If you suffer from monthly period cramps, then there’s a good chance you’d try just about anything to ease the pain. But would you go so far as to shove CBD up your vagina?
CBD tampons are the buzziest period pain relief product on the market right now, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should try them. We chatted with a top gynecologist to get the lowdown on CBD tampons and whether they’re actually safe and effective.
Can CBD help relieve period pain?
Proponents of CBD (the short name for cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis) say it can help with a variety of health problems, including pain, anxiety, and even childhood epilepsy, says Heather Irobunda, MD, ob-gyn in New York City. That said, the science behind CBD’s purported benefits is still lacking right now.
“There is not a lot of scientific research about CBD and its benefits for many of the medical ailments, but of the small amount of information the medical community has about CBD, things look promising,” says Irobunda.
When it comes to period pain specifically, there’s really not a ton of data–but some people claim it works for them.
“There are some reports from women who have used topical and ingested CBD for period pain and have reported improvement of their pain,” says Irobunda. “However, there are no scientific studies that have supported these claims.”
While more research needs to be done to explain the link between CBD and pain relief, experts believe CBD can help with pain in some people because of the way it affects your endocannabinoid system (a cell-signaling system in the body).
“When CBD interacts with that system, it can cause relief of pain and anxiety in some people,” says Irobunda. “More information needs to become available to determine which people are more likely to benefit from CBD and the dosages needed to experience these beneficial effects.”
What’s the deal with CBD tampons?
Back in February, entrepreneur Valentine Milanova launched Daye, a line of CBD tampons, in Europe. According to Tech Round, a UK publication, Milanova worked closely with clinical institutions, doctors, and researchers to create the safest, most effective product possible.
Per Daye’s website, their tampons are infused with 100 mg of high concentration, full-spectrum CBD. The tampons work the same way normal ones do: Available in regular and super absorbency, they soak up menstrual blood to prevent leaks. Only they have a CBD-infused layer that supposedly helps soothe cramps. (The brand recommends using their CBD tampons on days you have cramps, and their “naked” tampons, which are CBD-free, during the rest of your period.)
So are they safe?
“In general, we believe that CBD is safe for most people,” says Irobunda. That said, if you have any medical conditions or you take any medications or supplements, check with your doc first before trying. While there haven’t been any reports of CBD tampons being unsafe, there aren’t any existing studies on this type of product.
Plus, you should always be cautious about what you put in your vagina because it’s a super-sensitive area.
“The vagina can react to a variety of foreign substances and these reactions can cause itching, burning, or even yeast infections,” explains Irobunda. Because CBD often needs to be placed into a different type of oil for it to be used effectively, keep in mind that there may be other chemicals in a CBD tampon that can cause an allergic or inflammatory reaction in your vagina. (Ouch!)
“I would advise people to be careful when reading the packaging about the ingredients they may be introducing into their bodies with these tampons,” says Irobunda.
Note that CBD suppositories–pills that are inserted vaginally–are sometimes called CBD tampons. These products provide pain relief but don’t absorb your flow. It’s a good idea to take the same precautions as you would with actual CBD tampons.
What other ways can you use CBD to ease period cramps?
If you’re interested in trying CBD for period cramp relief, consider trying an ingestible CBD oil or applying one topically to your lower abdomen, where cramps occur, rather than using a CBD tampon.
“Ingesting CBD oil is generally safe, as long as there are no allergies that the person has to any of the ingredients,” says Irobunda, who recommends following the dosing instructions on the packaging.
As for topical CBD, you have less of a chance of experiencing an allergic reaction when you apply CBD to your abdomen versus your vagina.
“The skin on the lower abdomen/pelvic area is less sensitive to inflammation or allergic reaction than the vagina, so it would decrease the chance of an unpleasant skin reaction,” says Irobunda.