CBD For Women’s Health: Everything You Want to Know (But Were Afraid to Ask!)
05 Jan 2021-
Women deal with more than our fair share of health challenges. From the time we’re tweens all the way until we go through menopause (and even beyond), the lives of women are fraught with a very specific set of health and wellness concerns. Unfortunately, there are very few effective treatments for symptomatic relief that don’t come with a laundry list of side effects.
We’re always looking for natural remedies, but usually, we feel pretty jaded. All-natural products can be expensive, and commercials of smiling women ballet dancing or running a 7-minute mile while on day 2 of their period leave us rolling our eyes. Not even magical fairies can make us feel that good.
CBD oil is the latest all-natural wellness craze to hit the women’s supplement scene, and everybody’s talking about it. But does CBD live up to the hype?
Here’s an honest look at what CBD oil can do and what it can’t – and whether it’s a good choice for you.
We’ll explore CBD options for the following common women’s health issues:
Pregnancy and Childbirth
Anxiety and Insomnia
First, let’s quickly address some important CBD basics.
1. CBD (cannabidiol) can’t make you high. The tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content in legally-sold CBD must be no more than 0.3%. That percentage will have no psychoactive effects.
2. CBD comes from the hemp plant, which is part of the cannabis plant family. Hemp is a cousin of marijuana; they are similar, but also have many differences.
3. CBD is completely legal. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has deemed CBD safe and worthy of research.
4. CBD is NOT FDA approved. At this point, CBD hasn’t been researched or studied enough for the FDA to put regulations on the sale or dosage. But as more
5. CBD is a dietary supplement that works by affecting the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is responsible for helping our body systems stay in balance, also called homeostasis. The ECS is a network of receptors that bind to CBD and other cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are found in cannabis plants, but our body actually makes our own version of cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids. That’s a big part of why they work so well as supplements; our body actually need them to function at its best.
Let’s be very clear. Scientific studies on the effects of CBD for women’s health issues are limited. The majority of ‘proof’ for the efficacy of CBD oil is anecdotal. When you research specific products, read reviews carefully. Check labels for added ingredients to be sure you aren’t ingesting chemicals, sweeteners, or dyes.
The limited research and lack of FDA approval doesn’t mean products are unsafe. But it does mean there is less regulation, therefore, unscrupulous companies selling low-quality products. Do your research and monitor your body. Always speak to your doctor, especially if you become pregnant, or if you take other prescription medications. If you experience any side effects or irritation, discontinue use.
Now, let’s dive in.
CBD for PMS (premenstrual syndrome)
The majority of research studies show CBD products are effective at helping the body regulate many body systems. However, research specifically regarding the effects of CBD oil on PMS symptoms are very limited.
So when we consider whether CBD oil can actually help you overcome your pesky PMS symptoms, we can instead look at how CBD affects similar systems.
Anectodal evidence as well as thousands of scientific studies show overwhelming evidence that CBD oil can provide support to dozens of body systems and processes. Some of these include:
- Inflammatory response
- Chronic pain
- Skincare health and acne
- Emotion and mood regulation
- Appetite regulation
- Libido regulation
- Immune system support
- Joint pain
- Sleep cycle support
- Autoimmune diseases like lupus and epilepsy
Since each of these is a common complaint among women who suffer from PMS, it’s reasonable to assume that CBD oil has the potential to help.
Our ECS works similarly to a control panel, made of a system of receptors and endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are the body’s homemade version of CBD. Endocannabinoids bind to receptors, located in various places all over the body.
When we take CBD, we flood the ECS with a plant-based version of our body’s own endocannabinoids. This saturation helps the ECS work optimally. This is why many people who take CBD report they feel more balanced, in control of their emotions, and a heightened sense of overall wellness.
If you suffer from the common symptoms of PMS, there are plenty of reasons to believe a CBD supplement will help with headaches, mood regulation, sleep cycle support, and hormone-related blemishes.
PMS Support Products
PMS patches can be placed on the lower abdomen for absorption directly into the blood stream. Some are also infused with menthol to help add pain relieving support.
Tinctures and softgel capsules developed for women often contain supportive vitamins, extracts and terpenes such as vitamin D for mood support or black cohosh, a known natural health booster.
Some doses are listed as low as 15mg which may be helpful to some people. If your symptoms are stubborn or if lower doses aren’t helpful, you can experiment with higher doses. We recommend 50mg for optimal PMS support.
CBD for Periods
Cramps. Diarrhea. Headaches. Menstruation pain ails 80% of women, and can span almost a lifetime; some women experience pain from their early teens all the way through menopause.
Because CBD has been studied and shown to have pain-relieving effect, it naturally follows CBD should help with period pain – at least somewhat. Most research is focused on chronic pain, not intense, occasional pain, like period cramps. Even still, anecdotal reports of users replacing their NSAIDs and analgesics with CBD products abound.
Period Support Products
Period suppositories can be used rectally or vaginally. Touted for their ability to help relax muscles and relieve cramps, as well as even help to balance vaginal flora, you may be able to cut back on your NSAID use.
If suppositories aren’t your vibe, regular use of tinctures can offer solid support. As your body is consistently supplied with cannabinoids, overall wellness improves, making your body more readily available to regulate inflammation, mood swings, and sleep cycles when that time of the month rolls around. CBD may even help even out hormone imbalances.
Some women even report positive effects of CBD tinctures on endometriosis pain; a health issue with almost no options for relief.
CBD-infused balms and creams can be rubbed on the abdomen, low back, and thighs. While some users complain products didn’t ease their pain, others report a significant improvement in pain levels, or even no pain at all!
Pregnancy and Childbirth
Like many health conditions, CBD’s effects during pregnancy and childbirth is not extensively studied, and for this reason, many health professionals would advise to stay away.
Reports of CBD helping significantly with pregnancy side effects like nausea, fatigue, muscle soreness, mood swings, and insomnia frequent online reviews, yet there are important reasons to proceed with caution.
Studies haven’t looked at the long-term effects of cbd use on a fetus or breast feeding newborn. While CBD is all-natural and has a history of limited side effects, it’s still wise to proceed with caution.
Speak to your doctor about their concerns and recommended dosages.
Menopause and perimenopause are consistently reported as some of the hardest years of a woman’s life, not that it’s surprising. But it does highlight the extreme importance of our endocrine system, and how difficult it can be when our hormones are out of balance.
While a natural process, this time of life is still fraught with processes that are difficult on our bodies. We all know that we stop getting our periods. In fact, menopause is defined by 12 consecutive months without menstruation in any woman over 40. But most of us don’t know why this happens.
During perimenopause, our estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels begin to decline. This creates a hormone imbalance that disrupts homeostasis, causing an array of unpleasant symptoms.
According to mayoclinic.com, some of the common symptoms of menopause beginning in perimenopause include:
- Irregular periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Sleep problems
- Mood changes
- Weight gain and slowed metabolism
- Thinning hair and dry skin
- Loss of breast fullness
None of these sound like something anyone wants.
But can CBD help?
While it’s unlikely CBD oil can help prolong childbearing years or stop the ‘change of life’ from coming, it’s clear CBD can provide support for the difficulties they cause.
Because the ECS is our homeostasis control panel, many of the systems and processes that become out of whack and cause nasty menopause symptoms can be supported by the ingestion of CBD oil.
Women have long smoked marijuana during this time of life to help support better sleep cycles and mood swings, among other symptoms. For a long time, it was believed that the psychoactive properties, or the ‘high’ from the THC was vital to the benefits of marijuana. But now, with so much new research in the cannabis industry, we are discovering that the many chemical compounds ingested when people use marijuana might be more responsible than the THC.
Just like CBD oil, marijuana offers a full-spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and more. It just has, unfortunately, much smaller quantities of CBD, and is rarely fortified with other vitamins or extracts. So if marijuana has helped women in the past, it’s very likely CBD products will have a very positive effect on our bodies during the change of life.
If you’re suffering from decreased libido, painful intercourse, or vaginal dryness, specific CBD products developed for women’s bodies might become your new best friends.
Remember, menopause is a natural process, but anytime our body becomes depleted of one thing, it helps to replace it with another. So, as we say goodbye to estrogen and other sex hormones, we can replace them with something that gives us symptomatic relief and supports our reproductive system.
Menopause Support Products
Because topical CBD products have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, applying CBD oil-based lubricants can help with pain and dryness during intercourse, and even help increase blood flood to the pelvic area, increasing overall health. Suppositories have been shown to have similar effects on inflammation.
It’s common to want to close up shop, so-to-speak, and bid adieu to our sex lives, but it’s actually a bad idea, for a few reasons.
1. Chances are good our partners aren’t ready to throw in the towel. As sex is often a natural and healthy component of a successful relationship, it may be worth it to you to attempt to keep the flame alive; not only for your partner, but for you.
2. Healthy sex lives contribute to our overall mental health. Chemical released during sexual arousal and orgasm contribute to happiness and healthy stress levels, and even contribute to your ability to exercise healthy conflict resolution.
Anxiety and Insomnia
More commonly experienced by women than men, anxiety and insomnia are conditions that women express concern over almost their entire lives. According to scientificamerican.com, one in three women will experience some form of anxiety disorder in their lifetime. And while isolated insomnia is less common, temporary insomnia is often reported during times of anxiety or stress, pregnancy, post-partum, and menopause.
Fortunately, sleep and stress support are two of CBD’s specialties. Thousands of people report CBD oil makes them feel calmer, more in control of their emotions, and able to deal with more appropriately with stress.
We’ve written a guide to help you with this very issue: Your Complete Guide: How to Use CBD to Help Manage Anxiety.
We want to stress caution, however. The cannabis industry is understandably excited about the growing reports of the benefits of CBD, but we don’t want to promise every worry will disappear and that CBD oil is the cure-all for pain relief. There’s no evidence to back up claims that cannabidiol is a miracle drug, or that it can cure any ailments at all.
But what we do know is that it helps a lot of people.
A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus. But sometimes, your doctor may wish to remove more than just the uterus. There are three types of hysterectomies:
- A partial hysterectomy which removes the uterus but leaves the cervix intact.
- A standard hysterectomy which removes both the uterus and cervix.
- A total hysterectomy which removes the uterus, cervix, and one or both ovaries and fallopian tubes.
Any surgery is traumatic and requires our bodies to perform dozens of healing processes to fully recover. But a hysterectomy is unique because women deal with trauma before, during, and after surgical recovery.
Before surgery, our bodies are managing whatever health issues are causing us to need the surgery in the first place. It may be uterine cancer, fibroids, endometriosis, or a host of other issues that lead your doctor to make the recommendation, each of which has put the body through a great deal of trauma.
During immediate surgical recovery, we will need to manage pain and promote the fastest and most efficient healing possible.
Following surgery, we will be the unfortunate victims of loss of hormone production, especially with a total hysterectomy. We’ll also deal with the mental and emotional loss of our reproductive organs, which can cause sadness, depression, anxiety, and lack of sleep.
There are upcoming studies for the benefits of CBD oil on endometriosis sufferers as well as on surgical recovery. Again, a lack of studies give reason for the United States government to continue to keep CBD oil unregulated. However, the growing body of research is promising. While at this time, we don’t know if CBD will specifically help these or other conditions, we do certainly have plenty of reports of how CBD oil is providing symptomatic help.
If you are taking cannabidiol or medical marijuana, we encourage you to speak to your doctor before surgery. Some doctors recommend you stop taking these supplements prior to, similarly to other medications and supplements.
Based on the known benefits of CBD to help support our sleep cycles, anxiety, depression, and pain, it stands to reason, and is reported, that ingesting CBD oil after a hysterectomy can be safe and effective.
Following surgery, if you are struggling with hormonal changes, CBD oil might also help, as explained in the section above about hormone imbalance.
CBD oil can’t adjust medicine, but as research within the cannabis industry grows, we’re also seeing the growing list of benefits of CBD oil, and how it’s helping people with everything from chronic pain to arthritis to multiple sclerosis to seizures. While sleep issues and relaxation or the long-standing champs of the cannabidiol uses, more and more women are reaching out to the cannabis community for help with targeted women’s issues.
Thanks to a more open CBD oil market, unlike medical marijuana, you don’t need a prescription from your healthcare provider or to visit a dispensary to get high quality CBD products. You just need to know what you’re looking for. Be sure to read your labels carefully, and make sure you’re getting full-spectrum, fortified hemp formulations specifically designed for women.
It’s possible to get the help you need from edibles, chocolates, coffee, and other novelty products, but we recommend a potent tincture. It’s the fastest way for your products to get directly into the bloodstream quickly. Make your product part of your daily routine. While you might want to take an extra dose at particularly difficult times, flooding your system with CBD oil on a regular basis is the best way to get lasting effects and an overall health-boosting effect.
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