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CBD and menopause: How does it help?

Menopause, which every woman encounters during her lifetime, brings various physical and emotional changes. What causes estrogen levels to drop? What are the different phases of menopause? What to expect during menopause and what can CBD help with?

Menopause, perimenopause, menopause

The period when a woman transitions from the reproductive to the non-reproductive phase is called menopause or also transition. During menopause, there is a gradual decline in ovarian hormonal activity and a decrease in the production of estrogen and progesterone, the main female hormones responsible for menstruation and reproductive function.

Climacterium includes three phases referred to as perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause. Perimenopause usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 50 and is a preparation for menopause. It is manifested by irregular menstrual cycles, other symptoms include:

  • hot flashes and sweating
  • digestive problems
  • fatigue, sleep problems
  • vaginal dryness
  • moodiness
  • depression
  • weight gain
  • thinning of bones
  • incontinence

When a woman stops menstruating, menopause comes. As soon as menstruation does not appear for more than twelve months, the last phase, the so-called postmenopause, occurs. The reproductive period is considered to be over, the ovaries produce very little estrogen and progesterone. The unpleasant symptoms usually gradually subside.

It should be added that the term menopause is not so well established; in general, it is always referred to as menopause or transition, meaning all of the above phases associated with hormonal changes.

 

Change in estrogen levels

The main female hormone is estrogen. Estrogen is responsible for the growth and development of the genital organs, the regulation of the menstrual cycle and is essential for the proper development of pregnancy. This hormone also affects:

  • bone density
  • metabolism
  • blood pressure
  • cholesterol levels

The three main types of estrogens are estradiol, estriol and estrone. Most estrogens are formed in the ovaries, the corpus luteum, and the placenta. As mentioned, it is during menopause that there is a gradual decline in estrogen production in a woman's body. This decline can have various physiological and psychological consequences. 

Doctors address estrogen deficiency with hormone replacement therapy. This consists of supplying the missing hormones to the body, which should suppress or eliminate the unwanted symptoms of menopause. However, this therapy is not suitable for everyone. Women who are being treated for cancer, liver inflammation or cardiovascular disease are particularly at risk. Some studies also point to a link between long-term hormone therapy and an increased risk of breast cancer. 

Therefore, avenues other than hormone treatment are being sought, and natural remedies such as phytoestrogens or cannabinoids such as CBD may be a possible solution.  

CBD and menopause

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a substance that occurs naturally in the cannabis plant. CBD is a cannabinoid that has no psychoactive effects and is gaining in popularity due to its therapeutic potential for a variety of ailments. CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system in our body, helping to regulate various physiological functions, including the immune system, pain, mood, sleep, appetite and more.  

And just what can CBD help with during menopause?

Mood changes and depression

During menopause, many women struggle with mood changes. A drop in hormones can affect the chemical balance in the brain and lead to anxiety, irritability and even depression. Fatigue, weight gain, hot flushes or loss of libido, which are also common symptoms associated with the transition, do not add to mood and self-esteem.

As early as the 1970s and 1980s, the anxiolytic and antipsychotic effects of CBD were demonstrated in animals and later in humans, with promising conclusions. CBD appears to be a safe compound with no serious side effects.   

Studies show that the antidepressant effect is probably mediated by indirect activation of CB1 receptors, activation of 5-HT1A receptors and an increase in serotonin levels in the central nervous system. The results of other studies conducted in animal models confirm a rapid and persistent antidepressant effect. These studies support the promising therapeutic profile of CBD in the management of mood swings, stress and anxiety accompanying menopause.

Insomnia

Low progesterone levels, night sweats, physical and psychological changes all result in poor quality sleep during menopause. Several studies suggest that CBD may help insomnia. In fact, this has been confirmed by users themselves. Results from a 2019 study confirmed that CBD improved sleep quality in 66.7% and reduced anxiety in 79.2% of patients.

You can try CBD oils and drops or oils combining CBD and CBN - cannabinol, which is also recommended for sleep problems. CBD capsules are useful for easier dosing.  

 

Bone fragility

A drop in estradiol levels results in thinning of the bones (osteoporosis). Osteoporosis, or thinning of the bones, is a chronic disease of the skeleton. The loss of bone mass leads to bone structure disorders, increasing bone fragility and the risk of fractures. It is reported that there is an average reduction in bone mass of approximately 10% during menopause. Approximately half of women lose as much as 10-20% of their bone mass in the 5-6 years around menopause.

A study published in 2022 in the scientific journal Frontiers in Pharmacology demonstrates that CBD can improve bone density (bone mass) while protecting against inflammation. Although research on the effects of CBD on osteoporosis is in its infancy, these data provide preclinical evidence supporting further exploration of CBD as a treatment for postmenopause-related disorders.

Conclusion

Menopause is a natural period in a woman's life that can bring unpleasant changes. Insomnia, mood swings, osteoporosis and other symptoms can significantly affect quality of life. CBD is gaining more and more attention as a natural alternative for managing certain difficulties. Although scientific research on the effect of CBD on menopause is still limited, there are studies that suggest its potential in relieving some symptoms.

CBD, like traditional hormone therapy, cannot stop or delay menopause. However, it can be a useful part of the comprehensive solution that menopause requires. A healthy diet, regular exercise and rest are also important. Sharing experiences with other women going through menopause can give a psychological boost. Any difficulties should always be discussed with specialists.

 

 

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