Is CBD Effective for Menstrual-Related Symptoms?

Stephen Andrews
19 Mar 2024

New research has assessed CBD potential to treat menstrual-related symptoms such as irritability, anxiety or stress. It finds that oral doses of Cannabidiol helped alleviate these symptoms in women who present with moderate symptom severity. The non-psychoactive cannabinoid was ineffective for depression, however.

Researchers with Arkansas, Auburn and James Madison University, together with CBD company Charlotte’s Web, conducted a study to examine the effects of Cannabidiol on menstrual-related symptoms (MRS), and general irritability as well. They say it’s the first study of this kind.  

The study, published in the journal Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, looked at a wider range of medical complaints that accompany menstrual periods. 

It has been already known that cannabis can offer some relief for certain menstrual-related symptoms, such as cramps, however, “this study is the first to examine the effects of CBD on MRS directly,” the researchers note. 

CBD Can Help Treat Menstrual-Related Symptoms

The researchers observed reductions on various scores by which they measured how CBD helps with menstrual symptoms. 

Results showed improvements for various symptoms, including irritability, anxiety, stress, general impression of change, and subjective severity. 

Effective long-term remedies for menstrual-related symptoms are rare, but CBD might work as a viable option, the study authors conclude. 

As part of the three-month trial, 33 participants were asked to take oral CBD softgels twice a day for five days starting on the first day of menstrual symptoms. 

Half of the participants, or 17 of them, received 160-milligram doses of CBD twice a day, and the other half, or the remaining 16 participants, were given 320 mg of CBD also twice a day for every day of the symptoms duration. 

At the end of each menstrual cycle, each participant was asked to fill in surveys and report on the treatment outcome. 

The study observed “reductions in monthly ratings of MRS, subjective severity symptoms, global impression of change, anxiety, stress, and irritability in both dosing conditions when comparing Month 1, 2, and 3 of CBD consumption to baseline.” 

The authors further note that symptom changes or improvements appeared in the first month of CBD intake, and those outcomes lasted throughout the end of the medical trial. 

All participating individuals were healthy, aged 18-55, who had not used any cannabis-containing product within the past 30 days. 

Only one participant pulled out from the study because of a skin outbreak after consuming the first dose of CBD. 

Should there be more medical research on how cannabis can help women during menstrual periods? Absolutely, yes!

The study authors pointed out the pitfalls of their research effort, and recommend further investigation on the topic. 

For example, the study didn’t have a placebo group to compare against the results with. Also, participants self-reported on the outcomes, and were “relatively homogenous,” or in less scientific wording, everyone in the group usually experienced moderate severity of MRS. There weren’t any candidates with more atypical menstrual conditions. 

A greater diversity in the study group is much needed, in particular because there’s the possibility that CBD may only affect a specific range of menstrual symptoms severity. 

Those would be only some of the things that future clinical trials may want to address further. 

Also read on Soft Secrets:

Menstrual Pain: Can Medical Marijuana Help?

What Types of Medicinal Cannabis Are There?

- Can CBD Help for Dental Pain? 

Stephen Andrews