Is CBD Effective For Menstrual Pain Relief?

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Written by Casandra Jones on 09/15/2022.
Data Last Updated: 05/31/2024.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Trager Hintze Author avatar Medically reviewed by Dr. Trager Hintze Trager Hintze, PharmD is a Clinical Assistant Professor and Emergency Medicine Clinical Pharmacist located in College Station, Texas. He has a bachelor’s degree in biology as well as a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. He balances teaching at Texas A&M University College of Pharmacy and emergency...

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Almost all women have experienced pain during their period. The pain throws you off and does not let you do all your ordinary things, and we are ready to get rid of it by any means available. Recently, tampons with CBD oil designed specifically for menstrual pain and cramps treatment have appeared in the United States. Let’s figure out if CBD can help with menstrual cramps.

Sometimes the reason for severe menstrual pain is related to diseases like endometriosis, but cramps can also occur with a completely healthy genital system. Often, prostaglandins, a hormone like substance found in almost all human tissues, are responsible for the pain in the abdomen, causing-cramps and discomfort through their action on nerve endings. This signals pain transmissions to the brain from the receptors and nerves in the uterus. During their period some women have more prostaglandins than needed and causes the uterus to contract, which can cause particularly painful cramps and abdominal discomfort.

Every woman experiences pain differently as no two bodies are alike, and a lot of it depends on genetic characteristics. No precise remedy exists for all types of menstrual cramps, and a lot of the options depend on the underlying cause.. Some of the underlying causes,  like inflammation, can be treated. Let’s explore some of the options that are available.

Usually, drugs with an antiprostaglandin action that need to be taken before, or shortly after, the pain begins, are often helpful. Of course, pain relievers do not help everyone equally, and they have some risks associated with their use, like bleeding and kidney problems.

Hormonal contraceptives, like typical birth control medications, can be effective as they help regulate the normal menstrual cycle. However, they have risks associated with their use as well, like blood clots and hormonal imbalance. So, hormonal contraceptives are  not suitable for every woman.

Traditional methods, like  certain yoga poses or herbal supplements) may provide some benefit, but do not have a proven track record. An extreme option is an operation that destroys the nerve endings inside the uterus, but this is a complex intervention that does not provide guarantees. So, the question of how to reduce menstrual pain and cramps remains.

CBD treatment for menstrual pain

CBD treatment for menstrual pain

Cannabidiol (CBD) vaginal suppositories went on sale in the United States several years ago. Manufacturers claim, “thanks to the unique remedy, women will forget about menstrual pain.” Suppositories, shaped like a tampon, have the pain-relieving features of cannabis, but no psychotropic influence. With strong uterine contractions, the vessels providing blood flow to the uterus narrow, blood flow deteriorates, and cramps occur. Women from states where CBD is legal can already purchase these suppositories. Some women had positive results following a trial of the CBD products. The tampons consist of varying amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD, which are the active components of cannabis. They also contain cocoa butter. Producers of the suppositories claim that THC blocks pain, while CBD acts to lower inflammation. Let’s take a closer look at how these products work.

How it works?

How it works? cbd tampons

One way to relieve pain is to relax the smooth muscles of the uterus, so that the contractions do not cause release of painful stimuli. Experts suggest the CBD tampons can help reduce muscle spasms by increasing blood and oxygen flow to tissues around the uterus, thereby reducing discomfort. 

Just like other cannabis products, the main active ingredients are cannabinoids, in particular THC and CBD. THC interacts with specific receptors in the nervous system to reduce pain transmission and perception to the brain, and, when taken orally, can be psychoactive. CBD further has a benefit to reduce inflammation by increasing blood flow to the area, however, the exact mechanism for this action is still being investigated. According to Broadly magazine testing, the CBD tampon works: the discomfort disappears about twenty minutes after the suppository is inserted. No studies, at this time, have observed any psychotropic effects related to the suppositories, though more long-term data is needed.

Of course, CBD for menstrual cramps has been used for pain relief for a while now,since time immemorial, but much of the evidence has focused more on the harmful effects of cannabis. It has been shown that cannabis can be effective in treating chronic pain,  nausea suppression in people undergoing chemotherapy, and improve sleep. 

People with end-stage cancer can benefit from the pain-relieving effect of cannabis, and the benefits outweigh any risks. However, more evidence is needed to determine the risks and benefits of monthly use in young healthy women. In addition, given the psychoactive effects of cannabinoids, researchers are now actively studying how they affect the nervous system – for example, whether they can help with epilepsy or Parkinson’s disease. Much of the research on cannabis continues to focus on the harmful effects of its non-medicinal use.

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