Can CBD Oil Help With the Pain of Menstrual Cramps ?
The time of the month
A 2018 Dutch survey found that 85% of women have experienced painful cramping when menstruating, 77% suffered from mood disorders and their related symptoms, and 71% experienced extreme feelings of exhaustion and tiredness.
A very personal issue most women and I must face about every 28 days.
The medical term of these painful periods or menstrual cramps is ‘dysmenorrhea’.
Could CDB help against the killer menstrual cramps?
To fully understand the benefits of CBD, you need to be aware of how cannabinoids interact with the human body. Two kinds of cell receptors in our bodies, called CB1 and CB2, comprise the Endocannabinoid system. These cell receptors are are found throughout important systems like the digestive tract, central nervous system, cardiovascular system and immune system and are only activated by cannabinoids. Therefore, the human body naturally produces cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids, to interact with the CB1 and CB2 cell receptors in order to regulate basic functions like mood, appetite, pain and sleep.
Therefore CBD works so well in the human body!
“There are no published research studies on using CBD for period pain relief, however, it does have well established, well studied anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects across a wide range of chronic pain conditions,” says cannabinoid medicine expert, Dr Dani Gordon. In her clinical practice, she claims that patients who take CBD oil daily at a high enough dose for chronic pain, including cyclical period pain and PMS symptoms, report less severe symptoms after three months of consistent use.
A monthly cycle with consequences
The menstrual cycle is the monthly hormonal cycle a female’s body goes through to prepare for pregnancy. Your menstrual cycle is counted from the first day of your period up to the first day of your next period. Your hormone levels (estrogen and progesterone) usually change throughout the menstrual cycle and can cause menstrual symptoms.
When you menstruate, your body discards the monthly buildup of the lining of your uterus (womb).
The progesterone levels decline. Without a proper blood supply, the endometrial tissue prepares to shed, and you likely begin experiencing pangs of pain.
Without progesterone, the endometrium loses its protection – creating a domino effect, and the perfect conditions for inflammation.
CBD an alternative to NSAIDs
To treat the pains, most women reach for an Ibuprofen or similar non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs).
But CBD can be an alternative as CBD and other cannabinoids can also treat painful menstrual cramps in the following ways:
Anti-inflammatory: Cannabinoids have many anti-inflammatory activities beyond reducing production of inflammatory prostaglandins. For instance, THC activates endocannabinoid receptors (CB2) located on your immune system’s killer cells (macrophages). When these receptors are activated, they prevent macrophages from releasing inflammatory proteins (cytokines).
Pain-relieving: Although prostaglandins and other inflammatory molecules can make pain-perceiving nerves more sensitive, cannabinoids fight back by desensitizing these nerves. Both CBD and THC target nerve receptors that help decrease the sensation of pain (TRPV1 and CB1, respectively). Additionally, not only does CBD desensitize TRPV1, but those soothing effects can spread to neighboring pain receptors.
Muscle-relaxing: Menstrual cramps are exacerbated by contractions of the smooth muscle lining the uterus — and cannabinoids are widely recognized to relax smooth muscles. THC and CBD both target different receptors embedded in the muscle tissue to relax contractions.
Vascular-relaxing: Blood vessels are also lined with smooth muscle, and when cannabinoids trigger this smooth muscle to relax, blood flow increases. Increased blood flow could help provide relief to oxygen-starved tissues, further decreasing painful cramps.
Other natural remedies for cramps
Apply heat: Hot water bottles may seem old-fashioned, but they can bring as much relief from menstrual cramps as NSAIDs — and oftentimes much faster. Heat increases blood flow to the area, which soothes the overworked muscles and delivers oxygen to oxygen-starved tissues. Some scientists also think that heat desensitizes the same pain receptors that CBD works on.
Fish oil: Interestingly enough, multiple studies have demonstrated that daily fish oil supplements decrease pain and reliance on NSAIDs during periods. It turns out that prostaglandins are synthesized from omega fatty acids, and a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids could shift your body away from producing inflammatory prostaglandins.
Magnesium: Do you ever crave chocolate around this time of the month? Women who take magnesium supplements during their periods have reduced pain and reduced inflammatory prostaglandin levels. Foods like chocolate, lentils, avocados and hempseeds are high in magnesium — so go ahead and feed the craving.
Treat early: Many doctors suggest that it’s best to start taking painkillers an hour or more before the cramps start. This is true whether you’re using NSAIDs, CBD, or other cannabinoid blends.
In the absence of confirmed clinical research it’s impossible to claim what kind of effect CBD really has on menstrual cramping. It is an exciting new area of science but is heavily reliant on anecdotal evidence at this moment in time.
What works for one person may not work for someone else, every woman’s body is different. Personally, I have experienced that CBD eases my menstruation pains.
Like women did for millennia using cannabis to treat period pain, we encourage more women to use the natural CBD oil instead of chemical drugs.
Start with a few drops and increase as needed. Take CBD oil proactively and increase dosage a few days before the period starts.
We encourage women as well to discuss treatment with a doctor, in order to rule out other health problems.