CBD and Your Period
If you suffer from menstrual cramps, you are not alone. About 80% of women around the world experience pain at various stages of their periods. What’s more, some women experience gut-wrenching pain that seriously disrupts their lives. It’s no wonder that individuals have been searching for ways to relieve their period cramps for a long time. While some women have settled for traditional anti-inflammatory drugs, others might stop using them after experiencing side effects or digestive system problems. The medical community is looking for more natural solutions that are well-tolerated and, in addition to the physical pain, also help to relieve the psychological symptoms caused by changes in hormones. In this article, we will talk about period cramps in more detail and explore whether CBD can actually relieve them.
Acronyms associated with menstrual cramps
PMS or premenstrual syndrome is a state that a woman may experience several days before her menstrual cycle. During this time, she may feel breast tenderness, bloating, cramps, mood swings and headaches.
In turn, PMDD or premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a more severe form of PMS that interferes with a woman’s ability to do regular activities or with the way she interacts with people.
Up to 75% of women who have periods may experience a mild form of PMS, but PMDD is much less common, affecting only 3% to 8% of women. Actually, there is some confusion about the distinction between PMS and PMDD. And this is not surprising, as they share a number of the same symptoms: bloating, tender breasts, headaches, muscle or joint pain, fatigue, sleep problems, food cravings and mood swings.
PMDD is a disorder that is vital to treat because there are shocking statistics on the higher risk of suicide among women affected by it. According to this study, it is a sad fact that many women don’t even consider seeking treatment or seek it unsuccessfully for years.
PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome is a common health problem caused by an imbalance in reproductive hormones. Hormonal imbalances can lead to ovarian problems. The ovaries produce an egg that is released each month as part of a healthy menstrual cycle. With PCOS, the egg may not develop or be released properly during ovulation.
Dysmenorrhoea is not an acronym but a term that is closely related to period cramps. It is a condition that causes severe and frequent cramping and pain during menstruation. There are two types of dysmenorrhoea: primary (occurs during the first onset of the menstrual cycle and continues throughout a person’s life; it can cause severe and frequent menstrual cramps due to strong and abnormal contractions of the uterus) and secondary (caused by a physical condition such as pelvic inflammatory disease or endometriosis, and usually starts at a later age). Dysmenorrhoea persists throughout menstruation, in contrast to premenstrual syndromes.
Hopefully, awareness of these different syndromes, their symptoms, and the risk factors that cause women recurrent discomfort and illness, will help many to acknowledge the problem and start receiving the necessary treatment as soon as possible.
Can CBD relieve menstrual cramps?
Firstly, CBD may interact with the endocannabinoid system. CBD has been shown to influence the CB1 and CB2 receptors that perform several important roles in the human body: regulating immune and inflammatory responses, coordination, movement, pain, anxiety, fear, appetite, memory, mood, energy and others.
Pelvic inflammation can be one of the underlying reasons for dysmenorrhoea. Moreover, inflammatory symptoms caused by an infection can similarly cause pain and migraines during periods. Interestingly, the pelvic region contains one of the highest concentrations of cannabinoid receptors in the body. CBD is able to interact with the receptors in the body’s systems, activating the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that speed up the process of tissue repair. According to the study, the infusion of CBD into mice can result in higher levels of anti-inflammatory interleukins that help regulate immune responses.
For many women, carrying painkillers in their handbags is an essential ritual. During their periods, women may experience mild to severe pain in the lower back, hips, head, stomach or chest. According to this study, CBD can be used to manage physical pain.
Women report feeling calmer and more stable when taking CBD during their periods. With that said, CBD can not only help relieve period cramps, back pain or migraines but also positively impact women’s mental health.
Ways that might help relieve menstrual pain with CBD
CBD can be used in a variety of ways, but don’t forget that each delivery method is unique and has its own features. Let’s review them below.
- Infusing drinks.
We all drink every day, so no extra time or equipment is needed to enjoy drinking CBD products. A few drops of CBD oil can help relieve cramps by reducing inflammation, which is the main cause of pain. It’s also a great addition to your morning coffee, anti-PMS smoothies or even a non-alcoholic cocktail.
- CBD edibles.
CBD edibles are consumed orally, meaning they enter the bloodstream through the digestive system. Consumers can experience the potential effects of CBD edibles for three to twelve hours, depending on their unique body characteristics.
- Topical use.
CBD oil can be added to a topical cream or balm, or you can opt for various CBD cosmetics, including face masks, face and hand creams as well as serums. This is a popular option if you want to soothe any sore spots that cause discomfort during your periods, such as your stomach, groin or lower back, as it acts directly on the affected area. As this study shows, transdermal cannabidiol may reduce inflammation and pain-related behaviours. CBD can also help you deal with hormonal acne, as it can potentially reduce sebum production, one of the main causes of acne. However, keep in mind that the effects of taking topical CBD are not long-lasting.
CBD suppositories are small, round or tapered objects that you can insert into your vagina, where they dissolve and release CBD oil, which is then absorbed by the body. CBD suppositories can be effective in relieving pain during menstruation because they allow CBD to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream rather than first passing through the gastrointestinal tract. As we mentioned before, the pelvic area is a prime target for CBD’s potential effects.
- CBD-infused tampons.
Much like a suppository, CBD tampons can be an excellent way to relieve menstrual pain. When inserted, they activate cannabinoid receptors in the vagina, potentially reducing the inflammation that causes menstrual pain.
Smoking and vaping CBD are two popular ways of consuming cannabidiol. Inhaling CBD can allow you to quickly achieve the desired effect. It is advisable that you take the time to find a high-quality vaping pen to ensure that the consumption process is as pleasant as possible. However, it is best to avoid smoking if you have health problems, especially those affecting the respiratory system.
- Sublingual use.
You can take CBD by placing a few drops of oil directly under your tongue. This part of the mouth is an area rich in capillaries, so CBD will enter your bloodstream faster. The oil is absorbed here without undergoing first-pass metabolism in the liver.
- Adding CBD to your bath.
Many of us prefer taking a bath to unwind, come to our senses and tune into a positive vibe. It’s also good for relaxing your muscles and your body in general, and for getting your mind in order. As several studies claim, CBD can moisturise and heal the skin. Adding CBD to your bath may also help reduce inflammation and improve blood circulation in the uterus, which will reduce pain during menstruation. You can buy a range of CBD bath products or add some drops of your favourite CBD oil to your bath.
- Using CBD in a lube.
Is it okay to have sex during your period? Yes. For some women, libido increases during menstruation, while for others, it decreases. The risk of infection during your period is slightly higher, so you may need to use contraception even if you normally do without it. CBD can make sex more pleasurable during your period by reducing the tension in your pelvic floor area and reducing pain from cramping or penetration. Also, increased sensitivity and relaxation can result in stronger orgasms and, in some cases, an increased libido.
It is very important to keep in mind that everyone’s body is different and therefore may have different experiences with CBD products.
Side effects of taking CBD to relieve period pain
As with regular intake of CBD, using it to relieve period pain can cause the following side effects:
- dry mouth;
- reduced appetite;
If you experience any of these symptoms, please reduce or stop your consumption of CBD. Above all, consult your doctor before taking CBD to reduce pain.
Moreover, some women have pointed out that CBD may affect the length and duration of their menstrual cycles or change the intensity of bleeding. Therefore, we should always bear in mind that we are all different, and experimenting with CBD forms (full-spectrum, broad-spectrum or isolates) and dosages can help you achieve the desired effects.
Please do not use CBD products in combination with other medications or contraceptives, as this may reduce their efficacy.
While some studies have shown CBD oil can suppress certain types of pain, there hasn’t been enough human participation to say what an effective dose might be and whether it affects the menstrual cycle. Nevertheless, women around the world should not have to settle for a life disrupted by severe pain each and every month. Hopefully, more positive research findings on CBD use for period cramps will follow in the future.
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder as a correlate of suicidal ideation, plans, and attempts among a nationally representative sample (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00127-012-0548-z)
- Premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder: quality of life and burden of illness (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19402804/)
- Why are women putting cannabis in their vaginas? (https://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/article/8b1389df-9153-477d-a18d-56a50178163e)
- Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7023045/)
- CBD cocktail as effective as ibuprofen in reducing menstrual pain (https://www.healio.com/news/primary-care/20210511/cbd-cocktail-as-effective-as-ibuprofen-in-reducing-menstrual-pain)
- How long do edibles take to work and what are the side effects? (https://www.netdoctor.co.uk/healthy-living/wellbeing/a36210512/edibles/)
- Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ejp.818)
- Single-dose kinetics of deuterium-labelled cannabidiol in man after smoking and intravenous administration (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2937482/)
- Is the cardiovascular system a therapeutic target for cannabidiol? (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3579247/)
- Are CBD Suppositories the Answer to Better, Less Painful Sex? (https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sex/cbd-suppositories-better-less-painful-sex)
- Can weed relieve menstrual pain? (https://helloclue.com/articles/cycle-a-z/can-weed-help-in-the-relief-of-menstrual-pain)