If you’ve been paying attention over the past few years, you would have noticed the constant revelations surrounding CBD and its health benefits. There are boundless articles and scientific research that call attention to the multi-faceted uses of CBD. Yet another perk of the cannabis compound is that it may relieve certain symptoms of menopause – music to the ears of millions of women!
Menopause is an inevitable phase of life that all women past a certain age will experience, and nearly all of us females will encounter some symptoms. Menopause is the natural biological process that marks the end of your menstrual cycles. Women are born with millions of immature eggs in their ovaries. When monthly periods start (during puberty), an egg is released and our bodies are pumped full of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. As we age, our supply of eggs shrinks and once all our eggs have disappeared, our periods stop and the estrogen bursts go away, triggering menopause. This decreased production of estrogen can cause many changes in the body, with some common symptoms including hot flushes, weight gain, problems with sleeping, mood swings and a reduced sex drive.
With a lack of understanding and treatments surrounding menopause, many women can feel helpless and depressed when experiencing this natural part of life. With research indicating that CBD could help ease unwelcome symptoms, this medicine could prove to be life-changing for women around the world.
How can CBD help with menopause symptoms?
As the endocannabinoid system plays a necessary role in menopause – cannabinoid receptors play a role in controlling mood regulation, the immune system, sleep and fertility, to name a few – it is believed that CBD could feasibly influence the effects of menopause on the body. Whilst there have been no specific studies on the effect of CBD on menopause overall, there is evidence that it can help with the various symptoms that come with it.
All of us need good sleep in order to live our most productive and best quality lives: inadequate sleep has been proven to have a damaging effect on our cognitive functions and mental health. It is one of life’s most essential necessities. During the various stages of menopause (perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause), sleep disturbances are reported to be very common and are typically associated with the hot flushes and sweating that menopause can cause.
Studies have suggested that CBD can be an effective natural remedy for insomnia sufferers, thanks to the way it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, the system that regulates a variety of bodily functions, including sleep. A 2019 study that set out to determine whether CBD helps improve sleep and/or anxiety in a clinical population found that sleep scores improved within the first month in 66.7% of patients.
Anxiety and mood swings
The wavering of estrogen and progesterone in your body during menopause can cause feelings of anxiety or depression. The sleeping issues that appear during many women’s menopause can additionally spur anxiety on.
The burgeoning popularity of CBD products as anti-anxiety supplements is backed with a good deal of persuasive research, with analysis indicating that CBD counters anxiety by stimulating neurotransmitter systems and neural regeneration. Serotonin, a natural mood stabilizer produced by the body, can impact our mood: a deficiency in it has been linked to increased anxiety. Serotonin has multiple receptors but CBD specifically binds to 5-HT1A , the receptor thought to have the strongest role in anxiety disorders. CBD interaction with the endocannabinoid system can help to balance it, and therefore help regulate mood swings.
A 2018 study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that medical cannabis significantly reduced the rating of depression, anxiety, and stress in over 11,953 tracked data sessions. Interestingly, women reported larger reductions in anxiety due to cannabis intake than men.
Joint and muscle pain
As estrogen levels diminish during menopause, women can suffer from joint and muscle aches, pains and stiffness. This is because estrogen helps to reduce inflammation and helps regulate fluid levels that keeps joint tissues hydrated.
CBD’s is perhaps most famous for its anti-inflammatory properties. There are plenty of professional athletes that attest to this, as well as scientific studies. CBD has demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects in several inflammatory conditions (such as arthritis) and although more human studies are needed, experiments conducted on animal models have observed the ‘robust anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective and analgesic effects of CBD’.
Decreased hormone levels are bound to impact on many women’s sex drive, and many women have spoken of vaginal dryness and tightness during menopause which equals painful sex.
Enter CBD. There are various ways that CBD can help with sex drive, from increasing blood flow to working it’s magic as an anti-inflammatory, and these days you are likely to see CBD products such as lubricants and creams designed to help with women’s sexual pleasure in health shops and online. Colleen Gerson, a functional medicine coach and herbalist at Foria – the CBD sexual wellness brand, has commented on their CBD lubricant products, explaining that they “enhance pleasure and libido by increasing blood flow, which increases lubrication and sensation, relaxing smooth muscle tissue, and easing tension.”
In a 2019 study administered by CBD and hemp resources website Remedy Review that looked into CBD’s effect on sex, found that out of the participants that used CBD to alleviate pain and soreness after sex, 98% agreed that CBD helped alleviate pain associated with sex. Amazingly, in the whole survey of over 1000 people, 68% of partakers said CBD oil or products improved their sexual experience!
The go-to remedy for combating menopause symptoms has usually been hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT comes with dangers such as the increased risk of breast and ovarian cancers. CBD has proven to help many women manage their symptoms and has become a significant area of interest for doctors and women due to its potential as a low-risk treatment option for menopause symptoms.
Dr. Melanie Bone, a board-certified Obstetrician-gynecologist and cannabis specialist believes that cannabinoids can benefit many of us, and has clients who have managed to alleviate all menopause symptoms through combining their hormone therapy with the use of CBD: “There are more issues at stake in menopause: sexual dysfunction, dryness, urinary complaints, and weight changes. While some of these complaints are best managed with hormones, in women who have contraindications to using estrogen, such as a history of breast cancer, there is a definite role for cannabinoids to help as well.”
With evidence that shows CBD to be a treatment for many of the symptoms that menopause causes, there is no harm in testing out CBD to help alleviate some of these specific symptoms and see how it works for you. Make sure to take a high-quality, reputable CBD oil and follow the dosage instructions.