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CBD for menstrual cramps

What you should know about CBD and how it can help with period pain.

CBD products are on the rise as an alternative treatment for period pain. CBD might help reduce inflammation and chronic pain, it might also help reduce menstrual cramps and other period-related symptoms, like headaches, lower back pain, and sore breasts. Other alternative treatments include pain relievers, heat therapy, or light exercise.

This article explains what menstrual pain is, how CBD might help, and lists a range of products a person may wish to consider when trying to treat their menstrual cramps at home.

Even though menstrual pain is not normal it has become very common with a whopping 75% of women experiencing menstrual cramps during their period.

With the rise of menstrual pain, CBD products are becoming an increasingly popular option for pain relief. Research on CBD’s effectiveness for pain relief is still limited, but some studies show that CBD might reduce inflammation. Because of this, CBD products may benefit women who experience menstrual cramps during their periods.

Is CBD Legal?

The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3% THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them federally illegal but legal under some state laws. Be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.

What is PMS and menstrual pain?

Menstrual pain is also called period pain or dysmenorrhea. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is the name of a group of symptoms that may start a week or two before a person gets their period. Hormonal changes may cause menstrual pain symptoms to begin, but the exact cause for menstrual pain is currently unknown. Menstrual pain can be mild, but some people experience pain severe enough to interfere with their daily lives. A 2021 research showed that 16–91% of women of reproductive age experience menstrual pain, with 2–29% of women experiencing severe pain. The review above lists the following as symptoms of menstrual pain:

  • lower abdominal cramps

  • back pain

  • diarrhea

  • constipation

  • nausea

  • bloating

  • vomiting

Learn more about how menstruation affects bowel movements. A person may also experience headaches, irritability, and tiredness as part of menstrual pain.

How can CBD help relieve menstrual pain?

A 2019 review of studies into CBD as a treatment for PMS showed that cannabis may be helpful with chronic and acute pain relief, and cannabis and CBD may provide relief for similar symptoms.

One 2020 review concluded that there’s not enough evidence to give solo credit to CBD for pain relief, especially since many studies involve products that also contain THC.

According to research from 2019, women with endometriosis self-rated cannabis or CBD oil as the most effective at relieving pain, compared with physical interventions, such as yoga or stretching, and other remedies. However, the survey did not evaluate whether cannabis or CBD oil was more effective than the other.

Experts typically recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for menstrual cramps, according to a 2019 review. However, the review also mentions that NSAIDs can increase the risk of:

  • heart attack

  • stroke

  • gastrointestinal bleeding

  • stomach ulcers

As of now, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Trusted Source has only approved one CBD product to date, a prescription medication called Epidiolex, for use to treat epilepsy but not menstrual pain. However, the FDA has not approved any other CBD products for use to treat any other health conditions.

However, some evidence does suggest that CBD alone might have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. A 2016 study on rats, for example, found that applying CBD gel reduced joint inflammation and pain with no adverse effects.

These properties may help reduce painful period-related cramping and other uncomfortable symptoms during your period, including headaches.

That said, research suggests that THC and CBD work best together, so if you’re looking for a CBD product to help with menstrual pain, consider opting for a full-spectrum one.

Ultimately, to better understand CBD’s potential role in pain management, more studies are needed.

How to Use CBD products for menstrual pain

  • Tinctures: People will usually take CBD tinctures orally with a dropper. They can put drops of CBD tincture under their tongues or add the tincture to drinks. A person should always follow the instructions on the product and be mindful of the dosage they use. Learn more about CBD tinctures.

  • Topicals: Topical CBD products include balms, creams, and lotions. A person can apply these products directly to their skin, which may provide targeted pain relief for menstrual cramps. An individual may find it more difficult to measure the dosage with a topical CBD product. A person may also wish to do a patch test before using topical CBD products across wide areas of their body to see if any skin reactions occur.

  • Capsules or pills: People take CBD capsules and pills orally. A person will be able to measure the dosage more easily with a CBD capsule or pill.

  • Gummies: There are many CBD gummy products available on the market that come in a wide range of flavors.

  • Patches: This is our star product, Patchy! A person applies CBD patches directly onto their skin. They can choose where they apply the patch so they can target a specific area of pain. Some patches can deliver CBD through the skin for several days before a person needs to replace the patch.

How to choose wisely

  • Ingredients: Choose products containing safe and high quality ingredients that are clearly labeled. They should also confirm they are free from pesticides, heavy metals, and mold.

  • Dosage: Choose products that must clearly state the CBD dosage.

  • Serving size: Select products in which manufacturers recommend a dosage.

  • Third-party labs: Choose products that must undergo third-party testing for contaminants by an ISO 17025-compliant laboratory.

  • Available certificate of analysis: Choose companies that demonstrate transparency and share a product’s certificate of analysis (COA) following receipt of its third-party lab results.

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