Your back is aching, your stomach is bloated and painful, you feel nauseous —yep, it’s that time of the month again!
As any woman knows, menstrual pain is one of the least thrilling things about being female. Some women may only experience a mild bout of cramps, while others can do nothing more than lie in bed clutching a hot-water bottle.
Menstrual cramps happen when the muscles of the uterus contract in an attempt to shed the uterine lining. This clenching and releasing can result in severe abdominal pain. It’s even worse for women who have any kind of obstruction or swelling in their uterus, such as endometriosis or pelvic inflammation. This makes it more difficult for the body to shed the uterine lining.
The most common means of treating period pain is with NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). These drugs work by inhibiting the enzyme that produces prostaglandins. This reduces symptoms including inflammation and pain. Unfortunately, NSAIDs can wreak havoc on your digestive system and should be used in moderation.
But—good news! There’s a much better (and natural) solution available: CBD.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the main medicinal compounds of the cannabis plant. Research shows that CBD interacts with the body’s own endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for maintaining homeostasis (a state of equilibrium).
CBD works by stimulating the endocannabinoid receptors, which are located throughout the nervous system, reproductive system, and immune system. When CBD binds with these receptors, it can provide powerful anti-inflammatory effects that reduce pain and muscle spasms.
CBD has also been found to help protect nerve cells from damage caused by inflammation or trauma. This means that CBD can be an effective treatment for all kinds of conditions that result in pain—including menstrual pain.
What’s even more surprising is that using CBD oil for menstrual cramps is nothing new. Cannabis has reportedly been used to treat female health issues for hundreds of years. Some sources even say that Queen Victoria used cannabis to relieve her menstrual cramps!
Using CBD oil for menstrual cramps
The symptoms of period pain aren’t limited to your uterus; you can suffer from whole-body aches, swelling, mood swings, and more. CBD has a whole host of benefits for relieving period pain.
Like NSAIDs, CBD works by inhibiting the prostaglandin-producing enzyme that causes pain and inflammation in the body. But that’s where things get interesting. While NSAIDs are known for causing all sorts of unpleasant side effects, CBD has very few. This is because CBD prefers to inhibit COX-2 over COX-1. Without getting into too much scientific detail, all that means is that the anti-inflammatory benefits of CBD come without those nasty gastrointestinal side effects.
Promotes longer-lasting pain relief
CBD also helps to decrease prostaglandin levels while you have your period, which further reduces pain, cramps, and inflammation. In addition, it helps relieve inflammation by activating the body's endocannabinoid receptors (CB2), which prevent the triggering of inflammatory processes in your body.
But it gets even better. Not only can CBD inhibit the COX-2 enzyme, but it actually works together with CBD to prevent your DNA from producing more of this enzyme. This can mean you’ll be pain free for longer—much longer than you would be if you popped some paracetamol!
Relieves muscle cramps
Studies have shown that THC and CBD both target certain receptors located in the smooth muscle, helping your muscle tissues to relax. You see, much of the pain you experience during your period is caused by contractions of the smooth muscle lining the uterus. This means that CBD can play a major role in relieving these painful cramps. It simply encourages the muscles in the abdomen to relax and stop contracting so aggressively.
All women dread the violent mood swings that often accompany their periods! These mood swings are due to hormonal imbalances that hit during PMS. But CBD can turn those right around by interacting with your body’s endocannabinoid receptors within your nervous system, helping to bring about a sense of calm. This helps keep hormone regulation in check so that your period has less of an effect on your emotions.
Breast tenderness and a swollen tummy only add to your menstrual woes. Fortunately, CBD is great for relieving that inflammation in your breasts, stomach, and lower back. It works by regulating a receptor called the vanilloid, which is responsible for moderating pain perception. Managing these symptoms is as easy as massaging a CBD tincture or infused balm into the tender areas, bringing much-needed relief from the swelling and irritation.
Best CBD products for menstrual cramps
One of the great things about CBD is that it’s easy to administer and has few, if any side effects. There are several ways you can take CBD for period cramps.
One way to use CBD for menstrual cramps is with cannabinoid suppositories. Many of your nerves pass through your pelvis to your legs and spine, while your colon is home to the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. These are the receptors responsible for many of the pain-relieving effects of CBD. While they don’t sound like much fun, both rectal and vaginal cannabis suppositories can be an effective way to deliver CBD’s benefits.
CBD oil comes in many different forms, each with a different concentration of CBD and other compounds. How you use CBD for women comes down to your personal preference and what you need it for.
Ingestible options include CBD tinctures, CBD drops, pastes, infused chewing gum, and other edibles such as gummies, brownies, and cookies.
Topical forms are especially helpful for treating back pain or stomach cramps. Options include transdermal CBD patches, which you can apply to the skin like nicotine patches, or CBD-infused lotions, balms, and salves. You can even try CBD-infused bath bombs for double the relaxation!
So, is CBD good for period cramps and menstrual pain? You bet it is. From relieving breast tenderness and bloating to helping you manage those painful contractions and improving your mood, CBD might just be your during that time of the month.
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