woman CBD
Incontinence

CBD: A Cure All Or A Let Down For The Bladder?

There’s a lot of acronyms out there, but one that has been popping up everywhere is CBD. It’s becoming so popular that you can find it at most pharmacy store chains and even at your local grocery. Yet, despite seeing it everywhere, you probably still don’t know exactly what it is. You’ve likely heard claims that it reduces pain, fights anxiety, and alleviates insomnia. So, if it can do all of that, then we can’t help but wonder if it could help your bladder too. Sit tight and get comfortable as we explore what CBD is and if it can put a stop to bladder leaks (aka incontinence).

Keep Calm: CBD is NOT Marijuana

First things first, cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is not marijuana. It is a compound that is found in both marijuana and hemp plants, but it will not affect you like smoking marijuana would. The reason why marijuana is mind-altering is due to the main ingredient, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) that is found in the plant. While CBD does contain about .3% of THC, it’s not enough to have an intoxicating experience.

So, How Exactly Does CBD Work?

For this part, I’m going to need you to bare with me. I know science class didn’t cover this  back in high school, but this background will help make sense of things later. Our bodies actually have two receptors for cannabinoids, which are CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are more present in the brain and have an impact on movement, emotions, mood, and more. CB2 receptors, on the other hand, are found in the immune system, and affect inflammation and pain. While THC binds with these receptors, CBD actually suppresses receptors, specifically CB1 receptors. CBD may activate and produce physiological changes by binding with these receptors, such as decreasing pain or improving mood.

But, How Does This Help My Bladder?

What’s interesting is that the pathways related to bladder function have lots of CB1 receptors. This pathway includes the bladder, central nervous system, and the parts of the brain that communicate with the bladder.

When CBD comes into the picture and interacts with CB1 receptors, it could possibly improve urinary incontinence conditions by enhancing the detrusor muscles. The detrusor muscles are what expand and contract to hold or eliminate pee. Studies have also shown that cannabis might have a role in reducing the brain/bladder signals that tell you to go when you don’t have to. But scientists need to do a lot more research.

So, if you’re going to try CBD to help with bladder leaks, you may want some back up protection just in case. Lily Bird pads and underwear are designed just for that.

How Do I Take It?

You can take CBD in many ways, but most of the studies involving its impact on the bladder involve subjects taking it orally (i.e. pill form). You can also take it in the following ways:

  • Edible form – Hidden inside of mints and gummies. No one would know you’re using CBD.
  • Sublingual products – If you don’t want to deal with the additives put in edibles, then opt for letting the product absorb under the tongue.
  • Smoking/Vaping – It’s possible to smoke CBD cannabis flower in a joint, use a vaporizer, or inhale CBD concentrates.
  • Topicals – Many women have started using CBD-infused creams, salves, lotions, and balms. However, CBD may only impact the area its applied to when used this way.

Sounds Great, But Hold Your Horses!

With information like this you’re probably wondering how you can get your hands on it as soon as possible. However, hold your horses, cowgirl. While CBD sounds great, it is not yet FDA approved. It’s legal under federal law (if it doesn’t contain more than 0.3% of THC), but it’s still subject to regulation if it’s sold with a claim for therapeutic benefit. So, in other words, you can buy and use CBD, but be careful where you’re getting it from because it’s not exactly policed by public health entities.  

In addition, scientists need to do more research to explore the potential side effects and risks of using CBD. So far, the only real side effect of taking CBD is tiredness, but it’s best to speak with your doctor first to see if it may interact with any medications you’re taking. In the meantime, we’ll stay on the lookout for more updates on CBD and its impact on bladder leaks.  

Is an unruly bladder one of the things that’s stopping you from living your best life? Lily Bird can help. Lily Bird has you covered with pads and underwear delivered right to your door. Start your trial today.

By Jessica Thomas, MPH