CBD & the Menopause

The Menopause is a biological transitional period that happens in women between the ages of 45 – 60, characterized by the cessation of the menstrual flow. This period is accompanied by perimenopause (before cessation) and post-menopause (after cessation). During this period, women endure several symptoms caused by first fluctuations in oestrogen levels during perimenopause then a final significant decline during menopause.

Where do CBD and Menopause meet?

Women are born with millions of ova which mature at puberty increasing their oestrogen level to an optimum. But during menopause the levels drop significantly, thereby affecting the body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS).

Oestrogen is a vital hormone to the ECS. This is because it relates to the regulation of the Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase which is responsible for breaking down certain endocannabinoids. Therefore, when menopause happens and the ECS lacks oestrogen, its inability to break down these endocannabinoids may result in menopausal symptoms such as aches & joint pain, mood swings and depression, weight gain/ diabetes, hot flashes, Osteoporosis, memory loss, insomnia, vaginal dryness, etc. 

Since the ECS is a collection of receptors for breaking down endocannabinoids (body-produced cannabinoids) and external cannabinoids in maintaining homeostasis, it means Cannabidiol (CBD) can be used to help with the symptoms and return the body to a healthy balance.

How can CBD Help?

CBD is a naturally occurring compound found in the Hemp Plant, but it lacks the psychoactive effect “high”. The compound responsible for the “high” effect is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Although CBD has 0.3% of THC, it will not get you high, and that is why CBD Oil and products infused with CBD are favoured for use. 

In dealing with menopause, there haven't been scientific studies to establish CBD potentials, however, there are have been many suggestions of its positive effects in calming some symptoms of menopause, which is what we are looking at today.

Mood Swings & Depression 

Oestrogen and other hormones influence neurotransmitters including serotonin which controls our mood. So, as oestrogen levels fluctuate and eventually drop, the mood is also affected. This change in women's biochemistry increases their frequency of mood swings and puts them at a higher risk of depression and anxiety. When this happens, you should see your doctor.

However, CBD activates 5-HT1A (hydroxytryptamine), the serotonin receptor, hence it can manipulate the body’s biochemistry thereby potentially reducing its effect. Additionally, a study has shown that CBD significantly reduced perceived anxiety and depression, especially in women. 

Aches and joint pain

When some harmful diseases enter the body, the body responds with inflammation—good inflammation. An example is the painful swelling of the sinuses when we catch a cold, and the protein molecules responsible for this kind of inflammation are called the Tumour Necrosis Factor-alpha (TNFα).

In the absence of Oestrogen during menopause, the female body produces the TNFα in high quantities. And this leads to inflammation in the muscles and joints, putting women at risk of arthritis.  It is no wonder that about 60% of women in their menopause stages suffer joint and muscle pain.

However, studies have revealed that CBD has strong anti-inflammatory properties and can relieve chronic pain when taken in high but regulated quantities. And since CBD cannot get you high, there is little worry about dependency.

Hot Flashes & Night Sweats

When the biochemistry and neurochemistry of the body get altered as a result of significantly low levels of oestrogen, one of the symptoms it gives is sudden vasodilation (widening of blood vessels at the skin surface to increase heat loss). So, once a woman finds herself in a slightly hot environment, she gets anxious and begins to sweat profusely and have hot flashes. 

CBD doesn’t have any scientifically proven property to help with this vasomotor symptom, however, it is being used. This is because it has done well in helping people overcome anxiety, a trigger of this symptom.

Another reason suggested by many is because CBD has effects on serotonin, a neurotransmitter, hence it is believed it should also influence the neurotransmitters responsible for vasodilation.

Sleep disturbances

Hot flashes, anxiety, and depression are among the causes of sleeping disorders in menopausal women. Up to 61% of women report having Insomnia. Having this number of people worn-out with fatigue from lack of sleep can lead to an explosion of impending health issues.

Asides from trying to study your body to find a suitable sleep routine, CBD can also help. 

A study has proven that endocannabinoids have a role in our sleeping and waking. This means that CBD’s calming effect can influence our sleep. Therefore, CBD Oil and other products made for sleep disorders could help restore your sleep-wake cycle.

Memory Loss  

The brain indeed degenerates with age, hence memory loss and cases of Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. So, it is fine to pass it as a reason for memory loss in old menopausal women. However, there have been cases of memory loss in younger women who did surgical menopause.??? Please re write this bit in yellow> 

Even though there hasn’t been scientific proof backing the use of CBD for memory loss. Scientists are carrying out studies on its effect on memory loss, which could only mean that there is a hypothesis

Osteoporosis (Bone density loss)

Our body is in a constant process of moving calcium and other minerals in and out of the bones. This is normal. It only becomes a problem when the amount of calcium and minerals that is moved out is more than what is moved in. 

This is what happens during menopause. If this continues, the bone is at risk of fracturing.

CBD can be quite helpful in this case as there have been experiments on animals which shows that a cannabinoid receptor may be the key to solving this problem. However, there hasn’t been a human test yet. 

Weight Gain

Due to low oestrogen, the body burns fewer calories, even during exercise. This change increases the body’s resistance to insulin, stored fat, and puts you at risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. 

study shows people who take CBD products have lower insulin levels and lower weights.

Conclusion

Women go through several symptoms during pre-menopause, and post-menopause including, weight gain, memory loss, insomnia, hot flashes, mood swings, vaginal dryness, and so on. Although a mix of scientific and anecdotal evidence to support CBD as an aid for menopause, many firmly believe that CBD has a role to play in helping with the symptoms of this process.

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