CBD for PMS? A Gynecologist Tells Us What’s Up
I t is 2019, and if you are not regularly grabbing a cannabidiol (CBD)-infused water before work, chewing a CBD gummy before bed or even dropping some CBD tinctures into your afternoon coffee, you might be missing out. Even dogs are using CBD. But let’s get one thing out of the way first: CBD will not make you high. Although it is an extract of the cannabis plant, CBD does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the mind-altering ingredient found in marijuana.
Proven as a natural remedy for anxiety, stress and insomnia, the CBD industry is booming. In fact, Brightfield, a cannabis research firm, says the CBD market is expected to reach $22 billion (yes, billion) by 2022. That is a lot of people feeling good about themselves. So good, that the 2018 Farm Bill was passed at the end of last year, making hemp — a form of cannabis with less than 0.3 percent THC, from which you can extract CBD — an agriculture crop instead of an illegal substance. (Two things to note: Recreational marijuana is legal in 10 states and the FDA still has regulations on CBD in food.)
But if the magic oil/pill/gummy/tincture seems to be a cure-all for these problems, it begs the question: Can it help with women’s health, like cramps, PMS symptoms and mastalgia? Could a suppository be the answer to period pain? Oil for breast tenderness? Lube for pain during sex?
Could a suppository be the answer to period pain?
Unfortunately, the answer is murky — at best.
“The benefits of CBD for women’s health are still controversial. There is a serious lack of trials [and] evidence-based data proving or disproving the benefits of CBD for women’s health disorders,” says Adeeti Gupta, M.D., founder of Walk In GYN Care.
But what about the products — like The Good Patch for PMS, Whoopi & Maya’s Medical Cannabis Bath Soak for menstrual relief or Foria Vaginal Suppositories for period pain — circling the wellness world? Gupta says there are no trials proving CBD is helpful for PMS symptoms. And, while it may seem like the answer for natural pain relief, Gupta warns against it. “One can use it and it is being used off label now at various places but there is no clear evidence in medical studies thus far that it helps or if it has just a placebo effect . Theoretically, CBD oil should help as a co-analgesic, meaning it can be used in addition to regular pain medication to help. However, studies have shown that CBD and THC used in low doses improve the pain scale only by 0.5 ( on a scale of 1-10). So, although there are theoretical benefits, we do not have clear data to support the benefits yet.”
And speaking of THC — the ingredient CBD is supposed to be formulated without — Gupta says, “we need to be wary of are any contaminants in the formulation that would contain THC.” The safest form is hemp oil formulations, but “if the CBD is not pure and has THC (marijuana) mixed in it … one can also experience withdrawal symptoms with prolonged use,” she adds.
While she does not recommend these products as a treatment option at this time, Gupta does have hope. “Even though at this point, we do not have adequate data and literature giving us support and clear guidelines as medical professionals to prescribe CBD for various conditions, we are hopeful that with time we will have more studies allowing us to utilize these if found to be an effective panacea for a lot of chronic, debilitating women’s health pain syndromes ,” she says.
Can CBD oil help with PMS?
CBD oil – derived from cannabis plants – is gaining cult status amongst the wellness set; but its pain-relieving, mood-boosting properties have serious science backing, and could relieve period-related symptoms.
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.
Is CBD effective against Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)?
CBD is a natural product that has already been proven in the therapeutic field to relieve many symptoms. Its effects on endometriosis and the benefits it brings to women during their menstrual cycle is undeniable. But what about the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)? Can CBD help relieve the sometimes powerful symptoms that bother women before their period?
CBD is an undeniable ally for women who suffer from PMS symptoms. CBD can relieve premenstrual syndrome both physically and psychologically and soothe women during these difficult periods.
Let’s take a closer look at the effects of CBD on PMS, but first, let’s review our definitions.
What is Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)?
Premenstrual syndrome is defined as a group of changes that affect women physically, emotionally and/or behaviorally. These changes occur 1 to 2 weeks before a woman’s period starts and disappear at the beginning of or a few days after the start of the period.
What are the symptoms of PMS?
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) has a wide variety of signs and symptoms. Mood swings, unexplained sadness, sore breasts, abdominal pain, migraines, severe fatigue, irritability and even anger and signs of depression are the most common
It is estimated that up to 3 out of 4 menstruating women have experienced and suffered from some form of PMS. These symptoms can be particularly debilitating and remain under-researched by medicine.
Other PMS symptoms
Every woman is different and experiences PMS differently. Some will experience mild symptoms while others will be completely immobilized. Other symptoms that can affect women before their period include this (non-exhaustive) list:
Tension or anxiety
Changes in appetite and cravings
Difficulty falling asleep (insomnia)
Joint or muscle pain
Weight gain, water retention
Constipation or diarrhea
Intolerance to alcohol and certain odours
What causes PMS?
Although PMS is common, doctors are not sure what causes it. There are, however, some leads that are important contributors to the syndrome and research must move forward to determine more precisely what causes PMS.
According to medical science, PMS is caused by several factors including:
A cyclical hormone change: Indeed, PMS is subject to hormonal fluctuations secreted by the pituitary gland, hypothalamus and ovaries and disappears with pregnancy as well as menopause. We can therefore conclude that PMS is strongly linked to the hormones that play a role in menstruation.
A chemical change at the neural level: Fluctuations in serotonin, a chemical neurotransmitter in the brain, plays a crucial role in moods. It may trigger PMS symptoms. Insufficient amounts of serotonin can contribute to premenstrual depression, as well as fatigue, cravings and sleep problems.
Chemical processes in the brain change in response to different hormone levels. These two response elements are therefore linked together. The causes of PMS and the link between hormones, neurotransmitters and PMS are still being studied.
Existing treatments for PMS
There are 3 more or less effective and complementary solutions for treating PMS today.
Improve your lifestyle: Having a healthy diet, doing sports, avoiding excitants such as alcohol or cigarettes, sleeping well are among the advice given by doctors. Certain nutrients are also recommended (zinc, calcium, vitamin B6. ).
Alternative medicine: Various techniques are recommended to soothe PMS symptoms. These include herbal medicine, acupuncture and homeopathy.
Medication treatment: Taking antidepressants for advanced cases of PMS may be recommended by doctors. The pill may also be recommended. Consult a doctor for more details.
In the most severe and disabling cases of PMS, it is recommended to consult a psychology professional and try cognitive behavioral therapy in order to alleviate the psychological disorders in depth.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol or CBD is one of the cannabinoids identified in cannabis. Once consumed, it acts on the body’s receptors just like another better known cannabinoid, Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. Unlike THC, CBD produces a relaxing effect but has no psychoactive effects.
CBD offers many medicinal virtues that are not negligible. It is considered to have anticonvulsant, antipsychotic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antidepressant effects. In particular, it is known to have very encouraging effects on certain severe forms of epilepsy and on diseases such as multiple sclerosis , Parkinson’s disease, or fibromyalgia .
In France, CBD is legal and marketed on online stores such as 321 CBD . Indeed, containing less than 0.2% THC (legal limit of THC in cannabis products in France), it has no psychotic effect and offers a beneficial experience to its users.
Side effects of CBD
The side effects of CBD are rare and depend on the individual who suffers them. Some of the effects include changes in appetite, dry mouth, dizziness and sometimes temporary headaches. If they appear, they often subside during the first few uses.
The action of CBD on PMS
CBD is a natural product that helps relieve women with mild to moderate PMS symptoms. Each woman suffers from a different PMS, so the effectiveness of CBD will depend on the type of symptoms they face each month
CBD can work on different symptoms in a very effective way. Let’s see what CBD does for PMS.
The emotional state
CBD is a definite ally in regulating emotional fluctuations. Already known to relieve depressive states, CBD is a natural antidepressant. This is because CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system and helps balance the important hormones and chemical messengers in the brain that exacerbate PMS on an emotional level. Further studies are needed to confirm these effects according to the environmental and social variables of the individuals involved.
One of the best known therapeutic benefits of CBD is its anti-inflammatory effect. Indeed, CBD is proven to be an excellent natural anti-inflammatory that relieves pain. During PMS, women suffering from cramps, contractions of the muscle lining the uterus, and various physical pains (backache, sore breasts) can benefit from these therapeutic properties to better live their cycle and their pre-cycle
How to use CBD for PMS?
The use of CBD varies from person to person, as does the management of PMS. Results and effectiveness vary depending on the person, method of administration, product composition, and dosage. Some women take CBD on an as-needed basis while others take it routinely for preventative management.
CBD Dosage for PMS
Because all women are different, the dosage of CBD for PMS varies from person to person. We recommend experimenting with dosage and dosing to find what works best for you
Keeping a diary and updating your calendar with the progression of your menstrual symptoms can help determine the best use of CBD for you, allowing you to better understand how it affects you.
What forms of CBD for PMS?
We recommend the two most common forms of CBD to relieve your premenstrual symptoms.
CBD oil A few drops under the tongue will suffice. Ideal because it acts quickly. Depending on the concentration of CBD, the oil will have a powerful and relaxing effect within 30 minutes after ingestion. More information on cBD oils on 321 CBD.
CBD infusions The infusion of cBD flowers is a popular form for women who want to relax slightly. Infused with the same technique as tea, CBD has mild and relaxing effects.