CBD Has Amazing Benefits for Women : CBD has become one of the most popular health supplements in history, with the compound showing up in everything from anti-aging serums to chocolate. While cannabinoids have been at the forefront of a vast amount of research in the past few years, it appears they may be even more critical to a woman’s overall health than was previously thought.
Revered for centuries as a therapeutic plant, cannabis sativa has always displayed gentle female qualities. Early ancient texts from Egypt, Persia, Israel, China, and Syria recommend it for a variety of female conditions. From the Middle Ages through Enlightenment, cannabis was prescribed by physicians in England, Holland, Spain, and Italy for a range of gynecological conditions.
In the West, cannabis can be found in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia and the U.S. National Formulary from the early 1800’s up until the 1940s when the Federal Bureau of Narcotics deemed it as a “devil plant’.
The resurgence of cannabis is a welcome relief to women who previously had to use it on the down-low, and the discovery of CBD has made its benefits legally available to just about everyone.
The Female Journey
Throughout their lives, women go through unique milestones. From the time she has her first period, a woman spends the remainder of her time on earth in compartmentalized stages. The seasons of life—menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, nursing, and the various stages of menopause put a woman squarely in sync with the cycles of nature.
All of these cyclical changes bring different health concerns over the years. Yet, many women have been taught to accept that the accompanying mental and physical discomfort is unavoidable and meant to be “endured.”
However, this needn’t be the case. Plant medicines have always played a valuable role in helping to relieve the physical and emotional challenges of women, and they have been in use far longer than not. After all, modern pharmaceuticals have only been around since the mid-19th century. Plants have been here forever.
Unlike THC, which is the cannabinoid in marijuana responsible for its psychoactive effects, CBD (cannabidiol) is a cannabinoid sourced from industrial hemp. It carries many of the same physical and mental benefits as medical cannabis, but it won’t get you high. It is also legal at the federal level, which makes it an attractive option for many.
CBD is widely available without a prescription and can be taken as a tincture, edible, or capsule. It is also available in topical forms like creams, salves, and gels. The compound is gentle enough for most people to use regularly without adverse effects and may potentially provide relief for some of the health concerns that affect women specifically.
The Endocannabinoid System
The human endocannabinoid system (ECS) has only been discovered over the past few decades, but all research indicates it plays a vital role in overall health and well-being. It consists of a massive network of receptors and corresponding chemicals that interact with cannabinoids already present in the body. These cannabinoids—called endocannabinoids—are nearly identical to cannabinoids found in cannabis.
The ECS regulates some of the most essential functions of the body, including sleep, appetite, reproduction, temperature, mood, memory, pain, inflammation, and more. If the ECS is not working correctly, all manner of things can go haywire. Some researchers even speculate that an endocannabinoid deficiency is at the root of many modern-day diseases and conditions.
When cannabinoids from plants (phytocannabinoids) are introduced into the body, they appear to re-mediate this deficiency and help to get things back on track. This is the basis behind using cannabis as medicine. Both THC and CBD are beneficial in these areas, acting on specific receptors to help restore the body to homeostasis.
Inflammation is increased in the body during a woman’s period. As the uterus contracts, the accompanying cramping and pain can lead to discomfort ranging from mild to severe. This inflammation can be felt elsewhere in the body too. Swollen breasts and bloating are a common complaint during menstruation. CBD has been shown to offer relief from inflammation and may be a safer option than over the counter or prescription pain medications.
Many women also report frequent mood swings during this time. Mood regulation can also be attributed to the endocannabinoid system. The body’s primary endocannabinoid—anandamide—corresponds with feelings of happiness and well-being.
When the ECS is not functioning optimally, the body blocks the production of anandamide through a series of chemical interactions. This can lead to dampened mood, anxiety, and feelings of distress. Supplementing with cannabinoids like CBD may increase the body’s ability to produce anandamide, returning a woman to a state of emotional balance.
While the research on fertility and cannabis is still underway, preliminary studies indicate that cannabinoids play an important role in fertility. The University of Teramo reports that the ECS may actually be a new target when it comes to research on reproductive and fertility issues.
CBD also may offer a safer alternative to prescription medications, especially among women who are trying to conceive or who are already pregnant. For those worried about the impact of what they are putting in their bodies, the high safety profile of cannabidiol is an attractive option that may offer gentle support during gestation.
It is not uncommon in Western society to look upon the change of life as something that should be either hidden or joked about. However, for many women, menopause is a nightmare that they neither asked for or understand. Even before menopause, the body begins to produce inflammatory chemicals that lead to arthritis, joint pain, bloating, and more.
Hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and other symptoms also plague many women during menopause. Because the ECS plays such a crucial role in regulating mood and temperature, CBD is thought to help with these ill effects.
Bone loss is also a chief concern during menopause. Osteoporosis affects nearly 30% or all post-menopausal women, leading to fractures and a decrease in bone mass and density. However, studies conducted by the Vanderbilt Center for Bone Biology show promise in this area too. The potent anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinoids like CBD may slow down and lessen the amount of bone resorption that takes place.
Weight gain is a chief complaint of most women at some point in their lives. Whether the extra pounds are attributed to puberty, childbirth, menopause, or hormones, women seem predisposed to gaining weight and have a harder time losing it than most men.
Insulin resistance can develop with excess weight gain, leading to other diseases.
A recent study by the Nebraska College of Medicine showed that regular cannabis users have measurably smaller waist circumferences and lower fasting levels of insulin. The research indicates that CBD may work on specific genes that can help maintain a more balanced metabolism.
Some women develop genital and urinary issues due to all of the hormonal changes, a result of something called genitourinary syndrome. Urinary incontinence and painful intercourse are just a few of the symptoms of this condition that can affect a woman’s libido as well as her overall physical and mental health.
CBD may have the potential to help with this as well. Topical lubricants containing cannabidiol are available that may decrease nerve pain and relax the muscles of the vagina and vulva. Many women swear by these remedies for increased blood flow and better sex in general.
The unique health needs of women present specific challenges when it comes to research surrounding CBD, but even the limited results we do have show immense promise in this arena. On the whole, CBD offers an opportunity for wellness for women, providing an alternative that can further allow them to be active participants in their own well-being.
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