Does CBD Offer Any Value For Menstrual Pains & Symptoms?
By Keith Alban
As a man, I cannot possibly understand all that women go through during their menstrual cycles, despite having somewhat of an idea. The cramps, pains, bloating, different layers of physical, mental, emotional symptoms that each woman may feel to varying degrees. It's impossible for a man to understand what that's like on a monthly basis.
Every woman's body is unique and the symptoms that they feel are as well. Some women have their tried and true methods to help balance the uncomfortable and sometimes overwhelming feelings that accompany their cycles, but may still struggle to make it comfortably through the day. Many
women have pretty much given up on trying to search because nothing really works besides high dose painkillers, which are best to minimize or avoid. Is it actually possible to achieve zen-like comfort all throughout your period? I'm sure the answer of 99% of women would be a resounding NO.
On top of that, men don't fully understand what it's like going through that each and every month for most of their lives. This article is meant to examine if CBD and any other natural nutrients can help make life a little more pleasant during that time of the month. Most people have heard about the meteoric rise that CBD is enjoying on the US market within the health and wellness space. Not everyone will respond to CBD, but for many, it can touch different aspects of our mental, emotional, and physical health in a therapeutic and holistic manner. This may be because of the multitude of different receptors CBD can affect throughout our body and brain.
Throughout the last several thousand years, women all around the world have experimented with a plethora of supposed solutions in a desperate attempt to quell their menstrual woes such as herbs, acupuncture, prescription and over the counter painkillers, baths, yoga, birth control, diet changes, and more. It seems like a match made in heaven to utilize the multifaceted, adaptable, yet gentle effects of CBD for further relief, but does it actually work?
While there are no clinical trials that have been conducted specifically towards menstrual cramps, pains, and specific PMS symptoms, CBD still seems to have significant value at reducing some of the annoying, irritating, uncomfortable aspects that inevitably occur. Many women have touted CBD's ability to smooth out many of the symptoms in a way
that is tangible and sometimes immediate. CBD excels at helping to quell and calm certain aspects of inflammation and has a uniquely adaptogenic effect in the body. As progesterone levels are low during the start of the menstrual cycle, the levels of certain pro-inflammatory prostaglandins are increasing.
The Science of Why Cannabidiol May Help Decrease Menstrual Suffering
Research has shown that CBD helps to favorably balance those irritating prostaglandins. Not only do these prostaglandins cause inflammation and pain, but they actually prime and sensitize certain nerves, so the level of pain you feel increases for that window. Women with higher prostaglandin levels also have more painful and intense contractions. Researchers are even finding out that some women can experience pain that rivals the intensity of a heart attack! Remember that the next time you feel like being harsh or insensitive to your woman during her cycle.
Another piece of research showed that cannabinoids helped to lower the levels of a major pro-inflammatory enzyme called cyclooxygenase. (1) While this sounds pretty boring and technical, it's just a way of saying that there's actual proof that CBD can influence mechanisms in the body that contribute to the pains and discomforts during your cycle. In addition, cannabinoids like CBD may actually help to calm down and decrease the sensitivity of pain receptors that occurs when prostaglandins rise. CB1, TRPV1, and possibly other receptors are responsible for this tangible relief that some feel with CBD. At certain doses, CBD may even help relax some of the strained and stressed muscles of the body when used topically and internally.
Cannabinoids have been shown to have a deeply relaxing and normalizing effect on smooth muscle tissue that lines the uterus and blood vessels. (2) When these muscles are able to stop intensely contracting and straining, it helps ease some of the pains and discomfort. That's not to say it will remove all of the pain or work on 100% of people though, results always vary with natural products and even medication. CBD's ability to influence GABA and serotonin receptors may also potentially help smooth out some of the emotional turbulence that can sometimes occur. GABA and serotonin are known as the calming and balancing neurotransmitters in the brain and gut.
A plethora of mental and emotional feelings and conditions are linked to low GABA and serotonin levels. Many women are reporting excellent results from using CBD both internally and topically several days before their cycle all the way through it. The dose may be increased and also used topically when your cycle is close. It may also have value using it on a perpetual basis and just adding in topical treatments or increasing the dose a few days before your cycle begins.
Other Nutrients For Support & Relief
There are several other nutrients and natural compounds that may be helpful in tandem with CBD. The herb known as dill may have some beneficial and useful properties according to researchers. There was a study that tested dill against an NSAID that's used specifically for period pains called mefenamic acid. The study was double-blind and placebo-controlled. The results actually showed that dill extract (can use just normal, organic dill weed as well) relieved menstrual pain as well as mefenamic acid. (3) It is important to note that the dill or any natural herb should ideally be started at least a few days before your cycle begins to really be effective. So stock up on your chicken soup and don't forget the dill! Or it can even be used in dips or meals a couple of times per day during the week of your period.
Two other nutrients that are very helpful are ginger and turmeric. These are well respected and often used for their natural anti-inflammatory prowess. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed that 1 capsule of curcumin taken twice per day 7 days prior to the cycle beginning through the end of it resulted in a significant reduction in physical and emotional symptoms of PMS. (4) Motherwort is another powerful anti-spasmodic substance that can be useful for contractions and spasms. It excels at helping to relax the mind and body.
Most people haven't heard of motherwort, but it definitely has potential as a companion during that time of the month. A tincture form would work best for motherwort. Raspberry leaf tea, cramp bark, fenugreek seed, and vitamins D3 and B1 can sometimes work well towards certain symptoms and are inexpensive. While it's probably impossible to get rid of all discomfort during your periods, utilizing CBD with a combination of some of these other nutrients several times per day starting 4-5 days prior to your cycle all the way through it should really help to make it much more comfortable.