- Numerous studies have reported the positive effects of CBD and CBD-rich cannabis oil to alleviate menopause-related symptoms.
- Aches and joint pain are often associated with menopause, as reduced estrogen levels tend to produce higher levels of inflammatory markers. CBD has been shown to offer pain relief and reduce inflammation.
- When any type of CBD oil is combined with positive lifestyle changes, there may be a greater synergistic effect on menopausal symptoms.
A normal and inevitable part of aging, menopause is a transitional period that can cause a wide range of symptoms, many of which vary from one woman to the next. Most often occurring between the ages of 45 and 55, this period typically lasts around seven years.
During menopause, estrogen levels significantly drop, causing a range of symptoms. However, research is beginning to suggest that cannabis and the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) may be able to help counteract some of these effects.
Cannabidiol (CBD), as well as THC and CBD-THC combinations, have become key areas of interest, offering potential low-risk treatment options for menopause symptoms. In fact, women of all ages are experiencing CBD-related relief in relation to other female-specific hormone-related conditions and symptoms, including premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
While studies on CBD and menopause are limited, there is evidence that quality CBD products may help combat associated symptoms. This is particularly true when combined with other treatment options.
At this time, evidence suggests that the ECS impacts female reproductive tissues and processes, playing a vital role in relation to temperature regulation, sleep, pain, mood, memory, and immune function.
Dr. Melanie Bone, an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB/GYN) and marijuana physician, said, “menopause is a HOT topic… pun intended! As an ‘of-that-age-myself’ gynecologist, I sympathize with women every day who are experiencing the highs and lows of lost ovarian function. Few women get through unscathed, and I marvel at patients who transition through menopause without so much as a hot flash.
“For most of us, menopause brings a host of physical, emotional, and sexual changes that range from the occasional ‘power surge’ to the sheet-drenching disruption of severe night sweats, and much more. As a board-certified OB/GYN in practice for almost 30 years, I have been treating patients for their menopause symptoms for decades. I am an expert on hormone therapies of all kinds. I am also a practicing marijuana physician in Florida. I find that the combination of cannabinoid medicine, hormone therapy, and lifestyle changes is a very effective way to manage menopause.”
As mentioned, studies related specifically to menopause and CBD are currently limited. However, numerous studies have reported the positive effects of CBD and CBD-rich cannabis oil in relation to menopause-related symptoms. One of these common symptoms being changes in mood.
Numerous studies have identified the potential impact of CBD on mood, including its inherent anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects. A 2018 study in Elsevier’s Journal of Affective Disorders found that cannabis significantly reduced ratings of depression, anxiety, and stress. It was also reported that women showcased greater reductions in anxiety in comparison to men, and that low-THC/high-CBD strains were best for reducing symptoms of depression.
Aches and joint pain are also often associated with menopause, as reduced estrogen levels tend to produce higher levels of inflammatory markers. Hormonal fluctuations can also cause cramping, migraines, and breast tenderness. Luckily, CBD has been shown to offer pain relief and reduce inflammation.
A 2016 study in the European Journal of Pain examined the efficiency of transdermal CBD for pain and inflammation in rats. It was found that topical CBD can help reduce swelling as well as pro-inflammatory markers. It was concluded that CBD provides potential therapeutic relief when aiming to treat arthritis pain, as well as inflammation, without any apparent side effects.
Sleep disturbances are also an area of concern among menopausal and postmenopausal women, with 61 percent reporting insomnia symptoms. In a 2019 study, researchers were interested in whether CBD would improve sleep or anxiety among a clinical population. After providing CBD treatment to 72 adults, it was found that anxiety scores decreased in 79.2% of patients within the first month and sleep scores improved in 66.7% of patients within the first month.
C.T. is a postmenopausal patient who uses both cannabis and bioidentical hormones. She told Weedmaps, “I was using bioidentical hormones to help with hot flashes, mood changes, and dryness. After discussing my situation with Dr. Bone, we agreed that I might benefit from the addition of cannabis.
“Now that I have been using both, I feel great. I have no more symptoms of menopause and my husband is delighted to have me back to my old self.”
What the Experts Say
Dr. Bonni Goldstein, a medical adviser to Weedmaps and medical director for Canna-Centers in California, said her patients found relief from THC and CBD-THC remedies.
“In my experience, the main symptoms associated with menopause are poor sleep and an increase in mood issues, such as anxiety. Some patients report relief with THC-rich or 1:1 CBD:THC edibles taken a few hours before bedtime.”
Bone recommends CBD and THC to help with pain and mood swings.
“Certain aspects of menopause are well-managed with cannabinoids,” she said. “CBD in various forms can help with menopausal symptoms, such as anxiety and depression. When needed, THC can be added to help maximize the entourage effect of the plant and best help with insomnia and some of the arthritic complaints and low energy that affect midlife women.
“I find that I use less estrogen to ameliorate hot flashes when I combine it with cannabinoid medicine. It makes sense. Commonly, hot flashes are precipitated by anxiety and the CBD lowers the anxiety and hence can treat vasomotor symptoms.”
The Bottom Line
Currently, little research has been conducted to suggest that CBD oil can treat menopausal symptoms. Researchers are only just beginning to understand how the ECS works in relation to menopause and other health-related conditions. However, for those looking for an alternative therapy option, CBD shows great promise.
“There are more issues at stake in menopause: sexual dysfunction, dryness, urinary complaints, and weight changes,” Bone said. “While some of these complaints are best managed with hormones, in women who have contraindications to using estrogen, such as a history of breast cancer, there is a definite role for cannabinoids to help as well.”
While more research is needed, CBD oil and CBD-rich cannabis oil are both currently believed to combat some of the most problematic symptoms associated with menopause, including sleep disturbances, mood changes, bone density loss, and aches, though anecdotal evidence and animal model studies suggest that combined cannabinoids, rather than the more readily available CBD isolate, may have more prominent effects on alleviating some of the more severe symptoms associated with menopause. However, when any type of CBD oil is combined with positive lifestyle changes, there may be a greater synergistic effect.
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