CBD (cannabidiol) has become one of the most popular health supplements in history.
This compound is now becoming popular in many different forms and can be found in everything from chocolate, face creams, tinctures and vitamin formulas.
Cannabinoids have been at the forefront of a vast amount of research in the past few years, and it has been found that it can be a very beneficial addition to a woman’s overall health.
The Female JourneyThroughout our lives, as women we live through various seasons of change.
The seasons of a woman’s life start from menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, nursing, and the various stages of menopause which put a woman squarely in sync with the cycles of nature.
All of these cyclical changes bring different health concerns over the years.
Why CBD? Unlike THC, which is the cannabinoid in marijuana responsible for its psychoactive effects, CBD (cannabidiol) is a cannabinoid sourced from industrial hemp.
It carries many of the same physical and mental benefits as medical cannabis, but it won’t get you high.
Below are mentioned some of the potential benefits of CBD for women:
Hormonal Imbalance CBD may have the ability to provide relief for women who suffer from hormonal imbalances.
A small-scale study has indicated that CBD may help to regulate the secretion of one of our stress-activating hormones cortisol(1).
High levels of cortisol can impact other hormone levels including thyroid-stimulating hormones and sex hormones.
Any cortisol-reducing activities can therefore help to support overall hormone balance.
In addition, when choosing hemp-based CBD products, you get a boost of omega fatty acids and gamma-linolenic acid, both of which can contribute to hormone health.
One of the biggest beauty trends of 2020/2021 has been the rise of CBD skincare.
It is believed that CBD may provide beauty benefits such as improving the look and health of skin, minimizing the appearance of dark spots, and helping to strengthen hair follicles.
Studies have also indicated that CBD may help to prevent acne by regulating oil production and lowering inflammation, with the use of topical CBD also being used for skin rashes, eczema, and psoriasis. (2)
CBD may have the ability to help balance out mood changes, reduce sleep disturbances and lower the rate of bone density loss that can happen during menopause.
The endocannabinoid system is a group of cell receptors, called cannabinoid receptors, found in the brain, organs, and tissues throughout the body.
This system plays a crucial role in menopause.
There are cannabinoid receptors throughout the female reproductive system too, with menopause disrupting the endocannabinoid system.
This can explain some of the effects of pre-menopause such as anxiety, depression, mood swings, and lower libido.
It has been suggested that CBD may help to reduce symptoms of menopause (3), with a recent small-scale study finding CBD could help to relieve chronic pain, lower inflammation and improve sleep – all concerns that can occur during menopause. (4)
Bone loss is also a chief concern during menopause.
Osteoporosis affects nearly 30% or all post-menopausal women, leading to fractures and a decrease in bone mass and density.
However, studies conducted by the Vanderbilt Center for Bone Biology show promise in this area too.
The potent anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinoids like CBD may slow down and lessen the amount of bone resorption that takes place.
Pain Relief Women have to face all sorts of pains throughout their life, from PMS to childbirth, with studies showing that CBD may help to decrease pain by interacting with the endocannabinoid system to reduce inflammation and interact with neurotransmitters.
Women suffering from chronic pain such as headaches, cramps, arthritis, fibromyalgia and more, have shown improvement in their pain levels by using CBD.(6)
Anxiety and Depression
Studies have indicated that CBD may reduce stress and anxiety.
CBD oil is often used by alternative medicine practitioners for patients with OCD and social anxiety.
Since CBD activates receptors in the brain that produce high levels of dopamine, it may be effective for relaxing the mind and body, potentially reducing anxiety levels. (7)
Studies have shown that almost 72% of women have suffered from digestive problems, such as IBS within the past year (8).
It has been suggested that CBD may help to regulate digestion and modulate bowel movements, with a study finding that CBD can alleviate the symptoms linked with digestive issues such as cramps, bloating, and nausea. (9)
The Endocannabinoid System
The human endocannabinoid system (ECS) has only been discovered over the past few decades, but all research indicates it plays a vital role in overall health and well-being.
It consists of a massive network of receptors and corresponding chemicals that interact with cannabinoids already present in the body.
These cannabinoids—called endocannabinoids—are nearly identical to cannabinoids found in cannabis.
The ECS regulates some of the most essential functions of the body, including sleep, appetite, reproduction, temperature, mood, memory, pain, inflammation, and more.
If the ECS is not working correctly, all manner of things can go haywire.
Some researchers even speculate that an endocannabinoid deficiency is at the root of many modern-day diseases and conditions.
When cannabinoids from plants (phytocannabinoids) are introduced into the body, they appear to re-mediate this deficiency and help to get things back on track.
This is the basis behind using cannabis as medicine.
Both THC and CBD are beneficial in these areas, acting on specific receptors to help restore the body to homeostasis.
Inflammation is increased in the body during a woman’s period.
As the uterus contracts, the accompanying cramping and pain can lead to discomfort ranging from mild to severe.
This inflammation can be felt elsewhere in the body too.
Bloating and swollen breasts are a common complaint during menstruation.
CBD has been shown to offer relief from inflammation and may be a safer option than over the counter or prescription pain medications.
Many women also report frequent mood swings during this time.
Mood regulation can also be attributed to the endocannabinoid system.
The body’s primary endocannabinoid—anandamide—corresponds with feelings of happiness and well-being.
When the ECS is not functioning optimally, the body blocks the production of anandamide through a series of chemical interactions. This can lead to a dampened mood, anxiety, and feelings of distress.
Supplementing with cannabinoids like CBD may increase the body’s ability to produce anandamide, returning a woman to a state of emotional balance.
While the research on fertility and cannabis is still underway, preliminary studies indicate that cannabinoids play an important role in fertility.
The University of Teramo reports that the ECS (endocannabinoid system) may actually be a new target when it comes to research on reproductive and fertility issues.
CBD also may offer a safer alternative to prescription medications, especially among women who are trying to conceive or who are already pregnant.
For those worried about the impact of what they are putting in their bodies, the high safety profile of cannabidiol is an attractive option that may offer gentle support during gestation.
Weight gain is a chief complaint of most women at some point in their lives.
Whether the extra pounds are attributed to puberty, childbirth, menopause, or hormones, women seem predisposed to gaining weight and have a harder time losing it than most men. CBD for hormones is very effective.
Insulin resistance can develop with excess weight gain, leading to other diseases.
A recent study by the Nebraska College of Medicine showed that regular cannabis users have measurably smaller waist circumferences and lower fasting levels of insulin.
The research indicates that CBD may work on specific genes that can help maintain a more balanced metabolism.
Some women develop genital and urinary issues due to all of the hormonal changes, a result of something called genitourinary syndrome.
Urinary incontinence and painful intercourse are just a few of the symptoms of this condition that can affect a woman’s libido as well as her overall physical and mental health.
CBD may have the potential to help with this as well.
Topical lubricants containing cannabidiol are available that may decrease nerve pain and relax the muscles of the vagina and vulva.
Many women swear by these remedies for increased blood flow and better sex in general.
The unique health needs of women present specific challenges when it comes to research surrounding CBD, but even the limited results we do have show immense promise in this arena.
On the whole, CBD offers an opportunity for wellness for women, providing an alternative that can further allow them to be active participants in their own well-being.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4151231/ (2)https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J175v02n03_02 (3)
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Barbara is a qualified nutritionist offering Health, Nutrition & Lifestyle Counseling. She gives Healthy weight loss advice and promotes the Mediterranean diet. She is the author of the Med Life Diet - creating healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes for life !