Cannabidiol (CBD) continues to gain widespread acceptance as an effective natural supplement. This is because anecdotal evidence backed by a growing body of empirical research shows that CBD has many health benefits.
Even though we may just be finding out about CBD, marijuana has been used as medicine since ancient times. For example, marijuana was an integral component of Ayurvedic medicine in the Indian subcontinent.
Ayurvedic medicine is one of the oldest healing systems in the world, estimated to be over 3,000 years old.
Cannabis research is currently underway as scientists try to explain the many health-impacting properties of this unconventional herb.
Nonetheless, they are playing catchup because various cannabis compounds like THC and CBD are already used by millions worldwide, thanks to their healing properties.
CBD has shown potential in relieving symptoms associated with chronic pain, inflammation, stress and anxiety, and sleep quality.
It's fast making a name for itself as "the elixir of health" – a natural compound with holistic solutions to health issues.
What are menstrual cramps?
The euphemistic phrase "it's that time of the month" has long been synonymous with menstruation. It's a time when females are generally thought to be in foul moods due to the changes in their bodies.
While menstruation typically signifies the becoming of a woman capable of bearing a child, it may come with strings attached. Menstrual cramps are one of those. It's a pretty common occurrence that affects roughly 80% of young women.
Medically referred to as dysmenorrhea, menstrual cramps are simply painful menstruation. The pain—which can be excessive—is brought about by the uterus shedding its lining.
It all starts with a hormone called prostaglandin, which triggers muscle contractions in the uterus to expel the lining. These contractions can be excruciating, especially when they cut off the oxygen supply to the uterus.
Cramps can happen before and during "that time of the month" and can be mild or severe. They often come 1-2 years after the first period but become less painful as women age. Cramps have even been known to disappear completely once a woman gives birth.
Menstrual cramps can also be caused by underlying medical conditions such as:
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Cervical stenosis
So, it's not always safe to presume that menstrual cramps are normal. If normal painkillers like aspirin and ibuprofen don't make it better, or if the cramping lasts more than 2-3 days, it may be time to see a medical expert.
Standard therapies for menstrual cramps
Under normal circumstances, the pain from menstrual cramps can be handled with over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin, etc.
These should be taken immediately after the cramping or bleeding starts. NSAIDs work by reducing the production of prostaglandins.
Natural remedies for menstrual cramps
There are other therapies often used to manage cramps, including:
Heating pads are a common way to ease menstrual cramps. The heat relaxes the uterine muscles, thereby increasing blood flow and reducing pain. Just place the heating pads on the lower part of your abdomen.
You can also try taking a hot beverage like warm water or tea. The same principle works from the inside.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Fish oil is an important source of omega-3 fatty acids believed to have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation. The pain associated with periods is caused by inflammation of uterine blood vessels when pressed by muscular contractions.
Research shows that women have a higher risk of inflammation because their omega-3 and omega-6 levels are not balanced.
Many women who struggle with dysmenorrhea and PMS are often magnesium deficient. Fortunately, easy-to-find foods like peanuts, green vegetables, and almonds are rich in magnesium.
Research shows that magnesium and vitamin B6 taken together can help relieve some physical and emotional symptoms of menstruation.
Acupuncture entails inserting thin needles at strategic parts of the body. It's a technique borrowed from Chinese medicine, predominantly used to manage pain by balancing a person's life force or energy flow (known as chi).
Western practitioners believe the acupuncture points are actually the nexus of connective tissue, nerves, and muscles. Thus, stimulating these points increases the body's supply of natural painkillers.
Every acupuncturist has a unique style, but it's not uncommon to see these professionals blend Western and Eastern methods for the best results. A session typically lasts 60 minutes or shorter, with the severity of the condition usually determining the number of sessions.
Acupuncture may not work for every person, so if symptoms persist after a few sessions, you may have to move on to other methods.
The link between mood and menstruation has been the subject of many research studies.
Now, new research suggests that non-pharmacological approaches like hypnosis and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can effectively be used to reduce menstrual pain.
For example, researchers can use the Leventhal self-regulation model to help affected people understand how their illness perceptions affect cognitive processes, emotional responses, and adaptive and health-related behavior.
The basic premise of psychological treatments is that a person's understanding of an illness is a crucial determinant of self-care.
On the flip side, lack of awareness causes vulnerability, which, in turn, raises anxiety. But the self-regulation model works by raising awareness, thereby reducing vulnerability and anxiety.
CBD and menstrual cramps
Pain is often the underlying issue in menstrual cramps, so, naturally, affected people focus on reducing the pain and inflammation.
The use of CBD as a painkiller is growing in popularity. Although researchers are still gathering information on CBD's ability to relieve pain, several studies suggest that it may accomplish this by reducing inflammation.
Consequently, CBD products may be helpful for those who suffer from menstrual cramps.
Does CBD help with menstrual cramps?
CBD has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects. Therefore, treating menstruation-induced pain may also depend on this revelation.
The body absorbs CBD from products like CBD cream, oils, and tinctures. As such, they can help in reducing menstrual discomfort.
This cannabinoid has been shown to potentially reduce stress and anxiety symptoms, which is a big bonus given that hormonal imbalances drive some causes of menstrual cramps. Prolonged stress raises the production of the cortisol hormone, leading to an imbalance in the body.
The direct impact of CBD on the endocannabinoid system, which aids in maintaining the body's equilibrium, is another crucial factor. During menstruation, hormone levels change.
This might make you feel lousy and mess with your endocannabinoid system. However, using CBD as a natural supplement might be beneficial in helping your ECS re-establish balance.
Benefits of CBD for menstrual cramps
Menstrual cramps would be fairly easy to handle if the pain was the only thing involved. However, this is not usually the case.
Besides the pain, women with periods often complain of related symptoms like dizziness, headaches, nausea, and loose bowels. These symptoms can compound an already distressing situation and make you feel utterly miserable.
While research into the pain-relieving properties of CBD is underway, the current information in the public domain is encouraging.
Due to its potential to reduce chronic pain and inflammation, in addition to menstrual cramps, CBD may also help ease other period-related symptoms, including lower back pain, headaches, and sore muscles and breasts.
We may not attribute these all-curing properties to CBD alone since many CBD products contain other cannabis compounds like terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids.
Be that as it may, research shows that CBD works better with other cannabinoids like THC. So, full spectrum CBD products may have more benefits than pure CBD products.
In fact, flavonoids and terpenes are believed to have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties that could enhance CBD's therapeutic effects.
Ways to try CBD for period pain relief
There are several ways to use CBD to manage period pain. This is because CBD is highly versatile and comes in many forms. Each form has its own merits and demerits, so let's examine how these can help you alleviate menstrual cramps.
Best CBD for menstrual cramps
Tinctures and oils: CBD oils and tinctures are often administered orally/sublingually with a dropper. You can add CBD oil or tincture to beverages or place a few drops beneath your tongue.
Oils and tinctures are fast-acting, so you're likely to feel the effects in 10-20 minutes, which is a good thing, particularly if the pain is intense!
Topicals: examples of topical CBD products are lotions, creams, and balms. These products may be applied directly to the skin for localized pain management of period pain. With topical CBD, it may not be easy to gauge the correct amount.
So, before applying topical CBD to large body areas, you may consider doing a patch test to check for any skin sensitivities.
Capsules: these are taken orally and are easier to deal with because you can measure doses more effectively. Capsules are an effective way to get CBD into your system, barring the effects of first-pass metabolism.
Patches: topical CBD does not penetrate the skin deeply enough to enter the bloodstream, which explains its localized effects. Patches, on the other hand, can penetrate the skin and enter your systemic circulation, leading to more generalized effects.
Patches can help you deliver CBD directly into your skin, with some lasting up to several days before needing replacement.
Gummies: CBD gummies come in a wide array of flavors and compositions. These are highly convenient to use on the go.
CBD cream for menstrual cramps
The basic principle underpinning the use of CBD creams for menstrual cramps is the skin's ability to absorb substances.
However, this method differs significantly from taking CBD orally or by inhalation.
When CBD is applied topically, it binds to local cannabinoid receptors in the skin rather than directly entering the systemic circulation. This means the effect is felt on the specific part where the cream is applied.
For this reason, topical CBD is often augmented with ingestible CBD for a more holistic effect.
Best CBD cream for menstrual cramps
Muscle spasms in your reproductive system and changes in hormone levels are the leading causes of menstrual pain. We advocate using natural, risk-free approaches rather than synthetic medications to treat illnesses because some of these OTC drugs have undesirable side effects.
Overall, menstrual cramps can be very painful to the point of affecting your life considerably. So if you've been looking for something more effective and natural to manage this situation, then CBD is worth trying out.
For example, our Relief Cream contains 500mg of CBD and soothing botanicals to offer you lots of protein and good fatty acids for managing period pain. It quickly eliminates pains and aches and soothes the discomfort associated with period pain to hasten your recovery.
This product is quite easy to use. Just ensure the area you intend to apply the cream to is clean to maximize absorption.
We recommend applying the cream 2-3 times daily, but this also depends on the severity of your condition. You can apply the cream more often if the pain is too intense.