Nowadays, cannabis and CBD are appearing everywhere, including various products for vaginal use.
It is possible to purchase everything from CBD-infused tampons to cannabis lube, with manufacturers claiming numerous benefits for vaginal health. But is there any truth behind these claims, or are companies just cashing in on the latest trend?
In this article, we look at the existing research surrounding cannabis and CBD for a healthy vagina. We also discuss some of the best cannabis feminine care products and how to use them. Here’s all you need to know.
Cannabis and Vaginal Health
With the spread of marijuana legalization, companies are coming up with some ingenious ways to use the plant and its derivatives. Among the most notable examples are:
- Cannabis and CBD-infused sex lubes
- CBD tampons
- Cannabis pessaries
Proponents of these products suggest that they have various benefits for vaginal health. However, not all of these claims have enough evidence to support them. That said, some studies suggest cannabis and CBD do have an impact on the vagina.
For example, a 2012 study for The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a role in female sexual arousal. The ECS is an intricate network of cell receptors and chemicals called endocannabinoids. It has a vital regulatory function throughout the body and is where cannabinoids like THC and CBD exert most of their activity.
The ECS is present in the majority of human tissues, including the vagina, bladder, and urinary tract. Therefore, it makes sense that cannabis and CBD will have some activity in these areas. But what does this mean for women trying to decide whether to use cannabis for a healthy vagina?
As with so many questions in the world of marijuana, the answer is not straightforward. Much more research is necessary before we truly understand the impact of cannabis on vaginal health. However, scientists are beginning to make some intriguing discoveries. Here’s what we know so far.
Cannabis and Female Sexual Function
One of the areas where there is plenty of research is how cannabis and CBD affect female sexual function.
A 2019 review for Sexual Medicine Reviews summarized some of the current evidence. It found that low doses of marijuana increased sexual arousal in 57% of women. Furthermore, 43% of the women reported heightened pleasure while under the influence.
Some of the possible reasons for this include increased relaxation and reduced inhibition, anxiety, and discomfort. Alterations in sensory perception may also contribute to cannabis enhancing the sexual experience.
With this information in mind, it is unsurprising that several companies have begun manufacturing cannabis-infused sex lubes. The majority of these contain CBD as their active ingredient. The idea is that CBD can help to relieve vaginal discomfort while improving moisturization and lubrication.
Other products contain THC, the intoxicating compound in marijuana. While applying these products to the vagina won’t cause a high in the traditional sense, they could alter sensations during sex. Women who have tried these THC-infused lubes say they enjoyed a gentle warming sensation, enhanced lubrication, and felt more relaxed overall.
Some of these products also contain additional ingredients like coconut oil and tea tree. Both of these have potential benefits for vaginal health outside of the bedroom. For example, tea tree oil is known for its antimicrobial properties and could help to prevent problems like yeast infections.
To better understand how cannabis could promote a healthy vagina, we need to look at some of the factors that influence vaginal health. One of the most significant considerations is something known as the vaginal microbiome.
Does Cannabis Affect the Vaginal Microbiome?
The human body is covered with its own ecosystem of microorganisms, primarily comprising various species of bacteria. These microorganisms populate the gut, the skin, and of course, the vagina.
The predominant type of bacteria living in the vagina is various species of Lactobacillus. These bacteria produce lactic acid and lower the pH of the vagina.
The vagina benefits from being slightly acidic as this reduces the risk of infections from opportunistic bacteria and fungi. A typical example is Candida albicans, the fungus that causes yeast infections. However, lactic acid may also offer some protection against sexually-transmitted infections such as HIV and gonorrhea.
Therefore, the vaginal microbiome must remain in equilibrium to maintain a state of health. When the microbiome becomes imbalanced, issues like bacterial vaginosis can occur. Its symptoms include a heavy discharge, often with a foul or fishy aroma.
Many women know first-hand that products like harsh soaps and scented wipes can easily upset the microbiome. This is why experts recommend that women only wash their vaginas with plain water. Putting anything else into the vagina has the potential to affect the microbiome, increasing the risk of infections. Could that also include cannabis?
Cannabis and CBD have antimicrobial properties, especially full-spectrum products that are rich in other cannabinoids and terpenes. So, could they potentially remove helpful bacteria as well as harmful ones?
Unfortunately, there is currently no research into how applying cannabis to the vagina impacts the microbiome. While short-term use does not appear to cause any problems, the long-term effects are still unknown.
Therefore, we would advise any women considering using cannabis products for vaginal health to exercise caution. Steer clear of any highly perfumed products and only use those that are specifically formulated for vaginal use.
Using Cannabis and CBD Products for a Healthy Vagina
Among the most popular cannabis-infused products for vaginal use are THC or CBD-containing lubes. Other options include CBD-infused tampons and pessaries that offer an alternative administration route for those unable to take CBD orally.
Many different brands are offering these products, and users report a variety of benefits. However, there are some potential pitfalls to be aware of too.
Firstly, it is essential to understand that the CBD market is currently unregulated. This means that unscrupulous companies looking to make a quick buck can get away with selling substandard fare.
Some products may have low levels of cannabinoids, meaning little therapeutic activity. Meanwhile, others could contain substances that might harm the delicate tissues of the vagina and vulva.
The best way to reduce the risk is to only buy from brands that publish third-party lab reports on their websites. These allow consumers to view precisely what is in each product before buying, ensuring it is both effective and safe.
Secondly, it is best only to use products that have been created specifically for vaginal use. For example, products with additional flavorings or colorings are unsuitable as they could upset the balance of the vaginal microbiome.
Finally, remember that research into how cannabis and its active compounds affect vaginal health is still lacking. The long-term effects of these products are, therefore, unknown.
Anyone wishing to use THC or CBD for a healthy vagina may want to consult a gynecologist beforehand. This is especially important for anyone who suffers from frequent yeast infections, urinary tract infections, or other vaginal health issues.
Cannabis and CBD for a Healthy Vagina: Final Thoughts
More and more cannabis and CBD products for vaginal health are steadily appearing on the market. And although clinical evidence is sparse, they appear to offer a variety of benefits.
It appears that THC and CBD-infused lubes may be particularly useful. They have the potential to promote relaxation, reduce pain, and increase pleasure. Although other products are less popular, we expect to see them becoming more widely available soon.
As always, there are a few precautions to be aware of. While products explicitly created for vaginal use should be safe, consumers should only buy from reputable brands.
It is also advisable to look for detailed lab reports to confirm the exact ingredients of each product before buying. Doing this should ensure that cannabis and CBD are promoting a healthy vagina and not making matters worse.