Can CBD Oil Help With Menopause?
- A review from Frontiers of Immunology discussed the potential of cannabidiol (CBD) to act as a neuroprotectant that could stabilize mood (1). The researchers also hypothesized that CBD might positively affect anxiety, mood swings, depression, and insomnia, which are menopause symptoms.
- An article published in the Neurotherapeutics journal noted that CBD might have anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and sleep-promoting effects (2).
- Joint pain and inflammation are common menopause symptoms. A study by the American Society for Clinical Investigation suggested that CBD might reduce inflammation (3).
- A review published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics has observed that CBD oil tested on animal subjects did not produce changes in estrogen levels (4). It was concluded that CBD could not cure or delay the progression of menopause in mice.
Why Women Are Turning to CBD for Menopause
Several menopause symptoms can affect a menopausal woman’s body. As the demand for natural treatments grows, alternative options that may help alleviate some menopausal symptoms are also drawing interest.
Animal and human studies suggest that CBD, a natural plant extract, may help with symptoms and conditions linked to menopause.
CBD vs. Acne and Skin Inflammation
The common inflammation problems that bother menopausal women are skin inflammation and acne. Fluctuations in hormone levels contribute to this problem.
According to a 2019 article published in the International Journal of Women’s Health, acne has become a prevalent menopausal symptom (5).
Although acne is predominant during adolescence, it may also affect women during menopause and perimenopause. Acne can also be caused by stress, genetics, lack of sleep, and an unhealthy lifestyle.
The American Society of Clinical Investigation suggested in a 2014 study that CBD may reduce inflammation, especially on oil-secreting glands in the skin(6).
Researchers found that CBD might potentially improve acne and excessive sweating by preventing excess lipogenesis caused by acne-causing agents (7).
CBD vs. Pain
A 2017 large case study published by the International Association for the Study of Pain conducted tests on laboratory rats. In the study, rats with induced osteoarthritis were treated with CBD (8).
The scientists conducting the experiment have found that local CBD treatment blocked acute joint inflammation on test subjects.
It was also presented that CBD might act as a neuroprotectant that could prevent nerve damage (9). They also found that CBD might be safe and useful in treating osteoarthritis joint neuropathic pain.
Moreover, a 2018 study found that CBD might possess properties that could block headaches and migraines (10).
CBD vs. Anxiety, Sleep Disruptions, and Mood Swings
A report published in the Frontiers of Immunology had found that CBD has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and sleep-promoting effects (11).
Another significant case study published in 2019 at the Permanente Journal (12) described how CBD has potentially improved sleep and anxiety problems in 72 adults.
The experiment findings indicated that the anxiety decreased for 57 (79.2%) individuals in the first month and remained that way throughout the 12-week study period.
Also, 48 individuals (66.7%) experienced better sleep in the first month of treatment, with some fluctuations with the following months.
CBD vs. the Female Libido
A 2019 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine suggested that cannabinoid receptors might be present in the uterus (13).
The study also discussed a significant relationship between the endocannabinoid system and the female sexual arousal.
The study concluded that these findings might be promising. However, more research is needed to confirm if CBD does help in increasing a woman’s sexual drive.
CBD vs. Osteoporosis
Bone mass growth starts during childhood and continues throughout adulthood.
The peak bone mass can reach until the age of 40. Afterward, bone density starts to decline (14). When a woman’s estrogen levels go down, she starts to experience bone loss.
Many menopausal women eventually get diagnosed with osteoporosis.
A 2010 article published on Current Neuropharmacology discussed that the skeletal cannabinoid system has a significant role in regulating bone density (15).
However, research is needed to verify how CBD might affect a woman’s bone density. Follow-up studies are necessary to determine if there is indeed a connection between the endocannabinoid system and the skeletal system.
How CBD Oil Works to Help Menopause
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a biological system of neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors in the human body. It is recognized as a neuromodulatory system whose function is to maintain body homeostasis (16).
ECS receptors, cannabinoid 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid 2 (CB2), are present in the brain, immune system, nervous system, and other peripheral organs. Their primary function is to regulate physiological and cognitive processes, including pain, appetite, mood, fertility, and memory (17).
Research on the ECS remains in the preliminary stage. However, studies have found that cannabinoids, such as CBD and THC, stimulate and interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors in different ways (18).
A review published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics discussed how CBD showed estrogen receptor binding properties during an experiment with animal test subjects (19).
However, the review observed that CBD administration on the subjects did not produce changes in estrogen levels.
Estrogen has several effects on brain functions and has therapeutic potential to improve mood, anxiety, and depression.
With the decreasing estrogen levels in the body, menopausal women lose their natural ability to modulate brain functions (20).
A 2015 study published in the American Society for Experimental Neurotherapeutics journal discussed CBD’s ability to interact with CB1 receptors in the brain, thereby regulating mood, anxiety, and other relevant disorders (21).
Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for Menopause
- CBD may serve as a mood booster and may contribute to relieving symptoms of menopause such as anxiety, depression, and mood swings (22).
- CBD may reduce sleep disturbances and help improve sleep quality (23).
- CBD may trigger CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system, leading to an analgesic effect. This may help with headaches, acne, and joint pain (24).
- CBD oils do not need prescriptions. Hemp-derived products with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels not exceeding 0.3% are no longer illegal in all 50 states and US territories. However, certain states and regions have outlawed CBD. Always check with your local laws before purchasing or transporting CBD.
- Many CBD oil brands have concentrations made from organic, vegan, and gluten-free hemp.
- Many distinguished health agencies, including the World Health Organization (WHO), stated that CBD is generally well-tolerated and safe (25).
- CBD can be expensive. Some high-end brands are being sold for as high as $400 for a few thousand milligrams of CBD.
- People have to do extensive research before buying the right product. Although there are mid-level priced CBD brands, most customers are not willing to experiment with different types of CBD products.
- The CBD industry is still unregulated. Individuals should research product specifications, testimonials, and reviews.
- CBD can also present with a few side effects, such as sleepiness, dry mouth, diarrhea, and mood swings (26).
- CBD is not legal in many countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
- CBD may interact with other medications. Individuals must consult with a physician before adding CBD to their daily regime.
How Does CBD Compare to Other Alternative Treatments?
Herbal vitamins and supplements are well-known alternative treatments. Many of these are traditional plants that have been used by women for generations to treat menopause.
In North America, Black Cohosh is used to improve sexual function, reduce hot flashes, and improve bone health. In China, the traditional medicine to improve estrogen levels is wild yam.
Maca, a plant native to South America, is traditionally used to help with anemia, infertility, and hormone imbalance.
Meanwhile, evening primrose oil (EPO) is a commercially available supplement used to treat hot flashes. A 2019 study (27) published in the Journal of Evidence-based Integrative Medicine mentioned that EPO reduced hot flashes during random controlled trials.
CBD is also currently considered as an alternative treatment to some menopause symptoms, but is not yet recognized by the FDA (28).
Since its legalization, CBD has been compared to herbal supplements for its potential to improve sleep, and fatigue (29).
How to Choose the Right CBD Oil for Menopause Symptoms
One must understand the difference between the three types of CBD oil before deciding to purchase. Knowing how each type works enables an individual to make an educated decision.
The type of CBD oil depends on the combination of cannabinoids that are contained in the product.
Full-spectrum CBD oil contains all the cannabinoids that are present in hemp, such as cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This formula also contains terpenes.
Together, all the cannabinoids create an entourage effect. This means that the individual takes in all the benefits from the cannabinoids.
Since full-spectrum CBD oil is rich in cannabinoids, this type works best for menopause. The THC, although low in content, may also contribute to alleviating some symptoms (30).
Broad-spectrum CBD oil contains all the cannabinoids from full-spectrum without the presence of THC. Some women may not prefer the psychoactive effects produced by THC.
CBD isolate contains 99% pure CBD without the presence of other cannabinoids. This type of CBD is for women who cannot tolerate other cannabinoids.
The CBD oil market remains unregulated. Thus, individuals are encouraged to do their research before buying.
To address customers’ doubts, many brands present a certificate of analysis (COA) to go along with their CBD products. The COA lab test results must come from ISO-certified third-party laboratories.
Lab results indicate that the product is free from contaminants and that the CBD concentration levels are the same as advertised. The COA is often posted on the company’s official website.
Knowing the extraction method is also essential. The CO2-extraction process ensures that no heat or solvents are added. This keeps the concentrates pure and free from harmful chemicals.
Here are additional tips on shopping for the best CBD oil:
- Always choose non-GMO organic hemp-derived CBD oil products from legitimate brands.
- When buying CBD cartridges, make sure that the concentration does not contain fillers or other toxic substances like propylene glycol and polyethylene glycol.
- Do some research on brand reviews and customer testimonials.
CBD Dosage for Menopause
Additional studies are needed to determine the appropriate dosage for any health condition when using CBD. Individuals must use CBD with discretion by starting with small doses. The desired effects may vary depending on the person. The FDA does not recognize CBD as a treatment for anything other than rare childhood seizure disorders.
CBD’s acute toxicity is very low, and no deaths are linked to CBD use. A 2017 study reported that CBD given to test subjects over 12 weeks did not produce physiological changes in gastrointestinal transit, blood pressure, body temperature, glucose levels, and heart rate (31).
However, one must remain cautious and consult a doctor before experimenting with doses.
How to Take CBD Oil for Menopause
The best CBD products for menopause symptoms may vary according to one’s preference.
For individuals in need of immediate relief, the fastest method to absorb CBD into the system is through vaping.
Vaping brings CBD into the bloodstream in minutes. However, this does not ensure prolonged effects. Also, vaping CBD oil comes with risks for menopausal women. One must consult a physician before she considers vaping.
For women who want to maintain overall mood balance and reduce anxiety, the ideal product to take is CBD tinctures. Drops of the CBD extract may be placed underneath the tongue and kept there before swallowing. This method ensures a long-lasting effect.
Another oral ingestion method is eating CBD gummies. Although the CBD delivery is not as quick, CBD gummies are easy to take and can satisfy one’s sugar cravings.
For women who do not want to ingest CBD orally or through inhalation, they may use specialized CBD products for topical administrations.
CBD ointments and gels are the best way to address joint pain and inflammation. Moreover, some brands have CBD creams for eczema, psoriasis, and other skin issues.
CBD moisturizers work best on women who are bothered by acne and skin inflammation. The topical method ensures that CBD is applied only to targeted areas.
Note that CBD oil is not the same as hemp oil or hemp seed oil. CBD is usually extracted from the flowers and stems of hemp plants. Hemp seed oil may possess some anti-inflammatory properties, but it does not contain CBD.
CBD bath salts is another topical method to address night sweats and hot flashes. Some brands produce CBD suppositories and personal lubricants to address vaginal dryness.
The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology released a review that discussed CBD’s potential to improve blood circulation (32). However, more studies are needed to determine if the topical application of CBD on vaginal walls can improve blood flow. Currently, there is no evidence proving that CBD lubricants are better than the regular ones.
Although menopause is inevitable for middle-aged women around 50-60 years old, this does not mean that they must succumb to the symptoms. Women are allowed to choose among many modern and alternative treatments available.
The effects of CBD have long been discussed and studied by researchers due to its potential health benefits. Studies have shown that CBD may improve sleep quality, anxiety, stabilize mood, block pain, and inflammation (33).
Whatever treatments women decide on taking to improve their quality of life, health experts still advise that a lifestyle change is essential.
Women are advised to maintain a healthy weight and a low-sugar diet. They must do more exercise, reduce stress factors in everyday life, and avoid smoking (34).
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