CBD and Menstrual Cramps

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CBD for Menstrual Cramps

If you haven’t noticed, cannabidiol (CBD) has become somewhat of a sensation within the world of health and wellness, and its mainstream success is gaining more traction every day. Researchers are frequently uncovering new and impressive benefits of using CBD.

Based on the data we have currently, CBD can offer relief from a variety of symptoms, diseases, and illnesses. Among these ailments are  ADHD, acne, anxiety, cancer- and chemotherapy-related symptoms, depression, epilepsy, insomnia, multiple sclerosis, obesity, and many more.

Now we’re hearing that CBD might also offer relief from menstrual cramps, one of the most painful symptoms a woman can suffer from while on her period.

Projected to be a multi-billion dollar industry, it’s no wonder that CBD is becoming a household name. However, what exactly is CBD and what are its benefits? Moreover, how can CBD help women suffering from menstrual cramps?

In this guide, we’ll explore the connection between CBD and menstrual cramps to gain a comprehensive picture of what the future might hold.

What is CBD?

CBD, also known by its scientific classification, cannabidiol, is one of more than 100 naturally occurring elements of the cannabis sativa plant. CBD’s connection to wellness and its status as a potential holistic alternative to many traditional treatments is making the chemical compound a household name.

Cannabidiol is known as a promising phytocannabinoid which comes from agricultural or industrial hemp. Medical and scientific communities are recognizing it for its benefits on human and animal health. CBD holds the impressive potential of having the capacity to affect many biological processes in the human body.

Unlike the more popularly known cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is incapable of producing a high. Since CBD is a non-psychotoxic, it has a remarkable safety profile.

The fact that CBD doesn’t cause a psychoactive effect is especially good news for women suffering from menstrual cramps. Part of the reason many people have “switched” from THC-based remedies to CBD-based remedies is to avoid the sometimes anxiety-inducing effects of THC.

Since anxiety is one of the many symptoms that can occur alongside menstrual cramps, using THC can actually make an already-tough menstrual cycle even more uncomfortable. That’s where CBD and menstrual cramps come in.

Not only is CBD said to help the pain associated with menstrual cramps, but it is known for its anxiety-reducing properties as well. Basically, when it comes to CBD and menstrual cramps, you might be killing two birds with one stone.

First, let’s learn more about the intricacies of the common symptom dreaded by so many women around the world: menstrual cramps.

Menstrual Cramps

CBD for Menstrual Cramps

Menstrual cramps are a series of distressing pains that take place most often in a woman’s lower abdomen. These cramps occur at the start of or directly prior to a woman’s menstrual cycle, better known as her period. While most women experience menstrual cramping for 1-3 days, others struggle with the symptom for longer.

So, what do menstrual cramps feel like? If you’re a woman, this pain likely needs no explanation. If you’re a man, let’s just say you’re lucky that you’ve been spared this particular biological process. For the sake of our purposes though, menstrual cramping pain usually consist of throbbing, aching, or even stinging sensations.

Every woman experiences them differently and the cramps can be dull, sharp, or somewhere in between. Whereas cramps can be little more than an irritating occurrence that takes place for a few days in the month, they can also be severe to the point of incapacity and disturbances in one’s daily routine.  

In fact, menstrual cramps are one of the main reasons for period-related pain in women between the ages of 15-30 years old. Luckily though, most women only experience some discomfort as a result of menstrual cramps. However, there are still a number of women who are briefly disabled by these painful physical sensations.

Why Do Menstrual Cramps Happen?

To understand why menstrual cramps happen, and how CBD can be an effective source of relief for those experiencing this pesky symptom, it’s important to first examine the biophysical complexities.

The female body creates compounds known as “prostaglandins,” which are at the root of the menstrual pain and distress. This is where it gets a bit gnarly, so bear with us.

The uterine lining, or the tissues that border the female’s uterus, is what creates the prostaglandins, which then spur contractions in the uterus. Unfortunately for some women who are biologically predisposed to more prostaglandins, the greater the concentration of the chemical, the more severe the contractions and therefore the associated pain will be.

Menstrual cramping, thanks to prostaglandins, often comes alongside some other super fun symptoms such as diarrhea, headaches, irritability, nausea, vomiting, and weakness.

Who is most susceptible to menstrual cramps?

Certain women have the unfortunate fate of being more susceptible to menstrual cramps. Some of the factors that come into play include things completely out of the woman’s control, such as having her first period before the age of 11, which is characteristically young.

If a woman already experiences heavy bleeding during her period, she’s also more inclined to experience menstrual cramping and the same goes for women who are overweight or obese. Whereas the former is another factor that is mostly out of a woman’s control, similar to the age at which someone gets their first period, the latter is thankfully something most often within the individual’s control.

Other factors that can lead to more severe menstrual cramps but which women also can control is cigarette smoking and the use of alcohol.

CBD and Menstrual Cramps

CBD for Menstrual Cramps

A growing body of research is backing up CBD’s ability to incite anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and muscle-relaxing results. Although there’s a lack of research focusing solely on CBD and menstrual cramps, we can deduce that CBD’s above-mentioned benefits will be useful to women with painful periods. In essence, CBD is known for treating the very symptoms that are associated with menstrual cramps.

This past year, scientists found that CBD represses the prostaglandin-producing enzyme. Remember, prostaglandins are those havoc-wreaking chemicals we talked about earlier.

So, even though there hasn’t been much research specifically on CBD for menstrual cramps, there is significant research indicating CBD can be effectively used for pain relief, which is what really matters.

The Rise of Cannabis-Based Period Products

For one particularly fed up woman who had even convinced herself that she was plagued with some type of severe ovarian disease due to her pain, “weed tampons” seemed to do the trick. It’s essential to note that these so-called weed tampons, created by U.S.-based company Foria, contained CBD as well as THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive chemical compound in cannabis.

Although CBD’s ability to reduce pain was likely in part responsible for the effectiveness of the product, the THC probably played an important role as well. To date, there are no “weed tampons” containing CBD alone, meaning without any traces of THC.

Other cannabis-based period products include Moxie Meds, a line of THC and CBD tinctures created exclusively for Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), which often includes painful menstrual cramping.

However, topical and ingestable CBD products such as balms and tinctures should do the trick as well.

Final Thoughts

At the rate it’s going, CBD may end up being a treatment option for a wide variety of ailments. However, when it comes to CBD and menstrual cramps, there isn’t much research yet.

That said, since CBD is said to have anti-inflammatory, pain-reducing and muscle-relaxing properties (all of which have been studied), it’s probable that CBD could be used to address the pain of menstrual cramps. CBD also seems to help alleviate other symptoms, such as anxiety, that can come along with menstrual cramps.

It’s too soon to say what the future of CBD and menstrual cramps holds but, for women’s sake, let’s hope it’s bright!

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Last modified: June 3, 2019