In a recent Apple study, over 6100 participants from a variety of geographic locations, races, ethnicities, and ages recorded their menstrual symptoms through the Apple Research app. An overwhelming 83% of the participants reported abdominal cramps, 63% reported bloating, and 61% reported tiredness. About half of them reported appetite changes, breast pain, headaches, mood swings, acne, and lower back pain. Hot flashes, nausea, ovulation pain, constipation, diarrhea, and changes in sleep were reported by about one-third of participants. You would be surprised at accounts of people with chronic period pain that were misdiagnosed, mocked, shamed, or dismissed by medical professionals across the globe.
There is no denying the fact that medical science has made significant advancements over the last few decades. However, sustainable solutions for a lot of menstruation-related issues have not been developed yet. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the go-to option employed to relieve period pain and cramps (dysmenorrhea), PMS, endometriosis, PCOS, etc. These drugs are effective but bring a host of side effects and may react unpredictably if you take medicines for other pre-existing ailments.
Those who are skeptical of the constant pill-popping solution have turned to natural alternatives. Yoga is one of the best ways to calm your mind and revive your physical energy besides other health benefits. According to a recent study, heat therapy was found to be helpful for pain relief in the pelvic region for several menstrual and gynecological conditions in women. Acupuncture, supplements, and aromatherapy using essential oil can also help relieve these symptoms. CBD products are among the top natural options to calm pain and have gained widespread popularity among users.
I Have No Interest in Getting High. How is Hemp Going to Help?
No, we are not suggesting you get high or use marijuana. Hemp and marijuana belong to the cannabis species but are different plants with distinct appearances and chemical makeup. Hemp-derived products attract misconceptions even after the 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act. Cannabinoids derived from hemp are different from those derived from marijuana, and here is why:
- CBD Derived from Marijuana: It has about 300 non-cannabinoid chemicals and 100 cannabinoids of which two popular ones are CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Cannabinoids derived from marijuana have 5% to 35% THC (the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis). It is infamous for recreational use besides some medical use, and is illegal federally but legal under some state laws. Since products that have marijuana derivatives offer euphoric and mind-altering effects, the consumer gets a “high.”
- CBD Derived from Hemp: It has less than 0.3% THC, the consumer does not feel any psychoactive effects and does not get a “high.” It is legal federally but still illegal under some state laws. There are over 25,000 legal applications of CBD derived from hemp in automotive, construction, food, body care, medicine, clothing, plastic, besides thousands of other industries.
Why Do We Get Severe Period Pain and Cramps?
To understand this, you need to be familiar with why and how you get moon cycles – know your body. Each month, menstruating women get an opportunity to conceive. High estrogen helps build endometrial tissue and then as progesterone goes up during ovulation, arteries and blood develop in the tissue. All this preparation is done by your body to welcome the embryo, which is scheduled to come if you mated with your partner during the follicular or ovulation phase. If you don’t, progesterone levels fall, prostaglandins shoot up. Your body takes back what it can from the endometrium, and then cuts off blood flow to it. The prostaglandins peak, endometrial tissue is shed due to lack of blood supply, which causes menstruation. Prostaglandins are pro-inflammatory and hence make you experience more pain. Excessive inflammation may lead to heavy periods, which again are triggered by high levels of prostaglandins.
Prostaglandins are essential for the smooth functioning of your moon cycles. However, excessively high levels trigger an inflammatory response, which clubbed with other pro-inflammatory compounds make the pain-perceiving nerves in the pelvic region more sensitive, leading to far more painful or heavier periods. Additionally, you may experience more painful uterine contractions and muscle contractions in the digestive tract that might cause diarrhea.
Does HEMP Help with Menstrual Pain and Cramps?
Both Hemp and NSAIDs inhibit prostaglandin-producing enzyme COX-2, offering anti-inflammatory benefits, lowering the severity of contractions and pain. NSAIDs also inhibit another enzyme (COX-1) that may trigger gastrointestinal unpleasantness as a side effect. However, CBD preferentially inhibits COX-2 over COX-1 hence offering relief from menstrual pain without side effects.
You can choose from a wide variety of delivery methods to use CBD including but not limited to CBD tinctures, lotions, balms, salves, gel capsules, oil drops, CBD menstrual pads, and tampons.
Is It Safe to Use CBD Products?
Some studies show that most Hemp users don’t experience any side effects but we are still at a place where various other areas of CBD research need to be extended. Some important toxicological parameters are yet to be studied but some of the common side-effects of using CBD are tiredness, reduced appetite, diarrhea, and drowsiness. Studies with a large enough number of subjects is required for understanding long-term safety aspects and its possible interactions with other substances. It is recommended for every user to conduct their research before trying any CBD product.
A huge majority of women and people with vaginas dread their moon cycles as they come with debilitating pelvic pain, abdominal cramps, back pain, and more. Several studies, surveys, and polls show positive effects of CBD for decreased menstrual pain and other symptoms. However, we still do not have high-quality research that shows that CBD can decrease period pain and cramps. Several studies are being conducted, and we might be able to see conclusive evidence soon. Meanwhile, we encourage you to dig deeper yourself as well instead of believing in hearsay or shunning it off without due consideration.