Can CBD oil help with PMS?
CBD oil – derived from cannabis plants – is gaining cult status amongst the wellness set; but its pain-relieving, mood-boosting properties have serious science backing, and could relieve period-related symptoms.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is turning heads in the natural health and wellness sphere owing to the growing list of health benefits, including relief from PMS. It’s an active compound found in cannabis, but don’t let the association with weed fool you. You won’t get the mind-altering high because it contains little to none of the main psychoactive component, THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). Instead, the oil, which is extracted from the cannabis plant and mixed with carrier oils like almond or coconut, has been shown to help with pain relief, in early stages of research.
How CBD helps with PMS
As a result, many women are turning to it specifically for help with PMS symptoms, including mood swings. “When I first started using CBD, it was game changer,” says New York executive Karla Vitrone. “It works really well when you’re ovulating and feel a bit more anxiety. I found that it helped me totally switch off and transition to night. It makes you feel totally relaxed and has none of the side effects of marijuana, which was my biggest fear as I have a small child and I didn’t want to feel ‘high’ or have negative side effects. It’s really subtle.”
Ana Reyes, a designer who works for the US-based CBD company Wildflower, agrees. “For PMS (and occasional generalised anxiety), I find CBD makes me feel more calm, with fewer headaches and anxious thoughts, a big decrease in mood swings and a general feeling of well-being. It is also a powerful anti-inflammatory so it’s helpful with cramps as well.”
Science backs both women up – while not specifically testing for PMS, there have been studies that show CBD has had positive results with those suffering from depression and anxiety.
What’s more, it can be helpful treating cramps, too, according to Dr Julie Holland, whose background is in psychopharmacology and is the author of The Pot Book , a non-profit project that helps to fund therapeutic cannabis research. “CBD can be immensely useful in treating the irritability and discomfort that comes during the premenstrual phase of our cycles. Because it has strong anti-anxiety properties and is also a muscle relaxer, it can help with the overall tension, both physical and psychic, as well as menstrual cramps that can come later,” she says.
And those irritating hormonal spots? CBD can offer hope: its proven anti-inflammatory properties have been found to calm down breakouts and reduce sebum production.
The science behind CBD
So how does it work? The body has its own endocannabinoid system (ECS) and internal cannabis receptors (the body’s internal cannabinoid system was named after the plant, which led to the discovery in the 1980s). There are cannabinoid receptors throughout the body – from the brain and central nervous system to the gut, connective tissues and nerves – and they work with the endocannabinoid system as a homeostatic regulator, meaning that the body is trying to maintain a state of balance in all its cells. In an indication of how that should actually feel, scientists named one of the key endocannabinoids ‘anandamide’ – sanskrit for bliss.
How does CBD oil fit in to this? Well, interestingly, researchers have found that taking CBD oil promotes the body’s own internal cannabinoids to function more effectively – helping to reduce stress and inflammation within its own cells.
And whilst further research is needed into applications for women’s health specifically (isn’t it always), scientists have found that those who suffer from endometriosis also have low levels of cannabinoid receptors, leading experts to suggest that CBD oil could offer relief from the condition.
Things to look out for
All this comes with a note of caution that as yet the research into CBD is not complete; while there have been lots of anecdotal evidence around the use of CBD for PMS symptoms, and some preliminary research into pain relief, Dr Holland points out there there have not yet been double-blind, placebo-controlled studies into the topic, and it’s important to check with your doctor, qualified nutritionist or herbal medicine practitioner first that CBD is right for you.
And when it comes to choosing brands, Andy Sun from Wildflower (which is currently only available in the US) cautions, “there are many new CBD companies so it’s important to do your research.
“It is always a good sign when the company takes the time to source Non-GMO hemp that is naturally grown, without the use of fertilizers or pesticides. It is also important to seek out CBD products made with full-spectrum (or whole-plant/CBD-rich) extracts. Studies suggest that full-spectrum CBD is much more effective than CBD isolate. Finally, in order to guarantee the quality and consistency of the product, companies that use third-party labs to test their products will be able to ensure that consumers get the purest CBD.”
Where to buy
The US is way ahead of the UK in terms of stockists – “It’s super common in NYC, and is very normal to see listed in ingredients in smoothies,” Karla says. But from the start of the year Holland & Barrett became the first high street store to stock medical cannabis oil in the UK, and a new CBD-dedicated boutique has recently opened in Camden, London, while Moody stocks Nature’s Plus phytocannabinoid .
The final word
The current research, while not explicitly focused on PMS, certainly seems to suggest that if you’re looking for something natural and effective for your PMS-busting toolkit, it’s worth a shot. “It’s an exciting time for CBD oil,” Andy says. “Every day, there are more studies about the potential medical and daily wellness applications for CBD (and cannabis in general), whether to treat particular medical conditions or to help improve your emotional, physical, and mental health. Of course, these new studies are often confirming the anecdotal, lived experiences of many cannabis-smart consumers.
CBD for Mood Swings
Rapid mood swings are rarely considered to be a physiological condition – much less a disease or disorder. Most people (even those who suffer most severely from them) tend to pin their erratic emotional fluctuations on a dysfunctional state of mind rather than on a specific chemical or hormonal imbalance.
However, the fact of the matter is that mood swings are most often caused by neurochemical irregularities in specific areas of the brain, most commonly in the limbic system (hypothalamus, hippocampus, and amygdala). This region of the brain is responsible for regulating emotional conditions like stress, anxiety, and depression.
And, of course, like every other functional network of the central nervous system, endocannabinoids and their receptors have been found abundantly within the limbic system. This appears to indicate that cannabinoids like CBD are very likely to play a central regulatory role in establishing and maintaining emotional health at the chemical level.
Studies have shown neuronal tissue endocannabinoids (cannabinoids located in the hippocampus and amygdala) to be directly responsible for the release and regulation of monoamine neurotransmitters, which are key players in mood regulation and emotional well-being.
In this article, we’ll talk about a few of these specific studies, go over what exactly causes the underlying effects of emotional stress, and key in on why CBD oil for mood swings is becoming the preferred method of addressing this issue among both doctors and patients alike.
Mood Swings: What Are They, and What Causes Them?
While some mood swings can be due to more transient issues like acute stress or even low blood sugar, some mood swings are caused by an underlying physiological/chemical condition in the form of hormonal irregularity or neurochemical imbalance.
Though the full chemical spectrum of mood regulation is not fully understood, it’s known that changes in emotion and mood are regulated in large part by the neuromodulatory action of serotonin and dopamine. Irregularities in either one (or both) of these chemicals can cause wild and unpredictable shifts in cognitive behavior, the behavior of our pleasure/reward system, and overall emotional response.
What Causes These Serotonin and Dopamine Irregularities?
Specific conditions such as bipolar disorder, cyclothymic disorder (which is similar to bipolar but less severe), and major depressive disorder are known to result in neurotransmitter dysfunction. Also, things like hormone irregularities have been widely understood to result in chemical imbalances in the brain, which can directly lead to the erratic emotional fluctuation of mood swings (this is typically most common for adolescents and pregnant/menopausal women).
Substance (drug and alcohol) abuse has been directly related to drastic mood shifts that are brought on by neurochemical imbalances.
Other factors such as stress, changes in diet/sleep patterns, and diseases such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), epilepsy, and autism, can lead to drastic changes in mood.
Finally, certain medications like antidepressants, appetite suppressants, and anti-anxiety drugs have even been known to affect serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain.
Regarding identifying the difference between benign mood shifts and those brought on by chemical imbalances, it’s typically suggested that frequently occurring emotional sweeps from extreme happiness to extreme depression are indicative of a neuronal imbalance.
These wildly fluctuating emotions can result in feelings of happiness so intense that individuals can’t control things like excessive spending, creative urgency, and even sexual drive. Likewise, feelings of depression can often be so intense that individuals will consider self-harm or even suicide.
Additionally, unpredictable behaviors that last for days at a time and mood swings that interfere with day-to-day life to a significant degree, are most commonly indicative of chemical imbalances that require treatment or medical attention.
Living with Erratic Mood Swings
Erratic and unpredictable fluctuations in mood can naturally tend to have a detrimental effect on day-to-day life. In the most severe of instances, these emotional shifts can easily get in the way of one’s ability to work, focus, maintain healthy relationships, or even to eat, sleep, or get out of bed in the morning.
Simple, minor inconveniences can derail one’s mental state to the point of manic emotional episodes, and intense feelings of euphoria and depression can (and are often) experienced near-simultaneously within the same day or even hour.
Additionally, problem-solving and the ability to work through daily life situations become next to impossible, with the full emotional spectrum clouding any potential ability to formulate or implement a cognitive process.
Living with mood swings or bipolar disorder can be wholly and utterly debilitating. Most individuals who experience the condition full bore become willing to resort to any means necessary to receive effective and positive treatment.
Conventional Treatment Methods for Mood Swings and Bipolar Disorder (Not CBD)
Drastic mood swings can often be treated with simple lifestyle changes. Things as fundamental as improving diet, sleep patterns, and overall quality of sleep can have a massive impact on emotional health. They should be the first method of treatment before any medication dependence.
However, in the event of significant neurochemical imbalances brought on by one of the aforementioned conditions, lifestyle changes are often not enough to induce positive effects on mood regulation. In these circumstances, physicians and psychiatrists often end up resorting to prescription medications to re-establish proper neurochemical levels in the brain.
Some of the drugs used are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), including labels such as Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil. While moderately effective, these medications have been known to produce wildly different responses from individual to individual, as well as highly dangerous side effects that can include severe depression and thoughts of suicide.
CBD for Mood Swings: A 100% Natural Way to Correct a Neurochemical Imbalance?
As mentioned in the introduction, serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain are directly controlled and regulated by endocannabinoids within the central nervous system’s endocannabinoid system. Several studies, including a recent (2011) publication in the medical journal Neuropharmacology, have shown this to be the case.
So does this mean that mood swings caused by chemical imbalance are a direct byproduct of simple endocannabinoid deficiencies, and can be managed with 100% natural medications like CBD oil?
While there’s not enough direct evidence to make that claim definitively, it appears more and more likely that this may be the case. Several studies and clinical trials, including publications in Current Neuropharmacology and the Journal of Neuroscience, have reiterated the role of the endocannabinoid network in establishing and maintaining mental health and emotional well-being, in addition to acting as central regulators of our moods and emotions.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is an innate (naturally occurring inside the human body) network of cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors. The ECS carries out dozens of roles in whole-body homeostasis – from hormonal release in the thyroid gland to neural communication in the CNS and even insulin production in the islet cells of the pancreas.
Under normal circumstances, these naturally-occurring cannabinoids (such as anandamide) interact with naturally-occurring cannabinoid receptors (such as the CB-1 and CB-2 receptors) to establish a full range of homeostatic regulation and internal cellular balance.
Thus, when there is a deficiency within the ECS, any number of bodily or neurologic functions might be thrown entirely off-balance. In these cases, natural cannabis compounds like CBD can help re-establish and rebuild the proper cell-to-cell interactions that exist within the endogenous cannabinoid/receptor network.
Behind THC, CBD is typically the second-most abundant cannabinoid in the cannabis plant. However, it’s quickly becoming preferred among medical patients over THC because it has zero intoxicating components – that is, it will not get you high.
Products like CBD oil (as well as CBD edibles, topicals, and even CBD-rich flower) contain all of the beneficial properties of cannabis, without producing the stereotypical high that’s commonly associated with the drug.
The vast majority of quality CBD products come from hemp, which contains less than 0.3% THC by volume. Though both hemp and marijuana come from the same species of Cannabis sativa L, they have significant differences in their active cannabinoid content.
The Bottom Line: CBD for Mood Swings
Given the influx of scientific evidence in respected medical and academic journals, it’s become quite clear that CBD for mood swings possibly could be an option for the debilitating neuronal condition.
For those considering taking CBD for mood swings or bipolar disorder, be advised that there are lots of bogus products out there. These products are manufactured and labeled as pure CBD or CBD-rich, when in fact, they contain virtually none of the active cannabinoid. The FDA has issued warning statements each of the past three years to these companies, yet they still manage to keep their products on the market.
To help identify the most effective oils and reputable CBD products, we’ve listed below a few of the manufacturers that have proven to be the most reliable over the last several years. As is always the case, though, make sure and do plenty of your own research, and also be advised that CBD and other cannabinoids do not have the same effect for every individual.
Three Benefits of CBD Oil for Mood Regulation
It is normal for one’s mood to change, depending on the circumstances. But if you experience long periods of extreme moods, it might not be normal, and you could be suffering from a mood disorder.
Mood disorder refers to either extreme happiness, sadness, or a fluctuation between the two. Some people suffer from mood disorders without even realizing it, especially when linked to extreme happiness.
It can range from clinical conditions such as major depression, bipolar disorder, and dysthymia to substance-induced disorders and those triggered by a general medical condition.
Whether positive or negative, mood disorders can influence your behavior and affect your ability to engage in everyday activities such as learning or work. For some, taking CBD oil for sleep works wonders and can uplift their moods within minutes. In this post, we’ll go over CBD benefits for mood disorders, how CBD and serotonin go hand in hand, and variations of CBD products including CBD gummies.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the phytochemicals called cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant or weed gummies. Cannabinoids are similar in chemical composition to endocannabinoids, produced by the human body.
Since they have a “feel good” effect, cannabinoids are useful in regulating mood. When you feel relaxed, secure, and involved in an activity that makes you happy, your body produces endocannabinoids, and that is what causes you to feel good.
Cannabinoids bind to receptors that determine the nature of the response they trigger. The endocannabinoid system plays a vital role in maintaining homeostasis.
Generally, most functions in the body rely on the endocannabinoid system to maintain balance. Whether your body needs to contain inflammation or control pain depends on the endocannabinoid system.
Anandamide is the primary endocannabinoid molecule and is mostly responsible for regulating mood. You will generally experience low moods when your body cannot produce enough anandamide or when it can’t adequately process the amount produced.
CBD can boost your anandamide levels whenever they drop. A study on the effects of CBD on the body found that CBD enhances anandamide signaling. That means CBD could help ease the symptoms when struggling with a mood disorder. Keep reading to learn about the benefits of CBD oil for mood regulation.
How CBD Helps with Mood
#1. CBD Affects Serotonin Availability
Scientists believe that CBD affects serotonin levels in a way that could help with depression and related disorders. Serotonin is a hormone that stabilizes mood. It also affects feelings of well-being and happiness.
Serotonin also functions as a neurotransmitter and links communication between brain cells and nervous system cells. When your serotonin levels fall, you will likely experience a shift in mood. So, serotonin is your natural mood stabilizer.
While CBD can help with your serotonin levels, it does not directly affect serotonin. Instead, it influences how the brain responds to the available serotonin. If your body produces enough serotonin, but your system doesn’t process it effectively, then taking CBD may improve your brain’s response to serotonin. By attaching to the same receptors as serotonin, CBD acts as a serotonin antagonist, allowing serotonin levels to accumulate in the brain. This is why CBD for mood swings is commonly used.
Learn More Ways to Increase Serotonin Levels
We dug deep into serotonin to provide the ultimate list of tips and tricks for boosting serotonin levels for more energy, better sleep, and improved moods.
#2. CBD and Anxiety
Anxiety is often an underlying condition for mood disorders. Most people who are always anxious have a lot of ups and downs. When people are faced with situations that make them anxious, it is natural for their moods to change.
Does CBD Help Anxiety?
If anxiety is the underlying cause of your mood swings, then treating your anxiety could help manage mood disorder symptoms. CBD has anti-anxiety properties that could help calm your nerves and alleviate your anxiety symptoms.
#3. CBD Improves Sleep
You probably know from experience that sleep affects mood. When you don’t get enough sleep, you tend to be more short-tempered, irritable, and more vulnerable to stress
Studies show that having an inadequate sleep or experiencing sleep disturbances could have significant effects on mood. Sometimes, just taking a nap can help return your mood to normal. But what if you experience sleeplessness and or wake up a lot at night?
CBD improves sleep in both how it affects melatonin and its anti-anxiety properties. Taking CBD for sleep minutes before going to bed can help improve your sleep quality to fall asleep fast and not experience sleep disturbances. Some CBD users report using it as a sleep aid.
Research has shown that CBD improves sleep quality. CBD can help you fall asleep faster and keep you asleep longer. CBD also enhances the effects of melatonin, the hormone that controls the sleep-wake cycle.
So, if you struggle to fall asleep or to stay asleep, taking CBD oil before going to bed could improve your sleep quality. When you get quality sleep, you will be less prone to mood disorders.