As anyone who menstruates can tell you, periods aren’t fun. Physical symptoms of menstruation can include tender breasts, bloating, muscle aches and joint pain, headaches, acne, and cramping. We’re regularly asked the question “Can I try CBD for cramps?” It’s a great question – let’s chat about it.
For 10% of people who menstruate, cramps can be particularly debilitating. They can be so bad that a person can’t get out of bed or go about their daily lives. The most common ways to treat these cramps include taking an anti-inflammatory medication, going on birth control, and using hot water bottles or heating pads to alleviate pain and inflammation.
However, there may be a better option. While additional research is needed, CBD may be helpful for reducing the pain, inflammation and other symptoms associated with menstrual cramps. Below, we outline the emerging science on the issue — and offer purchasing tips if you decide to try CBD.
What Research Says about CBD and Cramps
Menstrual cramps — or dysmenorrhea — involve period pain in the lower abdomen, typically occurring just before and during a menstrual period. The severity of these cramps can vary significantly, with some people in so much pain that they cannot continue their normal activities.
Beyond typical period pain, cramps may be caused by conditions such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, adenomyosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and cervical stenosis. All of these conditions are associated with pain and inflammation in the abdomen and pelvic region.
Traditionally, menstrual cramps are treated with over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, Advil, and Aleve. A prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) may also be used. Hormonal birth control can also help to alleviate the severity of cramps for some people. Each of these treatment options carry significant side effects.
As you may already know, CBD (cannabidiol) is a type of naturally-occuring chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. These compounds are known as cannabinoids. Another well-known cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the intoxicating component found in marijuana. Unlike THC, CBD does not cause a feeling of being high or stoned. We’ve got plenty more information on CBD in our Beginners Guide.
Research on how CBD affects the human body is still in its preliminary stages. However, scientists believe that CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the body.
Scientific studies have found that CBD may promote health and wellness by interacting with one or more of the three components of the ECS: endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes. This may include relieving pain and inflammation when the ECS is triggered by painful conditions such as menstrual cramps. A recent study found that CBD may help to alleviate chronic pain and reduce inflammation by affecting ECS receptor activity.
According to a 2018 review of research performed over a 43 year period, CBD may be effective at relieving multiple types of pain. Researchers concluded that CBD can help with pain management without the negative side effects associated with traditional treatments.
A 2016 study of rats with arthritis found that CBD gel applied topically helped to reduce both pain and inflammation in affected joints. Other studies involving rats found that CBD is effective in relieving pain at surgical incision sites and chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain.
So Does CBD Really Provide Period Pain Relief?
The short answer is that it may. While research on this issue is still developing, CBD may also inhibit the production of prostaglandins. The cyclooxygenase (COX) enzyme system is the major pathway for certain acids to be converted into prostaglandins. CBD may selectively inhibit COX-2 activity, which may affect prostaglandin production — and reduce menstrual cramping. That would mean that in addition to relieving cramps after they start, CBD may prevent them as well.
CBD may also help people who experience other symptoms with their menstrual cramps. Studies have shown that CBD can reduce nausea and vomiting. For anyone whose digestive system is affected by menstrual cramps, CBD may be helpful.
What to Look for When Buying a CBD Product for Cramps:
Since the production of hemp was legalized in the United States through the 2018 Farm Bill, the market for CBD has exploded. In many ways, this is a positive development, as it makes CBD more readily available to people throughout the country. Unfortunately, because CBD products are not regulated by the FDA, it can be hard to know what you are getting when you pick up a bottle of oil or edibles at your local pharmacy or big box store.
There are ways that you can make sure that you are buying a safe, effective product. When shopping for CBD, look for products that have been independently tested by third party laboratories. Most reputable CBD product manufacturers will post these results on their websites, so that you know exactly what you are buying.
If you have questions about a product, how it was made, or what it contains, reach out to the store for help. A representative should be able to assist you and answer any questions about a particular product. If they can’t or won’t work with you, then you may want to shop at another retailer.
Best CBD Products For Cramps
If this is your first exposure to CBD, you may not know where to start or which products would be best suited to help with cramps. We’ve put together recommendations below based on both our own experiences and customer testimonials.
Hemplucid’s CBD water soluble tincture is known for their rapid onset and potency. In a water soluble product, the cannabinoids have been broken down into very tiny particles which enable them to be more easily and quickly absorbed. Because of this easy absorption and fast acting ability we refer to water soluble as a “booster” making them great for quick pain relief. Hemplucid offers both a full-spectrum and 0 THC option to meet your needs. Both contain 1,000mg of CBD per bottle. The drops are intended to be mixed into your favorite beverages so you don’t have to worry about an earthy flavor. You can find both of the Hemplucid options here.
Gummies are one of the fastest growing products in the CBD market today. They are more bioavailable than a softgel and taste better than a liquid. The pre-measured serving (15mg) makes it easy to get a consistent amount of CBD into your system daily. When we are talking pain, we prefer a full spectrum, or whole plant, option. Bluebird has been manufacturing high quality CBD out of Colorado since 2002 and is certified by the US Hemp Authority. They’re a natural fit if you’re looking for a great-tasting CBD gummy solution. Find them here.
It’s no secret that the application of heat is a good way to get cramping muscles to relax. Hot baths can help to increase blood flow, which in turn eases muscle cramping. When you combine a hot bath with the soothing effects of CBD, you get a true recipe for relief and relaxation. The bath bombs from cbdMD contain 100mg of premium broad spectrum CBD with no artificial dyes or preservatives. They go beyond lovely smelling essential oils (no worries – they do smell amazing) to provide real relief. You can find all 6 options here.
It may seem counterintuitive to use a topical solution for pain that is internal, but these Period patches from The Good Patch are made up of CBD, Black Cohosh and Black Pepper compounds that are small enough to really penetrate and provide lasting benefits. Simply apply the 2×2 square patch to your abdomen or lower back and the 15mg of CBD will get to work to provide relief that can last a full day. Each packet contains 4 individual patches that will gradually release over a 8-12 hour time frame. The Good Patch also offers patches that are condition specific for calm, sleep, and a hangover relief blend. Find them here.
Buy High Quality CBD from Green Wellness Life
If you are interested in using CBD to manage the symptoms of menstrual cramps, Green Wellness Life is a great place to start. While we aren’t doctors and can’t diagnose or treat any medical condition, we can provide you with scientific research to help you make a decision. We can also offer insight into the best CBD products on the market for your needs.
Every product that we sell has been independently tested, and is made from industrial hemp grown in the U.S. You can use our product finder to choose a product, or reach out to us with any questions or to get help picking an item. We are available by phone Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 888-772-7875, or via email. Our team has significant knowledge about CBD, and is excited to help customers learn more about the best products for them.