Menopause is one of those things that many of us never really think about. That is until we reached the age where it starts knocking on our door. Many of us are completely unprepared for it, having no idea as to what the symptoms are, never mind how to deal with them.
But the more we educate ourselves ahead of time, the sooner we can notice the beginning stages of menopause, learning how to proactively react and deal with the changes that are happening within our bodies.
So, let’s discover what menopause is and how CBD can potentially help to relieve many of symptoms a lot of women experience during “the change”.
WHAT IS MENOPAUSE?
Menopause is a normal part of aging for women. The term menopause basically describes any of the changes our bodies goes through before, during and after we stop getting our period, marking the end of her fertility.
Traditionally menopause is diagnosed when our ovaries stop releasing an egg every month and we haven’t had a period for at least 12 months. This usually happens after the age of 40, but for some women it can happen earlier. This can either occur naturally, or it can be as a result of surgery such as a hysterectomy, or due to disease or treatments such as cancer and chemotherapy.
Stages of Menopause
Although there are three basic stages which characterizes menopause, the process is gradual and many of the symptoms and signs overlap.
Typically beginning several years before menopause, during this time the ovaries are starting to produce less and less estrogen to the point where the they stop releasing eggs. At this stage, many women start to experience some symptoms associated with menopause.
A woman is considered to have reached menopause when she has had a period for at least 12 months. It is also at this stage that the ovaries have stopped releasing eggs and estrogen production has basically ceased completely.
This is considered the years after menopause in which the body has found a sense of balance again, and the symptoms of menopause has eased for most women.
What Causes Menopause?
We are all born with a certain number of ova or eggs which are stored in our ovaries. Every month an egg is released for fertilization. If this doesn’t happen, our bodies discard it and the uterus readies itself for menstruation. Our ovaries are also responsible for making hormones such as estrogen and progesterone which regulate this process and control our menstrual cycles and ovulation.
However, this is not the full story. Countless other molecules, hormones and chemicals are also controlled by these estrogen and progesterone. And as these two hormones fluctuate, so too does almost every other biological and physiological system – from a ramp up in the production of inflammatory molecules, to brain function, to fat accumulation, to bone reabsorption.
Simply put, menopause changes almost any part of the inner workings of our bodies. And each of us will experience menopause in a different way.
CBD FOR THE SYMPTOMS OF MENOPAUSE
For many women menopause medications are not a great option. For instance, treatments like hormone replacement therapy (HTR) is contra-indicated in women who have a history of breast cancer in their family, while many others are not comfortable with taking the SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) sometimes prescribed for hot flashes.
It is no small wonder then that menopause is one of the top three issues why women are turning to therapeutic cannabis products such as cannabidiol (CBD). And for good reason.
There is an ever-growing body of scientific evidence indicating that CBD could be useful for many of the symptoms associated with menopause. Let’s take a look at how CBD can help with many of the symptoms associated with the various stages of menopause.
CBD for Menopause: Aches & Joint Pain
As our bodies start to produce less estrogen, our bodies start to produce higher levels of inflammatory molecules. This means that our bodies respond to stressors differently, often causing inflammation resulting an increase in aches and pains – especially in muscles and joints.
CBD for Menopause: Mood Swings & Depression
Estrogen and progesterone are known to influence the activity of serotonin and other neurotransmitters which directly affect mood. Similarly, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) has also been implicated in mood.
CBD for Menopause: Hot Flashes & Night Sweats
These pesky “vasomotor” symptom of menopause is caused by a change in the neurochemistry in the hypothalamus which is responsible for controlling your body’s temperature. It is due to this neurochemical basis that SSRIs and SNRIs are often prescribed for hot flashes.
Although there aren’t studies that have specifically tested CBD for hot flashes, as mentioned before, it does have an influence on the body’s serotonin system and could be one reason why so many women swear by it for relieving hot flashes.
CBD for Menopause: Weight Gain & Diabetes
Without estrogen, our bodies burn fewer calories and less fat. And even if you decide to diet, the constant hormonal shifts trigger your body to swop muscle mass for abdominal fat raising your risk of developing insulin resistance, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In addition, menopause also causes endocannabinoids to fluctuate, causing insulin resistance.
Because of the way in which CBD could interact with the ECS, it can buffer the natural endocannabinoids which can help with healthy metabolism, increased body fat and diabetes.
CBD for Menopause: Osteoporosis
Our bodies are constantly moving calcium and other minerals out of, and in to our bones. But as our bodies start to produce less estrogen which is linked to this process, more bone is taken away than it is added. This makes the bones brittle and more prone to fractures – a condition called osteoporosis.
However, another key factor in the decline of bone density is related to an endocannabinoid deficiency in the CB2-receptors with research not only showing that CBD has the ability to target the receptors responsible for bone density, but that it can actually help with the healing of fractures as well.
CBD for Menopause: Sleep Disturbances
Many women going through menopause struggle with sleep disturbances – either having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. This can be due to night sweats, but can also be as a result of anxiety or depression.
Depending on the reason why you’re having trouble sleeping, CBD has the potential to help. We’ve already discussed how CBD can help regulate body temperature and decrease hot flashes. Similarly, if the reason you are lying awake at night is because your feeling anxious or depressed, CBD’s anxiolytic and anti-depressant properties can help you with that.
HOW TO USE CBD FOR MENOPAUSE
CBD Oils & Capsules
One of the most popular ways of using CBD for menopause is to use a CBD oil or CBD capsules. These types of products are very good at providing effective relief that lasts a long time. Oils can be applied directly under the tongue (sublingual) and held there for about 60 seconds and then swallowed. Capsules can simply be swallowed with water or juice.
We recommend choosing a high-quality product that is specifically formulated for relieving menopause symptoms. These will include other beneficial herbs such as evening primrose oil, and clary sage extracts which are all known for their effectiveness in relieving menopause symptoms.
Dosage will vary depending on the severity of your symptoms but we recommend starting with the directions as stated on the product.
Another great way to use CBD for menopause is by sipping on a CBD infused tea. As with CBD oils and capsules, look for a tea that also contains other helpful herbs such as black cohosh, red clover, licorice root and ginseng.
CBD Creams, Lotions & Sprays
CBD creams, lotions and sprays are good for providing localized pain relief from things such as arthritis, joint pain and muscle pain.
Probably the most fun way to treat your menopause symptoms is with CBD infused chocolate. Along with the benefits of CBD, chocolate also contains magnesium and can reset your cortisol while also getting rid of bad estrogens linked to breast cancer.
DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Consult with a physician if you have a serious medical condition or use prescription medications. A doctor’s advice should always be sought before before embarking on any new treatment.