CBD oil, which is extracted from cannabis plants, enjoys cult status in the wellness scene. However, its pain-relieving and mood-enhancing properties have been scientifically proven and may ease period symptoms.
Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is making waves in the natural health and wellness communities as the list of health benefits, including PMS relief, continues to grow. It's an active ingredient found in cannabis, but don't let the association with weed fool you. You won't experience a mind-altering high because it contains little to none of the main psychoactive component, THC. Instead, the oil extracted from the cannabis plant and mixed with carrier oils like almond or coconut oil has been shown to help relieve pain in early research stages.
How CBD helps with PMS
As a result, many women are turning to CBD specifically to relieve PMS symptoms, including mood swings. "It works really well when you're ovulating and you're feeling a little restless. I found it helped me completely switch off and get into the night. You feel completely relaxed and don't have any of the side effects of marijuana, which was my biggest fear as I have a young child and I didn't want to feel 'high' or have any negative side effects. It's really subtle,” says one CBD user.
In addition, it may also be helpful in treating spasms, according to Dr. Julie Holland, who studied psychopharmacology and is the author of The Pot Book, a non-profit project that helps fund therapeutic cannabis research. “CBD can be very useful in treating the irritability and discomfort that occurs during the premenstrual phase of our cycle. Because it has strong anti-anxiety properties and also relaxes muscles, it can help with general tension, both physical and psychological, and also with menstrual cramps that can occur later on,” she says.
And those pesky hormonal pimples? CBD may offer hope: Its proven anti-inflammatory properties calm skin breakouts and reduce sebum production.
The science behind CBD
So how does it work? The body has an endogenous endocannabinoid system and endogenous cannabis receptors (the endogenous cannabinoid system was named after the plant that led to its 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 in tandem with the endocannabinoid system as a homeostatic regulator, meaning the body attempts to maintain a state of balance in all of its maintain cells. As a clue to how that should feel, scientists have dubbed one of the most important endocannabinoids "anandamide."
So how does CBD oil fit into this picture? Well, interestingly, researchers have found that taking CBD Oil Stimulates the body's cannabinoids to work more effectively - helping to reduce stress and inflammation in your own cells.
What to look for
While there is plenty of anecdotal evidence of CBD use for PMS symptoms and some preliminary research on pain relief, Dr. Holland points out that there aren't any double-blind, placebo-controlled studies on the subject yet, and that it's important to first check with your doctor, qualified nutritionist, or naturopath to determine if CBD is right for you.