The menopause can cause havoc for women and their quality of life, with changes to their menstrual periods, sleeping difficulties and mood swings to name just a few menopause symptoms. One of the typical treatments for trying to alleviate symptoms of the menopause is hormone replacement therapy (HRT), to try to replace or balance hormones – but some types of HRT can increase the risk of breast cancer, and the forms of HRT can impact what risks are increased.
Many of the menopausal symptoms are issues that CBD oil could be used to treat, so while there is still much to be learned about CBD oil and its benefits, there is enough evidence to suggest using CBD in menopause could be useful for helping women in menopause improve their quality of life!
What is CBD oil?
CBD is short for ‘Cannabidiol’ which is one of the main cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, but unlike the other main cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol or ‘THC’, it doesn’t have an intoxicating effect. In fact, the World Health Organization’s report on CBD found that there was no abuse potential, indicating that people using CBD for any reason are not going to become addicted.
CBD oil does come in a few forms, from CBD isolate products that contain only the cannabinoid CBD, but broad-spectrum CBD products contain CBD and other flavonoids and terpenes found in the hemp plant to create the ‘entourage effect’ - a synergy between these compounds to enhance their effectiveness. The last type of CBD product are full-spectrum CBD products, which are like broad-spectrum CBD products but contain the psychoactive cannabinoid THC at low levels.
Usage of CBD oil to treat menopausal symptoms
To understand how using CBD for the menopause can be beneficial, we need to be aware of the symptoms. Symptoms of the menopause include:
- Changes in the menstrual period
- Hot flushes
- Mood swings
- Sleeping difficulties
- Hair loss
- Weight gain
- Trouble concentrating
- Vaginal dryness
- Loss of libido
- Digestive issues
- Loss of bone density
The way that CBD helps menopause symptoms is by interacting with the endocannabinoid system, or ‘ECS’ – the system found in animals that uses cannabinoid-like chemicals as neurotransmitters, our body’s communication method. By stimulating the ECS, CBD helps to regulate various systems in the body, from our inflammatory response to stimulating better management of hormone levels.
Hot flushes and mood swings
CBD may help hot flushes by better regulating hormone levels and by reducing feelings of anxiety which can add to the stress of hot flushes. This regulating of hormones can help women in menopause stay on a more even-keel, helping to reduce the impact of mood swings, and this can help to improve feelings of anxiety and depression. CBD itself can help with low mood by reducing the breakdown of the endocannabinoid anandamide which encourages feelings of happiness.
Trouble sleeping can lead to a downturn in mental health, potentially severely impacting quality of life. Improving our sleep could be the single best thing we can do to improve our health! CBD oil can help to improve your sleep quality by offering a degree of pain relief and by reducing inflammation.
The ability of CBD to help regulate hormones is also useful here, dopamine and serotonin levels are involved in our body’s reward system and mood regulation, and serotonin may well help produce healthy sleep patterns as a precursor to melatonin – the main hormone involved in sleep.
Hair loss can impact our confidence and this can have a knock-on effect in other areas of our lives. It is thought that stress can be a large contributing factor to hair loss, so the effect of CBD reducing anxiety is one way that CBD may help to reduce hair loss.
One study found that consumption of cannabis results in cannabinoids being found in the hair follicles. Research has shown that the receptors that CBD acts on, the CB1 and CBD2 receptors, are present in the hair follicles, suggesting some action for CBD on hair follicles.
There is also evidence that CBD can help to improve blood flow, and better blood flow to the scalp means better nutrient delivery – meaning healthier hair!
There are a number of ways that CBD helps prevent weight gain, or may even encourage weight loss. Low density lipoproteins, or ‘LDLs’, are typically known as ‘bad cholesterol’, and a hormone called resistin increases the production of this ‘bad cholesterol’. CBD is associated with a reduction in levels of resistin, as well as increased levels of GIP – a hormone that stimulates the release of insulin, which is responsible or taking glucose out of the blood, helping to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Neurotransmitters are responsible for our body working, and dopamine is one well known neurotransmitter that plays a role in motivation, perception, attention and movement, in addition to regulating hormone release. CBD can help to regulate dopamine levels to ensure the body’s systems communicate efficiently. In this way, CBD can help our brain function better, leading to better concentration!
The other effects of CBD promoting better sleep, regulating our mood and reducing stress will also help you to stay focused and think clearly.
Vaginal dryness and loss of libido
Oestrogen levels reduce in menopausal and perimenopausal women (perimenopause is the transition to menopause) and this results in reduced blood flow as oestrogen widens the blood vessels. This reduces oxygen and nutrient delivery, impacting vaginal health. Low oestrogen also means low libido, increased vaginal pH, more pain-perceiving nerves, and a reduced immuno-protective effect which leads to increased risk of infections. This can reduce sexual pleasure, and even lead to pain while sitting, walking, or urinating.
CBD encourages blood vessels to relax which increases blood flow, and this coupled with the ability to reduce inflammation can help maintain vaginal health and reduce pain. CBD oil may even desensitise pain-perceiving nerves, helping perimenopausal women and menopausal women enjoy a healthy sex life!
Many women experience digestive problems during menopause, and this is – once again – down to the changing levels of hormones associated with the menopause. This could be experienced as feeling bloated, experiencing acid reflux or abdominal discomfort more frequently. The changes occurring may also lead to an increased risk of developing food allergies and intolerances.
This is a real problem because, as scientists have found, the health of the gut has far-reaching implications for the rest of the body – including cognitive and physiological processes. That includes the immune system. We have seen how CBD can help to regulate the immune response, as well as reduce inflammation in areas of the body like the gut, helping it to recover as well as take up nutrients.
Loss of bone density
The drop in oestrogen levels leads to another significant change – a decrease in bone density. If bone mass is less than normal at this stage, this can lead to osteoporosis. It is estimated that women lose around 10% of their bone mass in the first five years after menopause, which means bone fractures can happen more easily. This means having to take a lot more care over everyday activities to prevent injury.
Dr Gabet of the Bone Research Laboratory at Tel Aviv University found that CBD makes bones stronger when they heal. This could indicate a use for CBD in maintaining strong bones, as well as improve the healing of bone fractures!
Best type of CBD product to use
There are no wrong answers when it comes to CBD oil and the menopause – from oral drops to topical creams, all can be used in some form to help alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life when women enter menopause.
- Ingestible CBD – CBD products you eat or take orally will see that CBD enter the bloodstream. CBD Gummies and CBD oral drops are a good example of an ingestible CBD product, and they enable the body to get the CBD to where it needs to be internally, so these products have the potential to help with all of the symptoms listed above.
- Topical CBD – These are creams or balms that are applied to a localised area. The cannabinoids don’t make it to the bloodstream but are absorbed by the skin and applied locally. These products could help with hair loss and vaginal dryness – many women who use cannabinoids on their vulvas report stronger and more pleasurable orgasms or an overall boost in their sexual sensations!
- CBD-infused lubricants – I think this one is self-explanatory… it will certainly get the CBD to where it is needed…
- CBD Vape – These are e-liquid preparations containing CBD. When you vape CBD, it is absorbed through the lining of the lungs. This absorption method is fast, but you may need to vape often to maintain an effective level of CBD in the blood.
CBD for menopause dosage
Everyone is a little different, and trials and studies for CBD often find a ‘dose-dependent’ effect when using CBD – this means that a low dose can produce the opposite effect to a high dose. At SMOKO, we suggest starting on a low dose of CBD, and then over time you will have a good idea of whether you want to up the dosage or stay at the same level.
The SMOKO CBD oral drops start off at a 500mg strength, and just a few drops under the tongue twice a day is a good dose to begin with. You can always add an extra drop when you dose, or dose three times a day before thinking about moving up to a stronger product. Our CBD products are broad-spectrum to benefit from the entourage effect, but without any risk of intoxication as our CBD products are THC-free.
What to look for when purchasing CBD oil
The most important thing to consider when buying your CBD product is to buy from a trustworthy source. One study investigated online-bought CBD products and found that 26% of the products tested had less CBD than advertised, and 43% had more. This can make dosing inaccurate, but more importantly, eighteen of the products in the study had levels of THC high enough to potentially cause intoxication – especially in children.
The key here is to see if the company has testing certificates available for you to see. At SMOKO, our testing certificates are available to view on our website.
Do remember that CBD can interact with medications you are taking so be sure to speak to your doctor before taking CBD if you are currently taking medication. You may be able to use CBD while on HRT but do consult your doctor for the best advice for dosing times to avoid any drug interactions.
CBD Oil and menopause: Can it Help? Conclusion
In addition to the many benefits that CBD can provide to both genders, the benefits of CBD for women extend into the menopause and could really help to alleviate stress at this time and make both the perimenopause and menopause itself a little more manageable.
At SMOKO, our broad-spectrum CBD products are made here in the UK using CBD cryogenically extracted from hemp plants responsibly grown in Oregon, USA. Check out our range of CBD Oil oral drops and CBD gummies!
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