Cannabidiol (CBD) has earned its place among the most effective herbal extracts. Being an extract of cannabis, CBD packs all the therapeutic properties of the plant, including analgesic, anxiolytic, anti-inflammatory, and antispasmodic properties.
This post seeks to analyze the analgesic abilities of cannabidiol by examining how useful CBD is in mediating menstruation-induced pain and irritation.
Menstruation, popularly known as a period, refers to the vaginal bleeding women experience as part of their monthly cycle. Although menstruation is a normal physiological process, it also comes with a host of concerns that could interfere with a woman’s daily routine, such as pain.
Period pain is medically known as dysmenorrhea and often manifests as menstrual cramps that affect the lower abdomen. Besides dysmenorrhea, menstruation can also present other symptoms, including pain in your lower back, headaches, fatigue, diarrhea, nausea, anxiety, and insomnia.
It’s important to note that dysmenorrhea and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is not the same. Premenstrual syndrome refers to a condition that starts about one or two weeks before menstruation, often marked by weight gain, irritability, fatigue, and bloating. The fundamental difference between premenstrual syndrome and dysmenorrhea is that PMS is mostly an anxiety-based condition, whereas pain remains the main symptom of dysmenorrhea.
According to MedlinePlus, dysmenorrhea can either be primary or secondary. Primary dysmenorrhea refers to period pain that’s not triggered by any underlying medical condition. It’s the most common type of menstrual pain and results from the overproduction of prostaglandins.
Prostaglandins are chemicals produced in your uterus, responsible for tightening your uterine muscles, resulting in painful cramps. Primary dysmenorrhea starts typically a day or two before your periods and can last a couple of days after your last menstruation.
On the other hand, secondary dysmenorrhea results from underlying medical conditions, such as uterine fibroids and endometriosis. The pain can last unusually longer after your last menstruation.
While primary dysmenorrhea can affect any menstruating woman, secondary dysmenorrhea is more common among aging women. Another notable difference between primary dysmenorrhea and secondary dysmenorrhea is that the former usually gets better with age and after childbirth, while the latter worsens with age.
Although period pain can slow down your routine, the good news is that there are numerous ways to relieve it.
Some of the remedies for dysmenorrhea include;
Exercising regularly, focusing on relaxation-based techniques like yoga and meditation
Taking a hot bath
Applying a heating pad on your lower abdomen
Oral contraceptives that stop ovulation, thereby preventing prostaglandin production
Over-the-counter analgesics like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Even better, it’s now emerging that cannabidiol can help to mediate the effects of pain and irritation during periods. That means you can purchase trusted pot seeds and begin cultivating cannabis, especially if you intend to produce CBD for subsistence use. But just how does CBD capsules reduce menstrual pain? The following sections offer more insights into that.
All animals have a complex cell-signaling system that’s known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is responsible for regulating your body’s homeostatic balance. Pain relief is one of its core functions.
To deliver on its pain management role, the ECS depends on the body’s endogenous cannabinoids (also known as endocannabinoids), and endocannabinoid receptors, and certain hormones and enzymes.
When you consume cannabidiol, the phytocannabinoids enter your body through the endocannabinoid system. Cannabidiol interacts with your endocannabinoid receptors in a manner that blocks those receptors from receiving pain signals from the affected areas and relaying those signals to your brain.
CBD mostly interacts with CB2 receptors located in peripheral regions of the body, as opposed to CB1 receptors that are widespread around the brain and central nervous system. This explains why, unlike its cousin, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD doesn’t induce euphoria.
Studies have also shown that cannabidiol can increase the levels of anandamide in the body. Anandamide is one of the most widely-studied endocannabinoids, whose roles in pain management are officially documented. Anandamide also plays a role in alleviating inflammation and boosting adenosine secretion, both of which are crucial to pain relief. CBD basically increases anandamide levels by inhibiting the activity of certain hormones that escalate the degradation of anandamide, such as fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH).
Other studies have cited CBD for its ability to desensitize vanilloid receptors (TRPV). TRPV receptors are specific temperature-controlling nerve receptors, and desensitizing them helps to reduce the severity of pain.
The following are other ways CBD reduces period pain;
We’ve just highlighted that CBD increases anandamide levels, an endocannabinoid that plays direct roles in alleviating inflammation. CBD also reduces inflammation by inhibiting the body’s inflammatory messenger activity.
Lowering the risks of inflammation in your uterine and vaginal walls during menstruation translates to reduced risks of pain.
Cannabidiol is one of the most effective natural vasodilators. That explains why medical researchers often recommend CBD for relieving blood circulation disorders, such as arteriosclerosis, hypertension, and even erectile dysfunction.
As a vasodilator, CBD helps relax your blood vessels, thereby reducing the pain experienced due to your uterine walls' contraction.
It’s difficult to menstruate without experiencing a degree of muscle cramping. These cramps aggravate period pain and often result from sharp, involuntary muscle spasticity.
Thankfully, CBD has also been shown to reduce muscle spasticity, thereby improving menstruation cramps and consequently relieving period pain.
CBD doesn’t just relieve period pain. It also treats several other symptoms associated with menstruation.
For instance, CBD can relieve period-induced mood swings by increasing your brain’s signaling of various ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. CBD’s positive effects on these neurotransmitters are why the substance is also effective against stress, anxiety, and depression.
You can also consume CBD during menstruation if you’re struggling to get adequate sleep. Cannabidiol improves sleep by shortening the sleep cycle and treating some of the primary symptoms of insomnia, such as REM sleep behavior disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Other period-related symptoms that cannabidiol can treat include fatigue and nausea.
Evidently, CBD can help to reduce pain and irritation during periods. The best part is that there are numerous ways to consume the substance. You can vape a CBD-infused e-juice, consume CBD-infused edibles, or administer oil tinctures sublingually. Better yet, there are now cannabis-based tampons that you can use to mediate period pains and go about your routines uninterrupted.
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