For many women, the monthly discomfort that comes from menstrual cramps can extend beyond the point of being a nuisance, and enter the territory of being debilitating. In fact, as many as 29 percent of women who suffer from menstrual cramps would classify their period pain as severe. If this describes your situation, you may find positive results by using CBD products to ease the pain often associated with menstrual cramps.
How to Use CBD for Menstrual Cramps
- Decide Between Topical and Oral CBD (or Both!)
- Determine Effective Dosage
- Sit Back, Relax, and Evaluate
- Take as Needed
By some measures, as many as 75 percent of women suffer from painful cramps during their periods. With the traditional cramping often associated with menstrual pain also often comes a whole host of other symptoms, including: bloating, headaches, sore breasts, vomiting, diarrhea, back pain, constipation and nausea.
CBD is a key cannabinoid found within the cannabis sativa or hemp plant. Unlike its cousin, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, CBD does not feature inherent psychoactive effects, so it can be taken without the resulting high so often associated with the use of marijuana. And though research into CBD’s efficacy against chronic pain and anti inflammatory properties is in the early stages, there is some evidence to show that CBD can be an effective pain relief agent, without some of the unpleasant side effects often associated with both prescription and over the counter pain medications.
Does CBD Help with Menstrual Cramps?
While research into CBD’s efficacy against menstrual cramping is limited, many patients have reported finding relief with CBD. In addition, a 2019 review of studies of cannabis as a treatment for Premenstrual Syndrome showed that CBD may be helpful for both chronic and acute severe pain relief. Also in 2019, women battling endometriosis reported that cannabis or CBD oil was most effective at relieving severe pain, compared with other interventions such as yoga, stretching, and other non-medical remedies. There is also a body of research showing that CBD may offer some anti inflammatory properties, which could be helpful since inflammation is a common source of menstrual cycle pain.
It’s important to keep in mind that much of the testing around CBD’s potential for inflammation and chronic pain relief has shown that it may be more potent when combined with trace amounts of THC, so the best CBD may be a full-spectrum CBD product to get the greatest effect.
When it comes to studying specifically how CBD may help relieve menstrual cramps, there are currently no published studies. The potential is exciting, but most of what we know about CBD’s effectiveness for period cramps and other menstrual pain is tied to anecdotal evidence. However, because CBD is typically well tolerated and produces few side effects, it is generally considered safe to try.
How to Use CBD for Menstrual Cramps
Now let’s take a deeper dive into how you can use CBD to help ease menstrual cramps.
1. Decide Between Topical and Oral CBD (or Both!)
You have options when it comes to choosing a delivery method for CBD. Specifically for menstrual cramps, you can choose a topical product, like a CBD cream, CBD balm, or CBD lotion that you can apply directly to the area you’re feeling pain. Choosing this delivery method can provide quick and targeted pain relief when it comes to painful periods.
If you want to go the topical CBD route, make sure to do a quick test on a small patch of skin first, just to make sure you don’t have a reaction to the product. It’s unlikely for CBD itself to cause a skin reaction, but many topical CBD products also contain other ingredients, like fragrances, so it’s wise to make sure you can tolerate the topical CBD product you choose.
In general, topical CBD products may be best suited for menstrual discomfort like lower back pain, headaches, etc. CBD for headaches, in fact, is a very common use.
You also can take CBD orally for pain relief, which addresses pain relief on a systemic level. For example, if you’re wondering how to take CBD oil, you can place a few drops of a CBD tincture under your tongue until it dissolves, or you can add the same oil or tincture to a drink. CBD is also available in CBD capsules that can be taken orally. You can also orally ingest CBD in the form of CBD edibles, including CBD gummies, which are available a wide variety of flavors.
As long as you’re starting with a small dose, you also can try topical and oral CBD treatments simultaneously. For example, you might put a few drops of a tincture under your tongue while also using a topical cream on the area where your cramping is most intense or where you’re experiencing another type of menstrual pain, like headache, backache, etc. That way, you’re getting localized treatment for the most painful area, along with a systemic remedy.
2. Determine Effective Dosage
Since the FDA does not regulate CBD products, there is no standard recommended dosage for using CBD to relieve pain. Your best CBD dosage will depend on several factors, including your body weight and metabolism. The more you weigh, the higher dose of CBD you likely will need to feel an effect. Your metabolism also affects your best CBD dosage—metabolism determines how long it takes your body to process cannabinoids.
As always, when adding CBD to a health and wellness routine, it’s important to start with a low dose and gradually build until you get an appropriate level of relief. That way, you’ll ensure you’re always taking the lowest dose that provides a therapeutic effect.
It’s a good idea to start with five to 10 milligrams of CBD as a first step. If that’s not enough to relieve pain, you can gradually increase by five to 10 milligrams each time until you find your effective dosage.
The most important part of determining your most effective dosage is talking with a pharmacist or pharmacy technician about your level of pain. The pharmacist can also tell you about any potential adverse interactions CBD may have with other medications you’re taking.
3. Sit Back, Relax, and Evaluate
Once you’ve applied or ingested your dose of CBD, it’s important to be patient. Depending on your delivery method, CBD may take anywhere from just a few minutes to an hour or more to take effect.
If you’re using a topical product over your area of pain, you may feel relief almost instantly, especially if the cream, lotion, or balm you’re using also has warming or cooling essential oils. If you’re taking CBD orally, you may see a variance in the onset of therapeutic effect, depending on whether you’re using the product sublingually (under the tongue) or directly swallowing it.
If you apply a few drops of a CBD oil or tincture directly under your tongue and hold it for at least 30 seconds before swallowing, you allow some of the CBD to be absorbed by mucus membranes in the mouth, rather than going straight into your digestive system. This gets the CBD into your bloodstream faster than if you immediately swallow a CBD product. So, you may feel initial effects very quickly, followed by secondary effects up to two hours later, as the CBD that travels through your digestive system.
The delivery method that takes the longest to provide relief would be taking a CBD capsule, swallowing CBD oil, or eating a CBD gummy. In these cases, the CBD has to travel through the digestive system to the liver, where it can be broken down and released into your bloodstream. So, you may not feel therapeutic effects for up to two hours.
Whatever your CBD delivery method, make sure you know how long you can expect it to take effect and wait the full amount of time before deciding whether you need to increase your dosage.
4. Take as Needed
Once you’ve started adding CBD to your treatment regimen for period cramps, you can pay close attention to how long you enjoy its pain relief benefits. When you start to feel period pain again, you can take another dose of CBD. The great thing about CBD is that it’s safe to use, causing no serious side effects, even in very high quantities.
CBD Provides Natural Pain Relief for Menstrual Cramps
Menstrual cramps affect millions of women, and some suffer intense and debilitating pain associated with their monthly periods. If you’re thinking about adding CBD to you list of therapies for period pain relief, make sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist about the best path for moving forward.
You’re also welcome to reach out to our pharmacists at Farmer & Chemist, who are well-prepared to help you determine which CBD product(s) are best for you. You might even try one of our Farmer & Chemist Favorite Things! bundles. No matter which Farmer & Chemist product you decide to try, though, you can rest assured that our CBD is high quality, safe, and effective.