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.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Endometriosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.
View References
  1. Lagana, et al. Anxiety and depression in patients with endometriosis: impact and management challenges. Int J Womens Health. 2017;9:323-330. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5440042/. Accessed March 12, 2019.
  2. Hantsoo L, Epperson CN. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder: Epidemiology and Treatment. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2015;17(11). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4890701/. Accessed March 12, 2019.
  3. Rapkin A, Akopians A. Pathophysiology of premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Menopause Int. 2012;18(2). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22611222. Accessed March 12, 2019.
  4. NIH. Sex hormone-sensitive gene complex linked to premenstrual mood disorder. NIH. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/sex-hormone-sensitive-gene-complex-linked-premenstrual-mood-disorder. Published January 3, 2017. Accessed March 12, 2019.

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