The onset of menopause typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, and it leaves many women with a slew of painful symptoms.
One of the most common treatments for menopause is Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), which is designed to replace the estrogen the body no longer produces after menopause.
However, some women are turning to natural alternatives to supplement, or in some places replace, HRT.
Hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) is one such solution. But while CBD has a wide variety of benefits for menopause, these benefits are sometimes exaggerated or misstated.
So in this article, we’re going to clear up the confusion by exploring which menopause symptoms CBD may help with, and which symptoms it likely isn’t helpful for. We’ll also discuss how CBD works, and how you should go about using it to manage menopause symptoms.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid that naturally occurs in the cannabis plant (hemp is cannabis with less than 0.3% THC by dry weight).
CBD is one of more than 100 cannabinoids found in hemp, but it stands out because it has a wide variety of potential therapeutic benefits – including for menopause.
Can CBD Help With Menopause Symptoms?
There is little scientific evidence to show that CBD can directly reduce menopause symptoms such as hot flashes. However, CBD may have therapeutical potential against other symptoms (and contributors to symptoms), such as anxiety, insomnia, and joint and muscle pain.
Menopause Symptoms that CBD May Help
There is research indicating that CBD may render support against many menopause symptoms. Here the main ones:
Insomnia & Sleep Disturbances
Sleep disruption and insomnia are frequent symptoms of menopause, and some of the most challenging to manage on a daily basis.
However, CBD may render support.
One review of clinical studies found that many cannabinoids (including CBD) may improve sleep quality, reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, and decrease episodes of waking up in the middle of the night.
When it comes to menopause, specifically, Harvard University conducted a survey investigating the use of medical cannabis (which is typically THC-dominant, rather than CBD-dominant) to relieve symptoms of menopause.
Of the women surveyed, 79% reported that it was effective, with 67% specifically reporting fewer sleep disturbances.
Again, medical cannabis usually contains primarily THC, rather than CBD, so these results can’t be generalized to products primarily containing CBD.
But what this survey does show is that the cannabis plant may have therapeutic potential for addressing menopause-related sleep problems.
Coupled with the review above, as well as anecdotal evidence in favor of CBD’s sleep-supporting properties, this survey demonstrates CBD’s potential.
Anxiety & Depression
The hormonal changes that occur during menopause may cause anxiety and depression.
Research shows CBD may help with anxiety, with one study concluding that CBD has “considerable potential as a treatment for multiple anxiety disorders.”
Although CBD works on a broad level through interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which we’ll discuss later, some research specifically suggests that CBD may impact anxiety levels by boosting serotonin levels in the brain.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain associated with increases in focus, emotional stability, happiness, and calmness.
The menopause-induced decrease in the hormone estrogen may cause an increase in feelings of irritability. This hormone decrease may also lower the levels of the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine, a change linked to a risk of depression.
Research and anecdotal evidence suggest CBD may promote feelings of calm and relaxation, which may help with mood swings.
CBD has also been researched as an antidepressant. One study on mice found that CBD may operate in a way similar to antidepressant medications.
These pieces of evidence show that CBD may render support against mood swings that result from menopause.
Joint Pain & Inflammation
The decrease in estrogen that women experience during menopause can also contribute to pain and inflammation in the knees, shoulders, neck, hands, and elbows.
This change can also exacerbate past injuries, which can lead to menopause-related arthritis – another contributor to pain and inflammation in the joints.
Research suggests that CBD may exert pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects, so it may provide support against these types of discomforts.
Other studies have concluded that CBD may be a good alternative to opioid prescriptions for chronic pain, further demonstrating its therapeutic potential.
There are a few ways CBD may contribute to pain relief, however, studies show that CBD interacts with the pain response by increasing levels of anandamide, a neurotransmitter associated with reduced pain transmission, in the body.
Bone Density Loss
Menopause may also cause a loss in bone density. Although this comes about due to hormonal changes, exercise is a key way to prevent this loss.
However, exercise can be difficult for women if they’re also experiencing pain and inflammation, and this is where CBD may be able to render support.
Additionally, there is some preliminary evidence indicating that CBD may prevent or restore bone loss directly. However, more research is needed before we know if CBD reliably performs this function.
The menopause-induced estrogen deficiency that women experience, in addition to contributing to other major symptoms, can directly cause weight gain, gastrointestinal disorders, and cognitive decline.
Preliminary research indicates that CBD may ease some of the problems caused by estrogen deficiency. A study on estrogen-deficient mice found that CBD treatment caused an increase in bone density, energy, and gut health for the mice.
The Menopause Symptom that CBD Will Likely Not Help
For all its benefits, CBD can’t do everything when it comes to menopause support. Perhaps the most excruciating symptom of menopause is hot flashes, sudden rushes of warmth in the upper body accompanied by redness and sweating.
Unfortunately, most research so far indicates that CBD does little to directly help with hot flashes.
One study, which investigated cannabis use for hot flashes, found that treatment had little effect. The researchers stated that it makes sense, because the hypothalamus, the region in the brain that serves as the body’s “thermostat,” is not significantly affected by CBD, THC, or other cannabinoids.
CBD for Menopause: How It Works In the Body
CBD and other cannabinoids work by interacting with the receptors in your body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS).
Every human has an ECS. It’s a complex transmitter system responsible for helping regulate sleep, pain and inflammatory response, emotional processing, and more.
The ECS is ultimately responsible for maintaining homeostasis, or balance, in your bodily functions.
It does this by interacting with endocannabinoids, which are cannabinoids produced inside your body.
But sometimes, endocannabinoids break down or the ECS isn’t able to do its job due to large amounts of stress on the body.
This is where introducing outside cannabinoids is useful. Some cannabinoids interact heavily with the CB1 and CB2 receptors within your ECS, creating beneficial effects, while others render widespread benefits by preventing endocannabinoid breakdown.
All cannabinoids, however, do the same thing: help the ECS maintain balance within the body.
So, in addition to supporting specific bodily functions, CBD may generally help to regulate menopausal symptoms by assisting your endocannabinoid system.
Side Effects and Risks of Using CBD for Menopause
Although CBD is generally considered a safe and well-tolerated natural supplement, it can create a handful of potential side effects, including:
- Dry mouth
- Reduced appetite
Additionally, CBD may affect the way your body processes some prescription drugs, causing high concentrations of these drugs to build. This interaction can be unsafe, so it’s important that you speak to your doctor before using CBD if you’re on any prescription medications.
Can You Use CBD While On Hormone Replacement Therapy?
In most cases, using CBD while on HRT will not create any problems. CBD doesn’t heavily interact with estrogen or progesterone, the hormones that HRT is designed to replace.
However, as with many cases, we recommend talking to your doctor before you start using CBD for menopause support.
How to Use CBD For Menopause: Types of CBD Products
If you want to begin using CBD for menopause support, it’s helpful to be aware of the types of CBD products out there, and how to use each. Here are your main options:
What They Are: CBD oils, also sometimes called CBD tinctures, are a CBD product consisting of a carrier oil (typically MCT oil or hempseed oil) and hemp extracts.
How to Take Them: CBD oil products come with metered droppers, which allow you to measure out very precise dosages. Once you’ve measured your dosage, place the CBD oil under your tongue and let it sit there for 1-2 minutes as it absorbs into the blood vessels on the bottom of your mouth.
Onset Time: 15-20 minutes
Pros: The sublingual (under the tongue) delivery method allows for high bioavailability, meaning that a higher percentage of the CBD in oil products can be used by your body compared to other types of products.
Cons: CBD oil tastes slightly bitter, so it may not be enjoyable for everyone.
As an additional note, CBD oil can be confusing to dose, so we wanted to include a quick guide. Here’s how much CBD will be in each full dropper (most droppers are 1 milliliter (ml)), depending on the total strength of your product:
100mg bottle = 3.3 mg CBD per 1 ml.
250 mg bottle = 8.3 mg CBD per 1 ml.
500 mg bottle = 16.7 mg CBD per 1 ml.
1000 mg bottle = 33.3 mg CBD per 1 ml.
1500 mg bottle = 50 mg CBD per 1 ml.
3000 mg bottle = 100 mg CBD per 1 ml.
5000 mg bottle = 166.6 mg CBD per 1 ml.
What They Are: CBD capsules come in several forms, one of the most popular being softgels. Softgel capsules feature a soft outer layer surrounding the CBD oil inside.
How to Take Them: CBD softgel capsules can be swallowed with a glass of water or other liquid.
Onset Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour
Pros: Softgel capsules are quick to take and completely tasteless.
Cons: Capsules aren’t as bioavailable as CBD oil and have a longer onset time, due to needing to be digested.
Edibles & Drinks
What They Are: “Edibles” refers to any type of CBD product that’s consumed as food is. The most common type of edible are gummies. CBD drinks are also a fairly popular option.
How to Take Them: CBD gummies can be eaten just as candy is, while CBD drinks can be consumed as other beverages are.
Onset Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour
Pros: Drinks and edibles offer a great-tasting, familiar way to consume CBD.
Cons: Like capsules, edibles and drinks have longer onset times and less bioavailability because they have to pass through the digestive track.
What They Are: CBD topicals are products that are applied to the skin, rather than consumed orally. Common examples of CBD topicals include creams, salves, and roll-ons.
How to Use Them: CBD topicals can be thoroughly applied directly to the areas of the body that you want to target for relaxation.
Pros: Since CBD topicals can be applied to specific areas of the body (e.g. the joints), they can deliver intense, targeted relaxation, and they’re a great choice for physical discomfort. Additionally, since topicals aren’t consumed orally, if the product you’re using contains THC, there’s no risk of it showing on a drug test.
Cons: The fact that CBD topicals aren’t ingested orally is a double-edged sword, because it also means that you won’t get the mind-focused effects of CBD or the full-body circulation of CBD, but will rather only feel the effects in the areas the topical was applied.
Smokables and Vapes
What They Are: There are a variety of inhalable options, including prerolls (CBD joints) and vapes. CBD prerolls consist of CBD-rich hemp flower rolled in a rolling paper. Other types of inhalable products include vaping devices and water pipes (bongs).
How to Use Them: Smokable or vape products are inhaled orally.
Onset Time: 5-10 minutes
Pros: Inhalable products deliver CBD directly to the lungs, resulting in a high bioavailability and very fast onset time.
Cons: Smoking or vaping anything comes with the health risks of harming the cardiovascular and cardiopulmonary systems, as well as other systems in the body.
How to Buy High-Quality CBD Products
When you’re choosing which CBDc company you want to buy products from, there are a few main things to look for to ensure you’re getting high-quality products.
3rd-Party Lab Reports
Ensure the company you’re buying from provides 3rd-party lab reports for all of their products online. Lab testing ensures that a product is of high quality; that it contains the amounts of CBD that it’s supposed to, and that it doesn’t contain any heavy-metal contaminants.
Transparency & Knowledge
Reputable CBD companies will be fully transparent about the source of their ingredients and how their products are manufactured. Make sure this information is publicly available on the company’s site so you can be confident in the origin of your CBD products.
Also, find companies that demonstrate knowledge of their products and provide information about how best to use them (either through educational pages, blog posts, or other methods).
It goes without saying that unless a company is favorably reviewed by their customers, their products probably won’t work very well for you.
CBD Dosage for Menopause Support
The amount of CBD you’ll need to take for menopause will vary widely depending on the specific symptom you’re looking to target.
Generally, though, we recommend starting with a low dosage of CBD for menopause support. You can calculate your dosage using this weight-based formula:
(0.1) x (your body weight in lbs.) = your daily CBD dosage in mg.
Keep in mind that taking a single dose of CBD will do little to nothing; in order to see good results with CBD for most conditions or uses, you need to take it consistently.
After you get a feel for your how dosage is working with your body, you can increase or decrease it accordingly.
Other Ways to Address Menopause Symptoms
If you aren’t interested in using CBD, or want to take additional actions for menopause support, here are some areas to focus on:
- Prioritize sleep: How well you sleep ultimately determines how well you feel, so be sure to explore natural sleep aids and talk to your doctor about a long-term plan for getting better rest.
- Get plenty of exercise and eat well: Prioritizing good nutrition and getting physical activity each day can help you maintain a healthy body weight and energy levels. Additionally, getting plenty of nutrients – specifically, calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin K – is linked with a reduction in menopause symptoms.
- Avoid substances: Smoking cigerettes and drinking alcohol can worsen menopause symptoms. For help quitting, speak to your doctor, who can help you create a cessation plan.
- Speak up: If you’re experiencing feelings of anxiety, depression, or irritability, be up front with your family, friends, and other loved ones, and see a therapist.
- Dress in layers: To manage hot flashes, dress in loose, layered clothing when you sleep. Keep your bedroom cool at night and use light bedding.
Conclusion: Is CBD Effective for Menopause Support?
CBD is widely beneficial – but this also means that sometimes, its benefits are exaggerated: CBD can provide support against many menopause symptoms, but not all.
Remember that CBD is just a piece in the puzzle when determining how to support your health and wellbeing during menopause. Be sure to speak with your doctor about any issues you’re experiencing, so that both of you can decide on a treatment plan – and decide whether CBD should be a part of it.
CBD for Menopause: Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some questions customers frequently ask us about using CBD for menopause.
Can CBD be used for menopause?
CBD may provide support against some menopause symptoms, such as sleep troubles, anxiety, joint pain, and estrogen deficiency. However, research shows that CBD isn’t an effective solution for hot flashes or night sweats.
Will CBD get you high?
CBD is not a psychoactive cannabinoid, so it will not get you high.
Can CBD increase estrogen?
While the direct link between CBD and estrogen levels is still under investigation by scientists, research on mice indicates that CBD may render improvements often associated with a restoration of normal estrogen levels.
Are CBD gummies good for perimenopause?
CBD gummies may help with some symptoms of perimenopause, such as mood swings, sleep problems, and bone loss. However, research shows that CBD has little direct impact on symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats.
Is CBD better than HRT?
While CBD may render many benefits commonly associated with estrogen replacement, it is not a replacement for Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). Still, CBD may render health benefits during menopause.
Does CBD help with hot flashes?
Although it has therapeutic potential for menopause symptoms such as sleep troubles and anxiety, research indicates that CBD is not effective at reducing the occurrence of hot flashes or night sweats.