Menopause, literally meaning the end of menstruation, affects all women differently. Some experience mild and manageable symptoms, while others suffer from persistent hot flashes, sleep disturbances, osteoporosis and depression. It typically hits between 45 and 55, with some experiencing "the change" much younger.
During menopause, oestrogen levels drop, triggering a tsunami of processes as the body fights to find equilibrium or a new normal. Early research suggests that the endocannabinoid system could be the key to navigating these changes, with hemp-derived ingredients offering a natural and safe alternative to hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Artificially replacing lost oestrogen with combination HRT has long been the accepted treatment for managing menopause, but individuals must weigh up the benefits with the risks. For example, using combination-HRT therapies, even for a short time, increases the risk of breast cancer by up to 75%.
CBD and THC are now at the centre of studies into the effects of hemp-derived products on classic menopausal symptoms. In addition, we know that the endocannabinoid system plays a role in the female reproductive system, as evidenced by this study from the Journal of Ovarian Research.
Unfortunately, direct research on the effects of CBD on menopause and perimenopause symptoms is thin. So instead, we have to approach the research from another angle and find evidence that CBD can help individual symptoms associated with menopause.
What is CBD oil, and how does it help with menopause symptoms?
CBD is extracted from the flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant. By definition, CBD oil contains low levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), so it does not cause euphoria or any psychotropic effects on your brain. However, many people use it to help with anxiety, pain, sleep disorders and more.
CBD works by regulating natural cannabinoid receptors on cells in your body. When you consume a product that contains cannabinoids such as hemp oil or cannabis-based extracts (including CBD), the result is a subtle activation of these receptors.
Researchers are currently investigating the link between CBD and menopausal symptoms. In addition, since ECS receptors are found in high concentrations in the female reproductive system, scientists want to understand if and how this might impact menopausal women.
We already know that cannabinoid receptors are involved with:
- Immune function
- Pain response
- Sleep patterns
- Fertility and reproduction
- Temperature regulation
The ECS may play a role in regulating the hormone-dependent balance of sex hormones, which has been suggested to be responsible for many symptoms during menopause and after. The following studies may indicate that CBD could be an alternative to HRT for those worried about the associated risks.
CBD and mood changes
A 2015 review found that CBD can help to reduce the effects of depression and anxiety in mice. But it is worth noting that a 2020 review cautioned that there is limited evidence of the same results in humans.
In 2019, researchers shared the results of a study into CBD and PTSD. Researchers found that CBD led to a decrease in PTSD symptom severity after eight weeks of continued use.
CBD and sleep patterns
Menopausal women often complain of sleeplessness, which can have a considerable impact on day-to-day life. A 2020 review points to the role that endocannabinoids play in sleep-wake cycles. In addition, anecdotal evidence suggests that many individuals are turning to CBD to help improve their sleep.
CBD and hot flashes
CBD is known to bind to receptors responsible for temperature control. Hot flashes are thought to be the result of circulation changes. Evidence is growing to suggest that CBD may be beneficial to the cardiovascular system. CBD is believed to cause vasorelaxation, which is a reduction in tension in your blood vessel walls.
CBD and the reproductive system
Many women use CBD for menstrual cramps or PMS symptoms because it can reduce your physical discomfort without making you feel groggy, as many pain relievers do.
Endometriosis is another painful condition that causes painful periods. With endometriosis, uterine tissue is found outside of the uterus. This condition can lead to chronic pain due to a build-up of scar tissue. Clinical trials are currently underway to investigate the possible benefits of CBD for endometriosis symptoms.
CBD and bone density
Oestrogen is known to help maintain bone density, so menopause can lead to the onset of osteoporosis. In addition, these hormonal changes increase the risk of bone breaks later in life. Studies have shown that CBD is beneficial to preventing bone density loss, and it can also help broken bones heal faster.
Is there any risk in taking CBD Oil for my menopausal symptoms?
CBD has been proven to be very well tolerated in humans, even in very high quantities. If a user takes too much CBD, they might feel slightly nauseous and sleepy for the rest of the day, but the effects will be short-lived. There are no known lasting problems that arise as the result of taking too much CBD.
There is the risk of drug interactions, particularly medicines which come with a grapefruit warning. If you are taking any other medication, it's essential to consult with your doctor before using CBD, as it could slow down the absorption of your medication.
Will CBD work for everyone?
Since research is still ongoing into the benefits of CBD for a range of conditions, no one can say that CBD will work for everyone. However, we know that some people react positively to the addition of CBD into their daily routine, while others hardly notice a change.
Be cautious of anyone selling CBD is a miracle cure-all; it certainly isn't that. But if you are looking for a daily supplement that can support your health, you may find CBD beneficial.
How can I try CBD for menopause symptoms?
CBD tincture oil drops taken under the tongue offer a simple and accessible way to try CBD products. This method is easy to dose using a pipette dropper. We recommend starting with a low-to-mid strength CBD and building up slowly. We created this CBD dosage guide to help you understand the ideal place to start.
Listen to your body and pay attention to the small changes you may notice. Keeping a symptom journal can help you to identify when you have reached your optimal dosage.