To date Cannabidiol (CBD) has been studied at great lengths for its amazing therapeutic and health promoting benefits. From preclinical and clinical studies, evidence shows CBD to have anti-inflammatory, analgesic, neuroprotective, anti-seizure, antioxidant, antipsychotic, and anti-anxiety properties. With these properties CBD may in fact help treat various symptoms associated with menopause.
The average woman will start experiencing menopausal symptoms around the age of 50. At this age, the ovaries will start producing less and less estrogen, until they stop completely. The adrenal glands, however, continue producing estrogen, but nowhere near the amount the ovaries once produced. While menopause is in no way a disease, the symptoms can be debilitating, and at times life altering. Nevertheless, menopause is a natural occurrence in every woman’s life.
Some of the symptoms of menopause include:
- Mood changes
- Sleep disturbances
- Bone density loss
- Digestive issues
In more severe cases:
- Memory lapse
- Vaginal dryness
- Urinary tract infection
- Hair loss
- Weight gain
- Muscle tension
- Joint pain
Why does menopause produce unwanted symptoms?
When the ovary production of estrogen decreases, the adrenal glands take over production. Adrenal glands are located right above each kidney. These glands produce essential hormones that we can’t live without, such as cortisol (the ‘stress hormone’), adrenaline, sex hormones, etc.
Women with strong adrenal glands will have very little symptoms of menopause. Diet, exercise, and lifestyle usually play a big role in adrenal health. However, for those with burnt out adrenal glands, a small amount of hormones are being produced before, during, and after menopause. The health of the adrenals glands will determine just how severe the menopausal symptoms will be.
How does CBD work?
Each person has a very vital system present within their body, called the Endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS refers to a whole host of receptor cells in and throughout the body, and it works by communicating with CBD and other chemical messengers. The ECS plays an essential role in balancing and regulating a number of bodily functions including:
- Pain perception
- Regulating temperature
- Regulating mood
When the endocannabinoid system isn’t working properly, it can lead to various health issues. Disturbances, like excessive stress, poor diet, and lack of exercise can also throw the endocannabinoid system out of whack. But when a natural occurrence takes place, like menopause, if the adrenal glands aren’t working properly, it can disrupt the ECS, thus producing moderate to severe menopausal symptoms.
CBD and menopause
Consuming CBD helps the ECS in two major ways for menopausal symptoms.
CBD helps balance the ECS, which helps activate different receptors in the brain and throughout the body that specifically impact the endocrine system –– pineal gland, pituitary gland, thyroid, thymus, pancreas, liver, ovaries.
CBD stimulates the ECS, which has a huge impact on hormone levels in a positive way. In other words, CBD is a more natural approach to hormone therapy.
Here are a few ways CBD helps with symptoms of menopause:
Mood swings are perhaps the most common complaint of menopause. Often times, anxiety, depression, and other changes can be associated with menopause. When estrogen begins to decline, the production of an endogenous cannabinoid known as anandamide, the “bliss molecule”, is affected by this decline. However, CBD helps conserve anandamide by inhibiting its breakdown process. Additionally, studies have shown CBD to reduce anxiety in mice and in people with social anxiety disorders. In another study, researchers noticed that CBD improved motivation and pleasure in rats. This suggested that CBD may potentially help with depression. Researchers also noticed that CBD performs much like antidepressant medications.
Furthermore, CBD boosts the level of serotonin which helps to level out stress.
Another common complaint of menopause is sleep disturbances or insomnia. Some sleep disturbances include sweating, freezing, irritability, etc. Research shows that CBD has a positive impact on an overactive mind.
The number one inhibitory neurotransmitter responsible for calming the mind is Gaba. It’s been linked to relieving stress, pain, even epilepsy. CBD increases the receptors in the brain for gaba by turning them on or making them attach better. Adrenal glands control sleep cycle and temperature, but when menopause sets in, it will cause them to sputter –– going up and down. CBD helps regulate, balance, and produce a calming effect.
In one study, researchers concluded that CBD influenced a significant increase in sleep in a ten-year-old girl suffering from PTSD and insomnia.
Surprisingly, menopause causes loss of bone density and, in more severe cases, osteoporosis. The medical arena often prescribes estrogen replacement therapy. Although estrogen replacement therapy may help balance out hormones and improve bone health, too much estrogen therapy can cause breast cancer in participating patients. Supporting the adrenal glands can help fix that.
In recent studies, researchers discovered that CB2 receptors were discovered in bone tissue cells –– osteoblasts (which make new bone) and osteoclasts (which break down bone). These cells help regulate bone health, and are receptive to CBD. Consumption of CBD helps increase the count of osteoblast activity, thus preventing bone loss and improving overall bone health.
Overall, CBD is a therapeutic agent for a number of health related conditions. These conditions are often associated with menopause in many women. It’s important to consult a doctor before consuming CBD if you are taking other pharmaceutical medications.