Vaginal dryness, yeast infections, pH balance, PMS—it’s pretty safe to say that vaginas are complicated and, well, finicky. They are also directly impacted by women’s hormone levels, which wax and wane throughout the month, so our vagina’s needs are always changing. There’s lots of products out there that claim to keep vaginal health in check, but many of them may actually do more harm than good. Many actually kill off your vagina’s microbiome, leaving you at a higher risk for bacterial invasion, STD’s, and gynecological cancer.
Luckily, CBD brings a new option to the table, or rather brings life back to an age-old remedy for all-over vaginal and reproductive health. That’s right, using CBD for vaginal health is a practice that dates back over 4,000 years. Even in ancient civilizations, women were using cannabis to get relief from all sorts of symptoms, ranging from menopausal pain to difficult childbirth.
Multiple brands have recognized this potential and now you can get CBD products formulated specifically for your lady parts to help rejuvenate your vagina and keep everything in balance. Many of these CBD products benefit sexual health, but many CBD products advocate for your vagina’s health outside of the bedroom, too.
Endocannabinoid System in the Vagina
In order to understand why CBD is being hailed as the holy grail of vaginal health, we need to first look at the way the CBD interacts with the body—through the Endocannabinoid System. It’s been proven that there is a very high concentration of endocannabinoid receptors in the pelvic region for men and women. In fact, it’s suggested that there are more Endocannabinoid receptors in the pelvic region than in any other part of the body besides the brain. These ECS receptors are actually present in female reproductive tissues and have an impact on the stages of reproduction, including ovarian hormone secretion, egg transport, implantation, and the forming of the placenta.
The vagina also has its own mucous membrane, which is how it absorbs and processes the things we apply topically. That means CBD can be absorbed through the vagina, but also illustrates the importance of taking great care in choosing safe vaginal health products. Because CBD is able to interact with the Endocannabinoid System through direct topical application, CBD topicals open up a new world of vaginal health benefits.
CBD for Vaginal Health
CBD potentially poses some multi-functional benefits for our vaginas, though research specific to the vaginal area is slim. Still, studies suggest that CBD may help fight common bacteria, yeast, and fungus. One study looks at CBD, alongside four other non-psychoactive cannabinoids, and its success when used as an anti-bacterial, including against tricky MRSA.
These same cannabinoids have been identified as “moderate antifungals.” Research even suggests that they help boost the abilities of caryophyllene oxide (a natural cannabis terpene), which is widely regarded for its antifungal properties. Another study suggests that topical CBD has the ability to reduce inflammation that causes pain and itching, which may occur during common vaginal infections.
CBD for Pelvic Pain
Pelvic pain is a primary symptom of multiple female-centric illness, like endometriosis and ovarian cysts, and can also come as a side effect of urinary tract infections, food intolerances, fibroids, and more. Not only does pelvic pain make you incredibly uncomfortable on the day to day, it can completely destroy your sex life. Luckily, we know that medical marijuana (including a combination of THC and CBD) has been shown to reduce pelvic pain.
But what about CBD? Theoretically, CBD alone can help manage pelvic pain in similar ways, although we don’t have clinical evidence to prove it yet. We do know, however, that CBD is frequently considered a suitable option for all types of pain, from chronic conditions to casual aches. That’s because it acts on pain receptors and prevents pain signals from ever reaching the brain. Many women have used CBD for pelvic pain with great success, both by topical and oral application.
CBD for PMS and Periods
Another way that CBD may keep our vaginas happy happens far below the surface. Many women experience painful periods and a week or more of PMS symptoms that can make it hard to carry on with everyday life. How can CBD help? Think about the way that many people take NSAIDs for period cramps.
Your period is the result of hormone shifts that help your body prepare for a baby. If fertilization doesn’t happen, the body starts to send these hormone levels (namely progesterone) back to normal. As progesterone decreases, your body produces certain chemicals called prostaglandins. These chemicals are the cause of most of the uncomfortable symptoms related to menstruation, including inflammation and pain, vasoconstriction, and uterine cramping. Too much of these prostaglandins can result in inflammatory overload, which is often the cause of heavy bleeding.
NSAID’s are often chosen for painful period symptoms, and for many people they work. That’s because they inhibit the production of the enzymes necessary for the production of prostaglandins. Although these over-the-counter (OTC) medications may help manage painful cramps and inflammation, they also have some unwanted side effects and are harsh on the digestive tract.
Alternatively, CBD has shown an ability to inhibit these same enzymes, but with much less impact on the enzymes necessary for proper digestive function. CBD is also a vasodilator, meaning it opens the blood vessels to improve blood flow, which may help reduce cramps and discomfort.
CBD for Sexual Stimulation
Because CBD is a vasodilator, it may help your vagina perform all of the normal functions necessary to get you ready for sex. In other words, it aids the body in the “blood rush” that helps the vagina relax and open in preparation for intercourse. This increased blood flow may also be the reason that many people report increased sensation when using CBD lubricants.
Research also suggests that greater cannabinoid concentrations can be linked to heightened female arousal. This, in combination with its ability to help decrease pain and discomfort that can distract from sexual pleasure, is why many people have made room for CBD on their nightstand.
CBD Products for Your V
Just like every vagina differs from the next, the particular way that CBD could benefit your vaginal health is unique. Luckily, CBD feminine care products are quite the catch.
Brands like Foria Wellness and Quim put vaginal and sexual health at the forefront of their CBD mission. Foria offers intricate, yet delicate CBD products for all types of vaginal issues, including Awaken CBD Arousal Oil, which is formulated to stimulate sexual arousal and increase pleasure. They also have a couple of options for CBD suppositories, which have been praised for their ability to help with pelvic pain, dryness, and more.
Quim also offers a couple of unique CBD products for your vagina, including the Happy Clam formula, which is described by the brand as “eye cream for your vagina.” This product makes everyday vaginal care easy and potentially offers benefits like balancing pH, managing discomfort, and overall keeping your vagina happy and healthy.
As interest and anecdotal evidence continues to increase, research into the vagina’s endocannabinoid system and how CBD affects things like vaginal, reproductive, and sexual health is expected to increase, too. That means we can expect more and more of these women’s wellness CBD products to surface. 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 accessible option that could revolutionize your feminine care routine.