Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical that is derived from the cannabis plant. CBD oil may help with some menopausal symptoms.
CBD is one of the more than 100 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. In contrast to a more well-known cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not produce a euphoric high.
CBD is psychoactive, which means it can affect a person’s mood, but it doesn’t affect it.
As with any natural transition, menopause can cause unpleasant changes, including hot flashes, difficulty sleeping, and mood swings. Researchers have studied many herbal and natural remedies for these symptoms and have come to mixed results.
There has been a lot of interest recently in the potential benefits of CBD, and some research suggests that it may alleviate certain menopausal symptoms.
However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved this use of CBD. So far, the only approved uses are the treatment of two rare forms of epilepsy, with approval granted in June 2018.
Although CBD has become a popular alternative treatment and some people think it is effective for menopausal symptoms, there is currently no scientific evidence to support this use.
How could CBD oil affect menopause?
The endocannabinoid system is a collection of cell receptors called cannabinoid receptors in the brain, other organs, and tissues throughout the body.
This system plays an important role during menopause, and cannabis and CBD influence the way it works. In theory, this means that cannabis and CBD could influence the effects of menopause on the body.
Cannabinoid receptors are involved in:
- mood regulation
- the function of the immune system
- fertility and
- Regulation of reproductive temperature
One theory is that a poorly functioning endocannabinoid system can lead to various health conditions. By influencing the function of the endocannabinoid system, chemicals such as CBD can help treat these conditions.
There are cannabinoid receptors throughout the female reproductive system, and menopause appears to disrupt the endocannabinoid system. For these reasons, it is possible that CBD oil may reduce some symptoms of menopause.
For more information and resources on CBD and CBD products, visit our dedicated hub.
What menopausal symptoms can it treat?
No studies have directly investigated the effects of CBD on menopausal people. This means that researchers aren’t sure whether it works or is a safe option.
However, various studies have tested the effect of CBD on certain symptoms in other groups of people.
A review from 2020, for example, concluded that CBD could help relieve chronic pain, improve sleep, and reduce inflammation. However, they observed these effects in people with specific health problems, not during menopause.
There is no evidence that CBD oil can alleviate all symptoms of menopause, but it could help with:
The risk of depression and anxiety is around the time of menopause, and this may be due to changing hormones, other menopausal symptoms, or both.
Animal studies, including a review of relevant research in mice from 2014, have found that CBD may reduce the effects of depression and anxiety.
However, as the authors of a 2020 review warn, there has been very limited related research in humans.
They find that there are only a few case studies in which individual people with a history of depression have reported improvements after taking CBD.
They also reference text that is part of the packaging of FDA-approved CBD called Epidiolex and lists depression and suicidal thoughts as potential side effects.
Read more about CBD and depression here.
Many people report difficulty getting a good night’s sleep during menopause, and this problem can have a significant impact on daily life.
According to the review above for 2020, endocannabinoids play a role in the sleep-wake cycle. This suggests that CBD may affect sleep.
The researchers highlight the few, limited studies on CBD and sleep in humans. The results of these studies suggest that higher doses of CBD may have a calming effect.
It is therefore possible that CBD oil may help treat sleep disorders associated with menopause — but there is no strong evidence.
Read more about CBD and sleep here.
loss of bone density
People start to lose bone mass after menopause. Osteoporosis affects 1 in 4 women aged 65 and over.
Low bone density can increase the risk of fractures, so treatment is critical.
A 2008 animal study found that CBD interacts with a cannabinoid receptor, which may play a role in loss of bone density. CBD may therefore be able to reduce the rate of bone density loss that can occur during menopause.
However, this has not been proven in humans — no research has shown that CBD improves bone density loss associated with menopause.
Hemp and hemp-derived products with a THC content of less than 0.3% are legal under the 2018 Farm Bill.
However, the legal status of CBD and other cannabinoids varies by state. If a person in the US is thinking of trying CBD, they can check out their local laws here.
Safety and risks
People generally tolerate CBD well, although it can cause side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, and drowsiness.
CBD can also have negative effects when mixed with certain medications and supplements, particularly those that may interact with grapefruit.
In addition, it can affect the way the body metabolizes or breaks down drugs.
People can buy CBD products over the counter. However, these products don’t have FDA approval—they’re not regulated by the FDA in the same way as drugs.
This means that it is not possible to determine whether the product is safe. Many over-the-counter products without this type of regulation don’t contain the ingredients listed on their labels. For these reasons, it’s particularly important to do some research and find a quality product.
Other strategies and treatments
As the Office of Women’s Health points out, it’s important to stay active Good sleep hygiene and finding ways to reduce stress can help alleviate menopausal symptoms
In the meantime, hormone replacement therapy can specifically help alleviate symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and mood swings.
Anyone suffering from depression or anxiety may benefit from talking to a doctor or mental health professional for assistance.
Many people are turning to natural remedies for menopausal symptoms, including:
- Black cohosh
- red clover
While some find that these remedies provide relief, they are not FDA approved menopausal treatments, and research on their effectiveness has produced mixed results.
Very little reliable evidence currently suggests that CBD oil can help alleviate menopausal symptoms.
Researchers are only just beginning to understand how the endocannabinoid system works and what role it can play in various aspects of health.
Testing the theories about the role of CBD during menopause requires further research. Only then can the medical community determine whether CBD oil has menopausal benefits.
Is CBD legal? With the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp was removed from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3 percent THC legal nationwide. However, CBD products that contain more than 0.3 percent THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them illegal by the state but legal under some state laws. Be sure to check state laws, particularly when traveling. Also note that the FDA has not approved non-prescription CBD products and some products may be mislabeled.