MEDICAL CONDITIONS

Menopause

CBD Menopause
Written by Stefan K.

CBD in the menopause

The menopause is the time when a woman can no longer bear children. The hormone balance in the body changes. This change is often accompanied by complaints. The climacteric, as the menopause is also called, is divided into three phases – perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause. In all three phases CBD can have a positive influence on the female body during the menopause.

Perimenopause is the period just before menstruation stops. On average, this phase begins at the age of 47.5 years. The menopause itself marks the time of the last menstrual period. The postmenopause is the period following the menopause.

The effects, symptoms, onset and duration of the menopause often vary considerably from woman to woman. There is no exactly predictable timetable for this phase of life. Some women experience a regular cycle until the last menstruation, others only have a menstrual period every 3 – 4 months over a span of several years. It is also not uncommon for some women to have no period at all during the dark winter months. Among many other symptoms, women in this phase of their life suffer from sleep disorders, weight changes, mood swings and general bad mood. Many women currently resort to CBD during the menopause in reaction to these symptoms.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is extracted from the hemp or cannabis plant. It is one of more than 100 related cannabinoids. THC also belongs to this group of ingredients. However, CBD and THC differ in important points. CBD is legal because, unlike THC, it does not cause intoxication, is not psychoactive and does not cause dependency. In the European Union, CBD products whose THC content does not exceed 0.2% are freely available for sale. In countries like Switzerland a percentage of 1 is allowed.

Causes of menopausal years / menopause

Gynaecologists can determine the beginning of the various stages of the menopause by measuring hormones. This involves a blood test to measure FSH levels. This is a follicle-stimulating hormone that increases significantly as the function of the ovary decreases. In contrast, the oestrogen level decreases.

As part of the natural aging process, the cause of menopause is the reduced reaction of the ovaries to the control hormones from the pituitary gland. In spite of constant stimulation, less progesterone is produced in the ovaries. The result is that ovulation stops. This is also the reason why no new corpus luteum is formed. The progesterone deficiency shortens menstrual cycles, but it is only when the oestrogen production comes to a standstill that menstruation stops – the time of menopause has come.

Despite the timing, the causal changes tend to occur over a longer period of time. Often during this phase, the intervals between periods become so long that women assume that they are no longer fertile. This can often lead to unexpected pregnancies. Gynaecologists only assume that the menopause has been completed after an absence of more than 12 months.

Symptoms of the menopause

The symptoms during the menopause phase are very pronounced in about one third of women. In another third, the effects are very mild and a final third hardly notice any symptoms at all.

In addition to the intensity of the symptoms, duration also plays an important role. In the majority of women, the menopausal symptoms last for a few years. In about 10% of women, many symptoms are felt for ten years or more.

But what are the symptoms of the menopause? In addition to the absence of menstruation described above, women also tend to have other physical and psychological symptoms during this time. These include hot flushes, blushing, feelings of tension in the breasts, night sweats, hair loss, dizziness, palpitations, vaginal dryness, insomnia, low sex drive, weight changes, bad mood and mild to severe mood swings.

During the menopause, many women also suffer from headaches and migraines. Many women report psychological symptoms such as depressive moods, despondency, nervousness and a particularly strong irritability.

Due to the reduced production of oestrogen, complaints with the skin can also be a symptom of the menopause. At this point, CBD ointments or CBD creams, for example, can provide relief.

How do conventional remedies work during the menopause?

At this point it should be noted that menopause is not an illness, so it does not necessarily require treatment. However, if the symptoms are too severe or unpleasant, there are possibilities to reduce them.

To ease the menopause and reduce the symptoms, several options have been available up to now. Medical approaches usually include hormones such as oestrogen. Within the context of the menopausal hormone therapy thus described, the body is given oestrogen-progestin preparations. This compensates for the body’s own reduction in hormone production in the ovaries.

Since these hormone replacement therapies often go hand in hand with severe side effects, especially when used for a long period of time, many women look for a replacement. Alternatives to hormone replacement therapy are herbal medicines such as phytohormones or sage drops. Other strategies can also help to relieve symptoms during the menopause. Regular exercise, not smoking, a balanced diet and generally avoiding stress can help before, during and after the menopause. Another component used to alleviate the menopause and its symptoms is CBD. Taking CBD during the menopause can alleviate certain psychological as well as physical effects.

CBD during the menopause – how does cannabidiol work during the menopause?

CBD is considered by experts as a possible and promising alternative to traditional drugs. One reason is that it influences many bodily functions via the endo-cannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is partly responsible for the sensation of pain, appetite, psychological mood, certain parts of the reproductive organs, and numerous other functions of the body. A large number of these functions and sensations are determined by the hormonal changes during the menopause. The menopause influences the ECS and, through it, once again the oestrogen level. What are the effects of taking CBD during the menopause?

Studies and effects – CBD during the menopause

A number of studies deal with the interaction of CBD and certain complaints that (also) occur during the menopause. These include mood swings, sleep disorders, migraines, obesity, loss of libido and hot flushes.

CBD and mood swings during the menopause

A large proportion of women in the menopause suffer a rapid, uncontrolled change between high and low moods. It is often very difficult for those affected to retain an equilibrium. A fundamental problem with menopausal mood swings is that in the high phases, those affected do not understand why they need help, and in low phases they consider it hopeless to accept help. CBD in the menopause can help to stabilize moods. For example, if you consume CBD oils, CBD liquids or CBD food during this time, the ECS will stimulate dopamine production. This happiness hormone can create a hormonal balance, especially with negative mood swings.

cbd-menopause

Until now, these mood swings have been treated with antidepressants or antipsychotics. However, these can often have strong side effects – in contrast to the CBD. The positive effect of CBD on mood swings also during menopause has been proven by a number of studies[1][2][3].  

CBD and sleep disorders during menopause

In the course of the menopause it frequently happens that those affected suffer from sometimes persistent sleep disorders. For many who do not want to use pharmaceutical sleeping pills, CBD is a gentle alternative in the menopause.

Test persons in a study by the University of California, which examined the effects of CBD and insomnia, stated that their sleeping habits had improved considerably as a result of taking CBD. Researchers at the University of Colorado published a paper in which a patient suffering from severe sleep disorders stated that the quality of her sleep was significantly improved by taking CBD.

CBD und migraine during the menopause

The pain of a migraine may first appear or increase during the menopause. For many women, the pain can go so far that it is almost impossible to think of a normal, regulated daily routine. A study from 2018 proves that there is a clear connection between ECS and migraine. The study explicitly points out the advantages of taking CBD oil against migraine.

CBD and being overweight during the menopause

A symptom of the menopause is often weight gain. In this case CBD also offers a possibility to face this effect. A study on rats has shown that they had a considerably curbed appetite after taking CBD.

Korean researchers have documented in a study that CBD can have a positive effect on overweight people. It was found that CBD can have a positive effect on fat loss and thus on the metabolism by stimulating certain proteins.

Another study[4] dealt with the topic of weight and CBD. It was found that CBD has an effect on the mitochondria. It increases their activity. The mitochondria can make an important contribution especially to the reduction of body fat.

CBD and reduced libido during the menopause

It can happen that during menopause the libido is reduced and there is an impact on the sex life of those affected. The reason for this is that a lack of oestrogen can reduce the desire for sex. Another reason why many women do not feel like having sex during the menopause is vaginal dryness. This causes pain during sexual intercourse.

The consumption of CBD can stimulate the production of serotonin. Serotonin as a happiness hormone can increase both mood and well-being. As a woman, you will feel better and more pleasurable again. As a result, the libido can also increase again.

CBD and hot flushes during the menopause

Sometimes cold, sometimes unbearably hot – hot flushes during menopause are among the most common symptoms. These are caused by the hormonal changes. Instead of oestrogen, the female body releases more of the stress hormone adrenaline during this phase of life. As a result, blood pressure, breathing rate and pulse rate rise. The ambient temperature is thus perceived as warmer than it is. The body reacts with uncontrolled sweating.

CBD oil, CBD liquid and also many other CBD products have a calming effect on the body and thereby reduce the stress level. CBD also acts via the ECS on the production of the messenger substance adrenaline. CBD also has an effect on the cortisol level. As a messenger substance, cortisol is directly involved in the human stress reaction. It can trigger mood swings as well as feelings of anxiety and thus lead to stress. In the course of a double-blind study[5] it was shown that in the test persons of the group that received CBD, the cortisol level dropped to such an extent that the stress became noticeably less.

CBD products in the menopause

In order to achieve the effects of CBD during the menopause as mentioned in the studies, there are various products on the market. These are:

  • CBD oil,
  • CBD liquids,
  • CBD tablets,
  • CBD food,
  • CBD tea,
  • CBD ointments
  • CBD creams

… and many more. The best known is probably the CBD oil. Obtained from a mixture of CBD crystals (100% pure CBD) and a carrier oil, there are CBD oils in different concentrations. These CBD oils are available with 5, 10, 15 or even 20 %. They are taken orally during the menopause. The dose indicated on the packaging should be used at the beginning. It is advisable to consult your gynecologist.

CBD liquids are inhaled through a vaper, i.e. an e-cigarette. This is the fastest way to inhale CBD. CBD tablets are taken orally in the same way as CBD food (CBD gummi bears are very well known). CBD ointments and CBD creams work the slowest. Applied to the skin, they must first penetrate the epidermis before they have an effect in the body.

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CBD in the case of menopausal symptoms

The complaints experienced in the course of the menopause can develop into more than unpleasant everyday companions. If one tries to intervene with CBD for menopausal symptoms, the positive effects of the hemp product can take effect. Many women in the menopause use the so-called CBD or hemp tea to bring the symptoms under control.

Not only the CBD itself can help, but also the warmth of the tea. In addition, the relaxing activity of drinking tea often reduces the stress that accompanies many symptoms during the menopause.

Dosage of CBD during the menopause

Taking CBD, in whatever form, during the menopause should be done according to the gynaecologist’s dosage suggestion or based on the manufacturer’s instructions. The higher the CBD content in a product, the fewer drops, for example, should be taken at the beginning.

Since each woman’s body is different, it is difficult to give a generally valid dosage suggestion. In general, one can say that the CBD dosage should only be slowly increased until the desired effect is achieved. This dosage can then be maintained. If adverse effects occur, simply reduce the dose.

Conclusion

  • Every woman enters the menopause in the course of her life. About two-thirds have mild to no symptoms. For the other third, however, this phase of life can be very difficult.
  • Besides hormone replacement therapies, cannabidiol, or CBD for short, can help with many menopausal symptoms.
  • It can balance mood swings, relieve sleep disorders and reduce the pain of migraines.
  • In addition, it can help to regain control of increased weight caused by the menopause.
  • CBD is also taken by many menopausal women because it can increase their libido.
  • CBD can help especially with stress-related hot flushes.

[1] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20439721/ – 30.07.2020

[2] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24353209/ – 30.07.2020

[3] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21663537/ – 30.07.2020

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5958190/ – 30.07.2020

[5] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8257923/ – 30.07.2020

Taking products containing cannabinoids may result in interactions with various medications. If you are already taking medication, the use of CBD and other cannabinoids should be discussed with your doctor beforehand.

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About the author

Stefan K.

Stefan K.

Stefan is not only a valuable part of the CannaTrust magazine but also convinces with his sound knowledge about the effects of cannabinoids. As an author in Austria he gathered valuable experiences when writing for 'Stadtblatt Salzburg'. He got in contact with cannabis through several positive media reports. Nowadays he writes about everything around the most popular cannabinoid these days: CBD.