Can CBD oil help with PMS?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is turning heads in the natural health and wellness sphere owing to the growing list of health benefits, including relief from PMS. It’s an active compound found in cannabis, but don’t let the association with weed fool you. You won’t get the mind-altering high because it contains little to none of the main psychoactive component, THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). Instead, the oil, which is extracted from the cannabis plant and mixed with carrier oils like almond or coconut, has been shown to help with pain relief, in early stages of research.
How CBD helps with PMS
As a result, many women are turning to it specifically for help with PMS symptoms, including mood swings. “When I first started using CBD, it was game changer,” says New York executive Karla Vitrone. “It works really well when you’re ovulating and feel a bit more anxiety. I found that it helped me totally switch off and transition to night. It makes you feel totally relaxed and has none of the side effects of marijuana, which was my biggest fear as I have a small child and I didn’t want to feel ‘high’ or have negative side effects. It’s really subtle.”
Ana Reyes, a designer who works for the US-based CBD company Wildflower, agrees. “For PMS (and occasional generalised anxiety), I find CBD makes me feel more calm, with fewer headaches and anxious thoughts, a big decrease in mood swings and a general feeling of well-being. It is also a powerful anti-inflammatory so it’s helpful with cramps as well.”
Science backs both women up – while not specifically testing for PMS, there have been studies that show CBD has had positive results with those suffering from depression and anxiety.
What’s more, it can be helpful treating cramps, too, according to Dr Julie Holland, whose background is in psychopharmacology and is the author of The Pot Book , a non-profit project that helps to fund therapeutic cannabis research. “CBD can be immensely useful in treating the irritability and discomfort that comes during the premenstrual phase of our cycles. Because it has strong anti-anxiety properties and is also a muscle relaxer, it can help with the overall tension, both physical and psychic, as well as menstrual cramps that can come later,” she says.
And those irritating hormonal spots? CBD can offer hope: its proven anti-inflammatory properties have been found to calm down breakouts and reduce sebum production.
The science behind CBD
So how does it work? The body has its own endocannabinoid system (ECS) and internal cannabis receptors (the body’s internal cannabinoid system was named after the plant, which led to the discovery in the 1980s). There are cannabinoid receptors throughout the body – from the brain and central nervous system to the gut, connective tissues and nerves – and they work with the endocannabinoid system as a homeostatic regulator, meaning that the body is trying to maintain a state of balance in all its cells. In an indication of how that should actually feel, scientists named one of the key endocannabinoids ‘anandamide’ – sanskrit for bliss.
How does CBD oil fit in to this? Well, interestingly, researchers have found that taking CBD oil promotes the body’s own internal cannabinoids to function more effectively – helping to reduce stress and inflammation within its own cells.
And whilst further research is needed into applications for women’s health specifically (isn’t it always), scientists have found that those who suffer from endometriosis also have low levels of cannabinoid receptors, leading experts to suggest that CBD oil could offer relief from the condition.
Things to look out for
All this comes with a note of caution that as yet the research into CBD is not complete; while there have been lots of anecdotal evidence around the use of CBD for PMS symptoms, and some preliminary research into pain relief, Dr Holland points out there there have not yet been double-blind, placebo-controlled studies into the topic, and it’s important to check with your doctor, qualified nutritionist or herbal medicine practitioner first that CBD is right for you.
And when it comes to choosing brands, Andy Sun from Wildflower (which is currently only available in the US) cautions, “there are many new CBD companies so it’s important to do your research.
“It is always a good sign when the company takes the time to source Non-GMO hemp that is naturally grown, without the use of fertilizers or pesticides. It is also important to seek out CBD products made with full-spectrum (or whole-plant/CBD-rich) extracts. Studies suggest that full-spectrum CBD is much more effective than CBD isolate. Finally, in order to guarantee the quality and consistency of the product, companies that use third-party labs to test their products will be able to ensure that consumers get the purest CBD.”
Where to buy
The US is way ahead of the UK in terms of stockists – “It’s super common in NYC, and is very normal to see listed in ingredients in smoothies,” Karla says. But from the start of the year Holland & Barrett became the first high street store to stock medical cannabis oil in the UK, and a new CBD-dedicated boutique has recently opened in Camden, London, while Moody stocks Nature’s Plus phytocannabinoid .
The final word
The current research, while not explicitly focused on PMS, certainly seems to suggest that if you’re looking for something natural and effective for your PMS-busting toolkit, it’s worth a shot. “It’s an exciting time for CBD oil,” Andy says. “Every day, there are more studies about the potential medical and daily wellness applications for CBD (and cannabis in general), whether to treat particular medical conditions or to help improve your emotional, physical, and mental health. Of course, these new studies are often confirming the anecdotal, lived experiences of many cannabis-smart consumers.
7 CBD Products To Keep On Hand For Period Pain Relief
We’re all blissfully aware (pun intended) of the current hype that is CBD—it’s everywhere. But we’re all about returning to our roots and using plant medicine to heal ailments of all kinds, including period pain.
The Journal of Reproductive Medicine reports that 90 percent of women with regular cycles experience physical discomfort before and during their periods. For years, all we’ve had are pain relievers, like Midol. Until more recently.
Charlotte Palermino, the co-founder of Nice Paper, explains how CBD as a supplement can be helpful for period discomfort. “Everybody has an endocannabinoid system that is responsible for regulating mood, digestion, and fertility,” she says. “It attaches to your neural receptors and your brain—CBD activates these receptors, and some of the research shows that it helps with things like inflammation and serotonin regulation,” to name a few.
Depending on the severity of your period discomfort, CBD can be used in many different ways, from soothing moods to relieving stress or physical pain. With any holistic remedy, it may take time to find the right dosage and brand that works for you, and it’s important to check with your doctor if you are on any medications that may be affected.
As for the TGT team? We love CBD orally to help soothe anxiety and our nervous systems, CBD headache rollers for migraines, and topical CBD balms for cramps and backaches. Below are some additional CBD products, specifically designed for soothing PMS and menstrual discomfort. If you have a brand or product you love, share it in the comments below!
1. Shea Brand
Our Pick | Menstrual Roller
Price | $36
Shea Brand is one of our team’s personal favorites. This CBD brand is committed to sustainable production and pure ingredients that target pain while helping soothe the body. The menstrual roller has a high dose of CBD, along with ingredients like menthol and arnica oil that deliver the CBD to the system, to relieve painful cramps and bloating.
How To Use | Apply topically to relieve cramping to the lower stomach or back. Shea Brand recommends only applying up to three times per day.
Shop Shea Brand
Our Pick | Period Chocolate
Price | $7–$47
Phasey is dedicated to soothing women’s bodies through nourishing organic foods like seed cycling kits and this ultimate period soother—CBD-infused chocolate! These period chocolates are made with organic, pure ingredients, like coconut oil and cacao butter. The higher dose of CBD helps to alleviate cramps, anxiety, headaches, and relax the body.
How To Use | Eat up two pieces of chocolates daily during Phase One or Phase Four of your cycle; each provides up to six hours of relief.
Our Pick | G-Mint Tea
Price | $20–$45
Noirebud knows tea on its own can be soothing—that’s why it adds the power of CBD for added comfort. Alongside the hemp-derived CBD oil, the G-Mint Tea includes dried ginger mint and mint leaf for an extra punch (or relief, don’t worry!). Noirebud is proudly Black woman-owned and pays homage to people of color who’ve been unfairly incarcerated for marijuana.
How To Use | Heat up one teabag hot or cold, with a squeeze of honey, lime, or other soothing flavors.
Our Pick | Coconut + CBD Bath Soak
Price | $12–$30
Whether you’re experiencing physical or emotional discomfort, Dazey has a remedy. This brand offers full-spectrum ingestible oils along with hemp-infused skincare; the Coconut + CBD Bath Soak is the perfect soothing treatment to alleviate period pain. It’s made with natural ingredients, including marshmallow root for inflammation and Pacific sea salt for drawing out impurities and increasing blood circulation.
How To Use | Pour one sachet into the tub. Allow it to dissolve, get in, and relax.
5. Winged Women’s Wellness
Our Pick | Relief Pain CBD Soft Gels
Price | $35
We love Winged Women’s Wellness’ passion for creating products specifically for women. The Relief Pain soft gels, made with organically grown CBD and Evening Primrose oil (high in essential fatty acids known to promote hormonal health), are formulated to ease PMS pain and dull inflamed tissues.
How To Use | Take one to two soft gels as needed, up to three times per day. One pack includes 30 soft gels.
Shop Winged Women’s Wellness
6. The Good Patch
Our Pick | Period
Price | $16–$120
The Good Patch creates CBD-infused patches targeting stressors and symptoms in different parts of the body. The period patch is infused with 15mg of premium hemp extract and black cohosh—an herb used to regulate hormones and help with uterine health—as well as menthol, for a cooling pain reliever.
How To Use | Place the patch on the lower abdomen and wear for up to 12 hours. Peel off when done.
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7. Dr. Kerklaan
Our Pick | Natural CBD PMS Cream
Price | $40–$65
Doctor formulated, Dr. Kerklaan offers high dosage, therapeutic CBD creams for treating pain; the PMS Cream soothes cramps and lower back pain. We also love the lotion, which is infused with vanilla to help stimulate the body and relax the mind.
How To Use | For maximum results, massage a generous amount of this cream into the lower abdomen.
Shop Dr. Kerklaan
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