CBD Oil and Menopause: Can it help?
Written by Zia Sherrell and reviewed by our qualified expert, Moyra Cosgrove, Head of Nutrition at Naturecan, SENR Registered Nutritionist and DProf candidate at LJMU
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is a natural plant-based remedy increasingly used for various health issues, including pain, inflammation, and anxiety. CBD is known to help support the body's endocannabinoid system, which plays an essential role in regulating many functions in the body.
Because of these effects, the practice of using CBD oil for menopausal symptoms is now garnering attention. Research is ongoing to determine if CBD oil can help relieve some of the uncomfortable symptoms associated with menopause, such as hot flushes and night sweats.
While hormone therapy is one option, those looking for alternative solutions may find value in CBD oil. Here's what you need to know about CBD oil and menopause.
What is menopause?
Menopause is a time of transition usually beginning between ages 45 and 55 and marking the end of a woman's reproductive life. Menopause occurs because the ovaries stop producing oestrogen and progesterone, which means menstrual periods stop.
Women reach menopause when they haven't had a period for one year. However, symptoms can start several years earlier during perimenopause, including:
- Changes in menstrual periods such as becoming irregular, lighter, or heavier
- Hot flushes
- Night sweats
- Sleeping difficulties
- Vaginal dryness
- Loss of libido
- Mood swings
- Trouble concentrating
- Hair loss
- Weight gain
Women may also develop anxiety and depression because of the shifts in hormones or other menopausal symptoms that affect their quality of life.
The endocannabinoid system and menopause
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) consists of a network of cell receptors called cannabinoid receptors. They're found in the brain, central nervous system, and tissues throughout the body, including the female reproductive system.
The ECS also encompasses endocannabinoids, which are natural neurotransmitters, and enzymes that break down the endocannabinoids once they've performed their function.
The ECS helps the body maintain its natural balance or homeostasis. It's involved in:
- Fertility and reproduction
- Temperature regulation
Cannabis compounds, such as cannabidiol (CBD), affect how the ECS functions. Considering that the ECS plays a role in the processes listed above, theoretically, CBD could influence menopausal symptoms. However, research is inclusive so far, but some women report feeling beneficial effects.
Can CBD oil help with menopause?
There remain critical gaps in research looking into the effects of CBD oil and menopause. However, many studies have examined the effects of CBD on participants other than menopausal women.
In one such 2020 review, the authors noted that CBD could improve quality of life, enhance sleep, ease chronic pain, and reduce inflammation.
Although no studies have specifically confirmed the effect of CBD in menopause, some of these symptoms may be present.
Mood swings and anxiety
The likelihood of developing mental health issues, including depression and anxiety, is increased around menopause. Fluctuating hormone levels and other uncomfortable menopausal symptoms could trigger these problems.
A body of research suggests that CBD may inhibit anxiety and improve mood. For example, a 2014 review of research performed in mice found that CBD reduced depression and anxiety.
Further evidence strongly supports CBD as potentially useful in certain conditions, including:
- Generalised anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
However, some of the conditions above may be treated with prescription drugs and the prescribing doctor should be consulted before adding CBD to a daily routine.
Sleep quality often declines during menopause which can negatively impact quality of life.
In a 2020 review, authors noted that endocannabinoids affect the sleep-wake cycle, suggesting CBD could impact sleep.
This effect was also identified in a 2019 study.
Loss of bone density
Osteoporosis, a condition describing weak and brittle bones, affects 1 in 4 females aged 65 and over.
Individuals with low bone density have an increased risk of fractures, so treating the condition is critical.
Currently, no research demonstrates that CBD improves bone density loss after menopause. However, there are some promising preclinical studies.
For example, a 2008 study in mice found that CBD interacts with a cannabinoid receptor involved in the loss of bone density.
The authors concluded that the ECS plays an essential role in regulating bone remodelling and that their research paved the way for developing cannabinoid-based medications to combat osteoporosis.
CBD and hot flushes: Can it help?
CBD could potentially help with hot flushes, a symptom affecting 85% of menopausal women.
A hot flush or flash is a sudden feeling of warmth in the face, neck, or chest. It can include sweating, flushing, racing heartbeat, and chills.
Although the exact causes are unknown, research suggests that falling oestrogen levels cause the body's natural thermostat to become more sensitive to the slightest variation in temperature. So if the body is too warm, it prompts hot flushes to cool it down.
To date, no studies have explicitly looked at using CBD for hot flushes. However, research indicates that CBD interacts with serotonin receptors. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, and as hot flushes have a neurochemical basis, CBD could affect them somehow.
Moreover, a 2018 study found that CBD significantly reduced anxiety and stress. As anxiety can trigger hot flushes, individuals experiencing these episodes may find it valuable.
Therefore, further studies could unravel the link between CBD oil and menopause, and symptoms like hot flushes.
Can CBD help to balance hormones?
Yes, CBD may help balance hormones. Research confirms an association between the ECS and hormonal or endocrine processes.
The ECS regulates stress, mood, pain, fertility, and more. CBD interacts with the ECS and its receptors throughout the body. Although there’s a lack of human studies showing how this affects hormones, early, small-scale research from 1993 showed that CBD helps regulate cortisol secretion. Cortisol is a steroid hormone and primary regulator of the stress response.
High cortisol levels affect other hormones, including thyroid-stimulating hormones (TSH) and sex hormones. Therefore, anything that reduces cortisol may help balance hormones.
Which types of CBD are best for menopause symptoms?
The best form of CBD for menopause symptoms depends on the specific issue. You can choose from a wide range of CBD products, including CBD oil, CBD capsules, and CBD balms, each with specific benefits.
1. CBD oils
CBD oil is taken sublingually underneath the tongue.
It works rapidly and has high bioavailability, meaning that the body absorbs more of the active ingredients, and the effects may be felt more quickly than other forms of CBD.
2. CBD capsules
CBD capsules are a great alternative to CBD oil and make it straightforward to manage your dosage.
Because capsules need to be digested before the CBD can be absorbed, their effects are slower to materialise, taking up to 2 hours to work but providing a whole-body effect for up to 8 hours.
They're another good option for pain, anxiety, or sleeping problems.
4. CBD topicals
CBD balms and other topical products are applied directly to the skin for a localised effect, allowing for direct application to joints and muscles.
They can take up to 30 minutes to work, and the effects last for up to 8 hours.
Other ways to address menopause symptoms
Doctors sometimes prescribe hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopausal symptoms. However, this decision is on a case by case basis, as it may not be suitable for everyone.
Making some lifestyle changes may also help with menopause symptoms. These include:
- Reducing stress levels
- Maintaining a moderate weight
- Taking regular exercise
- Having enough sleep
- Partaking in relaxing activities such as yoga and tai chi
- Avoiding potential triggers for hot flushes, like spicy food, caffeine, smoking, and alcohol
How to take CBD: Usage and dosage
To help you find a suitable and tailored dosage for your needs, we provide a CBD Oil Dosage Calculator.
Typically, if you're new to taking CBD oil and menopause symptoms are an issue, we recommend starting low and going slow.
Simply place a few drops of CBD oil under your tongue and hold them there for around a minute before swallowing.
This allows the CBD oil to pass through the oral mucosa, entering the bloodstream directly to provide a rapid effect.
If you don't notice any benefits at this time, you can increase the dosage by a small amount every 2 or 3 days until you find the optimal dose.
It's important to note that the Food Standards Agency (FSA) recommends a maximum total daily dose of 70mg of CBD for all types of CBD products taken in combination – e.g. oil, capsules and CBD in foods.
Is CBD safe?
According to the World Health Organization, CBD is usually well-tolerated and safe, and side effects are rare.
What to look for in CBD products
Although there are thousands of CBD brands to choose from, it's essential to purchase CBD products from a company that values standards and has an excellent reputation. At Naturecan, we are committed to safe and stringent testing to provide only the highest-quality CBD.
Thankfully, you can ensure you're buying the best by checking for a third-party Certificate of Analysis (CoA) from an accredited laboratory. This document allows you to determine the quality and purity of a CBD product and see the levels of cannabinoids it contains.
Naturecan believes in transparency, and we proudly display our laboratory results on every product page. Plus, our six-stage testing process ensures quality and safety at every stage of production.
You can read more about Naturecan and our incredible products here.
Can I use CBD while on HRT?
Yes. Many women add CBD to their daily ritual during menopause to benefit from its health-supporting properties. However, we advise anyone taking prescription medication to consult their doctor before taking CBD.
There is no clinical evidence that CBD interferes with HRT. However, a doctor may recommend leaving time between your HRT medication and taking CBD oil to allow each product the time to work.
Does CBD have any side effects?
As with any supplement, CBD may cause side effects in some individuals. However, these are typically mild as CBD is considered a safe substance.
Potential side effects include digestive issues such as nausea and diarrhoea. People could also experience dry mouth, reduced blood pressure and light-headedness—although these are most often caused by exceeding the recommended daily dosage.
When not to use CBD
Individuals who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take CBD. This precaution applies to most supplements. Although no studies have looked at the effects of CBD in these populations, animal studies show that CBD can have a lasting impact on offspring. Therefore, it's best to proceed with caution.
Additionally, people should be wary of using CBD if they use regular medication. CBD can have undesirable effects when mixed with some medications and supplements, particularly those that can interact with grapefruit. It also might interfere with how the body metabolises medications.
Therefore, if you take regular medication, it's essential to ask your doctor if it's safe and advisable to add CBD to your daily routine.
Despite the need for more research on CBD oil and menopause, many experts agree that CBD has the potential to support wellbeing.
CBD could support some menopausal symptoms, including anxiety, sleep issues, pain, and inflammation.
There's more to discover about CBD oil and menopause, but some individuals may find it a valuable addition to their daily routines.
It’s important to purchase quality CBD products, so make sure you choose a brand that can guarantee the safest, most effective CBD available.
If you're thinking of trying CBD oil and menopause symptoms are impacting your life, visit our online shop today.