About once a month, most menstruating people go through that dreaded time in their cycle when everything sucks… Our bodies feel ugh, everything hurts, the mirror doesn’t work well, everyone gets a little extra annoying, and sugar seems to be everywhere.
Yes, PMS. It changes our routine, mood and even health; we don’t know what to do with ourselves for a few days, and then the cycle starts all over again…
Is CBD the answer to getting through it in better shape?
What is PMS?
Premenstrual Syndrome, or PMS, is a series of symptoms that can be experienced during the days leading up to the beginning of the next cycle, or period. These symptoms are caused by hormonal fluctuations during the premenstrual phase, which occurs differently in each body, and even varies from cycle to cycle.
Can CBD be useful for Alleviating PMS Symptoms?
Have you ever wondered how to get rid of period cramps? Or, better yet, how to decrease PMS symptoms in general? Yes, I think most of us have…
Like Queen Victoria’s physician said back in the day, “for the relief of certain kinds of pain, I believe, there is no more useful medicine than Cannabis within our reach.”
Queen Victoria herself used it monthly for years for her premenstrual symptoms. However, at the time, its medicinal compounds, such as CBD, had not yet been isolated or identified.
What are some of these symptoms, and how can CBD help manage them?
There are several symptoms associated with PMS; they can cause mild to severe discomfort and some people experience more uncommon symptoms than others, but some of the most usual ones are:
Cramps and Nausea
CBD is widely known for its nausea and pain relieving properties. Cramps can be mild or intense to the extent of interfering with daily life, at which point they can cause severe nausea and vomiting that alter daily life significantly.
Joint or Muscle Pain
CBD has strong pain relieving and anti inflammatory properties that work particularly well for joints and muscles. And, curiously, during the days leading up to the beginning of the cycle, muscles and joints recover more slowly, so post workout pain lasts longer, and joints swell and hurt more than usual.
Anxiety, Irritability and Mood swings
CBD has a calming, mood-lifting effect that leaves us feeling relaxed, energized and less altered. Female hormones affect the whole body, including the brain; they mess with emotions and often make us more sensitive, nervous, insecure and incredibly anxious. If you’re ever feeling anxious for no apparent reason, take a look at the calendar; it’s possible that hormones are involved.
When taken during the day, CBD has been shown to energize both emotionally and physically, producing pleasant feelings of well-being. Sometimes, during the days leading up to the period, and during the period, it is common to feel drained of energy. This is partly due to not sleeping well, which CBD helps with, and partly due to lower hemoglobin levels that significantly affect some of us.
CBD supplements are highly anti inflammatory and help the body flush out excess water more efficiently (though it’s not a diuretic). The general bloating and increase in weight that is experienced during this time is caused by swelling and extra water retention due to hormonal fluctuation, since estrogen and progesterone alter the body’s fluid regulating mechanisms.
Though CBD does not have sedative properties like THC does, if taken regularly during the day, CBD leaves the mind ready and relaxed enough for a deep sleep at night, which is helpful since pain, discomfort and anxiety during the premenstrual days can cause sleeplessness and interrupted sleep, which makes the following day even more difficult to deal with.
As CBD allows you to get a better rest, reduces inflammation and lifts the mood, it significantly reduces the “fuzzy brain” symptom we experience so often. This is due to the fact that it’s generally believed that lack of concentration isn’t directly caused by hormonal fluctuation; it is more likely a side effect of the other symptoms like insomnia, discomfort, anxiety and fatigue.
And what about more uncommon symptoms?
There are other, less usual symptoms that aren’t experienced that often, or that haven’t been looked into for very long. This is how CBD can help you overcome some of them:
Weakened Immune System
CBD stimulates the endocannabinoid system and, consequently, causes it to regulate the immune system and strengthen it.
Some people have a higher chance of getting colds or more serious infections right before their period begins, though there are some who experience this during ovulation. It isn’t completely clear why it happens, but we now know that fluctuations in progesterone and estrogen levels affect the immune system, causing our bodies to be more sensitive to virus and bacteria. CBD has been shown to lessen the probability of acquiring an infection.
Producing a general feeling of well-being, CBD reduces or eliminates the strange aches and flu-like symptoms that some people experience during PMS and the first days of the cycle. Doctors believe this phenomenon may be caused by lower estrogen levels, and by prostaglandins hormones that are released by the body in order to aid in the shedding of the uterine lining, which can produce uncomfortable feelings of sickness, without the person being actually sick.
Itchiness and Extra Sensitive Skin
CBD creams and topicals help alleviate irritation and inflammation when the skin is particularly sensitive due to hormonal imbalance or other reasons. In this case, alterations in the blood flow caused by the release of different hormones, can sometimes affect skin sensitivity and cause you to feel itchy for no reason, and extra sensitive to touch and textures.
Gum Swelling and Sensitivity
CBD reduces or eliminates the swelling that sometimes occurs in the mouth during the end of the cycle. During these days, there is increased blood flow to the mouth, which in some people causes gums to feel more sensitive and plaque to form more easily.
Shortness of Breath
CBD helps reduce inflammation in the airways, which is why scientists have developed a CBD inhaler for severe asthma. It is unclear why this happens, but some people experience shortness of breath right before their period is due. It might manifest during low impact activities or during routine workout sessions.
3 to 8% of people who experience PMS, bare such extreme symptoms that it gets a new name: Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, or PMDD. It affects every aspect of life, and debilitates the sufferer to the point of altering mental health significantly.
The symptoms are similar, but a lot more severe than those of PMS. And the American Psychiatric Association has even determined guidelines for the diagnosis of this condition, since it affects daily life so severely, and is likely to last up until menopause.
Generally, in order to become more functional, those who suffer from this condition need treatment, which can consist of lifestyle changes or even medication. For the treatment of PMDD, doctors commonly prescribe antidepressants, oral contraceptives, or other medications, which can cause uncomfortable side effects, and even health issues.
On the other hand, CBD is a more natural and effective option to help treat this debilitating condition, since it causes virtually no side effects, doesn’t overcharge the liver or kidneys, and doesn’t cause dependence, even if it’s taken for several years. When it comes to our body, the best option is always the most natural one.
How it helps…
CBD helps tackle the symptoms and the cause itself. Since it has anti inflammatory properties and helps relieve pain and nausea, it’s often recommended for PMS, which can manifest as generalized pain, strong nausea or vomiting, and swelling of the stomach, face and body. This is why high CBD supplements are the most ideal for these particular issues.
CBD is helpful for alleviating hormonal imbalances during the menstrual cycle. The reason for this is that the body’s production of progesterone and estrogen is affected by the endocannabinoid system, which is closely related to the endocrine system.
The endocannabinoid system could be referred to as the anti inflammatory system, and inflammation can become worse with hormonal fluctuation and emotional distress. The stress caused by PMS knocks you off balance and the ECS helps you recover that balance, and helps stabilize the endocrine system, which is in charge of the pituitary gland, which in turn produces sex hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle and determine its different symptoms.
CBD stimulates the endocannabinoid system so it can help balance the endocrine system and, consequently, the production of hormones. It is the ideal component for the treatment of both physical and emotional symptoms, since it is completely natural and doesn’t produce unhealthy side effects.
Some people have found that taking regular doses of CBD supplements during the days leading up to their period, causes them to feel less anxious, moody, stressed and generally more comfortable and energetic. Not to mention that it helps them sleep a lot better at night.
What about THC?
Unlike CBD, THC is not recommended if you suffer from strong PMS or PMDD symptoms, since it can make you more anxious, depressed, and even paranoid. So far, it has been observed that THC doesn’t interact very positively with hormonal fluctuations, and it’s better to avoid it during the days leading up to the beginning of the cycle (unless a doctor evaluates your particular situation and determines its usefulness), until we have a better understanding of how it affects us.
Is CBD the solution?
After reviewing the different symptoms that we usually have to ride out, and the way in which CBD can help alleviate them, hopefully a new option for treatment has opened up for you, but it is in no way a “cure” or the only option. A few life changes, like eating less sugar, cutting down on salt and fat, exercising regularly and drinking less alcohol, are sure to add to the improvement as well.
So, the next time you’re curled up in bed, not knowing what to do about the pain and anxiety, consider what you just read and try CBD out! Who knows? It could work wonders for you…