how to take cbd oil for pcos

CBD Oil for PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a widespread gynecological condition. Figures suggest that it affects as many as 1 in 10 women of childbearing age. It is a major cause of female infertility, and also causes a range of other symptoms.

In this article, we take a closer look at PCOS and whether CBD oil could help.

PCOS: What Is It?

PCOS causes many tiny cysts to form in the ovaries. These cysts form when the follicle fails to release an egg during ovulation due to a hormonal imbalance.

PCOS can vary significantly in its severity. Some women never know they have the condition until they experience fertility issues. Others are afflicted by a variety of symptoms that plague their daily lives.

Symptoms of PCOS

The symptoms of PCOS vary from woman to woman. Some of the most common include:

  • Irregular or absent periods
  • Weight gain
  • Acne
  • Excess body hair (hirsutism)
  • Thinning head hair
  • Dark, velvety skin in areas like the neck, armpits, and groin (acanthosis nigricans)
  • Skin tags
  • Fertility issues
  • High risk of complications during pregnancy

Women with PCOS are at risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, and endometrial cancer. They may also suffer from mood disorders like anxiety and depression.

PCOS Causes

An imbalance in the sex hormones causes PCOS. All women produce some androgens (male sex hormones) in addition to their female sex hormones. However, women with PCOS produce more androgens than usual. This leads to symptoms such as acne and hirsutism. Further hormonal imbalances prevent ovulation from occurring as it should. This causes missing periods and cyst formation around the ovaries.

Further hormonal imbalances prevent ovulation from occurring as it should. This causes missing periods and cyst formation around the ovaries.

Finally, women with PCOS often suffer from insulin resistance. This causes weight gain and other metabolic problems. It also increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease later in life.

These hormonal imbalances are extremely complex, and scientists are still trying to understand precisely why they occur. It appears that they are the result of dysfunction in the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian (HPO) axis, which is how the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and ovaries use hormones to communicate and regulate the menstrual cycle.

PCOS Treatments

The most common PCOS treatments include medication to regulate the menstrual cycle or trigger ovulation in women who are trying to conceive. Doctors may also prescribe metformin (an anti-diabetic drug) for women with insulin resistance. Also, anti-androgenic medications may help manage symptoms such as acne and hirsutism.

For some women, especially those trying to become pregnant, surgery may be necessary. A procedure known as ovarian drilling can help to trigger ovulation if medication has failed.

Other women might find that lifestyle changes, such as exercising regularly and eating well, are enough to manage their symptoms.

Does CBD (Cannabidiol) Have the Potential to Help PCOS?

CBD has become extraordinarily popular in recent years, but could it help women with PCOS?

Unfortunately, the answer is not straightforward.

CBD works by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is responsible for maintaining homeostasis (balance) within the body. It plays a role in controlling mood, movement, appetite, immunity, and blood pressure, among other things. It also appears to help regulate the reproductive system.

The ECS is a combination of cannabinoid receptors and chemicals called endocannabinoids. These chemicals and receptors bind together to trigger a variety of responses throughout the body.

Two of the most well-studied cannabinoid receptors in the ECS are CB1 and CB2. Researchers have discovered these receptors in most of the body’s tissues, including the ovaries. They believe that the ECS plays a role in egg development, ovulation, and the secretion of sex hormones. It probably does this by influencing the HPO axis.

CBD has a powerful effect on the ECS. It can alter the way endocannabinoids bind with CB1 and CB2 receptors. Therefore, it may have a significant impact on reproductive function. But is this good news for PCOS?

The Endocannabinoid System and PCOS

A 2015 study for Fertility and Sterility compared fatty tissue from 20 women with PCOS and 20 healthy women. The authors found that women with PCOS had higher levels of the endocannabinoids anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). They also had a higher expression of CB1 and CB2 receptors in their cells.

These results suggest that the ECS plays a role in the development of PCOS and insulin resistance. A 2019 paper for the Journal of Ovarian Research supports this theory. The authors of this piece suggest that the influence of the ECS on PCOS may be as follows:

  • High AEA levels affect the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
  • This leads to insulin resistance and thus high levels of circulating insulin.
  • High insulin levels increase androgen production.
  • High androgen levels prevent ovulation.
  • Progesterone levels decrease, while estrogen levels increase.
  • This imbalance reduces levels of FAAH, the enzyme responsible for breaking down AEA.
  • AEA activity increases at CB1 receptors in the ovaries.
  • PCOS occurs, as AEA activity needs to fluctuate within normal ranges for proper ovulation.

It is important to note this is currently just a theory. However, it may be useful to consider this theory when it comes to the action of CBD.

One of CBD’s effects on the ECS is slowing the breakdown of AEA and raising its levels in the body. If the above theory is correct, this could mean that CBD has a negative impact on PCOS.

However, CBD also acts as a ‘negative allosteric modulator’ at CB1 receptors. This means that it changes the shape of the receptors, making it harder for molecules to bind with them. It could, therefore, potentially block some of the activity of AEA at CB1 receptors.

Until more research is conducted, it is difficult to know for sure whether CBD helps or hinders PCOS. However, it could potentially relieve some of its symptoms.

CBD for PCOS: Potential Benefits

Although the exact effects of CBD on the development of PCOS are unclear, it could benefit some of its symptoms.

Women with PCOS may suffer from lower abdominal pain. This could be due to menstruation, ovulation, or ruptured cysts. Pain is one of the primary reasons why people use CBD, and it could potentially help PCOS pain, too.

Learn more about how CBD relieves pain in our related article: CBD Oil for Pain Management

Another common reason why people use CBD is to ease anxiety, depression, and mood swings. It is especially well-known for its anti-anxiety properties. Many women with PCOS suffer from anxiety.

For more on CBD for anxiety, see our article: Will CBD Cure Anxiety [Myths vs Facts]

Research has shown that CBD can help to reduce sebum production and inflammation in acne. It may be best to use CBD topically for acne, applying it directly to the skin. Many CBD topicals also contain other soothing ingredients to enhance its effects further.

Here’s more on how CBD could benefit acne symptoms: CBD for Acne [Things to Know Before You Try]

Weight and Metabolism

Numerous scientists have studied how CBD and other cannabinoids like THC and THCV affect body weight and insulin sensitivity. According to the research, THCV appears to have an especially positive effect. You may be able to find this cannabinoid in some brands of full-spectrum CBD oil and other cannabis products.

This is perhaps one of the most significant benefits of CBD for PCOS. Increased body weight and insulin resistance play a large part in the development of the condition. Therefore, anything which helps to manage these issues could potentially be of value.

You can find more information on how cannabinoids affect body weight in our article: CBD for Weight Loss: Is it a Scam?

Final Thoughts on CBD Oil for PCOS

It seems that the ECS plays a large part in the development of PCOS and its symptoms. Therefore, cannabinoids like CBD are likely to have a significant impact on the condition. However, until further evidence emerges, it remains unclear whether this impact is positive or negative. Research does suggest that CBD could help with some of the symptoms of PCOS.

Research does suggest that CBD could help with some of the symptoms of PCOS.

However, if you suffer from PCOS and want to try CBD, we recommend consulting your physician or gynecologist first. This is especially important if you take any medication, as CBD has the potential to interact with many different drugs.

You should also consult a medical professional if you want to take CBD and are trying to become pregnant. The effects of CBD on the developing fetus are still largely unknown. Therefore, the Food and Drug Administration strongly advises against its use during pregnancy.

Although many people state that CBD is safe, like any medicine, it is not entirely free from risks. Therefore, CBD oil for PCOS should not be seen as a substitute for regular medical care.

CBD for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Would you consider cannabidiol as a possible treatment of the symptoms of PCOS?

Success has been shown in CBD treating anxiety, pain, PMS, and sleep issues. CBD’s anxiolytic, non-psychoactive properties can potentially be beneficial for PCOS patients and help them feel calm and relaxed and improve their sleep quality.

What is PCOS?

PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. It refers to a condition which affects the hormonal levels of a woman. PCOS is characterized by the production of higher-than-normal male hormones. Physical signs are severe acne, dandruff, weight gain, hirsutism, and male-pattern baldness. Internal symptoms include missed periods and abnormal heavy flow, multiple cysts, pelvic pain and thickening of the uterus wall.

The occasional skipping of menstrual periods reduces the chance of becoming pregnant, therefore women suffering from PCOS tend to struggle with fertility. The ovaries may also develop several fluid collections preventing the regular release of eggs. PCOS causes an increase in insulin; the hormone that regulates how the foods you consume is transformed into energy. It may also prevent your body from regulating the amount of this hormone making insulin blood levels to be higher than normal. Risk factors are unhealthy eating habits, obesity, lack of enough exercise and genetics.

Treatment

Symptoms of PCOS cause substantial discomfort and pain. One treatment option that is gaining momentum today is cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive chemical found in medical cannabis. It works fast to reduce symptoms of PCOS. Note that there are many different varieties of CBD products that vary in potency and dosage. The exact dose that suits you depends on your symptoms; PCOS produces a broad range of signs and side effects. You must factor in the same while choosing the variety that best suits your condition.

For a medical condition always consult with a healthcare professional before consuming CBD.

Why Can CBD Work For Treating PCOS?

Anti-inflammatory/Pain Relief Properties

Cannabidiol (CBD) is an anti-inflammatory and has pain relief properties. There is evidence glycinergic CBDs are strong therapeutical agents that can be used to treat neuropathic and inflammatory pain. They are, therefore, capable of attenuating compulsive pain without causing significant analgesic tolerance and psychoactive side effects. Cannabidiols also possess anti-anxiety properties and hence are usually administered for patients with anxiety disorders. These properties make CBD ideal for the treat PCOS symptoms, primarily sleep and anxiety issues.

Maintains a Healthy ECS

ECS (Endocannabinoid system) is a signaling mechanism that maintains homeostasis in your body. It is composed of Endocannabinoids and two cannabinoid receptors whose role is to balance all the processes including reproduction. Research has shown that ECS malfunction causes PCOS in some women. Cannabinoid shares identical chemical makeup with endocannabinoids, therefore it helps keep your system running smoothly. So, supplementing with CBD has a direct effect on PCOS patients; it aids the treatment process.

What Are The Benefits of Using CBD to Treat PCOS?

A 2005 study by Hollinrake 1 revealed that women with PCOS are more likely to develop stress and depression. Patients using CBD will not only feel calmer but also reap heavily from its anti-stress effect. It helps patients cope with the otherwise painful and disturbing symptoms. The fact that CBD has everything it takes to help your system run smoothly means it can restore hormonal balance.

The end result is a decrease in menstrual irregularity and a corresponding increase in the likelihood of conceiving. Cannabidiols also reduce body fats and hence are effective in controlling weight, one of the risk factors for developing PCOS. The characteristic reduction in pain, when using CBD, relieves patients of the agony.

How PCOS Affects The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

ECS is composed of a series of receptors present in all major bodily systems. Its function is to keep virtually every physiological process, such as digestion, pain modulation and the reproductive system in a state of balance. Under normal circumstance, devoid of PCOS, naturally released cannabinoids constantly act on the receptors thus eliciting chemical responses which, in turn, maintain the various bodily processes in homeostasis. PCOS, characterized by the growth of small cysts on the ovaries, is an organized metabolic and endocrine disorder. It causes excessive production of androgen, insulin, hyperlipidemia, anovulatory, acne, hirsute, adrenal hyperplasia and weight gain. The disorder, therefore, destabilizes ECS making your body to develop several disturbing symptoms.

How Can I Use CBD to Treat PCOS?

Before you start using CBD for any health reason, it is important that you consult your doctor first. This is because the doctor will be able to evaluate your body and the extent of the disease or condition. This way, the doctor is also able to advise you the best way to use CBD to treat PCOS.

CBD is currently being offered in different forms such as oil, paste, tablets, and vapes. CBD oil or paste has been shown as being a preferred option for many people. However, it is best to choose the form that you feel most comfortable using.

CBD Dosage for PCOS

If used properly, CBD can be a great option for many people. However, it’s important to remember that every person is unique and everyone’s reaction to CBD is different. The recommended dosage from each product can differ greatly, creating some confusion. Dosage may be different depending on the percentage of CBD oil you are using.

We recommend the Step-Up method as described by Leinow and Birnbaum in their book CBD: A Patient’s Guide to Medicinal Cannabis 2 . For detailed information about dosage, see our post on CBD dosage.

What Are Studies Saying About Using CBD for PCOS?

A study by Alison J. Dawson 3 has shown that endocannabinoid receptor blockage brought about by CBD lowers alanine amino transfer in women with PCOS that has no relationship with weight loss. This finding shows that CBD can eliminate disturbing PCOS symptoms and reinstate homeostasis in the body. The study was composed of two groups, each of 50 obese women suffering from PCOS. The group put on CBD recorded impressive results that confirm CBD is effective in the treatment of PCOS.

Another study 4 conducted by the International Journal of Endocrinology obtained a similar finding. The study involved one group of 173 women with Polycystic Ovary syndrome, aged 20-53, and a different one with 125, healthy (weight and age-matched) randomly selected from the population. The results mirrored those of the separate study, further confirming that CBD is effective for treating PCOS. While these results are a step in the right direction be sure you consult your medical practitioner for expert advice on the PCOS treatment regime.

Can CBD Help with PCOS? Benefits, Dosage, & Side-Effects

Can CBD help with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)? What does the current research suggest?

We’ll explore this connection in more detail.

Article By

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) affects roughly 10% of women in the United States. It’s one of the main causes of infertility in women in the Western world [1].

This chronic health condition is poorly understood by modern medicine — making it especially difficult to diagnose and treat. Pharmaceuticals used to manage this condition bring their own risk of side-effects.

This has prompted a lot of people to reach for a bottle of CBD oil instead.

Can CBD really be used to benefit PCOS?

Here’s what the research says.

MEDICALLY REVIEWED BY

Updated on June 05, 2021

Table of Contents
  • Here are some important questions to keep in mind while tracking progress in a journal:
  • Simplified Breakdown of Common PCOS Symptoms and Potential Causes:
  • Common Tests Used to Help Diagnose PCOS:
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What Are The Benefits of CBD Oil For PCOS?

CBD primarily works by helping the body maintain homeostasis (balance).

This includes the balance of hormones, neurotransmitters, metabolism, and neurological activity — all of which are affected by PCOS.

When using CBD for PCOS, don’t expect anything to happen overnight. The changes are slow and gradual. The biggest changes happen over time the more often you use it.

It’s always wise to speak with a doctor about using CBD oil for any health condition before you start — especially if you’re using any other prescription medications.

The benefits of CBD oil for PCOS include:

  • Regulates insulin & blood sugar levels
  • Promotes weight loss
  • Relieves anxiety & depression

1. Regulates Insulin & Blood Sugar Levels

Hyperinsulinemia is characterized by excessive insulin levels in the bloodstream — which has a lot of overlap with diabetes.

A recent study involving more than 4600 participants diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes had their self-reported use of marijuana and fasting insulin levels compared (a marker for hyperinsulinemia). Researchers found that participants using marijuana on a regular basis had a 16% lower insulin resistance score than non-users [2].

Researchers in this study suggested CBD as one of the key compounds responsible for producing this effect through the modulation of CB1 receptors. Other studies have shown that by blocking CB1 receptors in animal models, insulin sensitivity was improved [3]. This suggests the endocannabinoid system and CB1 receptors play a critical role in the function of insulin.

The idea is that if we’re more sensitive to the effects of insulin, we’ll have greater blood sugar regulation and improved negative feedback control of insulin balance. This is important because of the correlation of insulin imbalance with PCOS.

2. Supports Weight Loss

Roughly 80 percent of PCOS sufferers are considered overweight [4]. There are a few reasons for this:

  • Fatigue leading to less exercise
  • Hyperinsulinemia and diabetes leading to excess fat production
  • Genetic predispositions to increased weight

This suggests excess weight gain as a potential contributing factor to the underlying cause of PCOS. One of the key goals of treatment in overweight PCOS patients is to cut excess weight.

CBD may be useful for supporting weight loss in a few ways:

  1. Regulation of mitochondrial function to improve the burning of excess sugar and fat as energy [5].
  2. Reducing insulin resistance to improve blood sugar regulation and support beta-oxidation of fat [2]
  3. Reducing appetite to help lower calorie intake [6]

3. Relieves Anxiety & Depression

One of the main side-effects of PCOS is anxiety. This can result from stress caused by the discomfort of the condition itself, or issues involving the adrenal glands where stress hormones like cortisol are produced.

Anxiety is one of the most common reasons people are taking CBD supplements — and there’s a lot of research to back this up.

A double-blind, placebo-controlled study comparing the anti-anxiety effects of CBD to benzodiazepine anxiety medications concluded that “CBD [has] anxiolytic properties in human volunteers submitted to a stressful situation” [7].

Other studies investigating the immediate effects of CBD in the treatment of anxiety used a public speaking model to induce an anxious state in study participants. The study noted a dramatic improvement in anxiety scores compared to placebo control [8].

There are a few ways CBD provides relief from anxiety symptoms, with the most important being a potentiation of GABA in the brain [9,10], which is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter.

When the brain becomes hyperactive it’s GABA that slows it back down again — preferably before reaching levels high enough to cause an anxiety attack.

What’s The Dose of CBD Oil For PCOS?

The correct dose of CBD will vary from one person to the next. Some people find they need a large dose to achieve the desired effects, while others may need a much smaller dose for the same results.

Although factors such as weight, age, and muscle to fat ratio are important, other factors like genetics, liver enzyme activity, underlying health conditions, digestive function, and medication use can all affect CBD supplementation.

The best way to find the right dose of CBD for your body is to start low and increase slowly over time until you achieve a dose that works for you.

Most people will start at a very low dose around 2.5 mg of CBD and increase by 2.5 mg every day until they receive the level of benefit they’re looking for. As you become familiar with how CBD works for your body, you’ll be able to adjust this dose as needed.

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Tracking Your Progress

PCOS is a chronic health condition — meaning that it doesn’t appear overnight, and won’t go away overnight either. It can take months or years to improve symptoms of PCOS, so you need to be patient.

It’s difficult to see improvement in the short term for conditions like PCOS that move slowly — so it helps to keep notes of your symptoms. This way you can compare your notes over longer periods of time to spot any changes — for good or for worse.

Think of it like this — when you’re growing up, you don’t notice that you’re a little bit taller every day, yet when you compare height measurements from a year ago you may notice a big difference. It’s the same with chronic health conditions.

If you were to be asked how you feel every day, you may have the same answer — “same as yesterday”. Yet if you were to compare how you feel now, to 3 months ago, there may be a significant change — you just didn’t notice.

The best way to track your progress is to keep a journal of your symptoms. You can choose to do this every day, every few days, or even once per week.

Here are some important questions to keep in mind while tracking progress in a journal:
  1. What are your current symptoms?
  2. How would you rate each symptom on a scale of 1–10? (10 being the most severe)
  3. Did you have your period this month? If so, when did it start and stop?
  4. What foods did you eat today?
  5. What was your dose of CBD? Was there any noticeable improvement?
  6. What was your temperature upon rising in the morning? (Helpful if thyroid issues are thought to be an issue, or if you’re no longer menstruating)

What is PCOS?

PCOS stands for polycystic ovarian syndrome. It’s a collection of symptoms (syndrome), that mimics a related syndrome called poly cystic ovarian disease (PCOD). With PCOD, visible cysts form on the ovaries — interrupting their ability to function properly.

With PCOS, these cysts aren’t visible — hence the term syndrome (set of symtpoms, but not a specific disease).

PCOS is an endocrine disorder — which means it causes a problem with hormone levels.

The most common hormones affected by PCOS is insulin, testosterone, and female reproductive hormones like estrogen, luteinizing hormone (LH), and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).

Related Endocrine-Related Health Conditions CBD Has Benefit Towards:

PCOS is Not a Disease, It’s a Syndrome — What Does This Mean?

A syndrome is a collection of symptoms that occur simultaneously — often without a known cause and aren’t connected to each other. There are many different types of syndromes. An example of a syndrome you may have heard of is premenstrual syndrome — which is not a disease, but a set of symptoms.

Conversely, a disease is a specific abnormal condition that negatively affects the function of an organ or body system.

As a syndrome, there are no defining lines that group PCOS sufferers together to understand its cause and treatment. The only thing grouping them together is an overlap in the symptoms — which can vary quite a bit from one PCOS sufferer to the next.

This condition should not be confused with PCOD (polycystic ovarian disease) which has a clear cause. We’ll cover the differences between the two in more detail below.

What’s The Difference Between PCOS & PCOD?

PCOS and PCOD have similar symptoms but are very different from each other when you take a closer look.

PCOD (polycystic ovarian disease) is characterized by enlarged ovaries, usually caused by problems ejecting immature eggs from the ovaries during the menstrual cycle. This can cause the ovaries to enlarge and may begin producing excess testosterone, estrogen, or both. Many cases of PCOD have no noticeable symptoms and are only discovered by routine examination. This condition can usually be controlled by diet and lifestyle changes.

PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) affects the entire body, and has a strong metabolic component and is much more severe than PCOD. With this condition, a dozen or more new cysts form in the ovaries each month. The cause of these cysts remains unknown. As cysts form, the ovaries produce more testosterone and other androgens (male hormones), which can cause dramatic changes to the body over time.

Although both conditions involve the formation of cysts in the ovaries, and changes in hormone levels — the changes involved with PCOS are much more severe. Both conditions can have a negative impact on fertility.

What Are The Symptoms of PCOS?

Only women can experience PCOS as it’s a disorder characterized by cyst formation on the ovaries (female reproductive organ). This condition can bring many symptoms, some of which seem unrelated.

Additionally, PCOS symptoms can vary a lot from one woman to the next. This makes it incredibly difficult for researchers to study the condition. PCOS in one woman could be completely different than PCOS in another woman — and likely involves a completely separate underlying cause.

Symptoms of PCOS May Include:

  • Male-pattern hair growth (hirsutism)
  • Acne
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Infertility
  • Mood disorders
  • Pelvic pain
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Thinning of the hair on the head
  • Weight gain

What Causes PCOS?

There’s a lot of debate about the true cause of PCOS — and the truth is that there are likely to be many different causes.

What we do know is that this condition is predominantly an endocrine disorder. Some symptoms relying on a dysfunction of the female reproductive hormones (HPO-axis), others focus more on the metabolic system (thyroid and pancreatic hormones).

All of these hormone systems rely on complex feedback loops to remain in balance. Even mild shifts in this balance can result in significant side-effects.

How does the body keep hormones in balance?

The answer is in something called a negative feedback loop — the brain tells other organs to release hormones, and only stops when it detects adequate levels of these hormones in the bloodstream (feedback).

This works in a similar way to the heating system in your house. When temperatures drop too low, the thermostat kicks the furnace on. Once it detects temperatures are within the set range, it tells the furnace to turn off again to avoid overheating the house.

If anything goes wrong during this negative feedback loop with the brain and endocrine organs (there are a lot of things that can go wrong), hormone levels can fall out of balance. This is what causes the symptoms of PCOS.

The symptoms involved with PCOS will largely rely on the endocrine organs affected.

Simplified Breakdown of Common PCOS Symptoms and Potential Causes:
Symptom Adrenal Glands Pancreas Ovaries Thyroid Gland
Male-pattern hair growth
Acne
Fatigue
Headaches
Infertility
Mood disorders
Pelvic pain
Sleeping disorders
Thinning of the hair on the head
Weight gain

PCOS & Male Hormones (Androgens)

One of the key drivers of PCOS symptoms is an excess of male hormones known as androgens.

Both men and women produce androgens like testosterone naturally. The difference is that women convert testosterone into estrogen. The most important factor is the ratio of estrogen to testosterone. In women, the ratio is heavily weighted in favor of estrogen, while men have much higher concentrations of testosterone.

With PCOS, there could be one of two problems:

  1. Excessive production of testosterone
  2. Lack of conversion into estrogen

Both result in the same thing — high testosterone levels in comparison to estrogen.

Excess androgen levels can inhibit menstruation (leading to a lack of menstruation and infertility), resulting in excess hair growth on the upper lip and back, trigger the formation of acne, and lead to changes in mood [11].

The only reliable way to find out what may be causing your symptoms is to visit a doctor.

How is PCOS Diagnosed?

If you think you may have PCOS and have not been diagnosed by a doctor, it’s important that you schedule an appointment right away.

PCOS is difficult to diagnose and is usually done through a process of elimination using advanced medical diagnostic equipment. It’s nearly impossible for someone to accurately diagnose PCOS at home.

Doctors will start with a blood test, and perform other diagnostic testing before coming to a diagnosis.

Common Tests Used to Help Diagnose PCOS:
  1. Fasting insulin — PCOS patients often experience hyperinsulinemia (too much insulin in the blood)
  2. Luteinizing hormone (LH): Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) ratio — These hormones are key regulators of the female menstrual cycle. PCOS patients may have a ratio greater than 1:1 (usually around 2:1).
  3. SHBG levels — Sex hormone-binding globulin is often low with PCOS
  4. Ultrasound — This is to look for cysts on the ovaries. Cysts on the ovaries are not a confirmed diagnosis of PCOS. There are other causes for this as well.
  5. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) and thyroid hormones — This is done to rule out other causes for the symptoms like hypo or hyperthyroidism.
  6. CRP — C-reactive protein is a good indicator of inflammation in the body, which can be used to identify other causes for the symptoms
  7. Full blood count — By taking a look at the concentration and size of red and white blood cells, doctors may identify other causes for the condition.
  8. Liver function test — In some cases, similar symptoms can be explained by problems with the liver, such as fatty liver disease.

Once the doctor has explored other options and taken family history and the patients symptoms into consideration, they’ll consider a set of criteria used to diagnose PCOS known as the Rotterdam Criteria (2003).

PCOS Diagnostic Criteria (Rotterdam Criteria)

In order to diagnose PCOS, two of the following must be identified:

  1. Oligoovulation and/or anovulation — ovulating less than normal or not at all
  2. Excess androgen activity — high concentration of male hormones in the blood
  3. Polycystic ovaries — multiple cysts found on the ovaries

Other endocrine disorders must be ruled out before a doctor will make a PCOS diagnosis.

Key Takeaways: Can CBD Help With PCOS?

PCOS is an endocrine disorder involving fluctuations in testosterone, estrogen, FSH, LH, and more. It can significantly affect the quality of life of those affected and remains one of the leading causes of infertility in women.

This condition has a lot of overlap with diabetes, characterized by heightened insulin levels in the blood and higher than normal male hormone production.

There are no direct studies on the effects of CBD for PCOS — but there are some speculative effects we can make from other areas of research.

The most relevant effects of CBD for PCOS involve its regulating effect on insulin levels, as well as its potential to promote weight loss and support other side-effects of the condition like anxiety.

If you’re interested in trying CBD to help manage symptoms, we highly recommend visiting your doctor first. This is important to make sure the use of CBD (or any supplement) won’t interact with any of your other medications and to assess any other factors that may interfere — such as other underlying health conditions.

More research is needed to assess the specific effects of CBD for PCOS. Stay up to date with any updates in this field of study by signing up for our newsletter below.