CBD Oil & CBD Edibles for Menstrual Cramps
Cannabis has a long history of use for women’s health conditions, including menstrual cramps.
Even Queen Victoria, who ruled the British Empire from 1837 to 1901, was regularly prescribed cannabis to help with menstrual discomfort.
There has yet to be any medical research exploring whether CBD can help with dysmenorrhea, the medical term for painful periods.
However, there are many anecdotal reports of women finding relief from menstrual cramps by using CBD oil, edibles, and other cannabis and hemp preparations.
More importantly, there are studies showing that CBD and other cannabinoids can relieve pain, nausea, headaches, and other common issues that happen to be symptoms of menstrual cramps.
Better yet, CBD may also affect prostaglandins, the hormone-like compounds that contribute to painful and heavy periods.
Can CBD help with menstrual cramps and heavy periods? What’s the difference between using CBD oil and other products like edibles?
Here’s everything you need to know about using this time-proven remedy for menstrual pain.
How Can CBD Relieve Menstrual Cramps?
CBD and Prostaglandins
There’s some evidence that CBD can reduce the production of prostaglandins: inflammatory molecules that play a central role in menstrual cramps.
The levels of prostaglandin peak during menstruation, leading to painful uterine contractions, with higher levels being associated with more severe cramps and heavier periods.
A 2011 cell culture study reported that cannabidiol and other cannabinoids may reduce the production of prostaglandin by suppressing the COX enzyme.
CBD and the Endocannabinoid System
CBD may also help relieve pain, inflammation, and other symptoms of menstrual cramps such as nausea and headaches, by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS).
This essential system consists of cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids, and enzymes that create and break down these compounds.
The ECS works to maintain a healthy state of balance called homeostasis by regulating key processes such as pain, inflammation, mood, sleep, appetite, immunity, and cognitive function.
Although CBD does not appear to interact strongly with the two known cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2), it affects the endocannabinoid system in other ways.
For example, CBD has been shown to inhibit the enzyme that breaks down endocannabinoids: the cannabinoids naturally produced by our bodies.
In turn, higher levels of these natural compounds can promote the anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and other beneficial effects of the ECS.
CBD and Menstrual Cramps: The Research
Unfortunately, researchers have yet to study cannabis or CBD for menstrual cramps.
However, there are plenty of studies showing that CBD and other cannabinoids can relieve pain, inflammation, nausea, headaches, and other issues that happen to be symptoms of menstrual pain.
For example, a 2016 animal study demonstrated that CBD-infused gel reduced pain and inflammation in rats with arthritis without any significant side effects.
Similarly, multiple clinical trials of cannabis-based medicines that contain CBD and other cannabinoids have reported improvements in various types of pain.
One of these studies reported that cannabis improved muscle spasms and pain caused by multiple sclerosis, which is especially relevant to menstrual cramps because they are also caused by muscle contractions. Awesome connection!
Nausea is another common symptom of menstrual cramps. Research suggests cannabinoids can help here as well; one 2002 animal study reported that CBD suppressed nausea in rats.
There’s even evidence that cannabinoids can help with headaches. For example, a 2016 study reported that out of 121 people taking medical cannabis for migraine headaches, 85.1% experienced a significant improvement.
Aside from these studies, there’s also a good deal of anecdotal evidence for the effectiveness of cannabis in alleviating menstrual discomfort.
To begin with, a 2018 review paper highlights that cannabis is commonly used to relieve menstrual pain and that cannabinoids such as CBD have muscle-relaxing properties that can relieve menstrual cramps.
Furthermore, a 2002 review paper details hundreds of years of cannabis use for menstrual cramps and other women’s health concerns. This paper includes detailed reports from Victorian England, where cannabis was a common prescription.
Queen Victoria’s own doctor John Russell Reynolds, who prescribed her cannabis for menstrual discomfort every month, was quoted saying that “hemp…is of great service in cases of simple spasmodic dysmenorrhoea.”
Also, multiple studies of medical cannabis use highlight menstrual cramps as one of the leading reasons why women turn to the natural remedy.
Altogether, while targeted studies are needed, research and anecdotal reports suggest that CBD and other cannabinoids have the potential to relieve menstrual cramps and associated symptoms.
CBD Edibles and Menstrual Cramps
Although most women take CBD oil or suppositories to ease menstrual cramps and heavy periods, CBD edibles can also be beneficial. Edibles usually come in the form of CBD-infused gummies but can also be sold as chocolate, cookies, and other tasty treats.
The key difference between CBD edibles and other forms of CBD is absorption.
Whereas sublingual CBD oil is absorbed into blood vessels directly, edibles are subject to first-pass metabolism, the breakdown of medicinal compounds in the digestive tract and liver prior to reaching systemic circulation.
Consequently, edibles have reduced absorption and take longer to be felt. As such, they’re not the best option if you’re looking for immediate relief from menstrual pain, and CBD oil vaping CBD would suit you better.
However, edibles also have many advantages: they’re easy and discreet to use, allow for consistent dosing, come with a pleasant taste, and their effects tend to last a long time (4 hours and longer).
If you don’t mind waiting for their effects to kick in, they can be an effective solution for menstrual pain.
CBD Dosage for Menstrual Cramps
Dosage is a common concern for people taking CBD for any condition, regardless of whether you use CBD oil, edibles, or vape juice. Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all dosage of CBD for menstrual cramps or any other health issue.
We all have different bodies, use products with different CBD concentrations, and have other factors that affect CBD dosage.
As a result, what works well for one woman’s menstrual pain may be insufficient for another’s, especially when additional symptoms are involved.
Having said that, the best approach to CBD is to start off low and gradually increase the dosage until you experience the desired relief.
Be sure to take it slow because CBD’s effects are relatively subtle: it’s more about what you don’t feel rather than an obvious effect.
Once you find the dosage that works, stick to it. As a general rule of thumb, most people find that daily doses of 10-40 mg CBD taken once or twice daily are sufficient for their health and wellness concerns.
CBD: A Natural Remedy for a Natural Process
Societies have utilized cannabis to relieve menstrual cramps and other female health issues throughout history.
Today, women can continue to take advantage of the holistic health benefits of cannabis without any of the intoxicating effects by using CBD-rich preparations.
Although researchers have yet to examine the use of CBD for menstrual cramps, there’s both clinical and anecdotal evidence that cannabinoids can relieve pain, nausea, headaches, and other symptoms associated with painful periods.
Whether you take CBD in the form of oil, edibles, suppositories, vape e-liquids, or another product, it can help relieve menstrual cramps by utilizing our body’s natural balancing mechanism: the endocannabinoid system.
Better yet, CBD can boost your overall wellness during your period in other ways, such as reducing anxiety and helping you get better quality sleep.