If you’re one to keep your finger on the pulse of the health and wellness industry, chances are you’ve heard about the supposed benefits of CBD, or cannabidiol, one of two key compounds in cannabis (though, unlike THC, cannabidiol does not get you ‘high’). When CBD skyrocketed in popularity around five years ago, health gurus and wellness companies alike touted CBD’s healing properties – from curing various illnesses (there is no scientific evidence to support this) to easing inflammation. And while we’d all love to find a natural cure-all, CBD doesn’t appear to be the panacea we’d all hoped, and we’d encourage you to approach each claim with scepticism. That said, there is quite a bit of scientific and anecdotal evidence to support CBD’s use in treating epilepsy, insomnia, anxiety and pain, with many women swearing by its use as a period pain-reliever.
At &SISTERS HQ, we’re always on the lookout for anything that can make our periods more comfortable, and in fact, one member of the &SISTERS team makes herself a CBD smoothie on the first day of each period – according to her, it’s cut her period pain in half! With this in mind, we’ve pored over all resources available to us to help you decide whether CBD is right for you and your period care routine.
What the science says
According to Harvard University, the strongest scientific evidence for CBD’s effectiveness is in the treatment of epilepsy, often reducing the number of seizures significantly. Studies have also supported CBD’s effectiveness in treating more abstract conditions like anxiety and insomnia, likely due to its mild sedative effects. And most importantly (for those of us with period cramps), a study published in the European Journal of Pain showed that CBD can reduce pain and inflammation caused by arthritis, neuropathic issues, or (if you extrapolate these results), period pain.
As CBD has only recently stepped into the spotlight, formal scientific studies haven’t quite caught up. Initial evidence is promising, but experts agree that more studies should be carried out to confirm its effectiveness.
What the sisters say
If you’ve already tried CBD for period pain, we probably won’t need to convince you of its pain-relieving power. Try adding a few drops of CBD oil to banana, Greek yoghurt and honey to create a super smoothie (bananas are high in vitamin B6, which is also great at easing period pain), but don’t just take our word for it – women in the UK, US and beyond have used CBD with some benefit. Dr Dani Gordon, a cannabidiol expert and doctor in the US, spoke to Refinery29 about what she’s seen in her own practice. Gordon claims that patients have reported less severe period symptoms after just three months of consistent CBD use. She goes on to say, “There are no published research studies on using CBD for period pain relief [specifically], however, it does have well established, well studied anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects across a wide range of chronic pain conditions.”
Women and gynaecologists alike have echoed Dr Gordon’s experience, with some women experiencing fewer period-related migraines and cramps. At &SISTERS HQ, we love the idea of a natural period pain reliever, but we’d recommend chatting with your doctor to decide whether CBD is right for you.
Adding CBD to your period care routine
CBD may have found its way into everything from lubricants to shampoos and tampons (though this is not recommended by doctors) and everything in between, our favourite ways to consume CBD come in the form of oils, balms and teas.
- CBD oil: CBD oil is our favourite way to consume CBD, and for good reason – not only is it easy to control the exact dose, but it can be mixed into anything from smoothies, to baking, to your bowl of porridge in the morning. Chat with your local health shop, naturopath or doctor to find a dose that’s right for you, and always be sure to start slow before you build up to a higher dose.
- CBD balms: Early evidence suggests balms and creams containing high concentrations of CBD can reduce pain. CBD patches, balms and creams can be applied to the skin of the back or abdomen for targeted pain relief.
- CBD teas, tinctures and treats: If you peruse the aisles of your local health food shop, you’ll likely find everything from CBD tea, to CBD tinctures, to other CBD-laced edible (or drinkable) goods. This can be tricky business as the exact dose is difficult to determine, but some products come with a dosage label, making it easier for you to track your consumption (and your pain).
While the jury is still (officially) out on whether CBD can definitively reduce period pain, early evidence is promising, and many women believe these three little letters pack a big punch. (That said, if you’re unsure, always check in with your GP as individual needs, medications or health conditions may affect your body’s response to CBD.)
At &SISTERS HQ, we love a bit of CBD every now and again, especially on days when period pain holds us back. For more on natural period pain solutions, check out our recent blog post, ‘Eating for a better period’ here.