Vaginal dryness, yeast infections, pH balance, PMS – you could say that vaginas are complex and challenging . They are also directly affected by changing levels of female hormones throughout the month, so the needs of our vagina are always changing. There are many products that claim to keep vaginal health in check, but many of them can actually do more harm than good. Many of them actually kill the vaginal microbiome, leaving you at higher risk for bacterial infestation, venereal disease and gynecologic cancer.
Fortunately, CBD offers a new option, or rather brings back to life an age-old tool for overall vaginal and reproductive health. That’s right, using CBD for vaginal health is a practice that dates back more than 4,000 years. In ancient civilizations, women used cannabis to get relief from all sorts of symptoms, from menopausal pains to difficult childbirth.
Numerous brands have realized this potential, and now you can get CBD products specifically designed for your female parts to help rejuvenate your vagina and keep everything in balance. Many of these CBD products benefit sexual health, but many CBD products also advocate for your vaginal health outside the bedroom.
The endocannabinoid system in the vagina
To understand why CBD is called the holy grail of vaginal health, we first need to look at the way CBD interacts with the body – through the endocannabinoid system. In both men and women, the pelvic region has been shown to have a very high concentration of endocannabinoid receptors. In fact, it is hypothesized that there are more endocannabinoid receptors in the pelvic region than in any other part of the body except the brain. These ECS receptors are actually found in female reproductive tissues and affect the reproductive stages, including ovarian hormone secretion, egg transportation, implantation and placenta formation.
The vagina also has its own mucous membrane, through which it absorbs and processes what we apply topically. This means that CBD can be absorbed through the vagina, but it also shows the importance of taking great care when choosing safe vaginal health products. Because CBD can interact with the endocannabinoid system through direct topical application, topical CBD products open up a new world of benefits for vaginal health.
CBD for Vaginal Health
Although vaginal site-specific research is scarce, CBD potentially offers some multifunctional benefits for our vaginas. However, studies have shown that CBD can help fight common bacteria, yeast and fungi. One study looked at CBD in combination with four other non-psychoactive cannabinoids and examined its success when used as an antibacterial agent, including the insidious MRSA.
The same cannabinoids have been described as “moderate antifungal agents”. Research even suggests that they help boost the abilities of caryophyllene oxide (a natural cannabis terpene), which is widely known for its antifungal properties. Another study shows that CBD topical has the ability to reduce inflammation that causes the pain and itching that can occur during common vaginal infections.
CBD for pelvic pain
Pelvic pain is a major symptom of many female diseases, such as endometriosis and ovarian cysts, and can also occur as a side effect of urinary tract infections, food intolerances, fibroids and more. Pelvic pain not only causes you incredible discomfort in everyday life, but it can also completely ruin your sex life. Fortunately, we know that medical marijuana (including a combination of THC and CBD) has been proven to reduce pelvic pain. Theoretically, CBD alone could help relieve pelvic pain in a similar way, but we don’t yet have the clinical evidence to prove it. However, we do know that CBD is generally recognized as a viable option for all types of pain, from chronic conditions to occasional pain. This is because it acts on pain receptors and blocks pain signals from reaching the brain. Many women have used CBD for pelvic pain both topically and through oral administration with great success.
CBD for PMS and menstruation
Another way CBD makes our vaginas happy happens far below the surface. Many women experience painful menstruation and PMS symptoms that last for weeks or longer, which can make their daily lives difficult. How can CBD help? Consider that many people take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for menstrual cramps.
The menstrual cycle is the result of hormonal changes that help your body prepare for a baby. If fertilization does not occur, the body begins to normalize the levels of this hormone (i.e. progesterone). As progesterone decreases, your body produces some chemicals called prostaglandins. These chemicals are the cause of many of the uncomfortable symptoms associated with menstrual bleeding, including inflammation and pain, constriction of blood vessels and uterine cramping. Too much of these prostaglandins can lead to excessive inflammation, which is often the cause of excessive bleeding. This is because they block the production of enzymes needed to produce prostaglandins. While these over-the-counter medications can help manage painful cramps and inflammation, they also have some unwanted side effects and put a strain on the digestive system.
Alternatively, CBD has shown the ability to inhibit the same enzymes, but has much less effect on the enzymes needed for the digestive system to function properly. CBD is also a vasodilator, meaning it opens up blood vessels to improve blood flow, which can help reduce cramping and discomfort.
CBD for sexual stimulation
Because CBD is a vasodilator, it can help your vagina perform all the normal functions needed to prepare for sex. In other words, it assists the body in the “blood rush” that helps the vagina relax and open up in preparation for intercourse. This increased blood flow may be why many people report increased sensation when using lubricants containing CBD.
Studies have also shown that higher concentrations of cannabinoids may be associated with increased female arousal. This, coupled with its ability to help reduce pain and discomfort that can reduce sexual pleasure, is why many people are making room for CBD in their nightstands.
CBD Products for Your V
Just as each vagina is different from the next, the specific way CBD can benefit your vaginal health is unique. Fortunately, CBD feminine care products are quite affordable.
Brands like Foria Wellness and Quim put vaginal and sexual health at the forefront of their CBD mission. Foria offers sophisticated yet gentle CBD products for all kinds of vaginal issues, including Awaken CBD Arousal Oil, designed to promote sexual arousal and increase pleasure. There are also a variety of CBD suppository options, praised for their ability to help with pelvic pain, dryness and more.
Quim also offers several unique CBD products for the vagina, including the Happy Clam formula, which the brand describes as an “eye cream for the vagina”. This product facilitates daily vaginal care and potentially offers benefits such as balancing pH, relieving discomfort and generally keeping the vagina happy and healthy.
As interest and anecdotal evidence grows, research into the vagina’s endocannabinoid system and how CBD affects things like vaginal, reproductive and sexual health is also expected to increase. This means that we can expect more and more of these CBD products for women’s health to appear. For now, choosing a product just means trying it out to see how it works for you. Every vagina is different, but CBD is a gentle, low-risk and affordable option that can revolutionize your feminine care routine.