CBD oil for menstrual cramps is a sizzling hot topic. If you haven’t heard of CBD yet, brace yourself. Several states have legalized marijuana use, and hemp-derived products are now legal in the U.S. on a federal level, and the market for CBD is exploding. Everyone from Whoopi Goldberg to Martha Stewart and luxury department store Barneys New York is getting in on the game.
If you get period cramps, there’s no doubt you’ve tried everything in the name of pain relief. Here’s what you need to know about the hottest menstrual pain solution out there: CBD oil.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD is the abbreviation for cannabidiol, which is one of the many chemical compounds, known as cannabinoids, that are found in the cannabis sativa plant. The cannabis plant is chemically complex; it’s made up of more than 400 chemical compounds, and 60 of those are CBD compounds.
The three most famous cannabinoids are:
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
- Cannabidiol (CBD)
- Cannabinol (CBN)
THC is the compound that makes you feel stoned, whereas CBD does not create a high. CBN has mildly psychoactive effects, is known for making you feel relaxed and is formed when THC degrades or breaks down.
Cannabinoids bind to the receptors in your brain and body and produce a range of potential benefits, including calming anxiety and providing pain relief for menstrual cramps. The CBD that you’ll find in CBD oil is found naturally in both hemp and marijuana, which are considered sister products since they are both derived from the cannabis plant. For a cannabis product to be categorized as hemp, it must contain less than 0.3% THC. Most of the CBD products you’ll find on the market are derived from hemp, which is a good thing, since hemp products are legal in all 50 U.S. states.
How CBD Oil Can Help? Does it Actually Work?
Science still doesn’t understand 100% how CBD works, but they know it impacts special receptors in the body and brain and balances out the endocannabinoid system, which is vital to functions like eating, sleeping and relaxing. It doesn’t matter if you’ve ever used cannabis products or not; all of us have that endocannabinoid system that also plays a role in mood regulation, digestion and fertility. Your body already produces chemical compounds that are very similar to the CBD found in cannabis plants. There are two types of cannabinoid receptors that we know about:
- CB1 receptors: These are found in the parts of the brain that deal with memory, high-level thinking, emotions and motor coordination
- CB2 receptors: These are located all throughout the central nervous system and the immune system
You can think of these receptors as doors that can be locked and unlocked with cannabinoids. For example, if you’ve got menstrual cramps and you take CBD oil, the “door” will be opened that sends messages to your body to reduce its production of prostaglandins, which are hormones responsible for inflammation and pain. That’s important for women who experience period pain because research is showing that menstrual cramps are probably caused by acute inflammation.
Regardless of exactly how it works, several studies have shown that CBD oil has anti-inflammatory effects. As a bonus, CBD products are used to treat depression, and PMS is thought to be linked to serotonin imbalances. So, you could experience reduced cramping and pain as well as less anxiety with the right CBD oil product.
Dosing CBD Oil for Cramps
How much CBD oil should you take for relief from menstrual pain? Not many human studies have been done with CBD, and it’s available in myriad formulations and delivery methods, so it can be hard to pinpoint the dosage amount and delivery method that’s the most effective. But, it helps to take a systematic approach to figuring out the right CBD oil dose for you.
Everyone’s body reacts differently to CBD, so it’s best to start with a low dose, like 10mg, and move up from there. Keep in mind that when you take CBD through smoking or vaping, you’ll get the effects almost immediately. If you ingest it orally on a full stomach, it could potentially take a few hours before you feel it.
Side Effects of CBD Oil
Most sources agree that CBD has very few side effects. However, some negative symptoms have been observed during clinical trials, such as diarrhea and drowsiness. CBD also has the potential to interact with medications, so, as always, it’s smart to chat with your doctor before taking CBD if you’re taking meds.
Most of the negative side effects reported by users of medical marijuana products seem to be linked to THC.
For example, THC can lead to:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Dry mouth
- Low blood pressure / lightheadedness
- Increased appetite
- Depressive feelings
If you’re taking CBD products that contain THC (assuming you live in a state where that’s legal), you can reduce those side effects by looking for CBD products that are lower in THC and higher in CBD. But overall, most side-effects of CBD are minor compared to the ones you can experience from synthetic prescription drugs.
How to Take CBD Oil for Period Pain
CBD products come in a wide range of formulations:
- Drops that you put under your tongue.
- Lotions you smooth on your skin.
- Gummies that you chew and swallow.
- Oils you inhale in a vaporizer.
- Capsules that are easy to drink down with water.
And that’s not all: What would feel better during your period than soaking in a warm CBD-infused bath courtesy of CBD bath bombs? CBD lube is on the market and so are cannabis vaginal suppositories—often described as CBD tampons—that promise a speedy delivery of menstrual cramp pain relief. What it comes down to is that the right way to consume CBD depends on your personal preference.
What You’ll Pay for CBD Oil
You can find tons of CBD products online. A typical price is 10 cents to 30 cents USD per milligram of CBD oil. That price is expected to go down since the Farm Bill has been passed and hemp products become even more widespread.
What to Look for Before Buying
Just like any product, CBD oil formulas are produced by lots of different companies. Products derived from organic hemp grown in the United States is generally a preferred choice, so look for organic certifications. Also, the extraction technique that the manufacturer used can make a difference. CBD oil obtained through CO2 extraction obtains a pure form of the oil that doesn’t contain chemical residues. The maker of the oil should be able to provide a guaranteed analysis that provides a number showing exactly how much CBD is in each milliliter of the oil.
- CBD products described as “full spectrum” contain small amounts of all the other cannabinoids found in marijuana, including THC.
- CBD isolate is just what it sounds like: pure CBD that’s been extracted and isolated from other cannabinoids.
Some people say that full-spectrum products provide an entourage effect that makes the CBD more effective, but scientists remain skeptical about whether the entourage effect makes any difference.
The 2018 Farm Bill and CBD Oil for Cramps
The Farm Bill was signed into law at the end of 2018 by President Trump. It makes it legal to cultivate and produce industrial hemp in the United States. It removed hemp-derived CBD oil from the federal list of controlled substances. That’s a big reason why you’re now seeing this huge explosion of CBD-containing products. As long as a cannabis product contains 0.3% THC or less, it is legal on the federal level.
The Bottom Line on CBD Oil for Menstrual Cramps
Do you think you might try CBD oil for menstrual cramps? While there’s still a lot of research that’s yet to be done on CBD, the anecdotal evidence is persuasive and customer testimonials are impressive. Unsurprisingly, there is still a lot to learn.
When you’re looking for a product, do some research, look at the ingredients, find out more about the brand and make your final selection accordingly.
Here’s a list of companies that make or sell CBD oil to get you started: