What the science says about CBD and menopause

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Scott Mazza breaks down how CBD may offer support to menopausal women.

 Photo © AdobeStock.com/Alina.Alina

Photo © AdobeStock.com/Alina.Alina

CBD is a versatile compound. Not only can it help with things like hair loss, but it also holds potential advantages in addressing anxiety and insomnia. Given this wide spectrum of potential benefits, it’s perhaps no surprise that science is looking into the cannabis compound and how it can potentially assist women experiencing menopause symptoms.

From joint pain to menopause-induced insomnia, a host of new studies are exploring how CBD can help women enter this new phase of life. Let’s look at what the researchers are finding and what women need to know going forward.

The search for natural menopause remedies

Menopause is a completely natural decline in reproductive hormones when women typically reach their 40s or 50s. The process can cause symptoms like anxiety, mood swings, brain fog, hot flashes, and irregular periods, and can therefore have a big impact on a woman’s life.

The good news is that women can do things to help with symptoms, including medicines that can replace the missing hormones and compounds to help relieve symptoms. Cannabis has been used for years in this relief capacity. The University of Alberta reports that one-third of the women in its study use cannabis to manage menopause symptoms and improve sleep, reduce anxiety, and relieve muscle and joint aches

Further, 66 percent of the 1,500 women aged 35 or older used cannabis at some point in their menopause journey. With this kind of broad support of cannabis for menopause, it’s no wonder that CBD – which has less stigma and a wider variety of dosage format options – is growing as a possible treatment option, especially as science begins to back up its efficacy.

How CBD can help treat menopause symptoms

CBD for menopause shows promise in three separate investigations into menopause’s biggest impacts: insomnia, joint pain, and mental health.

Sleep difficulties or interrupted rest are some of the most common complaints of women going through menopause. Here, a study by The Permanente Journal looked at how CBD affects sleep. The retrospective case series involved the clinical application of CBD for anxiety and sleep complaints as an adjunct to usual treatment. There case series documented the anxiety and sleep quality of 103 adult patients. The research found that about 80% of participants taking CBD felt less anxious in the first month, and two-thirds said their sleep quality improved after the first month. This backs up a peer-reviewed study from last year (which I wrote about) that suggests low doses of CBD are as effective as melatonin in improving sleep quality.

Of course, joint pain is another significant issue for women since menopause prompts lower estrogen levels, causing inflammation. Yet again, CBD shows promise, this time thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. A report from Northwell Health studied participants suffering from joint pain from different causes. After using CBD, more than 80% reported reduced pain with two-thirds experiencing better physical function and improved sleep quality. Overall, there was a significant 44% decrease in pain.

Finally, menopause prompts big physical changes which can, understandably, take a mental toll. Some women going through menopause report experiencing anxiety and depression. Again, emerging research suggests that CBD may offer relief for some of these psychological symptoms. In this phase 2 clinical trial, which I wrote about here, cannabis-naive patients with anxiety were treated with a high-CBD, full-spectrum oil for four weeks. Patients saw a significant reduction in their anxiety levels after just one week of treatment, later achieving and maintaining symptom reduction with few side effects. Meanwhile, in one animal study, scientists found that CBD acts as an antidepressant, calming psychotic symptoms, preventing seizures, and protecting the brain.

Going forward – safely applying the product

While the emerging research on CBD’s potential benefits for menopausal symptoms is undoubtedly exciting, it’s crucial to approach this realm with caution. As the scientific exploration of CBD continues alongside the gradual easing of regulatory barriers, we must remain vigilant about product quality and safety.

As I’ve written previously for Nutritional Outlook, the lack of comprehensive oversight in the CBD industry has unfortunately enabled the proliferation of substandard and potentially harmful products. Therefore, exercising due diligence is essential when considering any CBD product. My advice is to prioritize reputable brands that provide third-party laboratory testing results. This helps to verify the purity, potency, and safety of the offerings. If a manufacturer cannot readily provide this information, look into alternative options.

The exploration of CBD’s role in alleviating menopausal symptoms is a promising frontier. However, as this field continues to evolve, consumers must prioritize their safety by seeking out reputable, transparent, and scientifically backed CBD products. With prudence and informed decision-making, women may find solace in this natural compound as they navigate menopause. Watch this space.

About the Author

Scott Mazza is the co-founder and COO of Vitality CBD (Buffalo, NY). Hailing from a background in finance, Scott is well versed in the benefits of hemp and is passionate about providing people with a natural alternative to the pharmaceuticals.

Updated on May 21, 2024 at 9:01 AM EST. A previous version of this article attributed a study to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which was an error.

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