Want to use CBD tampons and pads for your menstrual cycle? An OB-GYN explains if CBD feminine products works, if they're safe, and the benefits of using them. CBD Tampons are the next biggest wellness trend – but can they really ease period cramps, pain and TOTM related issues? Here, Ally Head reviews.
Is it Actually Safe to Use CBD in Feminine Products? An OB-GYN Explains
Keeping up with the surge of “cure-all” wellness fads is a job in and of itself. In our column Wellness Inspector, we do the work for you, closely examining these trends to see if they’re worth your hard-earned pennies—or whether they’re just hype.
It’s no secret that CBD has been in the spotlight over the past few years. What started out as a health and wellness supplement with indications for reducing anxiety, stress, and pain quickly caught on as a skincare and beauty product, too. Before we knew it, brands began launching CBD-infused creams, serums, lipstick, and mascara. And, now, the buzzy ingredient is being adopted by another wellness category: feminine care.
Knowing what we know about CBD’s anti-inflammatory benefits, it’s simple to assume that CBD-infused feminine care products could lead to less painful menstrual cycles. But, does it actually work? To find out, we chatted with a few experts in the field, including an OB-GYN and a sampling of brand founders, for everything there is to know about CBD in feminine products. Keep scrolling to brush up on the topic before adding the supplement to your down-below routine.
Is it safe to use CBD tampons and pads?
The vagina is a sensitive ecosystem. And while many products (like pH-balancing washes) claim to greatly benefit the region, most doctors will tell you that the organ is self-regulating, and inserting products—especially any that are fragranced—is unnecessary. That said, NYC-based fertility specialist and board-certified OBGYN, Dr. Lucky Sekhon, says that, in theory, CBD could potentially prove beneficial for the area.
“It might be possible that CBD could have an impact on vaginal symptoms including discomfort during menstrual cramps or sex since the lining of the vagina has cannabinoid receptors in it,” she says. “However, there are little to no studies done on using CBD vaginally. There still needs to be formal testing to confirm efficacy, safety, side effects, and adequate dosing.”
While CBD in feminine care products hasn’t been widely studied, Amy Zunzunegui, who is the CEO and founder of WLDKAT, a sustainable, womxn-founded beauty brand that developed a CBD-infused sex serum, says that considering there are plenty of popular, well-received CBD products on the market, the ingredient can be thought to be safe (but it’s still important to check with your doctor before using). “However, with any new product or ingredient, it is always best to do a test patch,” she says.
The benefits of CBD-infused feminine care products:
CBD is naturally antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. “These properties bring immense benefits to the very common issues people with vaginas face,” says Lindsay Wynn, the founder of Momotaro Apotheca, a wellness brand that specializes in products for vulva owners. “Whether you experience common itching or irritation from hormonal changes, or want to address symptoms and pain from anything from sexual activity, bacterial vaginosis, or yeast infections, CBD can be helpful.” That said, she says that it’s important to remember that cannabis and CBD products are not always a replacement for conventional remedies, but can be a great addition, as more studies need to be conducted.
Since studies on the topic are lacking, it’s tough to know where exactly to apply CBD—solely to the vulva, or inside the vagina, as well. Nevertheless, products are debuting for every use imaginable. Where Uncle Bud’s Miss Bud’s 60mg CBD Feminine Wash is designed to be used externally, Mello Bottoms CBD Suppositories are formulated to be inserted into the vagina.
“Suppositories can be really beneficial to women experiencing localized pain in their vaginas,” explains Mello founder, Boronia Fallshaw. “Endo, PMS, and PCOS can cause awful cramping, irritation, and pain in the vulva, cervix, and anywhere in the lower body.” Since the source of this pain is inflammation, she says that CBD, which as we mentioned is an excellent anti-inflammatory agent, can treat the local area and remove the inflammation, effectively decreasing feminine pain in the process.
Still, not everyone is sold on the idea of applying CBD to such a sensitive region. With that in mind, Degelis Tufts, the co-founder of TribeTokes, a company that specializes in products made with full-spectrum Delta 8 THC and CBD, prefers to reserve CBD for another common-but-external feminine concern. “What I do use CBD for is any post-shaving irritation on my bikini line,” she says. “I just use a tiny bit of our CBD eye cream on any affected external area (since it’s made for your eye area, which is extremely sensitive skin, it doesn’t have any fragrances or potential irritants).”
Can CBD feminine products help with menstrual cycle symptoms?
While CBD can be beneficial for general inflammation, Dr. Sekhon says that the jury is still out on whether or not it can actually assist with menstrual cramps. “There is no plausible mechanism by which CBD could impact the hormonal functioning of the menstrual cycle,” she adds.
Fallshaw expands on this, noting that it’s difficult for the body to absorb CBD through the transdermal layer of skin. “Topical CBD products are good for athlete recovery and surface-level muscular pain relief, but not for pain that is deeply internal—in your vulva, cervix, or intestines,” she says. Because of this, she’s not a huge fan of any topicals for PMS or feminine pain relief, however, she does stand behind CBD-infused chocolates (like Phasey Period Chocolates) or other edibles (like Dosist’s CBD+ Calm Gummies), as they’re ingestible and better absorbed.
While topicals are tricky with menstrual relief, suppositories can have a lot to offer.
“When you take a CBD suppository, the oil is absorbed through the large blood vessels in your [vagina or bottom] and then is instantly released into your bloodstream,” Fallshaw explains. “When you take a capsule or edible it has to make its way through your GI tract and into your liver, and then into your bloodstream—a much longer process.” Additionally, she points out that your body absorbs more of the CBD when taking CBD suppositories. “Essentially a portion of everything you eat is eliminated,” she explains. “Taking a CBD suppository removes these variables, so you get more of the cannabinoids you paid for. And you feel the effect much faster.”
What to know before shopping for CBD feminine care products:
Although Dr. Sekhon notes that, in theory, CBD products can be beneficial for menstrual symptoms, she doesn’t currently recommend purchasing CBD products for the vagina since we don’t have a full understanding of their impact just yet. Since CBD is largely unregulated, she recommends consulting with your doctor before looking into CBD as a self-treatment.
That said, if you can’t hold your horses and feel heavily inclined to see what the hype is about, Dr. Sekhon says to avoid any products with heavy fragrances. Additionally, Wynn says to only shop from companies that are transparent about their manufacturing process. “There should be no secrets when it comes to consumption,” she says. “Always look for CoA’s (certificates of analysis) to see third-party test results. And be wary of any company making huge claims. CBD is not going to give you 1000 orgasms at once or cure your endometriosis, but it does have the potential to help.”
CBD tampons: so, can they actually ease your period cramps?
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Delving into the alternative world of CBD tampons and find out how they provide all-natural pain relief for period pains.
Hands up if you’re one of the nine in ten women in the UK who experiences period cramps, or 40 to 50% of women suffering from primary dysmenorrhea, the medical phrase for painful periods?
If that’s you – don’t worry, you’re not alone. You won’t always have to rely on the a cocktail of of paracetamol, dairy milk and a hot water bottle to get your through your TOTM.
Luckily for women with painful or heavy periods, CBD tampons are rising in popularity in the UK. How do they work? They allow ‘a small percentage of the cannabinoid compound be absorbed through the vaginal mucosa.’ Now, while you may have heard about the many CBD benefits and the promise of CBD oil as a natural remedy for pain relief – the alternative remedy has been approved in several countries to treat pain related to multiple sclerosis and arthritis – do you know if it really works in tampon form?
We tested Daye CBD tampons for you to find out. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to insert a tampon – we’ve got a complete expert-led guide for that, or, alternatively, you could opt for period pants or period cups instead, which are also great examples of eco period products.
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In the meantime – keep reading for your complete guide to CBD tampons.
CBD tampons: your guide
What are CBD tampons?
They’re basically your average tampon, but promising to have a cramp-fighting twist, too.
CBD tampons are tampons that have been coated in cannabinoid, and although there are no published research studies on using CBD for period relief at current, the theory remains that when it comes to menstruation, CBD can alleviate the pain created as the uterus contracts to expel its lining.
For those of you wondering what CBD is, CBD stands for cannabidiol, a type of cannabinoid chemical which is found naturally in the cannabis plant. FYI, CBD won’t get you high or intoxicate you (another cannabinoid, THC, does that).
Daye Mixed Size CBD & Naked Organic Cotton Applicator Tampons – 12 Pack, £14.00
Are CBD tampons and CBD infused tampons the same?
Short answer: yes, they’re exactly the same thing, just different ways of phrasing it.
Introducing Daye CBD tampons
Daye released the UK’s first clinically validated CBD tampons last year, marking the first foray into consumer products from the brand. After almost three years of research, Daye CBD tampons are available to buy from £7 to £16 for a box (FYI, they’re priced depending on the choice of tampons).
Their products contain a concentrated 30% whole plant hemp extract, plus a naturally occurring 100mg of cannabidiol per tampon. They say that yes, this is enough to offer pain relief, but no, not anything that could to get you high or show up on a drug test.
Fun fact: although Daye’s tampons are yet to be tested by outside labs or non-affiliated scientists as far as Marie Claire is aware, their own clinical trials show the products to be as effective as anti-inflammatories.
When asked about the motivation behind creating the company and product, Valentina Milanova, Daye’s founder, said: “The vision is to create a world where every woman with a smartphone can understand, monitor and improve her menstrual, sexual and reproductive health.”
“The first gender gap that we want to close is the gender pain-gap. Over-the-counter painkillers have never been tested on the female physiology and carry a plethora of side-effects (like gastrointestinal inflammation), so at Daye we have spent time researching and developing the patented CBD tampon to provide a safe and effective alternative.”
According to their website, Daye works closely with doctors and researchers to carry out research, but more information and details on the specifics of this can be found on their website.
If you’re worried about ordering new products in light of the COVID-19 situation, Daye has that covered too – as it recently detailed the lengths it is taking to ensure its tampons are safe from contamination. These include ensuring that production workers wear full-body cleanroom suits and have their temperature taken before the beginning of each shift.