Can CBD help with my menopause symptoms?
As a woman ages, so her levels of oestrogen and progesterone decline. This is a gradual process to the point that menstruation stops altogether.
The whole process can begin from your 40’s and many women do not appreciate the physical and psychological impact this hormonal transition has on body and mind. Menopausal Symptoms and severity are individual but there are common shared signals. Tiredness, hot flushes, low libido, night sweats and disturbed sleep, depression, anxiety, vaginal dryness to name a few. There are also long term associated conditions associated with menopause such as loss of bone density and heart disease. The adrenal glands can also try to compensate for the loss in sex hormones during menopause by producing hormones to deal with the imbalance. This can lead to further issues and result in adrenal fatigue. All cheery stuff!
Menopausal terminology can be confusing:
Perimenopause – is the time in which oestrogen and progesterone begin their decline. Periods may be irregular and differ in flow intensity. Symptoms begin yet are gradual. I know this to be the frog in the boiling pot stage as symptoms such as anxiety and weight gain can creep up unnoticed.
Menopause – The time from which you have not had a period for 12 months.
Post menopause – From that 12 months cessation of the menstrual cycle.
You can see how confusing this is! You won’t know if you are officially in menopause until you reach 12 months without a period and thereafter are post-menopausal. Go figure!
Anyhow lets talk about whether CBD oil could help with any of the symptoms.
CBD is a plant compound (cannabinoid) that interacts with our endocannabinoid system, a collection of receptors in the brain, organs, tissue, in fact receptor sites have been discovered throughout the body. Research has found that endocannabinoids regulate many functions within the body such as mood, immunity, nervous system response, sleep, pain and more. It would seem logical that changes in our sex hormones during menopause alter the way the endocannabinoid system functions.
Oestrogen and proper endocannabinoid function are closely linked. Oestrogen regulates fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) levels in the blood, during menopause the decline in oestrogen causes an imbalance. In addition, Anandamide the very first endocannabinoid to be discovered has direct ovarian function as it aids in the maturation and release of the egg. Also, oestrogen activates the endocannabinoid system for regulation of emotional response, something that feels very out of balance during the onset of perimenopause.
So it becomes interesting when we consider the relationship between declining levels of oestrogen, the proper functioning of our endocannabinoid system and how CBD supports its regulatory role.
CBD is not a cure for menopause but it may (in the light of research and physiology) relieve some of the symptoms in supporting endocannabinoid function.
Anxiety and mood. Mood changes are often common in menopause. Both low mood, depression and anxiety can arise through declining levels of oestrogen. CBD has shown positive signs in alleviating mood symptoms. Relevant research in mice has indicated that CBD can improve symptoms of anxiety and depression. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24923339/
Sleep. Disrupted sleep is a common symptom of menopause and endocannabinoids play an important role in the sleep/wake cycle. This does suggest that CBD can support a better nights sleep. Take before bedtime for maximum effect.
Pains. Menopause can elicit joint pain, migraine and general aches in the body. Research points to CBD as an effective aid in pain management through its anti-inflammatory action.
Hot Flushes. The endocannabinoid Anandamide helps to regulate body temperature. CBD increases the levels of anandamide in the body by inhibiting the action of FAAH this may help the body to self-regulate body temperature more effectively.
Bone density loss. As mentioned, oestrogen regulates bone cell growth. As it declines during menopause the risk of osteoporosis increases. Research has indicated that CBD can interact with receptors in preventing bone density loss.
In conclusion, the relationship between your endocannabinoid system and decreasing levels of oestrogen contribute to some symptoms of menopause. Supporting your endocannabinoid system during this transition could help alleviate or prevent some of those unpleasant symptoms.
As ever, if you are taking a prescription medication check with your consultant or GP before taking CBD.