As womxn, hormones are continuously influencing our lives in various ways, from menstruation to fertility and menopause. Understanding what we can do to regulate these hormones can make a noticeable difference to both our overall health and quality of life.
In our last article, we discussed How Alcohol Affects Hormone Health, impacting everything from irregular periods and infertility to increased risk of breast cancer in menopause.
Science tells us that the endocannabinoid system plays a crucial role in womxn’s hormone health; we also know that CBD influences this system. Today, we’ll be looking at how CBD may support hormone health, and how that relates to the key stages of a womxn’s life.
How CBD May Support Hormones
We’ve discussed the main hormones concerning alcohol: oestradiol, testosterone, and luteinising hormone. Interestingly, there is no research to show that CBD impacts these hormones, except for potentially lowering testosterone levels when taken in high doses.
However, that isn’t to say that CBD doesn’t impact hormones related to womxn’s health. Many of CBD’s potential benefits directly address the most common complaints surrounding menstrual cycles and menopause, particularly those linked to the hormones cortisol and melatonin.
Menstrual Cycles, Menopause and CBD
When it comes to womxn’s health, there is no end of challenges we have to endure. From the milder issues, like bloating, to the life-altering impacts of cramps and mood swings, we face it all.
Within the field of CBD research, the majority of studies have concentrated on animal test groups, or are still underway. This is because CBD is relatively new on the scene when it comes to healthcare (and women’s health sadly tends to be bottom of the list for further research). In saying that, we do know that CBD has anti-inflammatory benefits and has been shown to produce relaxing effects, both of which may be beneficial for women experiencing uncomfortable symptoms.
Using CBD for Period Cramps
While not explicitly linked to hormones, the occurrence of period cramps and the potential impact CBD can have on that, is crucial for those who experience cramping.
Inflammation is considered the primary cause of the pain and discomfort many women experience at the beginning of their period. There have been a large number of studies that demonstrate CBD is not only able to reduce systemic inflammation but that it may reduce the experience of pain. These factors combined make it well worth considering.
Using CBD for Low Mood and Anxiety
For many womxn, mood swings, irritability, and anxiety are par for the course, not only due to PMS but in menopause too. With combined anti-anxiety and relaxant effects, CBD may be a helpful tool for womxn struggling with these issues.
Cortisol is one of two hormones responsible for the stress response. When cortisol levels increase from perceived stress, our “fight or flight” mechanism kicks in, overriding our immune system and metabolism. This is why elevated cortisol leads not only to increased anxiety and mood swings, but poor overall health, and even weight gain.
Studies have shown that CBD may be anti-catabolic, meaning it may help to regulate cortisol being released by the endocrine system, thereby reducing stress and cortisol-related side effects in the body.
CBD has also been shown to impact various brain receptors to contribute toward a calming, relaxed state. When used in smaller doses, the outcome can be reduced stress and a more balanced mood, combatting the hormone-related stress many of us face.
Using CBD for Insomnia
Another hormone that CBD may support is melatonin, a chemical released by the pineal gland to signal to the body that it’s time to sleep. When our melatonin levels are unbalanced, we can find it difficult to sleep or stay asleep. Unfortunately, when we enter menopause, our melatonin levels significantly reduce, leading to insomnia.
The CB1 receptor is one of the body’s receptors heavily influenced by CBD. It has also been found to directly regulate sleep stability. Between CBD’s impacts on the CB1 receptor and its regulation of the stress hormone cortisol, it has encouraging potential for those who are battling insomnia.
So, is CBD right for you? As explained by The World Health Organization, “ … CBD does not produce the effects that are typically seen with cannabinoids such as THC… it is generally well tolerated, with a good safety profile”. However, if taking alongside other medications, we suggest you speak with your doctor first as there are some pharmaceutical contraindications.