CBD and hemp brands are marketing their products for managing pain and period cramps, but as someone with endometriosis, I know they won’t help me. Are you wondering if CBD for menstrual cramps is the solution to your discomfort? Keep reading and we’ll tell you everything you need to know today!
I Really Need CBD Brands to Stop Lying to Me About Period Cramps
I was scrolling through my emails recently, exorcising spam, when one subject line caught my eye: “CBD for PMS? Hallelujah! .” The hemp company’s newsletter could not have been more on point—I was smack dab in the middle of one of my most painful periods to date. I opened the email, and my heating pad slipped as I shifted to the edge of my seat.
Could this really be the magical answer to the burning ball of fiery knives inside my uterus? I thought.
The newsletter was riddled with seemingly relatable Friends GIFs, clever alliterations, and marketing buzzwords to get the reader to buy, buy, buy! “PMS Pain Be Gone!” it read. But what it didn’t have was products that have been proven to—in any way, shape, or form—actually minimize excruciating period cramps.
I was floored. Not just as someone with intense period pain due to endometriosis, but also as a C-suite-level marketing professional. I couldn’t tell what was worse, the cramps in my uterus or the knife in my back.
One of the products was a patch with only 15 mg of CBD, also called cannabidiol, a compound found in cannabis that does not produce a high. Using that to try to manage my pain would be like putting a Band-Aid on a gushing head wound. How do I know this? For starters, I typically consume between 30 mg and 50 mg of CBD in a single dose when I’m taking it to manage my pain. And as much as I feel CBD assists me in my pain management, it’s not my cure-all. I could replace my blood with CBD oil and I would still have intense cramps. If something has only 15 mg of CBD, I don’t have to try it to know it’s not going to cure my PMS. Not to mention, there’s just no science or regulation behind these claims.
I quickly grabbed my phone and did what all opinionated millennial women do: rant on social media. Messages immediately poured in. I was not alone. Other women had similar experiences with the new wave of CBD products. Screenshots of high-end packaging and their ingredient labels flooded my DMs. Once again, I was taken aback by the prices, claims, ingredients, and minimal CBD contents.
If a product hasn’t been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the brand behind that product cannot legally claim it will cure any ailment. From the FDA itself: ”Unlike drug products approved by the FDA, unapproved CBD drug products have not been subject to FDA review as part of the drug approval process, and there has been no FDA evaluation regarding whether they are safe and effective to treat a particular disease, what the proper dosage is, how they could interact with other drugs or foods, or whether they have dangerous side effects or other safety concerns.”
This is an incredibly personal issue for me because my periods are definitely not normal. I received my official endometriosis diagnosis after a laparoscopy in the summer of 2015. I have been working ever since to manage the painful, frustrating symptoms, which I’ve dealt with unofficially for over a decade. Traditional painkillers barely scratch the surface of my pain, and I had trouble getting doctors to take my level of pain seriously.
By Maggie O’Neill, M.F.A.
By Maggie O’Neill, M.F.A.
Up until my surgery, I was subjected to bouts of extreme discomfort and frequent UTIs. Sex was painful, and sometimes I would bleed during or after. I developed depression and anxiety while going through these unsuccessful battles with an ever-growing list of symptoms that went undiagnosed for years. I was opposed to opioid use and searched for an alternative. Not only do I understand the allure of using cannabis for period paid—I do it myself, and I find that some products really do help.
I didn’t know about CBD until I moved to California in 2017 and was shown a world of wonders (and snake oil), much of which is targeted toward women. Beauty products, supplements, and pain management aids were all labeled with “CBD” seemingly overnight. Even in California, where cannabis is legal, it isn’t regulated or FDA-approved the same way that prescription drugs are. So labels can still be inaccurate, which makes it difficult to know if you’re actually getting the dose you think you are.
Personally, I have found benefits from using CBD, and I find the best results when using CBD with THC products. That makes sense, according to a 2017 report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, which found that there is “conclusive or substantial evidence” that cannabis—not CBD on its own—is effective at treating chronic pain. (But not specifically pain due to PMS or endometriosis.)
I particularly gravitate toward tinctures and gummies that have a 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD (meaning they contain the same amount of both compounds) when I’m dealing with tougher days or trying to sleep. I rely on trustworthy products and brands because my well-being can’t afford anything less. I’ve also made other healthful changes in my life that have helped me manage my symptoms, like finding other supplements that work for me, getting an IUD, changing my eating habits, and working out more. CBD and cannabis aided my journey of health and self-growth.
But I’m tired of brands and headlines making CBD out to be a miracle supplement that will rid you of anxiety, stress, tension, pain, acne, inflammation, PMS—the list goes on. The reality is that people do report that cannabidiol helps them, and I would never want to diminish CBD for those who receive benefits from it. But we have to be careful about the claims we make about these substances—especially when those claims are about treating serious, chronic conditions.
When I see brands push these products to unsuspecting women, I can’t help but feel a mix of anger, sadness, and loss of hope for a real solution. Women already go through insurmountable pain with few options and skeptical doctors. When we find something that we think works, we need to know that we can consistently trust it. But right now, we don’t have that for CBD.
More than ever, it’s on us, the consumers, to be discerning—and to make sure we’re having honest, reasonable discussions about what we’re experiencing, whether or not our treatments are working, and when it’s appropriate to try something new with open-minded medical professionals. Those conversations are crucial to help you figure out exactly what your needs are and what you can really expect from a possible treatment—especially when it comes to CBD.
CBD Oil for Menstrual Cramps: Does it Work?
Visit from Aunt Flo. Moon Time. Mother Nature’s Gift. No matter what you call your period, it is something most women have to face about every 28 days. With that time of the month comes an abundance of uncomfortable symptoms. Since women are still discouraged from openly talking about their bodies, it can be challenging to find natural remedies that support your menstrual cycle. However, your well-being shouldn’t be a taboo topic. Using cannabis to treat PMS dates back to 16th-century Chinese medical texts, so why should today be any different?
Here are five ways CBD oil tinctures can support your menstrual cramps and other cycle woes.
5 Benefits of CBD for Menstrual Cramps
In case you aren’t familiar, CBD (also known as Cannabidiol) is a natural compound found in cannabis. Unlike it’s psychoactive sibling THC, CBD won’t make you high. Instead, CBD not only combats the psychoactive effects of THC, but also provides menstrual pain relief, reduces inflammation and beyond. For a deeper dive into what CBD is, check out our CBD 101 article.
Now back to CBD and PMS. If you’re looking for a natural remedy to alleviate your cramp and PMS symptoms, CBD is your answer. In addition to a myriad of other health benefits like improving your sleep or enhancing your sex life, CBD will help you say sayonara to PMS.
1. Reduce breast and lower abdomen tenderness:
CBD is the ultimate natural cure for healing inflamed areas like breasts, stomach and low back. It regulates the vanilloid receptor –– that moderates period pain perception. So massage our high-potency CBD Plant Balm in the affected areas to find some much-needed period pain relief from menstrual discomfort and irritation.
2. Manage stress and anxiety:
CBD helps the body manage and deal with stress. With its anti-anxiety properties, CBD not only inhibits the release of the stress hormone, Cortisol, but also slows the breakdown of endocannabinoid, Anandamide (more commonly known as the “bliss molecule”). Consequently, you will find yourself unbothered by even the most the painful and annoying PMS symptoms.
3. Prevent mood swings:
Hormonal imbalance is very common during PMS and unfortunately, plays a large role in causing mood swings. CBD can help you recalibrate your emotional responses; CBD interacts with our body’s Endocannabinoid system (a network of cell receptors throughout the body that cannabinoids like CBD activate). Our high-performance CBD Be Calm capsules makes sure the Endocrine system (the part of the body responsible for hormone regulation and production) runs smoothly so that your period has less of an effect on your hormones.
4. Fight Inflammation
Cannabinoids are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, so it’s no surprise that they are able to relieve severe menstrual cramps and inflammation during your time of the month.
How Does This Work?
To get an idea of how this works, THC activates CB2 receptors, or endocannabinoid. This is located on your immune system’s killer cells (macrophages), and when these receptors are activated, they prevent macrophages from releasing inflammatory proteins known as cytokines. CBD can also help with muscle relaxing. Period cramps are caused by contractions of the smooth muscle lining the uterus and cannabinoid is known to bring relief and relaxation to the smooth muscle. This results in natural muscle pain relief for menstrual discomfort.
5. Relieve cramping and bloating:
By improving digestive functions and reducing inflammation and nausea throughout your body, CBD can help attenuate menstrual cramping and bloating. Better yet, you can proactively prevent these symptoms by taking our fast acting, full-spectrum CBD drops a few days before you start a painful period cycle.
Say Hello to CBD for Menstrual Cramps
Ladies, gone are the days of your period and menstruation cycle controlling you! Save yourself from the monthly headache by incorporating CBD into your everyday routine. Your body and mind will thank you for it.
Written by Emily Spring
Emily Spring is the Director of Marketing at Plant People. A longtime proponent of balanced living, she has enjoyed over 8 years driving growth in the lifestyle, health and wellness sectors with deep experience in functional solutions for optimizing anyone’s everyday life.
Reviewed by Anne Kurtz
Anne Kurtz holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. from Cornell University in Food Science, specializing in flavor chemistry and neuroscience. She is a sustainability and consumer product expert, with nine years in the consumer packaged goods industry working across R&D, innovation, claims, and digital marketing. Anne is passionate about consumer tech and writes a weekly newsletter called The Juicy Byte.