Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical derived from the cannabis plant. CBD oil may help with some symptoms of menopause.
CBD is one of the more than 100 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Unlike a more famous cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not produce a euphoric high.
CBD is psychoactive, meaning that it can influence a person’s mood, but it is nonimpairing.
Like any natural transition, menopause can cause uncomfortable changes, including hot flashes, sleep disturbances, and mood shifts. Researchers have looked at many herbal and natural remedies for these symptoms, and they have arrived at mixed results.
Recently, there has been much interest in the possible benefits of CBD, and some research suggests that it may relieve certain symptoms of menopause.
That said, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not approved this use of CBD. So far, the only approved uses are for treating two rare forms of epilepsy, with the approval granted in June 2018.
While CBD has become a popular alternative treatment, and some people may find it effective for menopause symptoms, no scientific evidence currently supports this use.
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 in menopause, and cannabis and CBD affect the way that 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 functioning of the immune system
- fertility and reproduction
- temperature regulation
One theory is that a poorly functioning endocannabinoid system can lead to various health conditions. By influencing the function of the endocannabinoid system, chemicals like CBD may help treat these conditions.
There are cannabinoid receptors throughout the female reproductive system, and menopause seems to disrupt the endocannabinoid system. For these reasons, it is possible that CBD oil could reduce some symptoms of menopause.
No studies have directly looked into the effects of CBD on people experiencing menopause. This means that researchers are not sure whether it works or is a safe option.
Various studies have, however, tested the effects of CBD on specific symptoms in other groups of people.
For example, a 2020 review concluded that CBD could help relieve chronic pain, improve sleep, and reduce inflammation. They observed these effects, however, in people with specific health issues, not menopause.
There is no evidence that CBD oil can ease all menopause symptoms, but it might help with:
The risk of depression and anxiety is higher around the time of menopause, and this may be due to changing hormones, other menopause symptoms, or both.
Studies in animals, including a 2014 review of the relevant research in mice, have found that CBD can reduce the effects of depression and anxiety.
However, as the authors of a 2020 review caution, there has only been very limited related research in humans.
They note that only a few case studies exist in which individual people with a history of depression have reported improvements after taking CBD.
They also point to text that is part of the packaging of FDA-approved CBD, called Epidiolex, which lists depression and suicidal ideation as possible side effects.
Many people report difficulty getting quality sleep during menopause, and this issue can have a significant impact on daily life.
According to the 2020 review mentioned above, endocannabinoids play a role in the sleep-wake cycle. This suggests that CBD can affect sleep.
The researchers highlight the few, limited studies on CBD and sleep in humans. The results of these suggest that higher doses of CBD can have a sedating effect.
It is possible, therefore, that CBD oil may help treat sleep disturbances relating to menopause — but there is no strong evidence.
Bone density loss
People begin to lose bone mass after menopause. Osteoporosis affects 1 in 4 females aged 65 and over.
Having low bone density can increase the risk of fractures, so it is crucial to receive treatment.
A 2008 study in animals found that CBD interacts with a cannabinoid receptor that may play a role in bone density loss. CBD may, therefore, be able to reduce the rate of bone density loss that can occur during menopause.
However, this has not been demonstrated in humans — no research has shown that CBD improves bone density loss related to 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 U.S. is thinking of trying CBD, they can check their local laws here.
People generally tolerate CBD well, though it can cause side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, and drowsiness.
CBD can also have negative effects when it mixes with certain medications and supplements, especially those that can interact with grapefruit.
In addition, it might interfere with how the body metabolizes or breaks down medications.
People can buy CBD products over the counter. However, these products do not have FDA approval — they are not regulated by the FDA in the same way that medicines are.
This means that it is not possible to know whether the product is safe. Many over-the-counter products without this type of regulation do not contain the ingredients listed on their labels. For these reasons, it is especially important to do some research and find a quality product.
As the Office on Women’s Health point out, staying active, having good sleep hygiene, and finding ways to reduce stress can help ease menopause symptoms.
Meanwhile, hormone replacement therapy can specifically help relieve symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and mood changes.
Anyone who may be experiencing depression or anxiety may benefit from speaking with a doctor or a mental health professional for support.
Many people turn to natural remedies for menopause symptoms, including:
- black cohosh
- red clover
While some find that these remedies provide relief, they are not FDA-approved menopause treatments, and research into their effectiveness has arrived at mixed conclusions.
At present, very little reliable evidence suggests that CBD oil can help ease symptoms of menopause.
Researchers are only just beginning to understand how the endocannabinoid system works and the roles that it may play in various aspects of health.
Testing the theories about the role of CBD in menopause will require further research. Only then can the medical community determine whether CBD oil has menopause-related benefits.
Is CBD legal? Hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC are legal federally but still illegal under some state laws. Cannabis-derived CBD products, on the other hand, are illegal federally but legal under some state laws. Check local legislation, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not approved nonprescription CBD products, which may be inaccurately labeled.