CBD may help relieve symptoms of PMS and some doctors are starting to recommend it.
PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, is a set of symptoms that occur 1-2 weeks before a woman’s period. Common symptoms of PMS include mood changes, breast tenderness, cramps, headaches, acne, bloating, and bowel changes.
A 2011 report found that 80% of pre-menopausal women experience at least one PMS symptom each month. Thirty percent of women have enough symptoms to be diagnosed and treated for PMS.
CBD is a non-psychoactive compound in marijuana that has many health benefits. Some women may wonder whether it can help with PMS and menstrual cramps.
While research is in its infancy, preliminary evidence suggests CBD may be able to help address a variety of PMS symptoms.
Let’s take a look at how CBD may be able to help with PMS.
CBD Relieves Symptoms
There hasn’t been any research into the effects of CBD on PMS specifically.
However, CBD has properties that may help treat PMS. Some doctors have started recommending it to patients, as well.
Some research shows that CBD may be able to address symptoms of PMS, including pain, headaches, mood changes, cramps, and acne.
Aches and Pains
Many women with PMS experience aches and pains, and CBD is an effective pain-reliever.
A 2017 study found that CBD could reduce the perception and emotional effects of pain. It has also been used to treat chronic pain, cancer pain, and arthritis.
So it stands to reason that CBD may be helpful for the aches and pains associated with PMS, like headaches, cramps, and backaches.
CBD is also a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. The painful symptoms of PMS have been linked to inflammation.
One of the most challenging symptoms of PMS is mood swings. While PMS-related mood changes can often be the butt of jokes, these symptoms can be debilitating for some women.
While there has not been any research on CBD and PMS-related mood changes specifically, CBD has shown benefits for related symptoms.
CBD has been shown to help treat both depression and anxiety, as well as some aspects of bipolar disorder, a mood disorder. This makes it very likely that it could help treat the depressive and anxious feelings associated with mood swings.
Unlike THC, CBD does not have any mind-altering effects, meaning that CBD is less likely to cause anxiety or mood swings than a treatment including THC.
Painful cramps can occur during PMS and once menstruation begins. CBD is a known pain-reliever, and may also relieve the muscle spasms that cause painful cramps.
A 2016 study of Sativex, a 1:1 mixture of THC and CBD, found that the pharmaceutical effectively treated spasticity in MS patients.
While this may seem like a bit of a stretch, this preliminary evidence shows that CBD holds promise as a potential anti-spasmodic treatment for cramps.
There is also plenty of anecdotal evidence on the web for CBD’s utility in treating cramps.
Many women experience hormonal acne during PMS. This frustrating symptom is usually treated topically, and CBD products may be helpful. A 2014 study found that topical CBD reduced the production of sebum, the oil that clogs pores and causes acne.
It’s not clear whether oral or inhaled CBD can also benefit acne, or if it has to be applied topically. Some doctors have stated that they recommend CBD for symptoms of PMS.
Dr. Julie Holland, MD, a medical marijuana expert and psychiatrist, says she often recommends marijuana-based medicines like CBD to patients suffering from PMS and menstrual cramps.
She says CBD is especially helpful for anxiety, and cites the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and muscle relaxant properties as other benefits.
Dr. Holland recommends CBD-only products for those who don’t like the high associated with THC.
“If you don’t like the altered feeling of THC, you can get a lot of PMS relief just using CBD,” she says.
You may be wondering what dose would be helpful. While there is still no research on CBD as a treatment for PMS, you can use doctor recommendations as a benchmark.
Dr. Shivani Amin, MD, with Green Health Docs, recommends starting with a light dose of 15mg. Dr. Amin tells her patients to take one dose in the morning, and another one midday if needed.
As with any medication, you can start low and slowly increase the amount you’re taking until you feel relief.