When it comes to menopause, many women today are finding themselves completely and totally unprepared for the changes that are occurring in their bodies.
While this is a normal, natural part of life—the support that has been available in decades past is, well—not that great. As the baby boomer generation starts to face this time in their lives, more and more information is surfacing and more support is available than ever has been before.
However, many women are still faced with discomfort and anxiety, and are searching high and low for a way to naturally treat their menopause symptoms.
For generations, women have been using cannabis for health-related reasons. Now, there is a growing body of evidence (both clinical and anecdotal) suggesting that CBD (a cannabinoid found in cannabis/hemp) has the potential to alleviate menopause symptoms. So, in this article, we’re diving into the facts about menopause, and how CBD can be used to treat menopause symptoms.
“According to BDS Analytics, menstruation, menopause, and sex are listed as the top three reasons for women’s cannabinoid use.”
What is Menopause?
Interesetingly enough (based on a recent survey) most women who take CBD report using it for three main reasons; for better sex, painful menstrual cramps and relief of menopause symptoms.
Commonly referred to as “The Change” – the idea of menopause typically makes women of all ages shudder. If you have a uterus, you will go through – or have already gone through- menopause. Menopause refers to a period of time, after a woman’s last period.
Menopause is triggered by the loss of follicles (structures that contain eggs) in the ovaries. During this period, the production of estrogen and progesterone- two hormones made by the ovaries- varies greatly. Menopause may also occur when the ovaries are surgically removed.
There are 3 Phases of Menopause:
Perimenopause: This refers to the time prior to the end of menstruation- when the levels of estrogen in the body start to decrease. This usually begins a few years before your body enters the menopause stage.
Menopause: Full-blown menopause stops the ovulation entirely- meaning that your body will no longer produce high levels of estrogen.
Postmenopause: The period after the last menstrual cycle is what we refer to as post-menopause. During this stage, the menopausal symptoms should pretty much dissipate.
What are the Symptoms of Menopause?
According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the symptoms of menopause include:
- hot flashes
- night sweats
- difficulty sleeping
- mood changes
- vaginal dryness
- decreased sexual drive
- urine leakage
- joint problems
- weight gain/slowed metabolism
- thinning hair
- dry skin
- loss of breast fullness
The issues listed above are the reasons why some women decide to start using CBD to treat menopause symptoms.
Here’s what we know about how CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system to help ease these symptoms.
What We Know About the Endocannabinoid System and Menopause
Menopause is a very personal experience.
Some women find that they are only mildly uncomfortable; others struggle intensely with emotional highs-and-lows, fluctuating weight, mood swings… the list goes on and on. As a woman’s cycle starts to slow down, there are major changes in endocannabinoid production.
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is a network of cell receptors that maintain the balance of hormones in our bodies- called homeostasis.
The endocannabinoid system plays a crucial role in regulating our physiology, mood and overall health and wellness. During menopause, this lack of endocannabinoid activity results in a poor ability to react to stress and anxiety.
One of the primary endocannabinoids affected by shifts in estrogen production is the ‘bliss molecule’ or anandamide. CBD binds to these receptors and gives them a boost, which acts like a natural, mild antidepressant.
It’s because of our ECS receptors that cannabis molecules, like CBD, create that nice “zen” state that we all want- especially when our bodies are undergoing such a change.
How Can CBD Treat Menopause Symptoms?
CBD Can Help You Get Better Sleep
CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) which is an intricate network of receptors in our nervous system- triggering various neurological effects. The endocannabinoid system plays a huge part in regulating our body’s circadian rhythm, meaning that taking CBD can help us to control our sleep/wake cycles, and improving conditions like insomnia as a result!
CBD Can Alleviate Anxiety and Mood Swings
In 2018, a review determined that CBD has anti-stress effects that has the potential to reduce depression (related to stress) and a 2019 study found that CBD had antidepressant effects on the test animals- which lasted up to a week after the treatment.
For more information on using CBD for anxiety, head over to this article on The Bloom!
If you suffer from untreated depression, we urge you to seek professional support by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. We’ve also put together a list of mental health resources for women, if you’re seeking additional help on your mental health journey.
CBD Salve for Dry, Dull Skin
Topical CBD salves can be applied directly to your skin to improve quality, and slow down the ageing process.
Since CBD is derived from a plant, it’s no surprise that it also contains antioxidant properties. The antioxidants in CBD salves are just one of the ways that CBD can help reduce the visible signs of aging. By counteracting free-radical damage, and reducing the look of inflammation, CBD salves can help skin issues like wrinkles, dullness, and “ruddy” skin tone.
Another benefit of using CBD for dry skin is that it has been found to have significant soothing properties. Its calming effects can help minimize issues related to skin sensitivity, including redness and reactivity. If you’re experiencing dry, irritated skin due to menopause, consider using a soothing CBD salve on the problem areas.
CBD Can Prevent Vaginal Dryness and Boost Sex Drive
When it comes to your ever-changing body, sometimes external factors (unrelated to desire) can make it more difficult to crave intimacy with your partner. Women experiencing menopause often find that their libido takes a nose-dive during this time. When the lining of your vagina gets thinner, and produces less natural lubrications, sex might not feel as good.
Adding CBD to your lube can increase blood flow, keeping your tissues healthy while also moisturizing the vaginal canal. This increased blood flow can do amazing things in the bedroom.
Many women who use CBD for sex, during menopause, report having stronger, more pleasurable orgasms, and a better overall sexual experience. Next time you’re in the mood, drop a little CBD into your favorite lube, and experiment with the cannabinoid proven to spice-up your sex life.
*We do not intend for this article to be a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. We encourage you to always seek the advice of a physician, psychologist or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a possible medical condition.
Never delay seeking medical attention because of something you have read on The Bloom.