CBD oil and PMS – Can It Help?

CBD oil and PMS


  • PMS (premenstrual syndrome) can cause negative emotional and physical symptoms that can impact your daily routine. Researchers believe that most women will experience some form of PMS symptoms during their lifetime. 
  • CBD is a natural substance derived from the hemp plant that interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). 
  • Research is limited. However, some scientific studies have suggested that CBD oil could help support people who experience pain, inflammation, anxiety, and other symptoms commonly seen in PMS.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) affects nearly 48% of women of reproductive age worldwide. PMS can cause symptoms like mood swings, pain, bloating, and acne. It’s a frustrating condition that can impact your daily routine and quality of life.

While over-the-counter medications can provide pain relief, CBD is gaining traction as a natural alternative to potentially help cope with PMS symptoms.

Keep reading to learn more about CBD oil and PMS and what it means for you.

What is PMS?

PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, refers to the variety of symptoms that many women feel before and during their periods. The exact cause of PMS isn’t clear. But experts believe that hormone fluctuations and changes in brain chemicals likely play a role.

PMS can affect your body and your mind with emotional and physical symptoms. Symptoms typically occur 1-2 weeks before the start of a period and subside after it starts.

Common symptoms of PMS include but are not limited to:

  • Anxiety or depression
  • Anger or irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Cramping or stomach pain
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Fatigue 
  • Bloating 
  • Acne flare-ups
  • Breast tenderness or swelling
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Insomnia
What is PMS?

PMS affects everyone in different ways. While some women experience only mild effects, others suffer from more intense symptoms that may require time off work or canceled plans.

Existing treatments for PMS

The sheer variety of PMS symptoms means that finding a single treatment to aid with all symptoms can be challenging.

Many women turn to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and paracetamol, to find relief from the pain or cramping associated with PMS. While many people tolerate NSAIDs well, some people experience negative side effects such as stomach pain, ulcers, heartburn, liver problems, or increased blood pressure.

Some women may be prescribed anti-depressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) for severe emotional mood symptoms. But many SSRIs can be associated with adverse side effects like nausea, drowsiness, dizziness, insomnia, and weight gain.

Hormonal birth control prevents ovulation, which can aid the symptoms of PMS, but may also be associated with its own set of potential side effects, such as headaches, migraines, weight gain and mood changes.

The potential adverse side effects of common medications have many women considering natural ways to help manage their symptoms – such as CBD oil.

What is CBD?

CBD stands for cannabidiol, one of the main active compounds in hemp and cannabis. CBD is non-intoxicating and doesn’t contain the psychoactive ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), so it won’t get you “high”.

In the UK, CBD is legal when it comes from hemp plants that contain 0.02% THC or less.

How does CBD work?

CBD works by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). 

How does CBD work?

The ECS is a cell-signaling system with endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes located throughout the body. Its key function is to maintain homeostasis, which helps keep your body balanced.

The ECS helps regulate several vital functions in the body – including the reproductive system, pain perception, inflammation responses, and mood.

The ECS produces internal cannabinoids or “endocannabinoids.” But external cannabinoids like CBD can interact with the ECS and promote normal ECS functioning.

CBD oil and PMS - Can it help? What the Research Suggests

Research surrounding CBD oil and PMS is limited, but a few studies have looked at the relationship between CBD and common PMS symptoms – such as pain, emotional disturbances, and acne.

Here’s an overview of some of the current research related to CBD and PMS.

CBD and mood swings

PMS can affect how we think and feel. You might feel anxious, depressed, or irritable without understanding why. Research has suggested that CBD could possess calming qualities, which might help balance your mood.

A 2014 study indicated that CBD may produce anti-anxiety effects in animal brains, causing the brain to react to serotonin differently. Animal studies have also suggested that CBD exhibited anti-anxiety and anti-depressant qualities.

A study suggested that CBD prevents the rate of anandamide breakdown in the brain. Anandamide is an endocannabinoid that contributes to feelings of positivity and joy, earning it the nickname “the bliss molecule.” So, if you need more bliss in your life, CBD could lend a helping hand.

CBD and mood swings

CBD and pain

CBD and pain

More than half of women who menstruate have experienced some level of pain associated with their period – like cramps or tender breasts. Since the ECS helps to regulate the pain response, it’s possible that CBD could contribute to pain relief.

A 2020 review found that using CBD oil may help reduce back pain. Another study linked CBD to reduced pain and inflammation associated with arthritis in animal models.

While none of these studies looked at pain associated with PMS, it suggests that CBD could potentially contribute to pain relief – which might be helpful for women struggling with PMS symptoms.

CBD and acne

According to data from a 2014 study, around 65% of women report worse acne during their periods. This is likely due to decreased estrogen and progesterone levels, which trigger the sebaceous glands in your skin to produce more sebum – an oily substance that lubricates your skin.

Studies have shown that CBD could possibly promote healthy sebum production in skin. An in-vitro 2014 study suggested that CBD could reduce sebum production in human sebocytes.

CBD’s anti-inflammatory activity may provide a way to manage scarring and irritation from past acne breakouts. A 2019 study found that topical CBD use was associated with faster wound healing, which could help to heal acne scars.  

CBD and acne

It’s an encouraging sign that CBD could potentially promote healthy skin during the hormone fluctuations associated with PMS.

CBD and other PMS symptoms

CBD has also been shown to possibly support people who experience other symptoms of PMS – such as insomnia and headaches.

You can read more about CBD’s potential benefits here:

How to take CBD

There are several ways to take CBD, including CBD oils, CBD capsules, CBD balms, and CBD snacks.

For problems like cramping, taking CBD oils may help you manage symptoms. Taking CBD oil sublingually (under your tongue) may allow your body to absorb the oil directly through the thin lining of your mouth, which allows the CBD oil to absorb into your bloodstream faster.

You can also eat edible products infused with CBD – like brownies, cookies and chocolate. Enjoying CBD snacks can provide an ideal way to treat yourself while potentially aiding PMS symptoms. However, eating CBD means that it has to pass through your digestive system first, which means that it will take a few hours to feel any effects.

The product you choose often comes down to personal preference. Learn more about proper dosage with our CBD dosage calculator.

Side effects of CBD

While rare, CBD does have the potential for side effects. Minor side effects of CBD include: 

  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Interaction with certain medications

It’s important to consult your doctor before adding CBD into your routine since many PMS symptoms overlap with other conditions, like endometriosis or PMDD. It’s also advisable to consult your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medication. CBD is not suitable for pregnant or lactating women.

CBD oil works best with a holistic approach – such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep.

CBD and PMS - the takeaway

While current research surrounding CBD oil and PMS is limited, CBD could help to provide a natural way to manage many common PMS symptoms.

If you’re interested in trying out CBD for yourself, Naturecan’s CBD products are some of the purest in the UK.

Written by Brooke Helton and reviewed by our qualified expert, Imogen Blackshaw, Senior Regulatory Compliance Officer at Naturecan, BSc Public Health Nutrition and Registered Associate Nutritionist (ANutr)


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