Menopause is one of the most emotionally and physically tolling times for a woman. After puberty, it’s the one time that a woman’s body undergoes drastic changes. This experience is far from pleasant; from insomnia, pain, and hot flashes to mood swings, an average female deals with a lot. Luckily, CBD can help with menopause. Many studies suggest that the compound may have a physiological profile excellent for treating symptoms of menopause.
Before we understand how CBD helps with menopause, it’s important to wrap your head around what menopause entails, and how it affects the human body.
What Is Menopause?
Menopause is the last period in a woman’s menstrual cycle. It takes place when a person’s age exceeds 40 years. Hence, most commonly, menopause symptoms manifest themselves at 51 years of age.
Menopause can be broken down into three phases:
In perimenopause, the symptoms are mild and subtle. During this phase, the body’s estrogen production declines to prepare for menopause.
Menopause starts approximately one year after a woman’s last period, around the time when ovulation stops, and estrogen levels take a serious nosedive.
Postmenopause marks the end of menopause. In this period, menopausal symptoms fade away, and homeostasis is achieved.
What Are The Symptoms of Menopause?
Menopause can induce a whole range of symptoms. These include:
- weight gain
- hot flashes
- mood swings
Some women might also have anxiety and depression and may find it troubling to manage their day-to-day activities.
The Endocannabinoid System & Menopause
The Endocannabinoid system has a role to play in almost every function in the body. It is composed of a vast network of cell receptors that regulate the body’s internal environment or homeostasis.
Because cannabinoid molecules like THC and CBD can influence the activity of endocannabinoid receptors, they are thought to have great therapeutic value.
However, the endocannabinoid does not solely depend on cannabis compounds to sustain its activities — it also has its own line of compounds called endocannabinoids. These compounds share many similarities with cannabinoids.
Estrogens share a link with some critical endocannabinoid enzymes and compounds. It breaks down FAAH or fatty acid hydrolase enzymes that metabolize certain endocannabinoids. This is why when estrogen levels increase in the body, so do endocannabinoid levels.
Preclinical evidence indicates that endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome may be the reason behind early onset menopause.
Some studies also suggest that estrogen uses endocannabinoids to regulate mood and emotional response. Hence, this explains why mood swings are an integral ailment of most menopause experiences.
From these findings, we can deduce that cannabis for menopause may help strengthen the endocannabinoid system’s ability to modulate critical receptors that are having a hard time working in the absence of optimal estrogen activity.
Can Cannabis Help Relieve Menopause Symptoms?
Because legal restrictions surrounding cannabis use are still in effect, the research on the subject of cannabis and menopause is scarce. That said, the link between CBD and menopause is not new. It dates back to 1924 when scientists used cannabis as an analgesic to treat menopause symptoms.
In modern times, scientific investigation has also found cannabis to help with menopause. Here’s what we know for now:
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the main psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant. It shares a host of similarities with anandamide — a natural cannabinoid produced by the endocannabinoid system. Anandamide is also called the bliss molecule as it can instantly make a person feel euphoric like THC.
However, one important thing it has in common with THC is temperature regulation. This is why researchers think cannabis may have a pivotal role to play in reducing the potency and intensity of hot flashes during menopause.
Studies indicate that taking THC-rich strains of cannabis can reduce body temperature, thus effectively cooling the system. On the other hand, taking THC-lacking strains may have the inverse effect, so finding the right dose is crucial to have the best experience.
Insomnia and hot flashes are like peas in the same pod during menopause. When your body shivers with sweat and burns with fever, you may find it extremely difficult to get some shut-eye.
Some cannabis strains, especially those rich in CBD, are excellent as sleep-aids. And when coupled with natural sleep-inducing insomnia medications like Melatonin, they pack an even greater punch.
During menopause, hormonal fluctuations can bring about shockwaves of chronic pain. Some painful experience in this period include:
- sexual discomfort
- joint tenderness
- menstrual cramps
All these things can make life very difficult to navigate.
Cannabis is known for its pain-relieving properties. It can help women get back on their feet, but the key is to buy a CBD-dense product. Unlike opioids, CBD has an excellent safety profile, and aside from some mild side effects, isn’t reported to cause any serious problems. Some studies have also shown that it is 50% more effective than conventional drugs, such as morphine and fentanyl.
As already mentioned, estrogen helps keep endocannabinoid levels in check. When endocannabinoid levels drop, the immediate reaction is anxiety or depression.
One really confidence-draining effect of menopause is a concerning drop in libido and vaginismus. For women who’ve had formidable sex drive their whole life, this symptom could be really off-putting. Especially at a time when your body is going through so much, you can feel extremely disconnected from your being.
That said, cannabis can provide some relief. In a poll conducted by psychology today, 67% of respondents claimed that cannabis helped improve their sex lives.
Estrogen is heavily involved in bone regeneration, so sudden and intense drops in the hormone can contribute to osteoporosis.
Fortunately, cannabinoids like CBD and THC may be able to provide a solution. Studies reveal that THCV, CBC, and CBG can influence bone growth and help prevent menopause-induced osteoporosis.
Cannabis can provide a lot of options for women undergoing menopause. However, further research is needed to understand how the plant and its ingredients help manage menopause symptoms. So, if you’re using CBD for menopause, make sure you consult your holistic doctor.