By Betsy Hoida, PharmD
CBD. Seems like it is everywhere lately in the wellness world.
It shows up in a myriad of products, from gummies to luxury facial oils. You can purchase it anywhere from the gas station to your local pharmacy (depending on which state you live in).
As a clinician and busy mom myself, I am overwhelmed by all of the information out there. I am “blessed” with monthly hormonal havoc as well, and wanted to know how it could help some of my symptoms and what the safety risks were. I did some research, and put together a quick primer on CBD and how it may help your journey through menopause.
What Exactly is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol. It is a phytocannabinoid- the other one you may be familiar with is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the compound that gets you “high.” They both derive from the Cannabis Sativa plant, which contains over 80 components. Depending on the part of the plant used, there will be different components present. Your body has an entire system to interact with these components known as the ECS (endocannabinoid system).
If you want more science on the topic, you can read more about it here.
Cannabis is the umbrella term for marijuana and hemp plants.
Wait… marijuana… does that mean I am going to get “high” if I use CBD?
Nope, marijuana contains high levels of THC (see above). THC is the psychoactive component of Cannabis. Medical marijuana contains both THC and CBD.
Hemp, on the other hand, contains low (less than 0.3 percent) THC and high CBD. A majority of CBD on the market comes from hemp.
Is CBD Legal?
This is where it gets a little foggy. Specific legislation around hemp, marijuana, and CBD is in a state of constant change. It also depends on what state you live in and whether your particular CBD products are from hemp or marijuana.
The short answer is, federally- yes. Statewide- depends.
Can CBD Help with Perimenopause?
The way that CBD works isn’t fully understood, but researchers do know that we have cannabinoid receptors scattered everywhere in our bodies, including our reproductive organs. These receptors interact with chemical messengers such as CBD. Scientists have found promising data via different receptors that regulate pain, anxiety, and the sleep-wake cycle.
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What Does This Mean in Terms of perimenopause?
Well, savvy sisters, we know that problems with sleep, feeling anxious, and cramps are just a few of the hallmark signs of perimenopause. In my opinion, it may be worth considering, as long as you read my “pharmacist” disclaimer below.
Though CBD is generally well tolerated and considered safe, it may cause adverse reactions in some people. These include diarrhea, changes in appetite, weight, and fatigue.
What are Some Safety Concerns with CBD?
CBD can change the way some drugs work in your body. The mechanism is similar to the way grapefruit juice interacts with medications. The best way to prevent this:
- Create a list of medications- including supplements, vitamins, and over-the-counter products you are taking. Discuss the potential drug interactions with your pharmacist.
- Consider topical forms of CBD- a lotion, cream, etc. as these bypass the liver and decrease the potential for interactions.
Not all CBD is created equal. CBD is not regulated by the FDA, so it is best to do your research. Look for products from a reputable brand with 3rd party testing. Or, if CBD is legal in your state, ask your pharmacist if he or she has recommendations.
The Bottom Line for CBD and Perimenopause:
The data on the benefits of CBD for perimenopause symptoms isn’t clear. However, supplementing with CBD is worth a try to help with anxiety, pain, and insomnia associated with perimenopausal symptoms. Just make sure to check with your pharmacist first.
Dr. Anna Garrett is a menopause expert and Doctor of Pharmacy. She helps women who are struggling with symptoms of perimenopause and menopause find natural hormone balancing solutions so they can rock their mojo through midlife and beyond. Dr. Anna is the author of Perimenopause: The Savvy Sister’s Guide to Hormone Harmony. Order your copy at www.perimenopausebook.com.
Dr. Anna is available for 1-1 consultations. Find out more at www.drannagarrett.com/lets-