CBD & Menopause
Menopause is the change that happens when your ovaries stop producing high levels of hormones and no longer release an egg every month. A few of the challenging symptoms of menopause may include sleep disturbances, hot flashes, libido changes and dryness, bone loss, and mood swings.
Estrogen, Emotions, and the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
It’s thought that reduction in endocannabinoid signaling may be responsible for some of these symptoms. This isn’t surprising as estrogen levels are linked to endocannabinoid levels, and both peak at ovulation, something that doesn’t occur in menopausal and postmenopausal women.
Estrogen recruits the endocannabinoid system to regulate emotional response and relieves anxiety and depression through its actions on the brain. Lowered levels of estrogen means less activation of the endocannabinoid system, and lowered ability to respond to stress and elevate mood.
Here's where CBD supplementation can step in and help. And, indeed, women report relief from the symptoms brought about by lowered Estrogen with the use of CBD. See more about how CBD works in the body.
All parts of the endocannabinoid system are present in the human ovary, including the endocannabinoid anandamide, and its receptors, CB1 and CB2. The neurotransmitter Anandamide has a role in egg maturity and release during the menstrual cycle. Endocannabinoid deficiency, a state in which levels of anandamide are too low, may spur early menopause.
Bone Loss and Menopause
The endocannabinoid system regulates the bone loss seen after menopause. Bone loss is one of the major reasons doctors prescribe Estrogen Replacement Therapy (ERT), after menopause, however this therapy can have breast cancer and other risks.
The good news is Cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2) are found on bone cells, called osteoblasts and Cannabis, specifically the cannabinoids CBD, CBD, CBC, and THCV, stimulate bone growth. These cannabinoids are being looked to as a safe and healthy alternative to ERT for stopping bone loss.
If ERT is determined to be the right course of action for an individual and her doctor, she can still use CBD at the same time to mitigate the breast cancer risk as CBD has been shown to to kill breast cancer cells independent of its activity on cannabinoid receptors, and avoids killing healthy breast tissue.
This means taking CBD while using ERT, may be effective in killing any breast cancer cells that start dividing before they grow into a tumor.
Menopause and Sleep Disruption
During menopause, women find it increasingly difficult to sleep. Hot flashes, mood swings and overall discomfort continually disrupt a healthy sleep cycle. Soon, this lack of sleep affects other areas of life, which can increase the intensity and severity of all menopausal symptoms.
There is a growing body of research indicating that both CBD, THC and other cannabinoids are beneficial for improved sleep quality. While CBD itself may trigger a mild increase in wakefulness when taken just before bedtime, CBD taken regularly still facilitates a better and longer nights rest.
CBD, Menopause, and Mood Stabilization
Menopausal mood swings are another taxing part of hormonal changes. As hormones change, it changes the way women process and manage their stress levels. A woman's body continues to operate as per usual, but with an endocannabinoid deficiency, it's suddenly not as easy to process stress, emotional fluctuations, and the pressures of daily life.
It's a logical next step to bring the mood stabilizing capabilities of CBD, already evidenced for treating depression and anxiety, into the realm of menopausal women.
As for hot flashes, night sweats, and the stress that comes with them, cannabinoids can boost serotonin signaling and lower body temperature, which can reduce both the hot flashes and anxiety found in menopause.
By far, the most cited symptom of menopause (and most frequently portrayed in the movies), hot flashes are also the most commonly cited symptom that is effectively treated (or eradicated!) with the support of CBD!
IC Magazine, How Cannabis Helps Menopause
Leinow, Leonard & Birnbaum Juliana, CBD: A Patients Guide to Medicinal Cannabis, 2017
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