Since 2009, October has been designated as world menopause awareness month by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Menopause Society (IMS). On 18th October is celebrated World Menopause Day to raise awareness of menopause, the impact on women’s lives, and the ways to reduce the symptoms. Cannabis, this versatile plant, could not be missing from the discussion, as it has beneficial properties, which will be examined later along with published studies about CBD.
What is menopause?
Menopause is a physiologic process in women’s lives unless it occurs earlier because of premature ovarian insufficiency, chemotherapy, hysterectomy, chromosome disorder, or autoimmune diseases. It is a natural process that occurs between 45-55 years of age, while around 1 in 100 women experiences premature menopause before 40 years of age. It is diagnosed 12 consecutive months after the last menstrual period and it is confirmed with blood and hormone tests. Menopause is the time that marks the end of the menstrual cycle (period), the reduction of hormone production such as estrogen and progesterone, and the woman cannot get pregnant naturally.
Before menopause, there is a phase called perimenopause (menopausal transition) and can last from 5 to 10 years. In this phase, we observe less estrogen and a shortening of the menstrual cycle. Menopause doesn’t mean the end of a woman’s life but it is a significant transitional period towards maturity! With the proper psychological support from health caregivers, the family, friends, and the working environment, this period can remain creative, healthy, and lifelong.
What is cannabidiol (CBD)?
Cannabidiol is one of the most famous cannabinoids detected in the cannabis plant and we find it in large percentages in those strains that are oriented for industrial use (hemp, industrial cannabis). It is among the most discussed substances, thanks to its beneficial properties, safety profile, and non-psychoactive effect. Several international organizations, universities, and medical laboratories have observed the beneficial properties of CBD in daily people’s life, but also as an alternative method to overcome symptoms such as muscle pain, inflammations, anxiety, nausea, mood disorder, insomnia, etc. Also, it has been used in cases of epilepsy in children and animals with remarkable results.
Generally speaking, CBD (medical cannabis), like the other cannabinoids, “alerts” and interacts with the endocannabinoids detected in our endocannabinoid system. In this way boosts the immune system contributing to the balance of the functional body’s activities, in other words, its homeostasis.
What is the endocannabinoid system?
The endocannabinoid system is an endogenous signaling system in our body that contributes to the balance of the central nervous system’s function maintaining its homeostasis, meaning a balanced regulation of basic functional activities in the body. The scientists highlight the significance of the endocannabinoid system as it seems to be responsible for the equilibrium and the optimal function of the organs, which leads to fewer disorders or reduced symptoms.
The endocannabinoid system consists of endocannabinoids, which are produced when the body “gives the signal”. Until now, the studies refer to two endocannabinoids, the anandamide and the 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), which are detected throughout our body stimulating the relative receptors to activate several physiological processes.
Furthermore, there are 3 cannabinoid receptors (CB1, CB2, CB3). The CB3 receptors have gained researchers’ attention because they are related to cancer cells and studies suggest that they can reduce cancer spread, while they change the gene expression when activated. CB1 receptors are detected mostly in the Central and Peripheral Nervous Systems, while CB2 are mostly in the peripheral system enhancing the immune system.
An example of endocannabinoid’s function is autophagy (self-eating), meaning the procedure when the cells regenerate their cells by cleaning out the damaged ones. This process allows the body to maintain stable basic functions avoiding any imbalance that can lead to further disorders. It is a significant procedure that contributes to wellness and body health.
- Hot flashes
- Tachycardia (fast heartbeat)
- Urinary tract infection
- Night sweats
- Musculoskeletal pain
- Bone mass density decrease
- Mood changes (anxiety, depression, etc)
- Vaginal dryness
- Decreased libido
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Memory and concentration disorders
Menopause symptoms and Cannabidiol
Cannabis (CBD/ Cannabidiol) is sharing its beneficial properties also in this case (CBD and menopause).
Besides, nature could not be missing from such a physiologic process.
Lately, a lot of women are using cannabis to reduce menopause symptoms.
Anxiety, Night sweats, Insomnia
In a study published by the University of Alberta in Canada, it is shown that women who used cannabis during this process observed a reduction of symptoms, such as insomnia, night sweats, and mood disorders. Estrogen is important for the endocannabinoid system because it regulates the enzyme Fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), which degrades the endocannabinoid anandamide. If the level of estrogen is less than normal, then our endocannabinoid system gets affected along with the menopause symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, mood disorders, libido decrease, and sleep disorders.
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Cannabidiol (medical cannabis) contributes to the improvement of neuroplasticity and memory function, especially during menopause where there is the reduction of estrogen and progesterone, without serious side-effects.
Studies demonstrate that during menopause, the metabolism process gets unbalanced leading to cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, or insulin resistance, whereas cannabis users have lower insulin levels and better blood circulation.
Another research shows that cannabis topical use and cannabis products have remarkable results in vaginal dryness.
CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid receptor that has a significant role in bone density loss during menopause. Thus, it is observed that it contributes to a reduction of osteoporosis symptoms. Cannabidiol has an anti-inflammatory effect which helps to decrease muscle and joint pain present during menopause affecting almost 60% of women.
These are some of the positive data that we have from cannabis. Certainly, the use of certified products guarantees high quality, and safe use is always along with the physician’s recommendation when necessary. At this point, we remember a quote by the journalist Andrea Mclean that uses cannabidiol for the menopause anxiety;
“It has massively taken the edge off things with the flushes and it has made me less anxious because anxiety is still a key thing for me.”.Andrea Mclean
“ Unless you have experienced it like I have, where it feels like there is a tiger in the room, then no one understands what it is like. It is awful. I am on the lowest dose (CBD oil) and it has made me feel like a different person”.
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