CBD, Menopause & HRT - What Are The Facts?
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Women spend about one third of their lifetime in the postmenopausal stage, defined as one year after the final menstruation, which typically occurs after age 50. The steep decline in estrogen levels after menopause can often lead to a host of health concerns, including weight gain, cardiometabolic disease, osteoporosis, gastrointestinal disorders and cognitive decline. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) exists as one of very few treatment options, but the risks and benefits of HRT is variable and depends on age, individual health status, dose and type of HRT.
Can you take CBD with HRT?
There is an increasing volume of research being undertaken to examine the benefits of Cannabidiol (CBD) while on HRT. There is little interaction between CBD and the HRT hormones, estrogen and progesterone, and there is no scientific or clinical evidence that CBD interferes with HRT.
If you can't take HRT, CBD has been increasing investigated to alleviate menopausal symptoms, however, CBD must not be mistaken for a direct replacement for HRT, as it does not contain any hormones.
If you have any concerns about taking CBD oil we recommend that you consult with your doctor first as you should if you are considering introducing any supplements to your diet.
How does CBD help?
CBD has become a key area of interest for women experiencing symptoms of menopause, offering a potential low-risk treatment for particular symptoms. According to a publication in the Journal of Addiction Research & Theory in 2017, cannabis has been found to alleviate a wide array of medical symptoms, including those that overlap with physical and emotional symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), including insomnia, irritability, depression, and joint pain.
Many of the symptoms associated with HRT include the most common reasons for taking CBD Oil; stiffness of joints through inflammation, headaches or migraines, acne, anxiety, depression and mood, in turn disruption of sleep. This is down to the involvement of CBD and the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex signalling system present throughout the body that is part of the body’s nervous system. The exact mechanism of how CBD interacts with the ECS is under extensive research due to the infancy of this exploding industry, studies indicate that CBD can be helpful in the body’s management and reaction to pain, inflammation, stress, fertility & reproduction, environmental pollutants, aging, prescription drugs and many other ailments. The ECS facilitates our internal bodily systems to return to their steady normal state, called homeostasis.
The use of CBD oil on a daily basis may play a pivotal role in helping to get the ECS back into a state of homeostasis, the balance needed to maintain a healthy equilibrium within the body. For women suffering from symptoms of menopause, achieving an internal balance can lead to a greater sense of wellbeing, raising the quality of life they can live. How women deal with these menopause symptoms is a matter of personal choice; whether they prefer pharmaceutical or prescription drugs or a more naturopathic pathway including CBD oil. This may depend on menopausal severity, where a combination of both could be a good option.
One thing is for certain, CBD oil is becoming more popular in this space.
More and more women are now starting to use CBD Oil, especially those who cannot take HRT for example. Though there is no hard evidence yet about the certainty of the benefits, there is much anecdotal evidence, and we hear stories every week from our customers and, as always, we would like to hear yours – positive or negative!
While studies on CBD and menopause specifically are limited, there is evidence that high-quality CBD products may help combat the associated symptoms. This is particularly true when CBD is combined with other treatment options.
According to a literature review published in 2019 in the Journal of Ovarian Research, the ECS impacts female reproductive tissues and processes, playing a vital role in temperature regulation, sleep, pain, mood, memory, and immune function.
Several studies have reported the positive effects of CBD and CBD-rich cannabis oil on mood changes, joint pain, and sleep problems, all commonly associated with hormonal changes during menopause. Though the studies didn't look specifically at menopause, the results indicate that CBD could provide relief for these symptoms regardless of their cause.
In addition, numerous studies have identified the potential impact of CBD on mood, including its inherent anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects. A 2018 study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that cannabis significantly reduced perceptions of depression, anxiety, and stress in both women and men. Researchers also reported that women experienced greater reductions in anxiety compared to men and that low-HIGH CBD strains were best for reducing symptoms of depression.
Aches and joint pain frequently occur post-menopause, as reduced estrogen levels tend to produce higher levels of inflammation. Luckily, CBD has been shown to offer relief from pain and inflammation, as reported in a 2015 literature review published in the Journal Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry.
The Patient’s Perspective
Patient “X” is a 52-year-old woman who has had one period in the last six months. She has trouble sleeping because she is awakened with hot flashes and sweats, making her tired during the day and feeling depressed because she can't get a good night's sleep. Patient X's sister had breast cancer at age 54 and she is worried about being diagnosed herself. She is scared to use hormones due to the history of breast cancer in her family.
Patient X’s doctor: “The patient wanted a consult because she is having so much trouble concentrating at work that she is afraid she will lose her job. After I explained to her that she could opt to try hormones, she decided to try cannabinoids first, with hormones as a fallback. Currently, she is doing exceedingly well with excellent management of most of her complaints.
Patient “Y” is a postmenopausal patient who uses both cannabis and bioidentical hormones. “I was using bioidentical hormones to help with hot flashes, mood changes, and dryness. After discussing my situation with my doctor, we agreed that I might benefit from the addition of CBD.”
“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.”
Meg Mathews, founder of megsmenopause.com, on HRT and CBD oil:
“My friend told me that it (CBD) would help with my anxiety and joint pain but it might not work instantly as it usually takes up to 21 days to take effect. I knew that I had to be patient (which is very hard for me) and I took the drops every day.
I’ve spoken a lot about my anxiety during the menopause and even though I take HRT, I still have anxiety on most days. Not long after taking the CBD oil, I noticed that I was feeling much calmer and less anxious. For me, the worst kind of anxiety is the anxiety that has no root cause; feeling anxious for no reason at all was one of the worst things about my menopause experience.
Three months on and I can honestly say that my anxiety levels have dropped to practically nothing. A lot of people have noticed the difference in me and I feel a sense of calm that I haven’t felt for a very long time. I was really pleasantly surprised because the whole time I was taking the oil, I really couldn’t believe that something so simple could help me so much. But I have noticed a huge change in myself. I’ve also noticed that my joint pain has all but gone. I wake up in the morning and feel sprightly for the first time in a long time. I can honestly say that it has made a huge difference to my life.”
Preliminary study on estrogen-deficient mice
In a study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology, scientists reported that when estrogen-deficient mice were fed CBD they showed marked improvement in several areas. Their bloodstreams more readily disposed of glucose, and they burned more energy. In addition, their bone density improved, they had less inflammation in gut and bone tissues, and they possessed higher levels of beneficial gut bacteria.
“This preclinical study is the first to suggest the therapeutic potential of CBD for alleviating symptoms of estrogen deficiency,” said Diana Roopchand, an assistant professor in the Department of Food Science of the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS) and senior author on the study.
“There is much anecdotal evidence of CBD’s health benefits for menopausal and postmenopausal women, but our study is the first to investigate some of the claims in an established preclinical model of postmenopause.”
Over 18 weeks, researchers fed estrogen-deficient mice a steady diet of either tiny, CBD-infused peanut butter balls or peanut butter balls without CBD. The mice that consumed the non-CBD peanut butter balls developed symptoms that resembled those of postmenopausal human females, such as metabolic dysfunction, evidence of inflammation, lower bone density, and lower levels of beneficial gut bacteria. However, in mice that ingested CBD, these conditions were significantly improved.
“CBD is already being used by many women to deal with symptoms of menopause and postmenopause,” Roopchand said. “This study provides preclinical evidence to support further investigation of CBD as a therapeutic for postmenopause-related disorders.”
While CBD has become a popular alternative, and some people may find it effective for menopause symptoms, additional research is required to support and confirm its claims.
How much can I take and when?
When it comes to dosage for CBD, there is no one-size-fits all. Some people are happy staying on 20mg/day, whereas other take up to 70mg/day. We always recommend starting low (20-30mg) and progressively increasing your dose until you reach the desired effects. The amount of drops you can take depends on what strength CBD oil you opt for as we have three strengths; 500mg, 1000mg & 2000mg.
The general rule is to take CBD at least 4 hours apart from hormones (oral) and/or medications. With our CBD oil, you can use it in several ways. Either straight under the tongue, or you might want to become more adventurous as it can simply be added to food or drink – our new water soluble tinctures make this much possible.
Will I get High?
No, THC is the compound present in the cannabis plant that causes the psychoactive effect or “high” typically associated with this plant. We have removed all THC from our products to ensure this does not happen. All the benefits without the high!
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