Menopause and CBD: What You Should Know
Health and wellness articles written about menopause typically begin by talking about the negative aspects of menopause. I, however, hope to do something different—begin by framing menopause, not as something to dread, but to embrace.
What You Should Know About Menopause and CBD
The History of Menopause
The concept we know as “Menopause” today was created in 1710 when “On the End of Menstruation as the Time for the Beginning of Various Diseases” was published in Latin. Quite an inundating tile! After that, the concept became a dominant subject in gynecological literature as well as in popular culture. Physicians started finding and bunching numerous other physiological symptoms to fit into this box. It was not unusual for physicians of the time to associate blood, the uterus, and femininity and coalesce them into a syndrome that was unpleasant and had the potential to cause dissatisfaction and…“madness.”
Sure, menopause DOES have real symptoms that can be quite uncomfortable: hot flashes, drenching night sweats, decreased sexual drive, painful sexual intercourse, sleep disturbances, and weight gain. Some women also feel uncomfortable with this life change and become anxious or depressed due to hormonal fluctuations and the stigma related to menopause.
So before discussing how CBD and cannabis may aid in menopause symptom relief, we must begin by not subscribing to what men in the 18th century thought menopause to be. As 21st century women, it is long past time to detach ourselves from this outdated conception and embrace our hormonal life cycle.
The Research Behind Menopause and CBD
In a study from 2001, a researcher pursued looking into the positive effects of menopause. 393 women answered the open-ended question and one hundred and ninety-four women did indeed describe positive viewpoints of menopause. The study concluded that the positive aspect of menopause is a critical field to investigate further, quantitatively as well as qualitatively.
Unfortunately, despite a push from many academics and physicians, there just is not a lot of research regarding menopause treatment options outside of traditional hormone replacement therapy. This is not terribly surprising considering that research on women’s health in general, not related to reproduction, has been lacking for decades. Luckily, through an in-depth literature review, I have come across a few studies that show some positive effects, as well as many mainstream articles citing the benefits of CBD and cannabis to treat menopause-related symptoms.
In an animal study (typically the first step before human research) hemp seed extract was given to rats. The rats in the treatment group had fewer post-menopausal symptoms and had improved energy, better appetite, and less anxiety. Moving forward to a human study, the results showed that…well, more research is needed.
The Bottom Line
So, is it possible CBD and cannabis can offer aid for menopausal symptoms? YES! While we do not have research on women with menopause directly, many of the issues that women are seeking to alleviate have been studied with CBD and cannabis in the broader population. What the scientific community has been steadily learning is that CBD and cannabis may have an impact on neurotransmitters within our body—including our skin, reproductive organs, and central nervous system—with the help of our endocannabinoid system. In fact, scientists have discovered there are endocannabinoid receptors located in reproductive organs. We also know that our endogenous cannabinoids fluctuate alongside changes to hormone levels.
There are some studies highlighting CBD and cannabis as a potential option for relief for menstrual cramps and discomfort. There are also several studies correlating cannabis use with better sexual experiences for women, not to forget the multiple studies related to cannabis and sleep support.
While there is no replacement for research that uses human subjects in a randomized controlled trial, I have firsthand experience in my nursing practice seeing CBD work well for symptoms related to sexual health and menstruation. The anecdotal evidence is compelling.
In the female lifecycle, we go through many changes—some are uncomfortable, but all should be embraced.
CBD is likely to be a useful tool in managing some of these uncomfortable moments and symptoms. So I hope that science catches up to our practical and tangible experience with these changes and the utilization of CBD and cannabis.
About Rebecca Abraham:
Educating ourselves about CBD and the products we put in our bodies can feel overwhelming at times. That’s why Acute on Chronic and Equilibria are working hard to keep it simple and straightforward.
Acute on Chronic founder and President, Rebecca Abraham BSN, RN, is a certified cannabis nurse. From a single assessment to ongoing support, Acute on Chronic provides support for all your cannabis questions as you investigate and become comfortable with it as alternative care. Follow Rebecca onFacebook,Twitter, and LinkedIn and reach out for an initial consultation.
Hvas, L. (2001). Positive aspects of menopause: a qualitative study. Maturitas, 39(1), 11-17.
Kasman, A. M., Bhambhvani, H. P., Wilson-King, G., & Eisenberg, M. L. (2020). Assessment of the Association of Cannabis on Female Sexual Function With the Female Sexual Function Index. Sexual Medicine.
Matteran, Susan. (2019 September 12th) The New York Times. What if We Didn’t Dread Menopause?: The end of a woman’s fertile years has gotten a bad rep. What if we finally gave it the respect it deserves? Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/12/opinion/sunday/menopause-symptoms.html
Walker, O., Halloway, A.C.; Raha, S. (2019). The role of the endocannabinoid system in female reproductive tissues. Journal of Ovarian Research, 12(3). Retrieved from https://ovarianresearch.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13048-018-0478-9.
Singh, A., Kaur, S., & Walia, I. (2002). A historical perspective on menopause and menopausal age. Bull Indian Inst Hist Med Hyderabad, 32(2), 121-135