A 2019 review published in the Online Journal of Complementary & Alternative Medicine suggested that CBD might help treat premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms. If CBD is a cure-all for anxiety and stress, it begs the question: can it help with women’s health, like cramps, PMS symptoms and mastalgia?
CBD Oil for PMS – August 2022
Antidepressants are prescribed for the mood symptoms associated with PMS. Meanwhile, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are given to ease cramping and breast discomfort (5) .
Some over-the-counter NSAID painkillers include aspirin, ibuprofen , and naproxen (6) . However, these medications have their corresponding side effects.
Antidepressants may cause headaches, joint and muscle pain, insomnia, skin rashes, nausea, stomach upset, diarrhea, reduced blood clotting capacity, diminished sexual desire, performance, interest, or satisfaction (7) .
NSAIDs may result in several symptoms targeting the stomach and gut, such as gas, bloatedness, stomach pain, heartburn, nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting (8) .
Thus, some women use cannabidiol (CBD) for symptoms associated with PMS, such as mood swings and bloating (9) .
Researchers found that CBD might help with the symptoms associated with PMS.
A 2019 review suggested that CBD might be helpful with PMS pain and other symptoms (10) .
However, further research is warranted on CBD’s effects on PMS and related medical conditions.
CBD for Anxiety and Depression
A 2019 study reported that CBD might have a calming effect on the central nervous system . The authors observed that CBD reduced anxiety and improved sleep in patients during the first month of the research (11) .
Another study found in the journal Frontiers in Psychology concluded that repeated CBD administration significantly decreased anxiety in 37 teenagers with a social anxiety disorder (12) .
A study in the Iranian Journal of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences revealed that the rate of depression was higher in students who had PMS than those without the condition (13) .
A systematic review of animal models published in the journal CNS and Neurological Disorders Drug Targets suggested that CBD had anxiolytic and antidepressant effects on the animal test subjects (14) .
A 2019 study investigated CBD’s antidepressant effects on male rodents and found that a single dose of CBD induced antidepressant properties in Swiss mice. The authors believe that CBD may be a promising fast-acting antidepressant drug (15) .
CBD for Pain Relief
PMS symptoms may include several physical signs related to pain, such as uterine cramping, bloating, muscle pain, headaches, and period cramps (16) .
A study found in the European Journal of Pain examined CBD’s purported ability to reduce pain and inflammation in rat models of arthritis (17) .
CBD gels were transdermally applied to the test subjects, which showed a significant reduction of joint swelling and pain.
The researchers also observed that 6.2mg and 62mg of CBD per day had pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects on the mice test subjects. CBD administration did not affect higher brain function.
A review published in the journal Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management suggested that Sativex, an oral spray made from CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol ( THC ), might be promising in the treatment of central and peripheral neuropathic pain, cancer pain, and rheumatoid arthritis (18) .
The researchers also noted that CBD was well-tolerated in the clinical trials included in the review.
THC is the psychoactive phytocompound found in the cannabis plant . It mainly comes from marijuana, a strain of the Cannabis sativa plant.
Unlike THC and medical marijuana , CBD does not have mind-altering effects on users.
Another study in 2016 suggested that CBD combined with THC might be useful muscle relaxants (19) .
CBD for Acne
Acne flare-ups are associated with PMS (20) .
Research found in the Journal of Clinical Investigation revealed that CBD suppressed sebocyte proliferation and had anti-inflammatory effects that might be promising in treating acne (21) .
Sebocytes are sebum-producing cells that contribute to the excessive production of sebum and result in acne vulgaris (22) .
Sebum is the oily and waxy substance produced by the sebaceous glands.
How CBD Oil Works to Alleviate Symptoms of PMS
According to research, CBD and the endocannabinoid system (ECS) might be potential targets for alleviating PMS symptoms.
The ECS is involved in several essential body functions, such as pain perception, memory, mood, and appetite (23) . It has cannabinoid receptors that interact with cannabinoids to help the ECS perform these vital functions.
Cannabinoids may be classified as endocannabinoids (produced by the body), phytocannabinoids (derived from the Cannabis sativa plant, such as CBD and THC), and synthetic or laboratory-derived cannabinoids (24) .
A 2018 study stated that CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties reduced inflammation by acting at different ECS receptors, including cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2 receptor), resulting in the downregulation of enzymes involved in prostaglandin production (25) .
Prostaglandins are hormone-like substances responsible for triggering pain and inflammation, resulting in uterine muscle contractions. High levels of prostaglandins may lead to more severe menstrual cramps (26) .
A 2020 review on CBD use for chronic pain suggested that CBD might interact with glycine receptors to diminish inflammation and hyperalgesia (heightened pain sensitivity) in mice models of neuropathic pain (27) .
Glycine receptors are channels involved in motor control and pain perception in humans (28) .
The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for PMS
- Animal and human studies have shown that CBD might help treat PMS symptoms.
- Compared with NSAIDs and antidepressants, CBD’s safety profile is more favorable (29) .
- No studies are outlining the physical dependence potential of CBD in animals and humans (30) . Thus, CBD abuse is unlikely.
- More research on CBD’s effects on PMS and the menstrual cycle is warranted.
- CBD use may result in common side effects, like changes in appetite or weight, diarrhea, and tiredness (31) .
- CBD for PMS treatment has not been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) .
How CBD Oil Compares to Alternative Treatments for PMS
A randomized study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine reported that Ginkgo biloba might be an effective natural remedy for PMS with manageable side effects (32) .
A 2019 study in the Journal of Menopausal Medicine reported that evening primrose oil might be beneficial for the treatment of conditions affecting women’s health , including PMS (33) .
However, the researchers noted that immediate body response to evening primrose oil should not be expected. They recommend regular evening primrose oil use of up to four or six months.
Compared with CBD, Ginkgo biloba may have more severe side effects, including allergic skin reactions, bleeding disorders, diarrhea, seizures, stomach upset, nausea, and palpitations (34) .
A 2019 study found that a single dose of CBD induced antidepressant-like effects in mice 30 minutes following CBD drug administration (35) . This period is shorter than the time it takes before the impacts of evening primrose oil are seen.
How to Choose the Right CBD for PMS
A study reported that CBD and THC might help with pain in patients with multiple sclerosis (36) . However, federal laws allow the use of trace amounts of THC only.
It is also believed that using all the ingredients of the cannabis plant produces a synergistic effect that would generate the full therapeutic benefits of the plant, known as the entourage effect.
CBD oil with federally-approved THC amounts of less than 0.30% and other cannabis plant ingredients, like terpenes, flavonoids, fatty acids, and essential oils, is called full-spectrum CBD.
This type of CBD product is recommended, especially for the treatment of menstrual pain and PMS symptoms. However, THC may be detected by some drug tests.
Individuals who want to avoid such problems may purchase broad-spectrum CBD oil. This type of oil has all the ingredients of a full-spectrum oil except for THC.
People who are after pure cannabidiol only may buy CBD isolates, which are made from pure CBD .
When purchasing CBD, go for certified organic, hemp-derived products to ensure high quality.
CBD Dosage for PMS
Due to a lack of regulation from the US FDA, there is no standard dosage chart for CBD use in treating PMS.
The primary rule is to start low and slow and gradually increase CBD dosage when no adverse reactions occur.
Women must find the CBD amount appropriate for the treatment of their PMS. A 2018 study stated that CBD use presented an inverted U-shaped or bell-shaped dose-response curve (37) .
The researchers found that among male subjects administered with 150mg, 300mg, and 600mg of CBD, only the patients who took 300mg of CBD exhibited reduced anxiety. Therefore, too little or excessive amounts of CBD do not guarantee the efficacy of the substance.
Women who are planning to use CBD for their PMS symptoms are encouraged to keep a journal documenting the substance’s effects on their bodies. This journal may be used during consultations with their obstetrician-gynecologist.
Medical advice from professionals should always be sought before using CBD for painful periods .
How to Take CBD for PMS
CBD comes in various formats and formulations. The most common CBD formats include CBD oils and CBD tinctures. These tinctures (drops) may be applied sublingually (under the tongue) for added efficacy.
Oils may be applied directly to painful areas during bouts of PMS. Some oils contain menthol and peppermint-infusions, which may have additional soothing effects.
These oils may also be mixed with food and beverages to mask CBD’s naturally grassy taste.
Topicals, such as lotions , salves, ointments, and balms, may be used for targeted pain relief.
CBD may also be ingested via gelcaps, pills, edibles, and gummies. These formats allow consistency in the CBD dosage being taken.
For instantaneous relief, CBD may be taken through vape pens. The main challenge when vaping CBD is that it may be challenging to determine the amounts of CBD inhaled in every draw.
Women with PMS should also use CBD vape pens with caution, as vaping may cause lung problems (38) .
PMS is a collective term referring to the signs and symptoms women experience before getting their period (39) .
Symptoms may be emotional, behavioral, or physical. They may include:
Emotional and Behavioral Symptoms
- Crying spells
- Depressed mood
- Irritability, mood swings, or anger
- Social withdrawal
- Poor concentration
- Libido changes
- Appetite changes and intense food cravings
- Alcohol intolerance
- Muscle pain or joint pain
- Fluid retention, which may lead to weight gain
- Abdominal bloating
- Breast tenderness
- Acne flare-ups
PMS symptoms may recur in predictable patterns. Hence, women may prepare for them in advance.
Another painful disorder that may occur during menstruation or throughout the cycle is endometriosis . This inflammatory condition is characterized by tissues, similar to walls lining the inside of the uterus, growing outside the womb (40) .
Human and animal studies show that CBD may have therapeutic effects on symptoms associated with PMS. Compared with conventional PMS medications, like NSAIDs and antidepressants, CBD has a more favorable safety profile (41) .
Studies show that CBD’s properties may help treat some PMS symptoms, like anxiety, depression, pain, and acne.
Studies suggest that CBD may be more effective as an analgesic when combined with THC.
However, despite THC’s purported benefits , medical cannabis and cannabis products are not legal in all US states.
Hence, the best CBD for PMS is full-spectrum CBD oil. It contains federally-legal amounts of THC and all the ingredients of the Cannabis sativa plant, which work together to generate the plant’s maximum therapeutic benefits.
Other natural remedies for PMS include the use of Ginkgo biloba and evening primrose oil. However, CBD may be safer, and its effects may be more instantaneous.
CBD is not recommended as a cure-all . However, there is growing evidence supporting CBD as an effective remedy for PMS symptoms.
Further research is warranted, especially human studies, on CBD’s effects on PMS and women’s menstrual cycles. More research should also be done on CBD and women’s health and well-being .
Before taking CBD for PMS, consult with an obstetrician-gynecologist first.
CBD for PMS? A Gynecologist Tells Us What’s Up
I t is 2019, and if you are not regularly grabbing a cannabidiol (CBD)-infused water before work, chewing a CBD gummy before bed or even dropping some CBD tinctures into your afternoon coffee, you might be missing out. Even dogs are using CBD. But let’s get one thing out of the way first: CBD will not make you high. Although it is an extract of the cannabis plant, CBD does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the mind-altering ingredient found in marijuana.
Proven as a natural remedy for anxiety, stress and insomnia, the CBD industry is booming. In fact, Brightfield, a cannabis research firm, says the CBD market is expected to reach $22 billion (yes, billion) by 2022. That is a lot of people feeling good about themselves. So good, that the 2018 Farm Bill was passed at the end of last year, making hemp — a form of cannabis with less than 0.3 percent THC, from which you can extract CBD — an agriculture crop instead of an illegal substance. (Two things to note: Recreational marijuana is legal in 10 states and the FDA still has regulations on CBD in food.)
But if the magic oil/pill/gummy/tincture seems to be a cure-all for these problems, it begs the question: Can it help with women’s health, like cramps, PMS symptoms and mastalgia? Could a suppository be the answer to period pain? Oil for breast tenderness? Lube for pain during sex?
Could a suppository be the answer to period pain?
Unfortunately, the answer is murky — at best.
“The benefits of CBD for women’s health are still controversial. There is a serious lack of trials [and] evidence-based data proving or disproving the benefits of CBD for women’s health disorders,” says Adeeti Gupta, M.D., founder of Walk In GYN Care.
But what about the products — like The Good Patch for PMS, Whoopi & Maya’s Medical Cannabis Bath Soak for menstrual relief or Foria Vaginal Suppositories for period pain — circling the wellness world? Gupta says there are no trials proving CBD is helpful for PMS symptoms. And, while it may seem like the answer for natural pain relief, Gupta warns against it. “One can use it and it is being used off label now at various places but there is no clear evidence in medical studies thus far that it helps or if it has just a placebo effect . Theoretically, CBD oil should help as a co-analgesic, meaning it can be used in addition to regular pain medication to help. However, studies have shown that CBD and THC used in low doses improve the pain scale only by 0.5 ( on a scale of 1-10). So, although there are theoretical benefits, we do not have clear data to support the benefits yet.”
And speaking of THC — the ingredient CBD is supposed to be formulated without — Gupta says, “we need to be wary of are any contaminants in the formulation that would contain THC.” The safest form is hemp oil formulations, but “if the CBD is not pure and has THC (marijuana) mixed in it … one can also experience withdrawal symptoms with prolonged use,” she adds.
While she does not recommend these products as a treatment option at this time, Gupta does have hope. “Even though at this point, we do not have adequate data and literature giving us support and clear guidelines as medical professionals to prescribe CBD for various conditions, we are hopeful that with time we will have more studies allowing us to utilize these if found to be an effective panacea for a lot of chronic, debilitating women’s health pain syndromes ,” she says.