Is CBD really effective for period pains and which products should you use?

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Is CBD good for periods?

Period pains can be so excruciating. Sometimes it’s hard to go on about your day without turning to something for pain relief.

I have intense symptoms (really bad cramps, feeling super bloated, mood swings and trouble regulating my emotions etc) every month. I usually take an Advil but as the years went by, I felt more and more uncomfortable using pharmaceutical drugs to address this natural phenomenon in my body. Especially on such a regular basis… There had to be other ways to address this worldwide age-old phenomenon.

It’s often marketed as the new miracle natural solution everywhere, but is CBD is really good for periods? I started doing some research on this more natural pain relieving solution for menstrual symptoms.

I found that CBD is a natural, efficient alternative. CBD has proven pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties that can really help your body through this difficult part of your cycle. Because it comes from cannabis it’s gotten a really bad rep over the years. Researchers and doctors have overlooked its great potential for women who experience really bad period pains. Thankfully with the legalization of marijuana in a few countries such as the US or Canada that’s starting to change over the past few years.

In this article I’ll explain how CBD is really effective for period pains and why it’s just a great viable option for menstrual symptoms !

How does CBD help period symptoms?

Studies on cannabis in general are very limited due to restrictions on cannabis use and research. For that reason, unfortunately there is no research being done today on whether CBD is really effective for treating menstrual symptoms. This can also be explained by the fact that generally exists few studies on menstrual symptoms.

However there are studies done on CBD and pain relief so we can look into those and see how they apply. We can also look at the numerous personal testimonies, found online and around us, from women who have tried CBD to alleviate their menstrual pains.

girl_looking_at_CBD_bottle

There are multiple reasons why CBD is good for period cramps and menstrual pains that we’ll get into in this article.

Research has shown that CBD, or cannabidiol, has proven pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have also shown that CBD can help with mood swings. Let’s look into how that could apply to menstrual pains and why that could show CBD is effective in treating period symptoms.

Why is CBD good for period cramps?

When you have your period your body will start to release a lot of inflammatory prostaglandins. These are what cause your cramps. They are hormones that trigger the muscle contraction of your uterus so that your body can expulse everything it needs to. The higher number of these hormones your body releases during your period: the more pain you’re going to feel. Taking this into account, studies have looked at the impact of anti inflammatory drugs on these hormones and thus on period pain relief. Many have proven that they are indeed effective at reducing the amount of pain women have on their period.

Now the good news is that multiple studies, such as this one published in 2020 by a medical university in Poland, have demonstrated that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties. So while studies on cannabidiol and period pains have yet to be done, these findings suggest that CBD can reduce inflammation and thus suggest that CBD is good for alleviating menstrual cramps.

To summarize :

period cramps = your body releasing inflammatory hormones
→ anti-inflammatory drugs have proven to be efficient against period cramps
→ CBD has proven anti inflammatory properties!

Does CBD help with pain?

Really bad period cramps can often prevent you from working, running errands or just basically anything that requires you to be a functioning human. The pain can sometimes be so excruciating that it’s impossible to continue your day like you normally would without taking a painkiller.

A psychopharmacology study carried out early 2021 showed that while CBD doesn’t reduce the intensity of pain we feel, it can make it seem less irritating. This suggests that taking CBD will help you feel like the pain is more manageable. It’s not an instant pain killer like some pharmaceutical drugs however CBD will help the pain feel less unpleasant and reduce your period pains.

Moreover research from the University of Arkansas suggests that CBD is a viable anxiolytic, meaning it can help you feel less anxious and just generally more at ease.

Does CBD help with PMS symptoms?

During the menstrual cycle we experience the complex interaction of many hormones. This has a very concrete impact on our mood, especially before we get our period. Premenstrual syndrome (aka PMS) is an array of physical and emotional symptoms (bloating, mood swings, fatigue, headaches etc) that appear 14 to 7 days before we get our period. Sometimes it can be hard to manage your emotions and not succomb to mood swings, and that’s okay! But how does CBD help with hormones and how exactly can CBD affect your menstrual cycle ?

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a cell-signaling system present in our body that interacts with all cannabinoids, including cannabidiol. This 2021 Open Access Government article explains well how it works. Basically the ECS is responsible for balancing and regulating body processes that control everything from our mood, sleep, immune system function and metabolism. A Yale 2016 study concluded that the female reproductive system and the ECS are intricately linked. It also revealed that the highest concentration of the endocannabinoid anandamide is found in the uterus. This suggests CBD can have an active role in hormone regulation and help with PMS symptom relief.

How can I take CBD for period pains?

If you want to try using CBD as a period pain relief the good news is there’s many ways you can do so!

Here’s a list so you can find the form that’s best adapted to your needs. I also asked some of my friends to share their experiences using various CBD products to deal with their period pains. Adding these testimonials really shows there’s a variety of different ways CBD can be good for period pains.

Edibles or CBD oil drops in your drink

A good way to take in CBD without changing up your routine too much is to incorporate it into what you’re already eating or drinking! CBD oil can be added to food (turning it into what is commonly called an ‘edible’) or to a drink such as your morning coffee. If you’re looking for recipes we have a whole section filled with delicious edible recipes. If you’re into comfort foods while on your period this is the ultimate combination. You can stuff your face with delicious CBD infused treats that alleviate your pain and warm your soul up.

mandy sharing her experience using CBD for period pains after a medical procedure

CBD softgels

If you’re looking for a straightforward way to use CBD without having to incorporate it to anything or if you want to be able to take it in a discreet manner then softgels are probably right for you. These little capsules contain everything you need and there’s a whole range of them adapted to help you sleep, reduce anxiety or alleviate pain. 

CBD topicals

Another option is to use CBD is through topicals that you can directly apply to where it hurts (this is pertinent for headaches or bloating and stomach cramps). Oils, creams, lotions and salves are perfect if you want to use CBD to alleviate period cramps. Directly applying to your skin helps muscle tension and is also a convenient way to use CBD if you’re not a fan of its taste.

sarah sharing her experience using CBD for period pains after a medical procedure

Take a CBD bath

woman reading in a bathtub

Last but not least if you love winding down in a warm relaxing bath then you’re going to love CBD bath bombs!

For those privileged enough to have a tub, this is my ultimate go-to if I’m having a super bad period day and nothing else is doing the trick. I take CBD oil on the daily during my period but for extra bad days I like to combine my regular dose of CBD oil with a nice long bath. Soaking in a hot bath is super relaxing, it helps you unwind and relax your muscles. Adding CBD to that already great combination can really help reduce inflammation and improve your blood circulation. And as an extra bonus, research has also suggested that CBD can help moisturize your skin. 

Must buy if you want to feel like Cleopatra in your bath.

Last but not least if you love winding down in a warm relaxing bath then you’re going to love CBD bath bombs!

For those privileged enough to have a tub, this is my ultimate go-to if I’m having a super bad period day and nothing else is doing the trick. I take CBD oil on the daily during my period but for extra bad days I like to combine my regular dose of CBD oil with a nice long bath. Soaking in a hot bath is super relaxing, it helps you unwind and relax your muscles. Adding CBD to that already great combination can really help reduce inflammation and improve your blood circulation. And as an extra bonus, research has also suggested that CBD can help moisturize your skin. 

Must buy if you want to feel like Cleopatra in your bath.

How much CBD should I take for menstrual cramps and pains?

If you’re wondering how much CBD should I take for PMS? Or how much CBD should I take for menstrual cramps? There is no “right” answer to this question. The answer is going to vary depending on individuals.

The general recommendation is to start low enough and to slowly increase the daily dosage until you find the desired effect.

Depending on how bad your pain is you might want to start with a dosage of 10mg to 20mg per day. If you want to try a higher dosage I recommend you increase it by 10mg and that you give yourself enough time to assess how the change of dose is having an effect on you. It’s important to be attentive to how your respond to every dose and monitor it so you can find your ideal amount. 

How to choose CBD for menstrual cramps

what CBD product to use for period pains

Once you decide what type of CBD you want to use (oil, cream, softgels etc) you’re probably going to easily find a lot of brands that market these types of product. It can quickly be overwhelming especially when you’re a new user. How do you choose quality CBD? Don’t worry, we got you.

There are multiple factors to take into account and if you’re interested in a longer explanation, Crystal from DailyMarijuana has detailed them fully in this article. We created a summary that covers all the important points.

What to take into account when choosing a CBD product:

  • is it made by a company that provides third-party testing by an ISO 17025-compliant lab and provides evidence of this testing?
  • is the source of CBD indicated?
  • does it contain THC?
  • is it free of heavy metals, pesticides, and molds, according to the COA?
  • what is the CBD concentration?
  • what CBD type is it?
  • is there an ingredient list and are those ingredients sourced?
  • can you find the company certifications and manufacturing processes?
  • can you find any customer reviews?

Using CBD for Period Pains - Product Reviews

CBD Oils for Period Pains

Oils are a great way to start using CBD if you’re not sure what to get. Oils can be used as edibles, whether you mix it into something you eat or place a drop under your tongue, and as topicals, massaging it directly into your skin. Here’s a couple of recommended oils for period pains; you can also filter through using your criterias on our  CBD search & compare tool 🙂 

Remember CBD oils come in many different dosages and you’re going to have to test and try to find the appropriate dosage for your needs.

Different Ingredients and production methods to make CBD Oil

There’s a couple of characteristics you’re going to want to look closely at when selecting which CBD oil to buy.

First you’re going to want to look at how the CBD was extracted (see table below). Then it’s important to see if there’s any other ingredient. The most simple, ‘pure’, CBD oils will only have CBD and a base oil (sunflower, hemp, grape seed etc). Some will add flavoring, the more natural the better obviously.

Be careful, if there’s any ingredient you don’t know or recognize then don’t hesitate to google it! You don’t want to be buying something that you don’t know what it is or how it could affect you… This is especially true if you can’t find the ingredient list, now that’s just shady…

In the table below we’ve gathered the different ingredients in order to help you get a broad view. In order to get a specific idea of each product composition, you can use our comparison tool.

 

CBD Oil ingredientsAvailable options
Type of oil

“CBD oil” is composed of CBD extract and other oils. You can find it composed of hemp seed oil, sunflower seeds oil, olive oil, MCT oil, cocunut oil and more.

These oils are used as a base to dilute the CBD extracts and consume it.

CBD SpectrumFull or Broad spectrum :
The spectrum indicates the possible presence, or not, of other cannabinoids.
A full spectrum CBD oil will only contain CBD, whereas broad spectrum oils may contain some levels of CBN, THC or other cannabinoids.Depending on what you are looking for, you can favor one option or the other
CBD Extraction type

There are different ways one can extract CBD from cannabis flowers. Each have their pros and cons. One of the important aspects regarding this are

  • The possibility of leaving trace element behind
  • The purity of the extracted oils.
  • The energy necessary in order to extract the compounds.

Let’s look into the different extraction methods you can find:

  • Extraction by solvent: Here the plant trimmings are soaked, or washed, in a solvent, generally food grade ethanol or  hydrocarbon like butane or propane.
    After this process, the extraction is refined, most of the solvent is removed leaving behind the cannabinoid concentrate.
    The biggest down side to this method is the possibility of solvent left behind, reducing the quality of the oil.
  • Olive Oil extraction: Similar to extraction by solvent but using olive oil, which is obviously less dangerous for your health.
    The main downside is a possibly more perishable oil, and an olive oil taste/smell (this is a downside if you don’t like olive oil ^^)
  • Steam distillation: This method is a classic method to extract essential oils, which works for cannabinoids as well.
    The biggest advantage to this extraction method is the fact that it’s solvent-free and is inexpensive.
    On the other hand it requires more plant material for less oil extracted
  • CO² extraction: In this method, CO² is used to extract the cannabinoid from the plant. Pharmastrong explains the 3  steps of the process well.
    The main advantage of this process is its precision of extraction, it’s safety as its solvent-free and eco-friendliness as it consumes less energy and extracts the cannabinoids in a very efficient way.
    The main downside is that highly sophisticated equipment is needed to do this, so it’s not really doable at home
Animal testingThis one is pretty straight forward, but we thought it would be important to bring your attention to it.
Some producers test their products on animals in order to see the effects.

In order to bring forwards products that do not test on animals, we have created a special “vegan” filter. All brand that specifically say that they do not do animal testing are tagged as vegan.

Origin of the hemp usedHere’s another big one, where does the hemp come from? How was it produced?
Many times it’s very hard to know, but most serious brands specify at least from which country their hemp comes from.
In order to help you find local, and organic products, you can also find this information on the product characteristics when it is specified.
Flavor

When it comes to flavors you will find 2 big “families” of flavors. Terpenes or artificial flavoring

  • Terpene flavoring: Terpenes are chemicals found in fruit, flowers, vegetables, etc, that give flavor to elements. Taste a hint of lemon? Might just be the presence of citrus terpenes
  • Artificial flavoring : In this case artificial elements are added to the oil in order to give it a specific taste. This process is the same as the one you can find in a multitude of different foods.
Lab tested or not

This last one isn’t directly an ingredient but we think it’s important to also bring it forward.

Some brands get their products tested in the lab and make the results public on the product pages. 
Checking out the lab results allows you to be 100% sure of what’s really in the oil, and what you’re putting in your body.

When you compare cbd oil using our tool you will be able to see the products with lab-results available 

 

Is CBD a viable long term solution for menstrual symptoms?

Is CBD is good for period pain? Yes for me it is, but after all my research on the subject I understand that it’s not as easy as that. I found many different testimonies online, some saying that CBD was very effective at treating their period pains and others quite the opposite. To me what this shows is that it’s a very personal experience and you won’t know until you’ve tried it for yourself.

Is there even ONE answer to the question “what is the best pain relief for period pain?” ? There is no “right” answer to this question, each woman is going to experience her pain differently and remedies that work for some might not work for others. Basically there is no miracle solution, if you have really bad period pain or suffer from endometriosis this won’t be ultimate cure to your aches but it could help you so why not try it. Test and try different stuff! It’s not because it didn’t work for some people that it won’t work for you.

A lot of testimonies online have shown that CBD can be a good pain relief for period pain so while it may not be an instant cure it can help you find some extra comfort in that difficult time of the month. If you’re looking to reduce the amount of pharmaceutical drugs you take on a monthly basis this might be a good solution. Using cbd on days were your pain is more manageable or combining it with other solutions on days where its just horrible can contribute to alleviating menstrual symptoms.

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