I Tried CBD Oil: Part 2

Read Part 1 here

I was very skeptical of CBD, the (legal) non-psychoactive cousin to marijuana that is supposed to ease inflammation. When it made even a slight dent in my severe menstrual pain, I was astonished. But in addition to less intense cramps, CBD gave me a gift I wasn't expecting: mood stability.

I have a history of depression and anxiety, which isn't uncommon for women with endometriosis.1 But it gets worse the week before my period, plus there's a heavy dose of irritability thrown in. A doctor told me my cyclical mood changes are technically pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder.2 It could be the increase of progesterone, which decreases serotonin availability, that causes the agitation.3 My genes could also be to blame.4 All I know is I can't voluntarily prevent it from happening.

Unfortunately, not much has helped alleviate the abysmal mood that accompanies my PMDD. Birth control always made it worse, and pre-menstrual mood issues plagued me even on antidepressants. My go-to treatment is to soldier through and try not to unreasonably snap at anyone while I wait for my period to start.

But CBD may change that. While I originally took the compound to help with my cramps, here's how it improved my mood.

Stability, not serenity

I did not feel the deep sense of calm I was promised in the CBD store. You should feel "relaxed but not sleepy" about 10-30 minutes after you drop some oil under your tongue, I was told. When I took my first dose of 3.5 mg (according to the dropper), I didn't experience anything noteworthy. As instructed by the CBD seller — an occupational therapist turned wellness coach — I took this dose one to three times a day. I just upped the amount along with my pain intensity, which increases the closer I get to the start of my period.

I noticed after the third day that I felt... fine. Like my menstrual cycle, my mood changes are predictable, so this was a noticeable difference. There is never a month where my emotions don't lean uncomfortably negative. While some people might be disappointed to simply feel normal, avoiding feelings of anxiety and irritably was a real win for me.

My non-scientific conclusion

I wasn't hit over the head with intense serenity, but my mood never went off the rails. To me, not feeling bad was just as good as being blissful. While I don't know if CBD will be a long-term solution to my PMDD — or if the benefits were just a placebo — it's definitely going in my anti-anxiety arsenal.

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