Why are women using CBD products — and do they work?
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil and other products containing CBD are being touted as a natural, organic remedy for a wide range of women’s health concerns. Sellers of these products make many claims: CBD has calming effects on sleep, mood, and anxiety; eases hot flashes and improves bone density by balancing hormonal changes of menopause; and has anti-inflammatory properties that clear skin, cure acne, and calm rosacea. It’s promoted for PMS symptoms like bloating and mood swings. And CBD-infused lubricants claim to boost arousal and enjoyment of sex. So, how much of this is true?
First, what is CBD?
CBD is a major ingredient in cannabis plants (like hemp and marijuana). It comes in different strengths and forms, often as CBD oil, but also in pills and powders. It can be absorbed through the skin, ingested, or inhaled. (Vaping it, however, may not be safe, as this blog post and web page from the CDC explain.)
Unlike marijuana, pure CBD products don’t make you feel high. A different ingredient in marijuana called THC makes people feel high.
Does CBD have proven benefits?
So far, there’s not much evidence on the medical benefits of CBD, partly because laws on marijuana made it difficult to study. Until we learn more, it’s wise to keep in mind that few high-quality studies have been done.
- In 2018 the FDA approved a drug derived from CBD to treat rare forms of childhood epilepsy. This medication was shown in randomized clinical trials to reduce the frequency of seizures (see here and here).
- A few studies have found CBD may improve anxiety, but the studies were small and of poor quality (see here and here).
- Some laboratory research on human cells suggests CBD may have anti-inflammatory effects on oil-secreting glands in the skin. This might have implications for acne and other inflammatory skin disorders, but further research is needed to confirm this. And while CBD in skin products is unlikely to harm you, most dermatologists agree that there are more effective and better-studied medications and treatments for acne and inflammatory skin disorders.
Other potential benefits of CBD aren’t clear. No high-quality research shows that CBD improves sex drive, decreases pain, treats depression or mood disorders, decreases PMS symptoms like bloating and cramps, or relieves symptoms of menopause like hot flashes. This may change as more studies are done, but for now, the jury is out.
Are CBD products safe?
The short answer is this: pure CBD seems to be safe for most people. However, we don’t have rigorous studies and long-term data to prove whether or not a wide range of CBD products are safe for everyone. For example, there is no evidence to suggest that CBD is safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding, or for people who are immunocompromised.
Because CBD products aren’t regulated by the FDA in the way that drugs are, there is huge variation in quality and, quite possibly, safety. In 2017–2018, counterfeit CBD oil was found that contained synthetic cannabinoids and led to a poisoning outbreak in Utah.
Testing shows purity and dosage can be unreliable in many products. One study found less than a third of the products tested had the amount of CBD shown on the label. Another study of 84 CBD products bought online showed that more than a quarter of the products contained less CBD than stated. In addition, THC (the component that can make you feel high) was found in 18 products.
Does CBD cause side effects?
CBD can cause side effects like dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, and drowsiness. Additionally, it can interact with certain medicines, such as blood thinners and antiseizure drugs. If you would like to start using CBD products, it’s best to first talk to your doctor.
There are a lot of extravagant product claims out there about the benefits of CBD for women, but little high-quality research supports them. CBD oil and other CBD products aren’t well regulated. It’s possible what you are buying is counterfeit or contaminated. Before using CBD — especially if you plan to vape or ingest it — first talk with your doctor or healthcare provider to learn whether it could be safe and helpful for you.
About the Authors
Rose McKeon Olson, MD , Contributor
Rose McKeon Olson, MD, is a resident physician in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She has special research interests in gender-based violence, social medicine, and global health equity. See Full Bio
Eve Rittenberg, MD , Contributor
Eve Rittenberg, MD, is assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a primary care internist at the Fish Center for Women’s Health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Her interests include women’s health, trauma-informed care, … See Full Bio
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I am a 55 year old woman who has suffered with neuropathy since 2004 (amplified by a trauma in 2011); as well as a sciatic nerve issue and other complication since my trauma. One thing I found out (very quickly!), many of the drugs (natural or not) are either recomended for short term relief and used very long term, or the probable cause of added, often more sever, side effects. I don’t believe, for me personally, any medication that has the potential to do more harm than good, especially when it can only treat symptoms and not the cause, would be ideal, unless there is ‘no other option’ or perspective hope. Limited and controlled ecersizes along with diet, seem to have worked best for me personally; but, yes it is very difficult many days. However, I plan to watch my grandchild grow-up, and I plan to do that watching with as clear a mind as possible for today and tomorrow. Side-effects of CBD have been relatively unstudyed or unpublished for lack of verification. That is not promising. All of that being said, I am sure for some people CBD oil could be a God send of relief, most especially for some seizure and cancer patients.
Cannabis Sativa and Hemp are two different plants. Marijuana is not a plant, it’s a slang term used by rhetoric spewing racists seeking to profit from a new prohibition. How can you publish this when you clearly don’t know the basics?
As a woman with a cervical level spinal cord injury, who has experienced many benefits through the use of CBD … this article had absolutely no relevance to its title.
CBD Oil for Menopause – The Ultimate Guide
Menopause is a normal, natural process that all women go through as they age. The word “menopause” can describe any or all of the changes a woman goes through just before or after she stops menstruating, which marks the end of her reproductive years.
All women are born with a finite number of eggs, stored in the ovaries. The ovaries also produce the main hormones involved in ovulation – estrogen and progesterone. When the ovaries no longer produce these hormones and stop ovulating each month, women are said to be in menopause.
Many women welcome menopause (no more need for pads and tampons, and no more pregnancy worries), but most women experience at least some symptoms of “the change.” Some symptoms of menopause are not serious, while others (particularly mood changes and so-called hot flashes) can make women feel uncomfortable, frustrated and no longer in control of their bodies.
In the US, the average age for menopause is 51 years.
Why take CBD oil for menopause?
Research has suggested that CBD may have many health benefits, ranging from relieving pain to treating depression and anxiety, and possibly also reducing the specific symptoms of menopause. CBD is one of many substances that occur in marijuana. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another cannabinoid, CBD is not psychoactive – it will not get you high, but it may have other health benefits.
Is CBD good for menopause?
CBD may work on the body in a range of ways to help menopause symptoms. Of particular interest is the way that it interacts with cannabinoid receptors. The endocannabinoid system is a collection of cell receptors, called cannabinoid receptors, which are present in the brain, organs, and other tissues throughout the body. The endocannabinoid system works by interacting with chemical messengers, including CBD. Researchers believe that this system plays an essential role in many bodily functions and other aspects of health, including immune function, pain, memory, sleep, mood regulation, and temperature regulation
Menopause seems to disrupt the endocannabinoid system, and there are cannabinoid receptors throughout the female reproductive system, so it is possible that CBD oil could reduce some of the symptoms relating to menopause.
CBD oil dosage for menopause
Everyone is different and individual. So the effective dosage for you may vary depending on your menopause symptoms, the way you choose to take CBD, and your personal attributes. But we always recommend starting on a low dose, and then moving up in strength if it feels necessary. Particularly as it can take a short period of time for CBD to build up and start to have an effect on your body.
Our suggested CBD oil dosage for menopause would start with our 4% CBD Oil, taking 1-3 drops orally under your tongue. And repeating this twice per day.
If you don’t enjoy the taste, you could try our CBD Capsules, which are vegan-friendly and also include Turmeric and Black Pepper. We recommend 1-2 capsules taken in the morning and evening.
CBD oil for menopause symptoms
If going into menopause has left you feeling like the conventional medical system doesn’t understand your needs, you’re not alone. Scientists are still uncovering why and how our bodies change during menopause.
Here are some ways women find CBD helps them with menopause symptoms:
- CBD has proven anti-inflammatory properties, potentially reducing the aches and pains many women feel as they age.
- Many women swear that CBD’s influence on the serotonin system help them experience fewer and less painful hot flashes. This study looked at the link between serotonin and hot flashes.
- Population studies have found that adults who use cannabis products have lower insulin levels and smaller waist circumstances, and may be at lower risk for developing type II diabetes as they age.
CBD oil for menopause mood swings
A 2010 study in mice found that CBD operates in a similar way to antidepressant medications in the brain, and reduced symptoms of depression. This could mean that CBD could also help to stabilize mood swings in menopausal women.
CBD oil for menopause research and studies
Bone density loss is a major concern for women as they age. Low bone density can increase the chance of bruises and fractures, so it is important to optimize bone density. A 2008 study found that endocannabinoids like CBD may play a role in reducing the bone density loss that naturally occurs in menopause.
Another frequent complaint of menopausal woman is poor sleep. A 2016 study found that CBD was able to reduce sleep disturbances and anxiety in the study participants, suggesting it may also be useful in treating the sleep disturbances associated with menopause.
How to take CBD oil for menopause
We always recommend that people who haven’t used CBD before start on a low dose, which will allow your body’s endocannabinoid system to wake up gradually. Our 4% Full Spectrum CBD Oil is a good strength for beginners. If you feel you need to increase your dose, or if you have used CBD before and know you need a higher dose, we also have an 8% CBD Oil and a 15% CBD Oil available.
To take CBD Oil orally, you should take 1 to 3 drops under the tongue twice per day. Hold the drops under your tongue for at least one minute before swallowing, which enables the CBD to get into your bloodstream sooner so it can start taking effect.
If swallowing CBD oil is not your preferred way to enjoy the potential benefits of CBD, you can try vaping, where the oil can be added to liquid for e-cigarettes. There are many ways to take CBD oil easily, effectively, and discreetly.
More useful menopause links:
Hopefully our guide to using CBD Oil for Menopause has helped you understand the potential benefits and ways in which CBD can alleviate some of the symptoms and problems you might be experiencing. If you’ve found it useful, you may also be interested in some of our other guides to CBD and specific health issues, including:
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