CBD and Perimenopause & Menopause
WRITTEN BY MELANIE FLORES AND DR. SWATHI
For centuries, no one talked about women experiencing symptoms from perimenopause and menopause. No longer! The debilitating symptoms women experience during menopause are now a topic research and people are looking more seriously at herbal and natural remedies to help women feel better during the transition to menopause.
A 2022 survey conducted by Harvard of 258 women either going through perimenopause or menopause revealed that 78% of these women endorsed using cannabis to help with their menopasual symptoms! Read on to discover why cannabis could be beneficial in treating menopausal symptoms.
What is perimenopause?
Perimenopause translates to “around menopause” and is the transition into menopause and can last anywhere from a few months to ten years Women begin perimenopause at differing ages, it can begin as early as the mid-30s or as late as the mid-50s. Perimenopause is a natural process and occurs gradually until ovulation stops completely. During perimenopause the human body becomes less fertile, releases eggs less regularly, has shorter and more irregular periods, and produces uneven levels of estrogen. Undesirable symptoms occur due to uneven rise and fall of estrogen in the body. These symptoms include:
- Muscle aches
- Irregular periods
- Worse PMS before periods
- Breast tenderness
- Heart palpitations
- Fertility issues
- Weight gain
What is menopause?Once someone have experienced 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period, then it is considered to be in the menopause stage. Menopause occurs because the ovaries produce so little estrogen that egges are no longer released and thus the period stops. Symptoms of Menopause include:
- Night sweats
- Hot flashes
- Sleep disturbance
- Mood changes
- Decreased bone density
- Vaginal dryness
- Frequent urination
Can CBD help perimenopause and menopause?
Menopause and the transition into menopause, perimenopause, can cause uncomfortable and sometimes debilitating symptoms for women. There are medications women can get prescribed to ease these symptoms, such as estradiol and antidepressants but they often come with their own share of side effects. Many women are instead turning to cannabis products, namely CBD, to provide relief for their menopausal symptoms. Women’s health research has historically been under-funded and under-represented, so its huge that recent research is looking into alternative treatments for menopause. A 2022 evaluated the efficacy of CBD (25 mg/kg) administered orally to low-estrogen mice for 18 weeks. The results showed that CBD- treated mice had increased energy, improved glucose tolerance, decreased gut inflammation, and improved bone mineral density. While there are currently no human studies that look at the effects of cannabis on menopausal women, there are plenty of studies that examine the benefits of CBD for classic menopause symptoms.
CBD also has been linked to improvement of anxiety symptoms, as CBD improves the binding potential of GABA, a chemical in the human brain that is known for its calming effects. CBD is also known to decrease insulin resistance and result in the “browning of fat cells'’ which boosts metabolism and limits weight gain. Insomnia can be one of the most bothersome symptoms of menopause, and it is commonly treated with prescription medications that interfere with the natural sleep cycle. When CBD was administered to 27 healthy subjects in a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled study, it helped them stay in the deeper REM stage of sleep for longer and helped regulate the sleep-wake cycle. CBD’s proposed anti-anxiety and REM inducing effects make it a perfect candidate to help promote sleep in those suffering from sleep issues related to menopause. Forgetfulness and brain fog is an annoying symptom of menopause and although reduced memory is a normal part of aging, CBD is being tested as a potential treatment for memory loss. Estrogen promotes the production of new neurons in the memory center of the brain, the hippocampus, and helps promote healthy memory. The left subicular complex of the hippocampus was sown to increase from baseline in 18 subjects that were given 200mg of CBD daily. These results suggest that CBD could be a potential therapy for memory loss.
How should I take CBD?
As with any new supplement, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider before using CBD. CBD can interact with certain prescription and herbal medications. It should also be noted that all the CBD products used in the studies mentioned above were taken orally, not inhaled or smoked.
It is also important to make sure that the CBD you intend of purchasing and using is third party tested and USDA organic. Consult with your doctor or pharmacist that is knowledgeable in cannabis to find the right CBD dose for you to help alleviate your menopause symptoms!
- Dahlgren, M. Kathryn PhD1,2,3; El-Abboud, Celine BA1,2; Lambros, Ashley M. BS1,2; Sagar, Kelly A. PhD1,2,3; Smith, Rosemary T. BS1,2; Gruber, Staci A. PhD1,2,3. A survey of medical cannabis use during perimenopause and postmenopause. Menopause: September 2022 - Volume 29 - Issue 9 - p 1028-1036. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000002018
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This article was edited by Dr. Swathi and was written by Element Apothec Scientific Communications Intern, Melanie Flores. She is a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) student at Oregon State University and Oregon Health & Science University College of Pharmacy in Portland, Oregon.