CBD is everywhere these days. You can find it in anything from coffee to potato chips, dog treats, mascara, hair products and so much more. Even my grandmother, who is in her 90s, uses it to help relieve knee pain (she calls it CDC, but hey, close enough).
As ubiquitous as the ingredient is, it makes sense that CBD would make its way into personal care products like lubes, feminine balms, suppositories, and even tampons. But are vaginal CBD products safe? And should you be using it down there?
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is an active compound found in cannabis. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC),
In both topical and internal use, the CBD compound is isolated and filtered, then added to a carrier oil, or put directly into a beauty product.
But what does this have to do with vaginas? We talked to the experts below to get the lowdown on vaginal CBD.
What are the benefits of using vaginal CBD?
CBD can be used vaginally to “help relax, soften, and increase blood flow to pelvic musculature,” Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH, FACOG, double board-certified in OB/GYN and Maternal-Fetal Medicine says.
There are many cannabinoid receptors in the reproductive organs and tissue, and CBD binds with these (as does THC, which creates the feeling of a high). CBD does not make you high, but it causes blood flow to the area, increasing sensitivity and arousal. CBD used on or in the vagina can also help with pelvic pain, cramps, and endometriosis (which often causes inflammation in the pelvis, and CBD is anti-inflammatory). There haven’t been extensive studies done yet on menopause and CBD, but because CBD is known to improve sleep, decrease anxiety, and help with inflammation that can cause achy joints when taken orally or as a vaginal suppository, it may help reduce some of the discomfort, irritability, and sleep issues that come with menopause.
Lindsay Wynn, co-founder of Momotaro Apotheca, a plant-based, organic, and cruelty-free vulvovaginal care line that uses hemp in its products (FYI: CBD’s molecular structure does not change depending on whether it comes from hemp or marijuana) says that hemp CBD can be helpful in reducing pain and discomfort and increasing pleasure.
As for what Momotaro Apotheca uses in their products, Wynn says cannabigerol (CBG) is a standout. Similar to CBD, CBG is another non-psychoactive compound that’s found in cannabis. It doesn’t produce a high in users. While there aren’t as many studies to support the benefits of CBG, it is quickly becoming popular in the wellness space as it has anti-inflammatory properties.
“We use CBG in our products to help add an element of vasodilation which means more blood flow to the mucous membrane where it’s applied — more blood flow means more pleasure, activation of nerve endings, etc.,” Wynn says.
So, CBG and CBD may help those who experience pain or anxiety around sex enjoy it a little more. One study found that among people who incorporated the ingredient into their sex lives, 68% said the CBD improved sex, whether it was by helping them relax, improving general mood, relieving pain, or aiding in lubrication (aka helping them naturally get wet).
Is it dangerous to use vaginal CBD?
While CBD can be incredibly helpful, especially for those experiencing pain or anxiety, it’s not completely without its risks.
“Potential side effects include allergic reactions, skin irritation, [and] yeast infection. Individuals should have a discussion with their physician to determine whether any product utilized is of benefit for their particular health situation,” Dr. Gaither says.
CBD is generally well-tolerated including vaginally, per Healthline, but side effects could include diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness, or fatigue. Because it’s a relatively recent addition to the wellness world, there isn’t a ton of long-term data on its effectiveness.
“Like anything not naturally produced by your body, it can hypothetically cause irritation or discomfort. If this happens, you should stop using whatever product you’re using immediately and check in with your doctor,” Wynn says. And vaginal CBD is not the time to try a DIY experiment (like putting some of your CBD tincture oil on your tampon, for example). It’s best to stick with brands (like Momotaro mentioned above, Foria Awaken Arousal Oil or their CBD suppositories, and Daye CBD tampons), who’ve spent countless hours and done testing to make sure the dosage is correct and the product itself is safe internally. But if you’re struggling with painful sex or periods and your doctor gives it the okay, vaginal CBD may be your new BFF.
We only recommend products we have independently researched, tested, and loved. If you purchase a product found through our links, Sunday Edit may earn an affiliate commission.