CBD and the Menopause: Can it really help?
I hear lots of great things about CBD oil and help with menopausal symptoms like insomnia, depression, and increased inflammation, but also concerns about buying and trusting sources of CBD oil. The topic can feel confusing and conflicting. In this article, we speak to Cliona Nagle, the founder of plus120, a platform that collates the very best CBD products across Europe. After stumbling into the world of CBD and finding it so difficult to find trustworthy CBD oils, she founded plus120 to solve this problem. Cliona shares her tips for safely choosing your CBD oil here.
What do we need to know about CBD?
Around 30 years ago, scientists discovered we have another body system called an Endocannabinoid system (ECS). It has been described as one of the most “important physiologic systems involved in establishing and maintaining human health” – yet doctors are barely trained on it.
Our ECS plays an important part in all biological functions: everything from sleep, appetite, memory, mood, immune system, pain control and reproduction. It is like an orchestra for our body, it keeps everything working together in balance. If one system goes out of balance, like for example, how our hormonal system goes out of balance during the menopause, everything else is affected.
We produce our own cannabinoids which help regulate our ECS (called endocannabinoids) but plants produce cannabinoids too.
When our bodies are under pressure, like how it is during the menopause, we can use plant cannabinoids to support us through this time.
Our bodies were designed to interact with plant cannabinoids. CBD is one plant cannabinoid that we can use to help support our ECS.
How can CBD help menopause symptoms?
Because the ECS is such a huge complex system that affects every organ in our bodies, there are many ways that plant cannabinoids like CBD can support us through this time.
CBD can help regulate our endocannabinoid system
What’s happening: Oestrogen helps regulate our levels of endocannabinoids. Without it, some endocannabinoids like anandamide get broken down too early. Anandamide, also known as the ‘bliss molecule’, helps us feel good. Low levels will show up as stress, anxiety and depression.
How CBD can help: Supporting our bodies with CBD, will prevent the early breakdown of anandamide helping us feel better for longer.
CBD can reduce inflammation
What’s happening: Oestrogen helps reduce body inflammation which means that declining levels during menopause contribute to more inflammation in our bodies. This shows up as joint and muscle pains and aches and is why arthritis, for example, can start in the menopause.
How CBD can help: CBD has potent anti-inflammatory properties. It works by reducing the pro-inflammatory proteins called cytokines. More than that, however, CBD is also great for pain caused by inflammation as it binds with pain receptors.
CBD can help manage symptoms of depression
What’s happening: Plummeting levels of oestrogen and other hormones affect the levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in our brains – all affecting our mood.
How CBD can help: CBD increases the levels of serotonin by activating our serotonin receptors. And as above, it also helps the too early breakdown of anandamide. The combination of both increasing anandamide and serotonin is what is thought to provide the anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects of CBD.
CBD can help with insomnia
What’s happening: Fluctuating hormones, combined with reduced levels of GABA, the calming neurotransmitter in our brains, often causes sleep disturbances during menopause.
How CBD can help: CBD can balance out levels of GABA in our brains, resulting in more restful sleep. CBD also helps with sleep due to its anti-anxiety properties.
How to choose a good CBD product for the menopause?
Choosing a good CBD product is an absolute minefield for customers and unfortunately, it’s all too easy to go wrong.
However, once armed with even a basic amount of information, you can help navigate through to a great CBD product.
Some helpful tips when buying a CBD product:
- Make sure to buy organic – hemp, the plant which CBD comes from accumulates toxins from the soil so you want to make sure the soil hemp is grown in is clean.
- Look for a full-spectrum product – CBD works best with all plant compounds known as the “entourage effect”. Isolated CBD, often marketed as “pure” is not as effective.
- Make sure you are buying clean ingredients – avoid added ‘ flavours’ or anything synthetic that will compromise the health benefits of CBD.
- To target inflammation, look for the cannabinoid CBDa, the acid precursor of CBD
- To target sleep issues, look for relaxing terpenes like myrcene or beta-Caryophyllene to be present
CBD frequently asked questions.
- Is it safe? Yes, CBD is considered as “well tolerated with a good safety profile” – WHO, 2018
- Is it legal to buy in Ireland? Yes. CBD is legal to buy in Ireland.
- Will it make me high? No. There’s trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive compound which makes you high but nothing that will affect you.
- Will it show up on a drug test? THC is what is being detected in drug tests. This shouldn't be a concern unless you are consuming huge amounts of CBD. Use a broad spectrum CBD product if this something that is on your mind.
If you have any further questions, please email [email protected]
About Cliona Nagle
Cliona is the founder of plus120, a platform that collates the very best CBD products across Europe. After stumbling into the world of CBD and finding it so difficult to find trustworthy CBD oils, she founded plus120 to solve this problem.
Cliona believes we are at the forefront of a medical breakthrough with emerging studies proving the health benefits CBD offers to the endocannabinoid system.
You can find Cliona over on instagram @plus120_
Cliona Nagle helps you to source the best CBD oil to help relieve symptoms of menopause
More Women Are Trying Cannabis for Menopausal Symptoms
Research presented at NAMS suggests legalization has upped cannabis use for medical issues.
Recreational cannabis has been legal in Canada since 2018, which led researchers at the University of Alberta to wonder if women are using it more to lessen menopause symptoms such as insomnia, night sweats, and mood swings. Funded by an operating grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), their study abstract was presented at The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, from September 22 to 25, 2021. The research, which looked at rates and patterns of cannabis use and user reported effectiveness, has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.
“Anecdotally, there have been increasing reports that Canadians are using cannabis for medical purposes, and that they are accessing it from nonmedical sources. We also got from these anecdotal reports that the symptoms are overlapping with menopause symptoms.
There is not much published in the scientific literature right now about this; there's a big gap on cannabis used to manage menopause symptoms specifically. What we wanted to do with our study was provide a snapshot within our population on if women are using cannabis, and how are they using it. Then we can move forward, fill that gap of knowledge and see if this is worth investigating more,” says Katherine Babyn, PharmD, a master's student on the faculty of pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Alberta, and first author of the study abstract.
Researchers Looked at Cannabis Use in Women From Alberta, Canada
The study analyzed responses from around 1,500 women who live in the province of Alberta in Canada — 18 percent were premenopausal, 33 percent perimenopausal, and 35 percent postmenopausal. A small percentage had either undergone a hysterectomy or bilateral oophorectomy. In the overall group, around 33 percent reported using cannabis within the last 30 days, and 65 percent had used it within their lifetime. Current cannabis rates were comparable among all menopause stage groupings.
Women’s Reasons for Cannabis Use Suggest That Medical and Menopausal Symptoms Overlap
Findings hint that women were most interested in improving sleep and easing anxiety. Subjects were asked about use, and were invited to give multiple reasons for use. Of 499 study participants who reported current cannabis use, 75 percent stated it was for medical purposes: sleep issues (65 percent), anxiety (45 percent), muscle or joint achiness (33 percent), irritability (29 percent), and depression (25 percent). Three-quarters stated that they did find improvement with cannabis use but didn’t specify for which particular symptom.
The top three delivery systems were edibles, oils, and smoking. The study did not look at dosage or daily use specific to different delivery systems.
More Research Is Needed to Understand Cannabis Use for Menopausal Symptoms
“This is an interesting opening study, but a lot more research needs to be done. In order to really understand cannabis use in this population, we need to ask more detailed questions. The next step really should be to understand more how they're using cannabis, when they're using it, how much they're using, and start to pick a more specific, refined population,” says Jahan Marcu, PhD, cannnabinoid pharmacologist and founding partner at Marcu and Arora. Dr. Marcu was not involved in this research.
Dr. Babyn agrees, “There is currently a gap in knowledge in the context of cannabis being used for menopause symptoms that needs to be addressed. We established that women are using cannabis for this reason, and from there, future studies can build off of what we are showing. We're hoping that this kickstarts more research within this area so that we can have the evidence health professionals need to guide patients in using cannabis safely.”
Want to Try Cannabis? Talk to a Medical Professional First
“We found that most women are turning to the internet or their friends and family to get more information on cannabis used for medical purposes. This is an opportunity for healthcare providers to fill in and make sure that women are taking cannabis safely and appropriately,” says Babyn.
Always speak first with a qualified health professional. Not every physician, however, is going to be knowledgeable about cannabis. If so, don’t go to an unlicensed CBD shop. Research published in December 2019 in JAMA showed that many CBD products are mislabeled and contain less CBD than manufacturers claim.
Go, instead, to a state licensed dispensary, which follow basic product safety, regulation, and requirements. “Medical cannabis dispensaries in the United States have pharmacists who can consult with you about drug interactions, side effects, the safety of different delivery systems, and how to implement the advice of ‘stay low and go slow,’ which means you use a low dose and use it as infrequently as possible,” says Marcu.
Are Menopausal Symptoms Undertreated?
High cannabis use rates may be a sign that women need more thorough care around menopause. “We believe the reason they are turning to cannabis is they may not be getting the care that they need. We know there is a stigma towards menopause and fear of use of hormone therapy. Women may be turning to cannabis because they want to control their symptoms, they want to have self-control, but they may not know all of their options to help manage menopause symptoms,” says Nese Yuksel, BScPharm, PharmD, a professor on the faculty of pharmacy and pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Alberta, who was the primary investigator and study supervisor.
In fact, Yale School of Medicine researchers looked at insurance claims from more than 500,000 women in various stages of menopause. They found that while 60 percent of the women with significant menopausal symptoms sought medical attention, almost three-quarters received no treatment.
“We are not advocating for cannabis as we believe there should be more research to support the use in menopause. We want to get the message that as healthcare professionals, we should be talking to women about their menopause issues. Discuss symptoms, and identify and look at all the options to manage symptoms,” added Dr. Yuksel.
CBD Oil and Menopause – A Guide for Canadian Women
CBD oil has proven to be beneficial for wide variety of disorders in Canada. There is still a long way to go when it comes to CBD research. However, the findings have been promising. Some people have started to use CBD in lieu of traditional forms of medication.
Others are using CBD as a supplement or a compliment to other treatments. CBD is definitely not a miracle drug. This means that it can be helpful to a lot of people, but it won’t necessarily relieve all symptoms.
Nonetheless, it is a natural way to increase your health and wellness. In this article we are going to look at how CBD and menopause may go hand-in-hand. In Toronto, it’s easy to find CBD oil products , it’s the capital of Ontario and largest city in Canada. If you can wait, shopping online makes sense for greater selection and better deals.
Menopause can be a dreadful time period in many Canadian women’s lives. It is a time of intense transition and change. Oftentimes, it creeps up on you and the symptoms are unexpected. Managing symptoms of menopause can feel disorderly and chaotic according to the University of Toronto.
There is a long list of symptoms that occur due to menopause. These are all negative. They can have dramatic impact on a women’s life. Evidently, this time period can feel like a true challenge. Therefore, women are always looking for new ways to combat these harsh symptoms.
Anxiety and Depression
Hormones are all over the place during menopause. For instance, there are huge fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone. This is likely to cause feelings of anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, some women suffer from panic attacks during this time.
Most women experience mood swings in the time leading up to menopause. This happens randomly, and without any warning signs. It can be difficult to manage the constant highs and lows.
CBD has become world-renowned for aiding with both anxiety and depression. Women report feeling more stable when they use CBD during menopause. This is a natural way to combat these feelings. Furthermore, CBD is not addictive. Therefore, there are no risk factors associated with it.
Many adults in Canada experience sleep-related problems throughout their life. However, insomnia is even more common during menopause. Once again, there is a decline of estrogen within the body. This may lead to disrupted sleep.
Melatonin is a hormone that aids in regulating your sleep cycle. Your body produces less melatonin the older you get. Thus, decreased melatonin levels also affect your ability to get proper sleep.
Sleep is an extremely important part of any person’s day. It has a direct affect on all other aspects of one’s life. Therefore, it should be a priority. Many studies have demonstrated that CBD helps cure sleeplessness.
CBD is a great way for Canadians to manage sleep. This is especially true for women who have never struggled with insomnia before. There are many drawbacks with taking prescription medication. Therefore, women should attempt to use CBD as a natural alternative.
Some women experience hormone-related headaches throughout their life. Migraines become a lot more severe during menopause if this is the case. This is especially true leading up to menopause. Consequently, this is also related to hormones.
Women have very different experiences in relation to menopause and headaches. Some women’s headaches get a lot better after their period ends. However, some women’s get a lot worse. Headaches are a difficult thing to deal with on a daily basis. They can cause dizziness, nausea, fever, and high blood pressure. Therefore, it’s important to manage the symptoms related to headaches.
CBD acts on the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in humans. This system is responsible for maintaining many important functions within the human body. Scientists have discovered that the ECS plays a vital role in regulating pain sensation. CBD activates the ECS by binding to certain receptors. Therefore, using CBD can help alleviate painful symptoms.
There have been many studies that have demonstrated a change in headaches. However, the research with CBD and migraines remains inconclusive. Therefore, it is not a full treatment method. However, CBD can be a great supplementary option.
Almost all Canadian women experience a reduced sex drive during menopause . This is another result of the chaotic state that the hormones are in. Estrogen levels affect blood circulation. These levels become lower in the vagina. Therefore, many women also experience vaginal dryness as a result. This is a contributing factor as to why women may not want to have sex.
CBD is known for increasing blood circulation. Therefore, it can have an indirect, positive benefit. Furthermore, consumers can now purchase CBD lubricant. This lubricant can help ease any pain or discomfort. Some women experience an increased sensitivity. This can result in a desire to engage in sexual intercourse.
Menopause is undoubtedly a trying time for the majority of women. It can feel disorderly trying to navigate through everything on your own. There are so many different factors at play. Many women are unaware of the full spectrum of symptoms they may experience.
It is beneficial to consult with a doctor about any prolonged symptoms. This is especially true if something is painful for a prolonged period of time. Remember that you know your body better than anyone. Accordingly, you are the best person to monitor any changes or disruptions. Using CBD is a great way to manage some of the symptoms associated with menopause.
Remember that CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it cannot get you high. Therefore, it is not addictive either. This means that it is a great method to experiment with. It allows women to try various products with different symptoms.