For most women, that time of the month comes with dreaded discomfort. Here's how CBD cream can help soothe those unwanted menstrual cramps. Historical records show that Queen Victoria used cannabis for menstrual cramps. CBD is one of the major components of the cannabis plant — can CBD oil help with period and its symptoms? Cannabidiol (CBD) may be an alternative treatment for dysmenorrhea and other premenstrual syndromes (PMS), such as headaches and mood swings.
CBD Cream for Menstrual Cramps
Cannabidiol (CBD) continues to gain widespread acceptance as an effective natural supplement. This is because anecdotal evidence backed by a growing body of empirical research shows that CBD has many health benefits.
Even though we may just be finding out about CBD, marijuana has been used as medicine since ancient times. For example, marijuana was an integral component of Ayurvedic medicine in the Indian subcontinent.
Ayurvedic medicine is one of the oldest healing systems in the world, estimated to be over 3,000 years old.
Cannabis research is currently underway as scientists try to explain the many health-impacting properties of this unconventional herb.
Nonetheless, they are playing catchup because various cannabis compounds like THC and CBD are already used by millions worldwide, thanks to their healing properties.
CBD has shown potential in relieving symptoms associated with chronic pain, inflammation, stress and anxiety, and sleep quality .
I t’s fast making a name for itself as “the elixir of health” – a natural compound with holistic solutions to health issues.
What are menstrual cramps?
The euphemistic phrase “it’s that time of the month” has long been synonymous with menstruation. It’s a time when females are generally thought to be in foul moods due to the changes in their bodies.
While menstruation typically signifies the becoming of a woman capable of bearing a child, it may come with strings attached. Menstrual cramps are one of those. It’s a pretty common occurrence that affects roughly 80% of young women.
Medically referred to as dysmenorrhea, menstrual cramps are simply painful menstruation. The pain—which can be excessive—is brought about by the uterus shedding its lining.
It all starts with a hormone called prostaglandin, which triggers muscle contractions in the uterus to expel the lining. These contractions can be excruciating, especially when they cut off the oxygen supply to the uterus.
Cramps can happen before and during “that time of the month” and can be mild or severe. They often come 1-2 years after the first period but become less painful as women age. Cramps have even been known to disappear completely once a woman gives birth.
Menstrual cramps can also be caused by underlying medical conditions such as:
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Cervical stenosis
So, it’s not always safe to presume that menstrual cramps are normal. If normal painkillers like aspirin and ibuprofen don’t make it better, or if the cramping lasts more than 2-3 days, it may be time to see a medical expert.
Standard therapies for menstrual cramps
Under normal circumstances, the pain from menstrual cramps can be handled with over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin, etc.
These should be taken immediately after the cramping or bleeding starts. NSAIDs work by reducing the production of prostaglandins.
Natural remedies for menstrual cramps
There are other therapies often used to manage cramps, including:
Heating pads are a common way to ease menstrual cramps. The heat relaxes the uterine muscles, thereby increasing blood flow and reducing pain. Just place the heating pads on the lower part of your abdomen.
You can also try taking a hot beverage like warm water or tea. The same principle works from the inside.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Fish oil is an important source of omega-3 fatty acids believed to have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation. The pain associated with periods is caused by inflammation of uterine blood vessels when pressed by muscular contractions.
Research shows that women have a higher risk of inflammation because their omega-3 and omega-6 levels are not balanced.
Many women who struggle with dysmenorrhea and PMS are often magnesium deficient. Fortunately, easy-to-find foods like peanuts, green vegetables, and almonds are rich in magnesium.
Research shows that magnesium and vitamin B6 taken together can help relieve some physical and emotional symptoms of menstruation.
Acupuncture entails inserting thin needles at strategic parts of the body. It’s a technique borrowed from Chinese medicine, predominantly used to manage pain by balancing a person’s life force or energy flow (known as chi).
Western practitioners believe the acupuncture points are actually the nexus of connective tissue, nerves, and muscles. Thus, stimulating these points increases the body’s supply of natural painkillers.
Every acupuncturist has a unique style, but it’s not uncommon to see these professionals blend Western and Eastern methods for the best results. A session typically lasts 60 minutes or shorter, with the severity of the condition usually determining the number of sessions.
Acupuncture may not work for every person, so if symptoms persist after a few sessions, you may have to move on to other methods.
The link between mood and menstruation has been the subject of many research studies.
Now, new research suggests that non-pharmacological approaches like hypnosis and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can effectively be used to reduce menstrual pain.
For example, researchers can use the Leventhal self-regulation model to help affected people understand how their illness perceptions affect cognitive processes, emotional responses, and adaptive and health-related behavior.
The basic premise of psychological treatments is that a person’s understanding of an illness is a crucial determinant of self-care.
On the flip side, lack of awareness causes vulnerability, which, in turn, raises anxiety. But the self-regulation model works by raising awareness, thereby reducing vulnerability and anxiety.
CBD and menstrual cramps
Pain is often the underlying issue in menstrual cramps, so, naturally, affected people focus on reducing the pain and inflammation.
The use of CBD as a painkiller is growing in popularity. Although researchers are still gathering information on CBD’s ability to relieve pain, several studies suggest that it may accomplish this by reducing inflammation.
Consequently, CBD products may be helpful for those who suffer from menstrual cramps.
Does CBD help with menstrual cramps?
CBD has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects. Therefore, treating menstruation-induced pain may also depend on this revelation.
The body absorbs CBD from products like CBD cream, oils, and tinctures. As such, they can help in reducing menstrual discomfort.
This cannabinoid has been shown to potentially reduce stress and anxiety symptoms, which is a big bonus given that hormonal imbalances drive some causes of menstrual cramps. Prolonged stress raises the production of the cortisol hormone, leading to an imbalance in the body.
The direct impact of CBD on the endocannabinoid system, which aids in maintaining the body’s equilibrium, is another crucial factor. During menstruation, hormone levels change.
This might make you feel lousy and mess with your endocannabinoid system. However, using CBD as a natural supplement might be beneficial in helping your ECS re-establish balance.
Benefits of CBD for menstrual cramps
Menstrual cramps would be fairly easy to handle if the pain was the only thing involved. However, this is not usually the case.
Besides the pain, women with periods often complain of related symptoms like dizziness, headaches, nausea, and loose bowels . These symptoms can compound an already distressing situation and make you feel utterly miserable.
While research into the pain-relieving properties of CBD is underway, the current information in the public domain is encouraging.
Due to its potential to reduce chronic pain and inflammation, in addition to menstrual cramps, CBD may also help ease other period-related symptoms, including lower back pain, headaches, and sore muscles and breasts.
We may not attribute these all-curing properties to CBD alone since many CBD products contain other cannabis compounds like terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids.
Be that as it may, research shows that CBD works better with other cannabinoids like THC. So, full spectrum CBD products may have more benefits than pure CBD products.
In fact, flavonoids and terpenes are believed to have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties that could enhance CBD’s therapeutic effects.
Ways to try CBD for period pain relief
There are several ways to use CBD to manage period pain. This is because CBD is highly versatile and comes in many forms. Each form has its own merits and demerits, so let’s examine how these can help you alleviate menstrual cramps.
Best CBD for menstrual cramps
Tinctures and oils : CBD oils and tinctures are often administered orally/sublingually with a dropper. You can add CBD oil or tincture to beverages or place a few drops beneath your tongue.
Oils and tinctures are fast-acting, so you’re likely to feel the effects in 10-20 minutes, which is a good thing, particularly if the pain is intense!
Topicals : examples of topical CBD products are lotions, creams, and balms. These products may be applied directly to the skin for localized pain management of period pain. With topical CBD, it may not be easy to gauge the correct amount.
So, before applying topical CBD to large body areas, you may consider doing a patch test to check for any skin sensitivities.
Capsules : these are taken orally and are easier to deal with because you can measure doses more effectively. Capsules are an effective way to get CBD into your system, barring the effects of first-pass metabolism.
Patches : topical CBD does not penetrate the skin deeply enough to enter the bloodstream, which explains its localized effects. Patches, on the other hand, can penetrate the skin and enter your systemic circulation, leading to more generalized effects.
Patches can help you deliver CBD directly into your skin, with some lasting up to several days before needing replacement.
Gummies : CBD gummies come in a wide array of flavors and compositions. These are highly convenient to use on the go.
CBD cream for menstrual cramps
The basic principle underpinning the use of CBD creams for menstrual cramps is the skin’s ability to absorb substances.
However, this method differs significantly from taking CBD orally or by inhalation.
When CBD is applied topically, it binds to local cannabinoid receptors in the skin rather than directly entering the systemic circulation. This means the effect is felt on the specific part where the cream is applied.
For this reason, topical CBD is often augmented with ingestible CBD for a more holistic effect.
Best CBD cream for menstrual cramps
Muscle spasms in your reproductive system and changes in hormone levels are the leading causes of menstrual pain. We advocate using natural, risk-free approaches rather than synthetic medications to treat illnesses because some of these OTC drugs have undesirable side effects.
Overall, menstrual cramps can be very painful to the point of affecting your life considerably. So if you’ve been looking for something more effective and natural to manage this situation, then CBD is worth trying out.
For example, our Relief Cream contains 500mg of CBD and soothing botanicals to offer you lots of protein and good fatty acids for managing period pain. It quickly eliminates pains and aches and soothes the discomfort associated with period pain to hasten your recovery .
This product is quite easy to use. Just ensure the area you intend to apply the cream to is clean to maximize absorption.
We recommend applying the cream 2-3 times daily, but this also depends on the severity of your condition. You can apply the cream more often if the pain is too intense.
CBD Oil for Menstrual Cramps: Does Cannabis Help with PMS?
Women of child-bearing age often have a hard time going through their so-called periods. Menstrual cramps are one of the most annoying symptoms during that time. While some women experience mild to moderate pain, others find it debilitating. In extreme cases, menstrual cramps may prevent you from doing simple things, especially during the first days of the period.
The good news is that there are several ways to relieve menstrual cramps. Many women find help in natural remedies, such as CBD oil.
Humans have used cannabis for thousands of years to relieve a wide range of ailments. The history is filled with examples of doctors prescribing the herb to both regular folks and royal entities.
For example, Queen Victoria was prescribed cannabis by her physician to relieve menstrual cramps (1). While we don’t know if the said cannabis was a high-THC or high-CBD strain, both compounds are considered “major cannabinoids.” In other words, they exist in cannabis in significant ratios and are responsible for a wide range of health benefits.
Modern science has since revealed the therapeutic properties of cannabinoids such as CBD and THC. In this article, we’ll look specifically into the effects of CBD on menstrual cramps.
Let’s find out if women can use CBD oil to relieve period pain and other symptoms.
CBD Oil and Menstrual Cycle
Women typically experience periods every 28-30 days. The menstrual cycle is a natural mechanism that prepares a woman’s body to carry a child. Every month, a new, thick layer of tissue grows in the uterus to get women ready for a potential pregnancy.
The moment when the egg is released from one of the ovaries is known as ovulation. It occurs halfway through the cycle. When the egg meets the sperm, the pregnancy process begins. When no sperm is around, it will break down.
When the egg dissolves, it signals the uterus using specific molecules. They send messages to the uterus, “Hey, it’s a non-pregnancy month,” so the organ, therefore, sheds that extra tissue, resulting in bleeding.
Menstrual Cramps and Pain
The shedding in the inner lining of the uterus tissue — known as the endometrium — causes menstrual cramps. As this lining falls off each month and a woman goes through her period, endometrial cells break apart as a result of coming loose. Their remnants are released into nearby body parts. In some cases, those tissues grow outside uterus involving the ovary, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining. This is known as endometriosis that causes pain and formation of scar tissues.
Some of these molecules are enzymes that trigger inflammation and pain. They are known as prostaglandins and prostacyclins. One particular prostaglandin — PGF2 — causes contraction of the uterus and surrounding muscles (2). This, in turn, leads to cramping and the accompanying pain.
CBD’s efficacy at reducing inflammation and mitigating pain signals is the major reason why many women are turning to CBD oil for menstrual cramps.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) refers to an odd group of symptoms that become noticeable as a woman gets close to her ovulation period. They usually start to manifest six days before a woman’s period begins, peaking about two days before “that time.” (3)
PMS includes the following symptoms:
- Mood swings
- Muscle tension
- Outbursts of anger
The symptoms can range from mild to severe. Common medications for menstrual cramps include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI).
Common Therapies for Menstrual Cramps
The most often picked therapy for menstrual cramps is nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. These painkillers inhibit the release of enzymes that trigger inflammation in the body. Consequently, the release of pain-inducing chemicals during menstruation is blocked too.
Some women use non-conventional methods of relieving pain, including heating pads and oral contraceptives. CBD oil and CBD-infused products, such as topicals, edibles, and suppositories, have recently sparked the attention of medical researchers as a safe, natural therapy for menstrual cramps.
Does CBD Help with Menstrual Cramps?
There’s a good reason why CBD may help with menstrual cramps.
NSAIDs curb pain and inflammation by blocking the enzyme COX-2. However, they also block the COX-1 enzyme, which isn’t related to inflammation and pain. COX-1 is responsible for maintaining a healthy lining in the stomach and intestines. That’s why regular use of NSAIDs is associated with a higher risk of stomach ulcers.
According to studies, CBD is the inhibitor of the COX-2, but it has no affinity to the COX-1 enzyme (4). By focusing solely on the COX-2, CBD can reduce inflammation without causing stomach irritation and other side effects linked to typical over-the-counter pain relievers.
Another way to administer CBD for menstrual cramps is through the vaginal and rectal walls. These parts of the body absorb everything very rapidly by avoiding the digestive tract and liver. CBD suppositories provide almost immediate action of the active ingredient. Using a CBD suppository to relieve menstrual cramps could result in fast relief from period pain and inflammation.
The above phenomenon has given rise to a novel topic of discussion: CBD tampons. There are anecdotal reports from women who use them for their period pain, claiming they’re more effective than the previously undertaken means.
How to Use CBD for Menstrual Cramps?
As mentioned in the previous section, CBD comes in a variety of forms; you can choose from products like oils, capsules, edibles, topicals, suppositories, vapes, and more.
Below we elaborate on the most common CBD products for menstrual cramps and how to use them.
CBD oils and tinctures can be taken sublingually or mixed with beverages like coffee or tea and can be infused into foods.
The first method requires the user to place the desired dose under the tongue and hold it there for up to 60 seconds so the oil can absorb through the tiny blood vessels in the mouth. It also ensures a fast onset of effects; they usually take hold within 15–30 minutes after administration.
Adding CBD oil to food and beverages makes it more palatable but sacrifices the onset; since the oil needs to be processed in the digestive system, the results may show up after 40–90 minutes.
The same pattern applies to CBD capsules and gummies. Oral products are less bioavailable because they lose some potency in the liver, but on the other hand, the effects last longer than with traditional oil — up to 8-10 hours.
You may also try CBD through vaping. Using a vape pen, CBD is delivered into the lungs and quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. This method delivers the most CBD into your body, provides the fastest onset of effects (5-10 minutes after inhalation), but offers the shortest duration time. CBD vape pens last for about 3-4 hours.
The above forms of CBD may help you alleviate not only the period pain but also your PMS symptoms, such as irritability or poor stress management.
Topical products, such as creams or gels, are formulated to help with localized discomfort. When you’re experiencing muscle cramps, you can rub a topical into your skin on the affected area. CBD will interact with the skin’s endocannabinoid system, producing its anti-inflammatory and relaxing effects from there.
CBD Suppositories for Cramps
Some suppositories are infused with CBD. This form of cannabidiol can be inserted in a similar way to how a tampon is used — vaginally and rectally.
Some CBD suppositories are made with coconut oil, coconut butter, or hemp oil. Their consistency is soft, and they melt instantly in the body. The dosages per brand may vary, although most CBD suppositories come in 100 mg broad- or full-spectrum CBD.
Although suppositories work like tampons, applying CBD oil on tampons might be risky, according to some sources. Doing so may lead to bacterial vaginosis, a vaginal infection that results from acidity imbalance.
Back to suppositories, these products may cause vaginal irritation since the female reproductive area is delicate and sensitive.
Note that the results of your CBD product may differ from one person to another. CBD can also interact with medications, such as antibiotics and anti-anxiety drugs, so it’s a good idea to consult a doctor before trying CBD.
How much CBD to Take for Menstrual Cramps?
The optimal CBD dose may vary between individuals. There are still no official dosage recommendations when it comes to using CBD for menstrual cramps.
If you want to determine the right dosage for your individual situation, start low, and gradually increase your dose until the right amount and effectiveness are achieved. You can keep a journal or log, where you’ll monitor the signs of relief from your pain and PMS symptoms. Keeping track of your results will help you establish the right dose without going through too much trial and error.
Again, we encourage you to talk to a doctor experienced in cannabis use about your plans to incorporate CBD oil into your daily routine.
CBD or THC: Which One is Better for Menstrual Cramps?
Cannabis plants produce two major molecules: CBD and THC. CBD is the main non-intoxicating compound, whereas THC is the ingredient that causes the signature marijuana high.
Although CBD and THC share a few health benefits, they work differently and they bind to different receptors in the body. The specific receptors interact with our cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2).
THC has a strong affinity to CB1 receptors, which are mostly found in the brain and central nervous system (5).
CBD, in turn, mostly binds to CB2 receptors, which occur in the immune system. These two receptors control inflammation and stress, and when CBD interacts with them, it doesn’t modify the activity of the neurons as THC does with the CB1 receptor.
It’s difficult to tell which cannabinoid will work better for menstrual cramps because both compounds are potent analgesic and anti-inflammatory agents. However, if you’re looking for a product that won’t get you high and is legal throughout the United States, CBD oil from hemp is a more accessible option.
THC comes from marijuana, so its legality depends on the cannabis laws in individual states. Higher doses of THC can also backfire at the user and elevate anxiety instead of reducing it, which is another point in favor of CBD for menstrual cramps.
Final Thoughts on CBD and Menstrual Cramps
While studies on CBD and its use for menstrual cramps are limited, CBD has been shown to help with symptoms like inflammation and pain multiple times in scientific literature. Although there’s no guarantee that CBD oil will work for you, there’s a lot of women who have ditched pharmaceutical painkillers in favor of CBD oil — and their answer is a loud ‘yes.’
CBD has a balancing effect on your body’s internal homeostasis. It can also act on the same receptors as NSAIDs, but without interfering with the receptor responsible for maintaining a healthy lining of the gut and intestines. Therefore, it doesn’t have the side effects associated with the said medications.
Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD oil and other hemp-derived products are legal in all 50 states as long as they contain 0.3% THC or less. However, the FDA has yet to regulate products that come from industrial hemp plants, so it’s important to do your research before buying CBD oil for menstrual cramps. Always look for reputable brands that use organic hemp and test their products for potency and purity in a third-party laboratory.
- Frazzetto, Giovanni. “Does marijuana have a future in pharmacopoeia?.” EMBO reports vol. 4,7 (2003): 651-3. doi:10.1038/sj.embor.embor893
- Jobling, Phillip et al. “Female reproductive tract pain: targets, challenges, and outcomes.” Frontiers in pharmacology vol. 5 17. 13 Feb. 2014, doi:10.3389/fphar.2014.00017
- Yonkers, Kimberly Ann et al. “Premenstrual syndrome.” Lancet (London, England)vol. 371,9619 (2008): 1200-10. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(08)60527-9
- Zhang, Jian, and Chu Chen. “Endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol protects neurons by limiting COX-2 elevation.” The Journal of biological chemistry vol. 283,33 (2008): 22601-11. doi:10.1074/jbc.M800524200
- Boggs, Douglas L et al. “Clinical and Preclinical Evidence for Functional Interactions of Cannabidiol and Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol.” Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology vol. 43,1 (2018): 142-154. doi:10.1038/npp.2017.209
Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.
CBD for Menstrual Cramps – August 2022
Cannabidiol is one of the active phytocannabinoids of Cannabis sativa . Although CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid , it still exerts numerous beneficial pharmacological effects, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (5 ) .
CBD works with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is responsible for regulating inflammation and pain (6) .
The ECS has two types of cannabinoid receptors, namely CB1 and CB2. These cannabinoid receptors are located in different parts of the body. CB1 receptors are prominently found in the central nervous system, while CB2 is found on cells in the immune system (7) .
Endocannabinoids are types of cannabinoids naturally produced by the body. They activate those receptors and fasten to them to work with pain reduction and inflammation (8) .
CBD is a primary component of medical marijuana. However, the compound is derived from the hemp plant or is manufactured in a laboratory ( 9) .
What Are Menstrual Cramps?
Menstrual cramps or dysmenorrhea are throbbing pains in the lower abdomen . Many women experience such a condition before and during their menstrual cycle (10) .
Some women endure severe menstrual cramps that can interfere with everyday activities for a few days (11) .
Research suggests that dysmenorrhea is the leading cause of absence from work and school among women of reproductive age. Menstrual cramps may also be a risk factor for other chronic pain conditions (12 ) .
The Benefits of Using CBD for Menstrual Cramps
There is no published research on using CBD for menstrual cramps . However, its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects may help alleviate period pains .
Dysmenorrhea or menstrual cramps are caused by the release of prostaglandins (PGs) and may be caused by external factors like stress (13) . PGs are a class of lipids that control several operations in the body, particularly the healing process (14) .
Prostaglandins also play a significant role in various processes of the female reproductive system. These hormone-like substances primarily control ovulation and trigger muscle contractions that cause menstrual pain (15) .
P rostaglandins can make pain-perceiving nerves hypersensitive. CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol ( THC ) may help desensitize these nerves. Both cannabinoids may target nerve receptors , such as TRPV1 (transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1) and CB1, to reduce pain sensation (16) .
Cramping during menstruation is made worse by contractions of the muscle that lines the uterus. CBD and THC may function as a relaxant to smooth muscle cells (17) .
A 2016 open-label study examined the long-term effect of medicinal cannabis treatment on pain. After the treatment, 274 participants reported improved pain (18 ) .
The results also suggested the long-term benefit of cannabis treatment. However, the findings are exclusive in this group of patients (19) .
Standard Therapies for Menstrual Cramps
Painkillers like naproxen and ibuprofen , which belong to a group of medications called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ( NSAIDs ), are effective treatments for menstrual pain (20 ) .
These medications can relieve menstrual cramps by reducing the production of prostaglandins (21) . Although most women can tolerate NSAIDs , these treatments have side effects , such as stomach-related issues (22) .
Meanwhile, birth control pills can relieve menstrual pain by preventing ovulation, reducing PGs ’ production (23 ) .
When women use birth control pills, the lining of their womb does not become as thick as usual (24) . Therefore, they have a lighter period.
However, birth control pills also have side effects , such as headaches and nausea. Moreover, these pills increase the risk of thrombosis ( 25) . Such a condition happens when blood clots block a person’s blood vessels (26) .
Natural Remedies for Menstrual Cramps
Most women commonly experience discomfort around their lower back, abdomen, and thighs when menstruating. Here are a few natural remedies women may try:
Some evidence suggests that applying warmth onto the abdomen with heat packs relieves painful periods (27 ) . Women may also use heating pads on their lower back for relief during menstruation .
Supplementation With Omega-3 Fatty Acids
A 2012 study from the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics showed that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids reduced the intensity of primary dysmenorrhea (28) .
In a double-blind crossover study, the researchers observed women aged 18 to 22 with primary dysmenorrhea (29) .
Women in the first group received one omega-3 capsule daily for three months, followed by a placebo for another three months. Meanwhile, women from group two received a placebo for three months, followed by omega-3 for another three months (30) .
As a rescue dose for severe menstrual pains , 400mg of ibuprofen was administered to the participants (31 ) .
After three months of treating the participants with omega-3 fatty acids , the researchers observed a marked reduction in pain intensity (32) .
In addition, women supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids required fewer rescue doses than those who received a placebo (33) .
A study from the Journal of Nutraceuticals, Functional and Medical Foods showed that hemp seed oil contains omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in a 3:1 ratio. The omega-3 found in hemp oil is a much more stable form than fish oil (34) .
In a clinical trial, 50 women suffering from primary dysmenorrhea were treated with magnesium. After six months, 21 out of 25 women showed a decline in symptoms, and only four participants reported no therapeutic effect (35) .
Acupuncture is the process of using thin needles to penetrate the skin to treat pain. According to traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture balances the life force or flow of energy in the body (36) .
Although acupuncture has been tested in several studies, it has not been proven effective for pain (37) .
Sometimes the pain becomes severe enough that psychological treatment is considered. Medication may include consulting with a psychotherapist and learning methods to reduce pain, such as mindfulness exercises and relaxation (38 ) .
There is no published research about CBD’s direct effect s on menstrual cramps. However, its anti-inflammatory characteristics and pain-relieving properties may help with menstrual discomfort (39) .
On the other hand, surgery may be considered if the pain is caused by endometriosis , a condition where the tissue that usually lines inside a woman’s uterus grows outside (40) .
When a woman has an existing medical condition , it is always best to speak with a doctor regarding pain management before trying alternative treatment s .
CBD Ingestion Methods
If a woman considers CBD to help alleviate menstrual pain, there are different methods to take the substance. For instance, she may benefit from CBD through vaping and sublingual administration .
It is worth noting that these methods have different bioavailability rates or the percentage of an administered dose that reaches the target area in the body (41) .
Ingesting CBD using a vape pen is the fastest way to benefit from the substance (42) . However, the substance may irritate the lungs (43) . Meanwhile, sublingual administration , where a person takes the substance under the tongue, is the second-fastest method (44) .
CBD products range from full-spectrum CBD oil , tinctures , topicals , and gummies . Consumers may also opt for CBD isolate , which is the pure form of cannabidiol . It is a chemical compound present in the cannabis plant (45) .
How to Use CBD for Menstrual Cramps `
Here are a few CBD ingestion methods women may use to manage PMS symptoms and alleviate the pain caused by period cramps :
Women may apply CBD topically using CBD oils , lotions, and balms onto the affected area. However, the effect s may take a while, as topicals are not absorbed into the entire body compared to other methods (46) .
Suppositories are pills, generally in an oval or cone shape specially designed for administering certain medications through vaginal or anal cavities (47) .
Vaginal CBD suppositories work like tampons . However, they may be messy. Therefore, women may wear a pad for a little while after putting one inside their vagina.
Self-medication using CBD suppositories may lead to unwanted effects. Therefore, women should openly discuss this method with a doctor experienced in cannabis use.
CBD Dosage to Take for Menstrual Cramps
CBD has not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ( FDA ) as a medication. Therefore, there is still no recommended CBD dosage for menstrual pain .
However, if a woman considers CBD for dysmenorrhea, CBD is generally safe to use (48) .
The initial dosage for CBD oil should be low and may be increased gradually until the desired effect is achieved. A standard dose of CBD ranges from 10mg to 100mg daily (49) .
However, if women find the standard doses excessive, they may try micro-dosing (50) . A microdose ranges from 0.5mg to 20mg of CBD per dose daily (51) .
Is CBD Better Than THC for Menstrual Cramps ?
Based on a 2018 report from the World Health Organization (WHO), CBD is a controlled substance that has not been fully proven to have severe side effects (52) .
Unlike THC , cannabidiol (CBD) is non-psychotic and non-addictive (53) . Thus, it may be safe for use even daily.
CBD is also federally legal across the United States (54) .
Does CBD Affect Menstrual Cycle?
F indings from a 2019 review hypothesized that CBD could be a viable option for managing menstrual symptoms (55) . However, there are no studies on whether CBD may affect the menstrual cycle.
CBD may be a promising chemical compound that is observed for being safe. However, further studies are still recommended to understand the full potential and long-term effects of CBD .
Many CBD brands promote the various health benefits of CBD . However, cannabidiol has yet to be proven to treat menstrual cramps and other PMS symptoms like bloating .
Women’s health and wellness are essential. Therefore, it is highly recommended that women consult their healthcare providers, especially when using CBD for the first time .
In addition, anecdotal evidence about CBD with little science to support the claims proliferates on the internet. Thus, consulting a physician with experience in cannabis use is beneficial.