If you are one of the over 43% of women who experience painful periods every single month as I do, then you are familiar with the monthly dread of dealing with the physical and emotional toll of painful menstrual cramps. The struggle is real ladies and let’s just admit it, until now, no one has cared to provide robust and harmless solutions to address this mass suffering. In fact, many studies suggest that women’s pain is not taken as seriously as men’s! What is that about? Ok, maybe I’m being sarcastic here but I’ll spare you my feminist rant about the patriarchy and how it has affected women’s ability to get adequate healthcare.
Like many women I know, I was put on a birth control pill from the age of 14 due to ovarian cysts; I was on the pill for 16 years!! When I decided to get off the pill, no one could have prepared me for the horrible period cramps that I had to endure. The cramps were so painful and debilitating that I would have to take an 800mg of Advil every 2-4 hours for 3 days in a row to function. On the first couple days of my periods, I would be woken up by excruciating pain every single night and would be in agony for a full hour waiting for the painkillers to take effect; this impacted my health, mood, and focus. I know that my experience is not unique and many of you have your own terrible pain stories. In the absence of a more helpful and healthy solution, the high doses of Advil and sleepless nights were my reality every single month for 8 years, that is until I discovered the healing power of cannabis and CBD. Can I get a Hallelujah?!
Since my love-affair with cannabis and hemp began back in 2014, I experimented with many different options to find relief. I found some relief in cannabis tinctures, but although effective, they were not a realistic solution for me since it impaired my ability to function at work. At the time, I experimented with CBD tinctures from small local producers but didn’t find them helpful for cramps, at least not in any significant way. Back then, the options were extremely limited and access was a real challenge. Can we all take a pause and appreciate just how far we’ve come in sharing the power of this amazing plant in just a few years?! I can’t help but giggle a little when I see plant medicines recognized and celebrated for their incredible healing abilities!
In the past couple of years, with the massive growth in the CBD market and an abundant selection of brands, formulations, and delivery methods, I went on a mission to see if I could find a product that could provide menstrual pain relief and help me reduce the amount of Advil I was taking. I tested six CBD products for period cramps, below are my biggest takeaways.
These are the products I tested:
- Charlotte’s Web Extra Strength Hemp Oil (28mg & 60mg/serving) in Mint Chocolate
- Social CBD Hemp Oil (25mg/serving) in Pomegranate Tea
- Foria Basics Vaginal Suppositories (100mg)
- CBDfx Organic CBD Gummy Bears (10mg/dose) in Turmeric Spirulina
- Made By Hemp CBD Patch (30mg)
- Charlotte’s Web Topical Cream (unscented)
What I discovered:
Hemp oils were the winners for me!
I tried 2 hemp oils, 2 topicals, one edible, and one suppository. The hemp oils (Charlotte’s Web & Social CBD) were the top two most effective delivery methods that provided the most immediate and lasting relief for me. For best results, I keep the oil under the tongue for 90 seconds or so to promote faster onset. I found gummies to be the second-best delivery method in higher doses.
Dosage is EVERYTHING!
With so many dosages and delivery options to choose from, it can be challenging to know where to start so I decided to try products containing anywhere from 20mg to 100mg of CBD per serving. In my experience, the perfect dose for complete and lasting relief was a minimum of 50mg per serving. I definitely felt some relief with a 25mg dose but the effects weren’t lasting and the pain wasn’t completely gone. At 50mg/serving, I was completely pain-free within 30 minutes!! I found that I need ~4-6 doses a day on the first two days and 2-3 doses/day for the rest of my cycle.
Every woman’s body is different.
I don’t know about you ladies but I am not a fan of sticking things up there if you know what I mean! With that said, I had been hearing rave reviews about Foria’s vaginal suppositories and decided to give it a try in the hopes that it will be the magic pill to put an end to my monthly battle, but even with a 100mg dosage, I felt little to no relief from cramps! I have girlfriends that swear by this product but somehow it made no difference for me. Cannabidiol seems to affect people differently and I suggest you try it for yourself and see how you respond to it.
Topicals weren’t effective.
I am a big fan of CBD topicals, salves, and patches and continue to use these products almost daily for muscle soreness, nerve pain, joint pain, and calming effects but I found little to no relief from menstrual cramps with either the Made by Hemp patch or the Charlotte’s Web Hemp Lotion. My best guess is that they don’t penetrate the skin deep enough to be helpful for vaginal cramps.
Side Effects Side BENEFITS!
Cannabidiol has many potent healing qualities so although my quest was to find out if CBD helps period pain, I was very happy to welcome the amazing “side-effects” that I experienced during this time. Besides the awful cramps, I used to also experience severe digestive problems during my cycle but they were completely eliminated, my anxiety levels were drastically reduced, and I felt an overall sense of well-being.
Period cramps are no fun especially if yours are as debilitating as mine. My little investigation ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I found that CBD works incredibly well in relieving menstrual cramps but the delivery method and right dosage matter a lot. What started as a curious quest to lower my intake of mass amounts of ibuprofen during my period delivered me total relief to the point that I no longer take ANY painkillers during my cycle. Not only that, but I couldn’t be happier to trade-in the Advil side effects for the amazing CBD side-benefits!
In the past year, I have noticed a rise in CBD products formulated especially for menstrual health. I haven’t tried any products specifically marketed for menstrual health but plan to do so later this year and bring you an updated list of the best CBD brands for menstrual cramps. Are there any brands you’d like me to test? Are you currently using CBD products for cramps that you love? If so, I would love to hear from you and include these products in my next round of investigation. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions.