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, Dr Holland points out there 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.
And whilst further research is needed into applications for women’s health specifically (isn’t it always), 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.
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’ – sanskrit for bliss.
Things to look out for
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.
“It is always a good sign when the company takes the time to source Non-GMO hemp that is naturally grown, without the use of fertilizers or pesticides. It is also important to seek out CBD products made with full-spectrum (or whole-plant/CBD-rich) extracts. Studies suggest that full-spectrum CBD is much more effective than CBD isolate. Finally, in order to guarantee the quality and consistency of the product, companies that use third-party labs to test their products will be able to ensure that consumers get the purest CBD.”
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is turning heads in the natural health and wellness sphere owing to the growing list of health benefits, including relief from PMS. It’s an active compound found in cannabis, but don’t let the association with weed fool you. You won’t get the mind-altering high because it contains little to none of the main psychoactive component, THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). Instead, the oil, which is extracted from the cannabis plant and mixed with carrier oils like almond or coconut, has been shown to help with pain relief, in early stages of research.
Science backs both women up – while not specifically testing for PMS, there have been studies that show CBD has had positive results with those suffering from depression and anxiety.
Maria Shannon, a 42 year-old corporate lawyer, has been affected by these mood changes for years. “I find there is a window of one week post-period, pre-ovulation where I feel normal and balanced,” she says, “but beyond that, and in the ten days before my period, my moods are increasingly unsteady.” It’s a familiar story for many women.
90% of women have experienced PMS. The intense mood swings and physical cramps can be destructive and debilitating – and yet, a hot water bottle and patience sometimes seem to be the only solutions. Melissa Wright, a 38 year-old writer, who has suffered with it all of her life, has found it to be more than the passing problem that many see it to be.
One sufferer on the website explains just how problematic it can get. “ The best way for me to describe it is that – once a month – I decided to press my own ‘self-destruct’ button and literally let my life (my normally very happy and satisfying life. ) implode around me. Then when the dark thoughts lifted and completely cleared, I spent the next 2 weeks trying to pick up the pieces.”
The National Association for Pre-Menstrual Syndrome suggests that Melissa is not alone. Their figures estimate that some 800,000 women in the UK are seriously affected every month. And physical pain is only part of the problem. Beyond the bloating, the cramps, the breast tenderness and the sleep disturbances – the mood changes – brought on by hormonal fluctuations, can swing between manageable irritability and deep sadness and despair.
Psychotherapist Helena Lewis , agrees that women should seek help when things become overwhelming. “If PMDD is causing mental health to plummet, seeing a therapist is recommended. It may ‘just be PMDD’ but it’s important to ensure that these issues are being managed appropriately.”
Cannabis Sativa and Hemp are two different plants. Marijuana is not a plant, it’s a slang term used by rhetoric spewing racists seeking to profit from a new prohibition. How can you publish this when you clearly don’t know the basics?
Other potential benefits of CBD aren’t clear. No high-quality research shows that CBD improves sex drive, decreases pain, treats depression or mood disorders, decreases PMS symptoms like bloating and cramps, or relieves symptoms of menopause like hot flashes. This may change as more studies are done, but for now, the jury is out.
Unlike marijuana, pure CBD products don’t make you feel high. A different ingredient in marijuana called THC makes people feel high.
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The short answer is this: pure CBD seems to be safe for most people. However, we don’t have rigorous studies and long-term data to prove whether or not a wide range of CBD products are safe for everyone. For example, there is no evidence to suggest that CBD is safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding, or for people who are immunocompromised.
CBD is a major ingredient in cannabis plants (like hemp and marijuana). It comes in different strengths and forms, often as CBD oil, but also in pills and powders. It can be absorbed through the skin, ingested, or inhaled. (Vaping it, however, may not be safe, as this blog post and web page from the CDC explain.)
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil and other products containing CBD are being touted as a natural, organic remedy for a wide range of women’s health concerns. Sellers of these products make many claims: CBD has calming effects on sleep, mood, and anxiety; eases hot flashes and improves bone density by balancing hormonal changes of menopause; and has anti-inflammatory properties that clear skin, cure acne, and calm rosacea. It’s promoted for PMS symptoms like bloating and mood swings. And CBD-infused lubricants claim to boost arousal and enjoyment of sex. So, how much of this is true?