At some point in life, women will experience menstrual-related symptoms. These symptoms can range from mild discomfort to severe pain and can be a major inconvenience during daily life. While there are some pharmaceutical options available to manage these symptoms, now-days women seem to rather use natural remedies as potential alleviation help before resulting to over-the-counter drugs. This idea could be due to the fact that women are becoming more health conscious and understanding of their own bodies. One such natural remedy that has gained popularity and attention in recent years is Cannabidiol, or CBD. With respectable scientist and doctors not only writing on the therapeutical benefits of CBD and other cannabidnoids, but also prescribing them to their patients, it could be a viable option for those experiencing mild to severe menstrual-related symptoms (Project CBD, Dr. Ethan Ruusso, Dr. Dani Gordon).
In this article we will explore and attempt to summarise the findings and recent study conducted by Morgan L. Ferretti (2022) entitled “The effects of cannabidiol isolate on menstrual-related symptoms”
The study conducted was aimed to “examine the potential effects of CBD isolate for alleviating menstrual-related symptoms (MRS)” on 33 participants all experiencing some form of menstrual-related symptoms.
Results shown at the end of this publication!
Menstrual-related symptoms: some statistics
Menstrual-related symptoms (MRS) are felt by most women of reproductive age. It is said that approximately 75% of menstruating women experience some sort of discomfort during their menstrual cycle. Findings also suggest that up to 20% will experience severe clinically relevant premenstrual symptoms. Some will experience high levels of severe premenstrual symptoms that might be diagnosed as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). PMDD is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and is said to be experienced by up to 9% of women in their reproductive age. Ferretti (2022) proceeds to explain that out of all the individuals suffering from premenstrual symptoms, 89% of them may go undiagnosed.
Current treatments for menstrual-related symptoms
There are several treatments and therapies available for women who experience MRS. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and acetaminophen are common. Hormonal contraceptives like birth control pills, patches, or IUDs are also used. Both these options, as mentioned by Ferretti (2022), are most commonly used to help reduce the more severe cases of MRS. Non-hormonal options like menstrual cups and heating pads can also provide some relief for menstrual cramps and discomfort. Additionally, some women experiencing less severe symptoms may benefit from lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, a healthy diet, stress management techniques, and adequate sleep to manage their menstrual symptoms.
However, Ferretti goes on to mention that “birth control methods may be effective in alleviating symptoms (affective lability, anxiety), but there are also a multitude of side effects from these treatments.” (Ferretti, 2022, page 4).
Cannabidiol and its potential for MRS
Natural remedies are growing in popularity because they are often absent of any adverse side-effects. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-intoxicating compound found in the cannabis plant. It is known for its physical and physiological alleviating properties, making it a potential candidate for relieving menstrual-related symptoms. CBD works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a system located in the human body and has a primary function of maintaining homeostasis in the body. In other words, it is responsible for keeping the balance within the body (J Biol Chem. 2008)(video)(video#2). Although most of the studies conducted on CBD for its potential therapeutic benefits seem promising, there is still much research to be done in order to confirm the current findings.
Menstrual-related symptoms and CBD: the study
The study discussed in this article is based on the attempt to see the effects of CBD isolate (CBD in its purest form) on menstrual-related symptoms. The main symptoms analysed where anxiety, stress, sleep quality, and mood amongst others (Ferretti 2022).
The participants of the specific study where a number of 33 women that self-proclaimed to experience either normal MRS or severe MRS. These women reported to not have taken any cannabis products in the 30 days prior to the study. Each women was provided with a 3 month supply of CBD of two different intensities (160mg and 320mg). The women where sent questionnaires in order to evaluate how they felt after taking the CBD during the 3 month period. Each women was instructed to take the CBD as soon as they started to feel some sort of MRS.
As a result, what the women experienced and noted within the questionnaires was quite interesting…
The results noted that overall, CBD was indeed helping the women with regards to the intensity of their general MRS. Moreover, the women reported that symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, and stress where significantly reduced during the months they where ingesting the CBD with a progressive increase of alleviation throughout the 3 month period (Ferretti 2022).
Also, the results seemed to suggest that the dosage was irrelevant in alleviating the women’s symptoms. Meaning that it did not necessarily matter wether the women where ingesting the higher dose of 320mg or the lower dose of 160mg.
“Given that CBD has been demonstrated to yield a range of possible therapeutic effects on symptoms that overlap with MRS (i.e., anxiety, sleep disturbance, migraine) and the relative lack of side-effects associated with CBD, it is reasonable to consider that CBD may be a viable option for MRS intervention” (Ferretti 2022, page 22 ).
While more research and studies are required to fully understand the potential benefits that CBD entails for menstrual-related symptoms, we must not ignore what is currently available to us at this time. This study suggests that CBD may be an effective help in alleviating and managing MRS, both physically and psychologically. With the prevalence of MRS and lack of effective options for women, CBD as a viable one for MRS intervention and should be further investigated. This study provides early evidence for CBD as an alternative for MRS, and more research is needed to further determine the utility and optimise CBD administration.
Q: What is the study discussed in the article about?
A: This study analysed the effects that CBD-isolate had on menstrual-related symptoms (MRS). The study lasted a period of 3 months.
Q: How was the study performed?
A: Each women where sent a 3 month dose of CBD-isolate and where told to ingest it whenever they started to experience MRS.
Q: What where the results of this study?
A: The study was conducted on 33 women and each stated that overall, they felt like CBD was having a positive effect on the severity fo their symptoms.
Q: What is CBD-isolate?
A: CBD-isolate if CBD in its purest form. This means that no other compound other than CBD was present.
Q: What does this study mean for those experiencing MRS?
A: This means that, even though more research is needed to confirm these findings and effects of CBD in general, CBD could be of potential interest to those who experience mild or severe menstrual-related symptoms.
Interested in trying CBD products for yourself? Maybe you should consider illumis! Scientifically developed to help women manage the worst of the storm. And by storm we mean PMS symptoms… Click here to shop some.
Chen CX, Shieh C, Draucker CB, Carpenter JS. Reasons women do not seek health care for dysmenorrhea. J Clin Nurs. 2018 Jan;27(1-2):e301-e308. doi: 10.1111/jocn.13946. Epub 2017 Sep 7. PMID: 28681499; PMCID: PMC5746430.
Kunos G, Osei-Hyiaman D, Liu J, Godlewski G, Bátkai S. Endocannabinoids and the control of energy homeostasis. J Biol Chem. 2008 Nov 28;283(48):33021-5. doi: 10.1074/jbc.R800012200. Epub 2008 Aug 11. PMID: 18694938; PMCID: PMC2586261.