunday products won’t actually “get you high” in the typical sense. There’s no smoking involved, just external or internal application, so cognitive function isn’t affected in any way. This means that their products can be taken whenever (like, before that big meeting where you certainly don’t want to come across as zooted) without fear of mental alteration.
Finally, we wanted to talk about the work All Day Sunday is doing around degendering menstruation, which is historically an exhaustively gendered physiological process. As a queer-owned and operated company, All Day Sunday also has deep roots in their queer community. They talked to us about the significance of degendering menstruation on their website (which we loved to see). We asked if that was an intentional move on their part.
Vicki - Of course, it was absolutely intentional. It’s an important issue in our community… Not every woman menstruates and not everyone who menstruates is a woman.
They went on to explain how using gendered language when discussing human processes like menstruation alienates people and makes resources harder and more uncomfortable to access. They want members of the queer community to know that these products were made with them in mind.
You can find All Day Sunday on Instagram at @alldaysunday.co. Their products aren’t available to purchase yet, but you can get updates about availability on their website https://alldaysunday.co.