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A new study published in the Journal of Endometriosis and Uterine Disorders recently examined the efficacy of CBD tampons as a method of treating severe menstrual cramps and associated pain.
In “Efficacy and usability of a cannabidiol-infused tampon for the relief of primary dysmenorrhea,” researchers found evidence that CBD-infused tampons “achieved statistically significant pain reduction” and that such tampons offer “fewer side effects than anti-inflammatories, while producing a similar pain-relieving effect.” The study was published on Dec. 19 but will be published in the March 2024 issue of Journal of Endometriosis and Uterine Disorders.
The study team included five researchers from Anne’s Day Ltd. in the United Kingdom (described as a natural sciences and engineering development company), and one representative from the Institute for Medical Research in Bulgaria. Lead author Valentina Milanova is also CEO and founder of Daye, which puts a focus on conducting its own research to provide to its consumers. Daye sells a wide variety of tampons, pads, and claims to be the first company to make CBD-infused tampons.
“The findings indicate the potential of CBD-infused tampons as a promising option for managing menstrual pain,” the researchers wrote in their joint conclusion. “Further research and exploration of this innovative product can contribute to the management of primary dysmenorrhea.” According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, primary dysmenorrhea is another term to describe cramping pain brought on by menstrual periods, which affect anywhere between 50%-95% of menstruating individuals.
The study explores how the human body’s CB1 and CB2 receptors are present throughout uterine tissue, which makes cannabinoids in that area easy to administer and feel relief.
A total of 114 participants (18-45 years of age) in the study were either presented with a CBD-infused tampon, or a regular tampon, and were interviewed about their various levels of pain, “including vaginal irritation, sensitisation, systemic toxicity, material-mediated pyrogenicity, and potential toxic shock syndrome risk.” The study took place over the course of three months.
The results show that 37%-40% saw improvements with vaginal dryness, and 37%-40% said they experienced “improvements in mood or overall well-being.” Overall, over 80% described the product they tried as “satisfactory or enjoyable.”
While positive, the researchers admitted that the study sample size is small, and should they revisit the topic again, they would improve their scope of study by recording pain data from both before and after participants have applied their CBD-infused or normal tampon. Additionally, they said that more research should be conducted in order to determine the efficacy of CBD-infused tampons further. “Future clinical research recommendations would include understanding the effectiveness of using CBD tampons against menstrual pain,” researchers concluded. “To further investigate the effects of CBD on pain, a metabolomics study to evaluate pain serum biomarkers or to assess the levels of CBD and painkillers in blood samples would be recommended.”
Daye also features an article about CBD and explores what is currently known about CBD for period care and treatment. “CBD is often considered as a more natural and holistic approach to pain relief as opposed to taking opioids or traditional pain medication,” Dr. Semiya Aziz told Daye. “CBD is also generally considered to have lower risks and fewer side effects compared to traditional pain medication. There are promising results regarding CBD’s role in pain management, however, there is plenty more work that needs to be done in this field before it can be considered as an alternative option for traditional pain relief.”
Numerous other studies have been published on the topic of cannabis as a treatment alternative for other medications. Earlier this summer, the University of Alberta completed research on its review of middle aged women in Canada. It found that out of 1,485 participants, 499 said that they currently use cannabis, and 978 said they have used it in the past. “Of the 499 current cannabis users, over 75% were using cannabis for medical purposes. Most common reasons for current use were sleep (65%), anxiety (45%) and muscle/joint achiness (33%),” researchers explained. “In current users, 74% indicated that cannabis was helpful for symptoms. Current cannabis users were more likely to report experiencing menopause symptoms compared with non-users. History of smoking and general health status were associated with current cannabis use.”
A study published in the Journal of Cannabis Research, entitled “The holistic effects of medical cannabis compared to opioids on pain experience in Finnish patients with chronic pain,” found that opioids and cannabis are “equally efficacious” at reducing pain. The sample size of the study included 201 chronic pain participants, with 40 who use medical cannabis and 161 who use opioids to treat their pain symptoms. Of the two groups, 45% of medical cannabis consumers say they also have used opioids to treat their pain, while only 4.3% of the opioid consumers have tried using medical cannabis as an alternative treatment. Additionally, the medical cannabis group were more relaxed, slept better, and had improved moods. “The results of the present study underline that the psychoactive effects of [medical cannabis] can be therapeutically positive and have beneficial effects on mood and functioning,” the study authors concluded. “However, this conclusion would require more robust testing, ideally in randomized controlled trials.”
Even celebrities such as Hulk Hogan have come out in favor of supporting cannabis as a way to replace both opioids as well as alcohol.