Not only does menstrual cramping inflict intense bouts of pain, but it also interferes with everyday work and activities. Many methods are specifically designed for and widely used by women to help alleviate pain and menstrual discomforts, such as hot baths or other medications.
Recently, CBD has been gaining significant attention as an effective way of pain relief from period cramps and other symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
This makes us wonder; are these claims of effectiveness valid? And how exactly does CBD help in terms of menstrual cramps?
What is CBD (aka Cannabidiol)?
CBD is a cannabinoid, a natural substance in the cannabis and hemp plant that is used for many purposes. Unlike THC, cannabidiol is non-addictive and non-psychoactive, meaning CBD won’t get you high.
It is helpful to know that not all CBD products are created equal.
Below is a list of the spectrums of CBD found in common products:
- CBD isolate: solely contains CBD without any trace of THC or other cannabinoids.
- Broad spectrum CBD: contains other compounds of the cannabis plant that exclude the THC.
- Full spectrum CBD: contains all therapeutic compounds of the cannabis plant, including up to 0.3 % of THC, which has mild chances of intoxication.
Are CBD Products Safe to Take For Pain Management?
As mentioned before, CBD is non-addictive, non-intoxicating, and non-psychoactive. This means it does not cause the “high” that THC causes. Research suggests it has gained, CBD is considered relatively safe compared to traditional painkillers by wellness professionals.
However, specific side effects and risks may drudge up some concerns. These adverse effects can include fatigue, drowsiness, and blood thinning. We highly suggest using only extensively tested and proven CBD products to prevent such risks.
The positive news is that CBD rarely has any serious side effects and in the right dose can provide a broad range of benefits.
Likewise, the right dosage is still uncertain and different for everyone, and can be figured out once consistently explored and consulted with a doctor. If you are new to CBD, you should always start with a lose dose and work your way up.
Can CBD Oil for Menstrual Cramps Help?
CBD can be used in many forms, with CBD oil being one of the effective options as pain relievers. Since CBD is proven to have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, it works pretty well as an oil. Once ingested, it may not only relieve cramping but also demonstrate its therapeutic benefits like improved mood or resolved sleep issues.
While the oil may lose some of its efficacy in the liver, the results may be long-lasting and regulated since it’s easier to measure CBD dosage in tincture/oil form.
Human studies have shown similar results. In a 2019 study, participants attested to CBD’s effectiveness in its pain-relieving benefits and expressed how CBD oil remained the most effective in relieving menstrual pain.
For period pain relief, it may be taken as tinctures (placed under the tongue or mixed with beverages) or massaged onto the abdomen. However, the oil must not be added to sanitary pads or tampons since it may disrupt the acidic and bacterial balance in the vagina and cause infections.
Furthermore, CBD oils are often the main active ingredient in topical CBD products that can be applied directly to the affected area to help relieve painful cramps.
Does CBD Cream Help in Relieving Menstrual Pain?
CBD cream works best for localized pain in menstrual cramps. Case reports from 2020 reported how topical CBD creams effectively block pain upon application.
A CBD cream can be massaged or rubbed into the place of discomfort. From thereon, it may interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, dealing primarily with pain and inflammatory responses and working through its anti-inflammatory effects.
It is said to reduce abdominal discomfort and cause numbness that relieves pain, a symptom of PMS. However, the transdermal cannabidiol method may irritate sensitive skin, so the effect might come with some caveats.
What About a CBD Period Patch?
A CBD period patch is not as widely used as CBD lotions or oils, but it may prove to be as effective if properly applied. CBD period patches also work for localized discomfort and release the cannabinoid into the bloodstream through transdermal contact, increasing its bioavailability and producing more potent results. Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation that are accompanying pain.
Period patches can relieve menstrual pain over time, but the process is slow and tenuous. Moreover, just like CBD creams, it can cause itchiness and irritation if it comes into contact with sensitive skin.
Does CBD Affect the Menstrual Cycle?
Scientific research from 2022 on cannabidiol’s effects on the menstrual cycle has declared that CBD does not disrupt menstrual cycles in any way apart from managing bodily fluids (that do not interfere with the cycle) and relieving pain.
While a heavy CBD dosage may cause heavier periods, that does not necessarily mean that it is disrupting the cycle. However, caution is still advised, especially if one has irregular periods.
What to Look for When You Buy CBD for Menstrual Cramps
First and foremost, knowing the CBD types included in a product is essential. It is advised that full-spectrum CBD products are far better for menstrual cramps because CBD and THC working together may yield quicker and more effective results.
One should also check the appropriate dosing mentioned on the product label to determine if it aligns with your set dosage. To address safety concerns, always ensure that you use only CBD products that are of high-quality and extensively tested like Keoni CBD topicals.
You should also check if the product has undergone third-party testing along with the ingredients to check if it’s safe and free from pesticides or other low-quality ingredients.
The availability of a certificate of analysis that testifies the product’s third-party lab results is required for transparency and to prevent the buyer from being deceived by the CBD product’s contents. This is essential for cannabidiol extracts sold online.
In Conclusion on Using CBD to Alleviate Cramps and PMS Symptoms
We can thus conclude that CBD is a relatively safe option for relieving menstrual cramps and discomfort. This, combined with research, suggests that along with being safe, CBD products are also quite effective and come in a variety of forms.
While it is convenient and helpful for women with menstrual cramps, it still doesn’t change the fact that caution is always necessary since results vary from person to person. Everyone’s bodies are different and everyone’s periods have different level of effects.
But overall, CBD is another development in making the menstrual cycles a little more bearable for women, which is an admirable achievement.
However, if you plan to take an ingestible CBD product like CBD oil drops, CBD gummies, CBD capsule products, or CBD tincture to reduce inflammation or to treat other health conditions, it is essential you consult with a healthcare professional. In addition, if you take CBD topical products and have an allergic reaction, you should rinse the affected area with water and discontinue use.
Casarella, Jennifer. “Health Benefits Of CBD.” Webmd, 2021, https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-cbd#1
Cather, Jennifer Clay, and J. Christian Cather. “Cannabidiol Primer For Healthcare Professionals.” Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings, vol 33, no. 3, 2020, pp. 376-379. Informa UK Limited, https://doi.org/10.1080/08998280.2020.1775437. Accessed 2 Aug 2022.
Bauer, Brent A. “CBD: Safe And Effective?”. Mayo Clinic, 2020, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/is-cbd-safe-and-effective/faq-20446700#:~:text=CBD%20use%20also%20carries%20some,taking%2C%20such%20as%20blood%20thinners
Haroutounian, Simon et al. “The Effect Of Medicinal Cannabis On Pain And Quality-Of-Life Outcomes In Chronic Pain.” The Clinical Journal Of Pain, vol 32, no. 12, 2016, pp. 1036-1043. Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health), https://doi.org/10.1097/ajp.0000000000000364. Accessed 2 Aug 2022
Keoni CBD. Buy Keoni CBD Topicals Online. https://keonicbd.com/product-category/cbd-topicals/. Accessed 8 Aug 2022.
Armour, Mike, et al. “Self-Management Strategies Amongst Australian Women With Endometriosis: A National Online Survey.” BMC Complementary And Alternative Medicine, vol 19, no. 1, 2019. Springer Science And Business Media LLC, https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-019-2431-x. Accessed 2 Aug 2022.
Eskander, MD, MBA, Jonathan P., et al. “Cannabidiol (CBD) As A Treatment Of Acute And Chronic Back Pain: A Case Series And Literature Review.” Journal Of Opioid Management, vol 16, no. 3, 2020, pp. 215-218. Weston Medical Publishing, https://doi.org/10.5055/jom.2020.0570. Accessed 2 Aug 2022
Corporation, Canopy. “CANOPY GROWTH SHINES A LIGHT ON MENSTRUAL HEALTH THROUGH CBD EFFICACY STUDY. ” Prnewswire.Com, 2022, https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/canopy-growth-shines-a-light-on-menstrual-health-through-cbd-efficacy-study-301507639.html#:~:text=%22Our%20findings%20showed%20that%20CBD,President%2C%20Human%20%26%20Animal%20Research