Living with a Painful Period

When I first hear about supplementing with CBD for menstrual cramps, I dove into the research. When I was a teenager, I used to get debilitating periods. I mean, cramps so bad I couldn’t go to school, kind of periods. My mood would swing by the hour and I was having to change my tampon an alarming number of times a day. Not the best situation for a girl who is just trying to survive middle school.

My gynecologist eventually put me on the pill and the majority of my period symptoms went away. But with the pill, other side effects arose. While it’s nice to have a light period, I wasn’t too keen on my weight constantly fluctuating, going through phases of depression, and not really knowing how to control my body because my hormones were imbalanced. It felt like I couldn’t win.

Years of Trial and Error

After eleven years of trial and error I have finally gotten the majority of my symptoms under control. Yet, I still wonder what it would be like to live without hormone imbalance. I’ve gone all of my teenage years and some of my twenties, not knowing what my mind and body are really like without the pill. So, I’ve decided to get the copper IUD and try to address the underlying issues that caused me to be on the pill in the first place.

The problem: the copper IUD is notorious for heavy periods and painful cramps. I knew I needed to have a plan to get through those first few periods, so I don’t go running back to my gynecologist begging to be put back on the pill. As I thought about my options (Midol, Advil, chocolate…) I decided I wanted a more natural remedy. After all, I was doing this to have as little hormones in my body as possible. It only made sense to seek out a plant-based natural alternative. My research led me to CBD.

CBD and Cramps

As many know, cramps are due to the uterus contracting to shed the uterine lining more efficiently. Many women take an over the counter medication to help with the pain.

In 2008, Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management published a study stating that CBD is effective in the management of difficult to treat pain. Not only does CBD have anti-inflammatory components to help with pain, it was proven through trial that it also has analgesia agents.1 CBD is a good alternative for OTC pain medications because it can provide relief through its numbing mechanism.

While more research needs to be conducted, psychopharmacologist Dr. Julie Holland has studied cannabis and CBD for over two decades and found that numerous patients of hers reported CBD helping with PMS and cramps.2 “CBD can be immensely useful in treating the irritability and discomfort that comes during the premenstrual phase of our cycles. Because it has strong anti-anxiety properties and is also a muscle relaxer, it can help with the overall tension, both physical and psychic, as well as menstrual cramps that can come later,” she says.3

CBD and PMS

So now that we know CBD for menstrual cramps is legit, what about all the other premenstrual symptoms you can get from your period?

    • bloating
    • irritability
    • fatigue
    • headaches
    • nausea
    • anxiety
    • mood swings
    • tension

CBD can be effective in treating these too. While we already know that CBD has anti-inflammatory agents that can address the physical symptoms of PMS, let’s dive into the psychological benefits of CBD.

Dr. Karen Munkacy is the CEO of Green Remedies and has done extensive research on hemp and cannabis products in relation to health. She concludes that “The brain has a high density of [endocannabinoid] receptors. As a result, cannabis-derived products prompt ‘a series of sensations that include euphoria, sensory stimulation, positive mood alterations, and even feelings of improved cognition’”4. Sounds pretty good, huh?

In another study, published in the Annual Review of Neuroscience, researchers Natalie Zlebnik and Joseph Cheer discovered that CBD can increase motivation and decrease the effects of some mental illnesses like anxiety and depression.5 Due to this, “…in motivational disorders with complex etiology and underlying neural substrates, the multitarget effects of CBD may make it a highly efficacious treatment option”.6 CBD’s positive emotional and mood components have the ability to provide you with some relief to the mood swings that can occur during your period.

While current research does not focus specifically on periods and PMS symptoms, many studied suggest that if you’re looking for a natural remedy for pain and mood, CBD is worth a try. We always suggest consulting your doctor first, but if you get the “go ahead”, go for it!

Sometimes it feels like your period can make you put your life on hold for a few days, but with the help of CBD, it doesn’t have to feel that way.

Sonder Grace has full spectrum tinctures and capsules derived from organically grown hemp.  See if there is one right for you.

References

  1. Russo, E. B. (2008, February). Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2503660/
  2. Can CBD oil help with PMS? (2019, February 28). Retrieved from https://moodymonth.com/articles/can-cbd-oil-help-with-pms
  3. Can CBD oil help with PMS? (2019, February 28). Retrieved from https://moodymonth.com/articles/can-cbd-oil-help-with-pms
  4. Cassano, M. (2019, March 22). Can CBD Help Reduce Period Pain and Menstrual Cramps? Retrieved from https://www.remedyreview.com/health/can-cbd-help-reduce-period-pain-and-menstrual-cramps/
  5. Zlebnik, N. E., & Cheer, J. F. (2016, July 08). Beyond the CB1 Receptor: Is Cannabidiol the Answer for Disorders of Motivation? Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5818147/
  6. Zlebnik, N. E., & Cheer, J. F. (2016, July 08). Beyond the CB1 Receptor: Is Cannabidiol the Answer for Disorders of Motivation? Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5818147/