Because CBD might help reduce inflammation and chronic pain, it might also help reduce menstrual cramps and other period-related symptoms, like headaches, lower back pain, and sore breasts. But because there are many CBD products on the market, it can be challenging to sift through products and find high quality CBD. Cannabidiol (CBD) may be an alternative treatment for dysmenorrhea and other premenstrual syndromes (PMS), such as headaches and mood swings.
CBD for Menstrual Cramps: Can it Help with Period Pain?
People use cannabidiol (CBD) for a bunch of reasons, including pain relief. And while research is still ongoing into the pain-relieving effects of CBD, what we know so far is promising.
Because CBD might help reduce inflammation and chronic pain, it might also help reduce menstrual cramps and other period-related symptoms, like headaches, lower back pain, and sore breasts.
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But because there are many CBD products on the market, it can be challenging to sift through products and find high quality CBD. Below, in addition to exploring how CBD can help with menstrual cramps, we also list several high quality products that we’ve extensively vetted.
How can CBD help menstrual cramps?
Sure, you can take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen to relieve cramping and other uncomfortable menstrual symptoms. But these can sometimes produce unwanted effects like stomach issues. And if you have severe cramping, they might not work for you.
Some people swear by CBD as a natural alternative for dealing with period cramps. But does it work?
One 2020 review concluded that there’s not enough evidence to give solo credit to CBD for pain relief, especially since many studies involve products that also contain THC.
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According to research from 2019, women with endometriosis self-rated cannabis or CBD oil as the most effective at relieving pain, compared with physical interventions, such as yoga and stretching, and other remedies. But the survey did not evaluate whether cannabis or CBD oil was more effective than the other.
When it comes to CBD specifically, there’s currently no research on the effects of CBD on menstrual cramping.
However, some evidence does suggest that CBD alone might have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. A 2016 study on rats, for example, found that applying CBD gel reduced joint inflammation and pain with no adverse effects.
These properties may help reduce painful period-related cramping and other uncomfortable symptoms during your period, including headaches.
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That said, research suggests that THC and CBD work best together, so if you’re looking for a CBD product to help with menstrual pain, consider opting for a full-spectrum one.
Ultimately, to better understand CBD’s potential role in pain management, more studies are needed.
How to choose CBD for menstrual cramps
Here’s what to consider when choosing a CBD product for menstrual cramps:
Research suggests that CBD may work better when paired with THC. When combined, they produce the entourage effect. That means if you’re looking for a product to help with cramping, a full-spectrum option may be the best option.
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For menstrual pain, you’ll likely want full-body effects, so opt for a capsule, gummy, or tincture. A topical gel or cream can provide targeted relief for things like back or muscle pain.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate CBD products — at least, not exactly. They can issue warning letters to companies that make deceptive, unfounded claims. However, it’s still pretty easy for companies to misrepresent their products.
How can you be sure you’re buying a high quality product? Look for an up-to-date certificate of analysis (COA), and check that the info on it matches what’s on the product label. If you can’t find evidence of third-party testing? That’s a red flag.
Transparency doesn’t just involve making COAs readily available. Reputable companies will also be open about where they source their ingredients.
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Look for CBD made with U.S.-grown hemp — ideally, organic.
If you’re shopping specifically for pain relief, some topical products contain added ingredients meant to relieve pain, like arnica. Arnica also has warming properties that may help with period-related abdominal discomfort.
How we chose
We used standards for safety, quality, and transparency to make our selections. Each product selected:
- is made by a company that provides third-party testing by an ISO 17025-compliant lab
- plainly provides evidence of this testing
- is made with hemp grown in the United States
- contains no more than 0.3 percent THC, according to the COA
- is free of heavy metals, pesticides, and molds, according to the COA
- customer reviews
- any warning letters from the FDA
- any unsubstantiated health claims for the product or the CBD in general
ishonest’s pick of the 8 best CBD products for menstrual cramps
Vertly Infused Bath Salts
- Price: $
- CBD type: full-spectrum
- CBD potency: 100 milligrams (mg) per pouch
- COA: available on product page
If bath time is already part of your period week self-care ritual, consider adding these CBD-infused bath salts to the mix.
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The full-spectrum CBD Epsom salts contain a soothing blend of arnica, lemon, clary sage, and lavender to help you relax, unwind, and forget about cramping. The product is organic, vegan, and handcrafted in California.
Vertly’s founder recommends soaking before bedtime to promote relaxation and sleep.
GoGreen Hemp CBD Melatonin Softgels
In addition to CBD, these softgels contain calming chamomile oil and melatonin, which may help you get a better night’s sleep when cramps come on at night. Each bottle contains 30 broad-spectrum CBD capsules, and each capsule contains 1 mg of melatonin.
GoGreen Hemp has a rewards program for frequent shoppers, which is good news if you plan on buying these to battle monthly cramps. The company also offers an assistance program for long-term disabled people, veterans and active service members, and low-income households.
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Customers say they appreciate the excellent customer service. Many also claim that the CBD soft gels helped them sleep.
CBDistillery CBD Warming Cream
If you regularly grab a hot water bottle or heating pad when you have monster cramps, consider adding this warming cream to your anti-cramp routine. This broad-spectrum cream contains camphor, which provides a soothing warming sensation when applied directly to the skin.
Rub it on your abdomen to help dull the pain from period cramps. The cream also contains skin-nourishing ingredients like aloe.
Reviewers say it’s easy to apply and works effectively to relieve pain.
Elate CBD|CBN Sleep Blend
Nutrition for dry skin
This CBD oil from Elate also contains cannabinol (CBN), another cannabinoid thought to help with sleep. This mint-flavored, THC-free oil might help if sleep is evading you because of painful cramps.
Elate recommends taking a full dropper about 30 minutes before bedtime.
Seabedee Extra Strength CBD Oil
This ultra-potent CBD oil might help kick your painful cramps to the curb. Bottles contain either 1,500 or 3,000 mg CBD and come in flavors like vanilla and peppermint. This CBD oil also contains cannabigerol (CBG) and CBN, other cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. The carrier oil is organic MCT oil.
Seabedee offers free shipping and a money-back guarantee.
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One reviewer calls the product highly effective, claiming they feel a mild calming effect after ingesting the oil.
CBDfx Calming Tincture
CBDfx’s calming tincture contains a mix of CBD and CBN. This tincture is available in multiple strengths, up to 4,000 mg. The full-spectrum blend is both vegan and gluten-free.
The company offers a 60-day guarantee and has a team of medical advisors on staff.
This product has over 800 positive reviews, and customers say the taste takes some getting used to, but the product works wonders.
Harmonious CBD Isolate
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Harmonious CBD Isolate might be the CBD product for you if you want to avoid THC. The product is vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO, and it’s made with organic hemp. It also contains organic MCT oil.
While the oil is potent, the high price tag might be a big downside for some.
PlusCBD Oil Gummies
These fruit-flavored CBD gummies might be a good option for people who hate swallowing pills but still want the benefits of an extra-strength CBD product. The gummies are available in cherry mango and citrus punch, and contain no artificial sweeteners. Each gummy contains 10 mg CBD.
PlusCBD sources their CBD from non-GMO hemp plants.
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Reviewers say the gummies help with pain and that they taste great and have a pleasant texture.
Benefits and risks of using CBD for menstrual cramps
Unlike THC, CBD is unlikely to cause side effects. Even if you do experience adverse effects, they’ll likely be mild. Possible side effects may include:
- appetite and weight changes
Be careful when using topical products, especially if you have sensitive skin. Read the ingredient list and do a patch test before using topical CBD products.
Talk with your doctor before using CBD products, especially if you’re taking any drugs or supplements, as drug interactions are possible.
How to use CBD for menstrual cramps
How to prevent pimples?
To use a topical CBD product, rub it directly on the area that’s causing you grief. If you don’t get any relief, you can use more after a few hours.
For ingestible products, check the product label for dosing guidelines. Generally, it’s a good idea to start with a low dose and work your way up. It can take time for CBD to take effect, though, so wait a few hours before taking an additional dose.
CBD oils, creams, sprays, gummies, and capsules are not guaranteed to get rid of your menstrual cramps. But there’s little risk involved in trying them.
More research is needed to determine the relationship between CBD and pain relief. Although some evidence suggests CBD may help with pain — particularly anecdotal evidence — there are no specific studies that look into the potential benefits of CBD for cramps.
Before you try CBD for period cramps, talk with your doctor. If you’re experiencing severe cramping, you may have an underlying condition that requires treatment.
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CBD for Menstrual Cramps – August 2022
Cannabidiol is one of the active phytocannabinoids of Cannabis sativa . Although CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid , it still exerts numerous beneficial pharmacological effects, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (5 ) .
CBD works with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is responsible for regulating inflammation and pain (6) .
The ECS has two types of cannabinoid receptors, namely CB1 and CB2. These cannabinoid receptors are located in different parts of the body. CB1 receptors are prominently found in the central nervous system, while CB2 is found on cells in the immune system (7) .
Endocannabinoids are types of cannabinoids naturally produced by the body. They activate those receptors and fasten to them to work with pain reduction and inflammation (8) .
CBD is a primary component of medical marijuana. However, the compound is derived from the hemp plant or is manufactured in a laboratory ( 9) .
What Are Menstrual Cramps?
Menstrual cramps or dysmenorrhea are throbbing pains in the lower abdomen . Many women experience such a condition before and during their menstrual cycle (10) .
Some women endure severe menstrual cramps that can interfere with everyday activities for a few days (11) .
Research suggests that dysmenorrhea is the leading cause of absence from work and school among women of reproductive age. Menstrual cramps may also be a risk factor for other chronic pain conditions (12 ) .
The Benefits of Using CBD for Menstrual Cramps
There is no published research on using CBD for menstrual cramps . However, its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects may help alleviate period pains .
Dysmenorrhea or menstrual cramps are caused by the release of prostaglandins (PGs) and may be caused by external factors like stress (13) . PGs are a class of lipids that control several operations in the body, particularly the healing process (14) .
Prostaglandins also play a significant role in various processes of the female reproductive system. These hormone-like substances primarily control ovulation and trigger muscle contractions that cause menstrual pain (15) .
P rostaglandins can make pain-perceiving nerves hypersensitive. CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol ( THC ) may help desensitize these nerves. Both cannabinoids may target nerve receptors , such as TRPV1 (transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1) and CB1, to reduce pain sensation (16) .
Cramping during menstruation is made worse by contractions of the muscle that lines the uterus. CBD and THC may function as a relaxant to smooth muscle cells (17) .
A 2016 open-label study examined the long-term effect of medicinal cannabis treatment on pain. After the treatment, 274 participants reported improved pain (18 ) .
The results also suggested the long-term benefit of cannabis treatment. However, the findings are exclusive in this group of patients (19) .
Standard Therapies for Menstrual Cramps
Painkillers like naproxen and ibuprofen , which belong to a group of medications called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ( NSAIDs ), are effective treatments for menstrual pain (20 ) .
These medications can relieve menstrual cramps by reducing the production of prostaglandins (21) . Although most women can tolerate NSAIDs , these treatments have side effects , such as stomach-related issues (22) .
Meanwhile, birth control pills can relieve menstrual pain by preventing ovulation, reducing PGs ’ production (23 ) .
When women use birth control pills, the lining of their womb does not become as thick as usual (24) . Therefore, they have a lighter period.
However, birth control pills also have side effects , such as headaches and nausea. Moreover, these pills increase the risk of thrombosis ( 25) . Such a condition happens when blood clots block a person’s blood vessels (26) .
Natural Remedies for Menstrual Cramps
Most women commonly experience discomfort around their lower back, abdomen, and thighs when menstruating. Here are a few natural remedies women may try:
Some evidence suggests that applying warmth onto the abdomen with heat packs relieves painful periods (27 ) . Women may also use heating pads on their lower back for relief during menstruation .
Supplementation With Omega-3 Fatty Acids
A 2012 study from the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics showed that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids reduced the intensity of primary dysmenorrhea (28) .
In a double-blind crossover study, the researchers observed women aged 18 to 22 with primary dysmenorrhea (29) .
Women in the first group received one omega-3 capsule daily for three months, followed by a placebo for another three months. Meanwhile, women from group two received a placebo for three months, followed by omega-3 for another three months (30) .
As a rescue dose for severe menstrual pains , 400mg of ibuprofen was administered to the participants (31 ) .
After three months of treating the participants with omega-3 fatty acids , the researchers observed a marked reduction in pain intensity (32) .
In addition, women supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids required fewer rescue doses than those who received a placebo (33) .
A study from the Journal of Nutraceuticals, Functional and Medical Foods showed that hemp seed oil contains omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in a 3:1 ratio. The omega-3 found in hemp oil is a much more stable form than fish oil (34) .
In a clinical trial, 50 women suffering from primary dysmenorrhea were treated with magnesium. After six months, 21 out of 25 women showed a decline in symptoms, and only four participants reported no therapeutic effect (35) .
Acupuncture is the process of using thin needles to penetrate the skin to treat pain. According to traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture balances the life force or flow of energy in the body (36) .
Although acupuncture has been tested in several studies, it has not been proven effective for pain (37) .
Sometimes the pain becomes severe enough that psychological treatment is considered. Medication may include consulting with a psychotherapist and learning methods to reduce pain, such as mindfulness exercises and relaxation (38 ) .
There is no published research about CBD’s direct effect s on menstrual cramps. However, its anti-inflammatory characteristics and pain-relieving properties may help with menstrual discomfort (39) .
On the other hand, surgery may be considered if the pain is caused by endometriosis , a condition where the tissue that usually lines inside a woman’s uterus grows outside (40) .
When a woman has an existing medical condition , it is always best to speak with a doctor regarding pain management before trying alternative treatment s .
CBD Ingestion Methods
If a woman considers CBD to help alleviate menstrual pain, there are different methods to take the substance. For instance, she may benefit from CBD through vaping and sublingual administration .
It is worth noting that these methods have different bioavailability rates or the percentage of an administered dose that reaches the target area in the body (41) .
Ingesting CBD using a vape pen is the fastest way to benefit from the substance (42) . However, the substance may irritate the lungs (43) . Meanwhile, sublingual administration , where a person takes the substance under the tongue, is the second-fastest method (44) .
CBD products range from full-spectrum CBD oil , tinctures , topicals , and gummies . Consumers may also opt for CBD isolate , which is the pure form of cannabidiol . It is a chemical compound present in the cannabis plant (45) .
How to Use CBD for Menstrual Cramps `
Here are a few CBD ingestion methods women may use to manage PMS symptoms and alleviate the pain caused by period cramps :
Women may apply CBD topically using CBD oils , lotions, and balms onto the affected area. However, the effect s may take a while, as topicals are not absorbed into the entire body compared to other methods (46) .
Suppositories are pills, generally in an oval or cone shape specially designed for administering certain medications through vaginal or anal cavities (47) .
Vaginal CBD suppositories work like tampons . However, they may be messy. Therefore, women may wear a pad for a little while after putting one inside their vagina.
Self-medication using CBD suppositories may lead to unwanted effects. Therefore, women should openly discuss this method with a doctor experienced in cannabis use.
CBD Dosage to Take for Menstrual Cramps
CBD has not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ( FDA ) as a medication. Therefore, there is still no recommended CBD dosage for menstrual pain .
However, if a woman considers CBD for dysmenorrhea, CBD is generally safe to use (48) .
The initial dosage for CBD oil should be low and may be increased gradually until the desired effect is achieved. A standard dose of CBD ranges from 10mg to 100mg daily (49) .
However, if women find the standard doses excessive, they may try micro-dosing (50) . A microdose ranges from 0.5mg to 20mg of CBD per dose daily (51) .
Is CBD Better Than THC for Menstrual Cramps ?
Based on a 2018 report from the World Health Organization (WHO), CBD is a controlled substance that has not been fully proven to have severe side effects (52) .
Unlike THC , cannabidiol (CBD) is non-psychotic and non-addictive (53) . Thus, it may be safe for use even daily.
CBD is also federally legal across the United States (54) .
Does CBD Affect Menstrual Cycle?
F indings from a 2019 review hypothesized that CBD could be a viable option for managing menstrual symptoms (55) . However, there are no studies on whether CBD may affect the menstrual cycle.
CBD may be a promising chemical compound that is observed for being safe. However, further studies are still recommended to understand the full potential and long-term effects of CBD .
Many CBD brands promote the various health benefits of CBD . However, cannabidiol has yet to be proven to treat menstrual cramps and other PMS symptoms like bloating .
Women’s health and wellness are essential. Therefore, it is highly recommended that women consult their healthcare providers, especially when using CBD for the first time .
In addition, anecdotal evidence about CBD with little science to support the claims proliferates on the internet. Thus, consulting a physician with experience in cannabis use is beneficial.