Recently, scientists discovered that — similar to NSAIDs — CBD also inhibits the prostaglandin-producing enzyme. However, unlike NSAIDs, CBD preferentially inhibits COX-2 over COX-1, which means its anti-inflammatory benefits come without the gastrointestinal side effects.
Added bonus: Not only does CBD inhibit the COX-2 enzyme, but both CBD and THC physically stop your DNA from producing so much of this enzyme in the first place (via the PPARγ receptor).
Additional Cannabinoid Benefits
Decreasing prostaglandin levels during your period can reduce inflammation, pain and cramps. However, you cannot entirely eliminate prostaglandins. This means that you could benefit from combining a prostaglandin-reducing treatment with other treatments that target the discomforts caused by prostaglandins.
CBD and other cannabinoids can also treat painful menstrual cramps in the following ways:
- Anti-inflammatory: Cannabinoids have many anti-inflammatory activities beyond reducing production of inflammatory prostaglandins. For instance, THC activates endocannabinoid receptors (CB2) located on your immune system’s killer cells (macrophages). When these receptors are activated, they prevent macrophages from releasing inflammatory proteins (cytokines).
- Pain-relieving: Although prostaglandins and other inflammatory molecules can make pain-perceiving nerves more sensitive, cannabinoids fight back by desensitizing these nerves. Both CBD and THC target nerve receptors that help decrease the sensation of pain (TRPV1 and CB1, respectively). Additionally, not only does CBD desensitize TRPV1, but those soothing effects can spread to neighbouring pain receptors.
- Muscle-relaxing: Menstrual cramps are exacerbated by contractions of the smooth muscle lining the uterus — and cannabinoids are widely recognized to relax smooth muscles. THC and CBD both target different receptors embedded in the muscle tissue to relax contractions.
- Vascular-relaxing: Blood vessels are also lined with smooth muscle. When cannabinoids trigger this smooth muscle to relax, blood flow increases. Increased blood flow could help provide relief to oxygen-starved tissues, further decreasing painful cramps.
Source: Foria Wellness