Cannabidiol, or CBD, is making headway in the natural health and wellness world, mainly due to the growing list of health benefits, including relief from PMS. It’s an active compound found in cannabis, but don’t let it’s association with marijuana scare you. You won’t get the mind-altering high because it contains little to none(0.03%) of the psychoactive component, THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). Instead, the oil, which is extracted from the cannabis plant and mixed with carrier oils like almond, coconut, and olive, has been shown to help with pain relief. As a result, many women are turning to CBD specifically for PMS symptoms.
What’s more, it can be helpful treating cramps, too. CBD can be immensely helpful in treating the irritability and discomfort that comes during the premenstrual phase of our cycles. Because it has strong anti-inflammatory properties and is also a muscle relaxer, it can help with the overall tension, as well as menstrual cramps that can come later.
So how does it work? The body has its own endocannabinoid system (ECS) and internal cannabis receptors (the body’s internal cannabinoid system was named after the plant, which led to the discovery in the 1980s). There are cannabinoid receptors throughout the body – from the brain and central nervous system to the gut, connective tissues and nerves – and they work with the endocannabinoid system as a homeostatic regulator, meaning that the body is trying to maintain a state of balance in all its cells. In an indication of how that should actually feel, scientists named one of the key endocannabinoids ‘anandamide’ – the “Bliss Molecule”
How does CBD oil fit in to this? Well, interestingly, researchers have found that taking CBD oil promotes the body’s own internal cannabinoids to function more effectively – helping to reduce stress and inflammation within its own cells.
And whilst further research is needed into applications for women’s health specifically, scientists have found that those who suffer from endometriosis also have low levels of cannabinoid receptors, leading experts to suggest that CBD oil could offer relief from the condition.
All this comes with a note of caution that as yet the research into CBD is not complete; while there have been lots of anecdotal evidence around the use of CBD for PMS symptoms, and some preliminary research into pain relief, there have not yet been double-blind, placebo-controlled studies into the topic, and it’s important to check with your doctor, qualified nutritionist or herbal medicine practitioner first that CBD is right for you.
The current research, while not explicitly focused on PMS, certainly seems to suggest that if you’re looking for something natural and effective for your PMS tool belt, it’s worth a shot. Every day, there are more studies about the potential medical and daily wellness applications for CBD (and cannabis in general), whether to treat particular medical conditions or to help improve your emotional, physical, and mental health. Of course, these new studies are often confirming the anecdotal, lived experiences of many cannabis-savvy consumers.