Are you one of those women whose life becomes a temporary wreck for a few days every month?

In the way that sports injuries sometimes sideline young athletic men for a while, the symptoms associated with menstrual periods can temporarily ground young women.  NSAIDs have appeared to be the pill of choice for both sexes when injured.. 

Or at least they were, until CBD became more widely available this year. Now women who have always known that the anti-inflammatory action of NSAIDS comes with a price — at the very least the possibility of digestive distress, and perhaps one of a longer list of side effects including upset stomach, mild heartburn, nausea, vomiting; bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation; dizziness, headache, nervousness; decreased appetite; mild itching or rash; or ringing in your ears, are all  trying CBD to see if it will work for them. Many have found that it does.

And while every woman’s case is different, the medical evidence is mounting that it should, because CBD works the same way NSAIDs do, by inhibiting a specific prostaglandin. The same prostaglandin.

Come with me down the path of memory lane to 9th grade biology, or wherever you learned about the facts of life and how they are influenced by hormones.

Once your body starts producing estrogen and progesterone, you are officially of childbearing age. Because of the amount of estrogen the agricultural industry uses to make animals bigger and healthier, there’s now enough estrogen in our environment and our food to make women get their periods earlier and men less fertile. This is a double whammy of a problem for reproducing the race, but this isn’t the one we’re here to solve.

The presence of estrogen and progesterone in the body helps the uterus go into a monthly cycle in which it is prepared for anything.  If you get pregnant, that’s one fork in the road. However, if you don’t, your progesterone levels decline, signalling the uterus to shed some of  the endometrial lining that it built to make a womb for a potential baby.

When this shedding begins, you are likely to have cramps, which are brought on my inflammation coming from prostaglandins in the body. We all have prostaglandins, but some are more inflammatory than others.  Those are called COX-2. These prostaglandins alert the pain nerves to get ready, aim and fire, because this period is coming. They also cause vasoconstriction (vessel narrowing), which is how the endometrial lining shrinks and gets ready to shed.

One of the COX-2 prostaglandins, PGF2 alpha, causes uterine contractions, almost like labor aches. Women who have higher levels of these prostaglandins have worse discomfort and more bleeding. Reach for the NSAIDs. NSAIDs are COX-2 inhibitors, which is why they work on discomfort and inflammation. 

What have labs begun to discover about CBD? Quick summary:  “Taken together, these lines of evidence in this study suggest that naturally occurring CBDA in cannabis is a selective inhibitor for COX-2.” That’s awesome news.

This is a ten year old study, however. We need to know a lot more about how and why CBD works than this crude beginning. But women who have this problem already know that if they are going to get relief from this age-old “curse,”  they are probably going to have to experiment on their own bodies. At least CBD can’t hurt them.