One thing that weed and menopause have in common is stigma.
Cannabis enthusiasts and advocates are aware of the vast amount of ways that the plant can be an ally to humans. Cannabis laws are slowly relaxing and more and more studies are published about the therapeutic and environmental benefits of cannabis every day. Everyday people are beginning to open their hearts and minds to accepting this indispensable plant.
We can only hope that the same thing can happen in regards to how our culture views menopause, aging and women’s hormones in general.
In the meantime, researchers continue to work towards helping women find relief for their menopausal symptoms which include but aren’t limited to:
- Mood changes such as depression, irritability and anxiety
- Vaginal dryness
- Body temperature fluctuations such as hot flashes, chills and night sweats
- Insomnia and other sleep problems
- Weight gain and slowed metabolism
- Hair loss
- Dry skin
- Loss of bone density
- Lowered sex drive
Formal studies and anecdotes are revealing that the well-known cannabinoid CBD has a lot to offer in bringing balance to our bodies, including ways to manage and mitigate some of the above menopausal symptoms. CBD does this by interacting with our endocannabinoid system.
Endocanna-what?? The endocannabinoid system in a nutshell
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a regulatory system within the body and found in all mammals, vertebrates and invertebrates. The ECS is full of receptors that are bound to endocannabinoids which are compounds created within the body, or cannabinoids which are similar compounds found in some members of the plant kingdom. High levels of cannabinoids are found in the cannabis plant specifically.
When endocannabinoids or cannabinoids bind to the various ECS receptors, this sends a signal to the ECS to kick into gear and assist the regulation of many bodily systems and processes including:
- Sleep cycles
- Mood patterns and neurochemical release
- Reproduction and fertility
Menopause symtoms are connected to many of the systems within the ECS. Maintaining a high-functioning ECS is part of managing menopause.
CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabis compound. This means that it won’t produce a high the way THC does, making it appealing for those using CBD therapeutically. It is a safe and effective way to keep things running smoothly even during times of extreme hormone fluctuation.
CBD for brain chemistry and mood stability
Mood fluctuations such as bouts of depression and/or anxiety are common during menopause. Perhaps this is due to hormone changes, or the changes in mood could be a result of coping with other menopausal symptoms. Either way, mood swings are no fun.
CBD can help boost levels of certain neurotransmitters such as serotonin, also known as “the happy chemical.” Optimized serotonin levels can contribute to the relief of anxiety and low mood.
A 2014 study done on mice reveals that CBD was able to reduce anxiety and depression symptoms significantly. Another study from 2015 suggests that CBD has the potential to treat a variety of anxiety disorders.
Hot flash-induced anxiety is common in menopausal women. CBD could offer relief for this type of anxiety therefore lessening the intensity of a hot flash experience.
Rest well: CBD as a tool for falling and staying asleep
Sleep issues are a common problem for those experiencing menopause.
A 2020 CBD review suggests that high doses of CBD can have a sedating effect. This could be of help to people who suffer from menopausal insomnia by assisting them in falling asleep more easily.
Some insomnia sufferers experience high levels of cortisol during the night. Cortisol is a stress hormone responsible for the “fight or flight” response. It can cause one to wake up in the middle of the night, and make it difficult to fall back asleep afterwards. A 2019 study revealed that participants taking 300-600 mg of CBD showed decreased levels of cortisol. The effect on cortisol levels shows the potential of CBD to be used to treat restless sleep and insomnia. Another 2020 review suggests that CBD could improve sleep quality, minimize sleep disturbances, and help one to fall asleep faster.
CBD for bone density, joint pain and inflammation
Bone loss is a common factor for women as we age. Osteoporosis affects 1 in 4 women over the age of 65. Certain preventative measures can be taken such as resistance training and a high-mineral diet. CBD has the potential to help prevent bone loss. A 2008 animal study revealed that CBD interacts with a cannabinoid receptor responsible for bone density. This could mean that CBD may be useful in maintaining bone health as we age. Human studies regarding CBD and bone density levels are still needed.
Estrogen levels start to decrease during menopause. This causes inflammation which leads to joint pain and even menopausal arthritis. A 2015 study done on animals found that CBD reduced pain and inflammation when used topically. Topical applications of CBD are an efficient way to deliver the compounds directly to the area of discomfort.
Types of CBD products to use for menopause symptoms
- Oils and tinctures. These products contain CBD compounds that come in a carrier oil or are extracted for tinctures using alcohol. These are taken sublingually and are perfect for extended CBD use. They are convenient; easy to bring anywhere and take when needed.
- Capsules. CBD capsules are a great alternative for those folks who have an aversion to the taste and/or texture of CBD oil or tincture. They are a great way to maintain consistent CBD dosing.
- Edibles. CBD edibles such as gummies and other treats make taking CBD fun and rewarding. Who doesn’t want a sweet treat that brings pleasure to the taste buds and relief to uncomfortable menopause symptoms at the same time?
- Topicals. CBD pain creams and gels are excellent for localized discomfort such as joint pain, injuries and menopausal arthritis. CBD bath bombs offer a double hit of relief: bathing in CBD is excellent for terating pain and inflammation, and baths are a soothing way to relieve menopausal anxiety.
- Vape products. Vaping CBD is a fast and effective way to treat menopause symptoms as the effects are felt within approximately 10 minutes of vaping. This can be useful for a sudden onset of symptoms such as hot flashes or anxiety attacks.
- CBD Flower. Smoking CBD bud offers similar benefits to vaping as the effects are delivered shortly after consuming. As well, many folks consider the act of smoking to be relaxing and anxiety-relieving in itself.
CBD is anti-inflammatory and has been shown to bring pain relief when used either internally or topically.
Yes. CBD is sedating in high doses which can contribute to falling asleep more easily. It also reduces cortisol levels. Cortisol can be one reason behind waking up during the night.
Studies have revealed that CBD has the potential to bring mood stability and lower anxiety symptoms. However, it’s best to consult your doctor first before commencing alternative treatments for mental health
CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid. This means that it offers many of the same benefits as other forms of cannabis, without producing a mental high. This is great for people that want to take it consistently throughout the day without having it interfere with energy levels and mental state.
Cover your CBD bases, then proceed
Where to begin? If you are new to CBD and cannabis products, dosing and choosing products can be confusing and even overwhelming.
It is always best to speak with your doctor or medical professional before commencing any type of alternative treatment.
It’s also wise to consult with a cannabis expert. The friendly staff at The Green Dragon CBD are trained and educated to accurately answer any inquiries you may have about using CBD therapeutically. Click here to submit your questions – and remember, no question is a bad question!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, JEN OLSON
Jennifer Olson is a copywriter with a deep knowledge of the cannabis industry. She was born and raised on an island in BC, Canada and currently resides in the Slocan Valley, BC. She is passionate about science and research and could potentially bore you with talk of mycelium, neurochemicals, you name it. Connect with her on Instagram or read other posts by Jen.