PMS effects 75% of menstruating women and to be perfectly honest, it totally sucks. We haven’t nailed down the exact cause of PMS, but most believe it has something to do with the way hormones change during this time of a woman’s cycle. The symptoms vary greatly and it is now believed that as many as 150 different premenstrual symptoms exist. The most common of these symptoms include irritability, anxiety, depression, fatigue and sleep problems, and bloating — but that’s truly just the tip of the iceberg.
PMS lasts for five to 11 days before the onset of menstruation. Add to that the fact that most menstruating women then bleed for five to eight days, it kind of starts to feel like we’re losing half our month to this business. If you’ve found a way to manage the effects of your cycle, that’s great, but those of us with severe PMS, heavy periods, or bad reactions to birth control can start to feel kind of desperate for a solution.
How Is PMS Treated?
Talking about treatment of PMS actually isn’t quite accurate since it isn’t a disease to be cured. Instead, it’s a massive group of symptoms to be managed and what does and doesn’t work really depends on each person and their individual experience.
For example, a doctor might suggest hormonal birth control to stop ovulation with the hope of reducing the severity of PMS symptoms. Those who deal with intense mood swings may turn to an antidepressant. There isn’t one perfect approach, either. For example, these two strategies might work great for some but antidepressants can come with side effects and birth control isn’t an option for women who are trying to conceive.
Can CBD Help With PMS Symptoms?
The good news is that CBD, or cannabidiol, might provide women with mild to moderate PMS symptoms with some relief. Because of the unique experience of each woman, the effectiveness of CBD truly depends on the kind of symptoms they’re dealing with each month. Here’s what we found out.
Let’s start with the mood swings. Those days leading up to menstruation can be full of anxiety, irritability, and even depression. In 2014, a research review summarized the evidence supporting the use of CBD for depression. What researchers found is that CBD does appear to have an antidepressant-like effect, however the research up until this point has been done on animals and human studies are needed to confirm these findings. A 2015 research review looked at the possibility of using CBD oil for anxiety management and found convincing evidence that CBD could help manage anxiety, including obsessive compulsive symptoms, social anxiety, public speaking, and more.
Sleep problems are also a common part of PMS and the bane of my existence. This might mean tossing and turning, waking up feeling fatigued, or straight up not sleeping more than a couple hours during premenstrual days. CBD could give some women relief, with increased sleep times observed in rats administered this hemp-based product.
If nausea and vomiting is a part of your PMS experience, CBD could address that as well. According to research published in the British Journal of Pharmacology in 2011, CBD can be used to manipulate the endocannabinoid system and in turn achieve relief from vomiting and nausea.
Last, but not least, a lot of women break out before and during their period. CBD is becoming a popular addition to skin care products because of its effect on inflammation, as observed in a 2016 study in Experimental Dermatology, which plays a big role in acne.
How To Use CBD For PMS
CBD has been deemed safe for everyday use by the World Health Organization and has mild side effects if any are experienced at all. This is a hemp-based product, which means it contains less than .3% THC and won’t create a high. Because of this, CBD is also legal in all 50 states.
Daily use of CBD for PMS is pretty simple, start with the suggested dosage on a product and increase slightly until you encounter relief. If you begin to feel fatigued or experience diarrhea, you might be taking too much and will likely see side effect diminish with a lower dose.