Cbd oil for women’s health

What Is CBD Oil—And Is It Really Good For You?

Yes, it comes from the cannabis plant; no, it will not make you high.

You can sprinkle a few drops in a smoothie, put it under your tongue, or even vape it. We’re talking about CBD oil. It’s from a cannabis plant, but you can tell your mom not to worry: It won’t get you high.

To say there is hype surrounding CBD right now is no exaggeration: “CBD is showing promise as a pain reliever, epilepsy treatment, and for wasting disease associated with cancer,” says Taz Bhatia, M.D., an integrative health expert.

But does the stuff really work?

This content is imported from Instagram. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

What is CBD?

“Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 80 phytocannabinoids, or chemical compounds, produced by the cannabis plant,” says Sarah Cohen, secretary, R.N., of the American Cannabis Nurses Association.

CBD oil is what you get when you take cannabinoids from cannabis and mix them with a carrier oil, like MCT (a form of coconut oil), explains Devin O’Dea, the chief marketing officer at MINERAL Health. Until recently, THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol), the compound in cannabis that gets you high, was the most well-known element of the plant—but now CBD is giving THC a run for its money.

Can CBD oil make you high?

Let’s be very clear: “CBD oil will not get you high,” says Bhatia. “The compound in marijuana that causes the characteristic psychoactive ‘high’ is found in THC, not CBD.” That doesn’t mean it’s not psychoactive, though, says Cohen, as it just might help reduce anxiety and depression.

FYI: It is possible for extracted CBD oil to contain trace amounts of THC, since both compounds are present in the plant. So if your workplace has a zero tolerance policy, you might want to steer clear.

CBD is legal in all the states where recreational marijuana use is legal—eight states, including California and Colorado—according to Quartz. The same goes for states where medicinal use is allowed; but from there, the legality of CBD gets a little murky.

Basically, you’ve got to do some digging to find out of CBD is legal in your state.

Why do people use CBD oil?

What don’t they use it for? People say CBD help reduce pain, anxiety, depression and stress, improve the immune system, reduce inflammation, and more.

Forty-two percent of CBD users said they stopped using traditional medications like Tylenol or prescription drugs like Vicodin in favor of CBD, in a survey conducted by Brightfield Group and HelloMD, an online community bringing doctors and cannabis patients together. Eighty percent of those people said they found the products to be “very or extremely effective.”

What’s a typical CBD oil dosage?

While it varies by product, Bhatia says most CBD oil comes in 10 to 15 milligram doses per one milliliter of oil (the size of a standard dropper).

But the actual amount of CBD you’re getting in your oil can vary hugely. That’s because the FDA generally considers the oil a dietary supplement—which they don’t monitor or regulate.

“There’s no real control, and there’s no requirement for content or dose in the generally-available dispensaries sold or distributed in the states where it’s legal,” says Welty. He notes that multiple studies have found that over half the time, the dose of CBD on the label is not what’s actually in your bottle. “Ultimately there’s no way to tell how much is in a product,” he says.

The only real guideline for an “effective” dose is what’s been studied for treating seizures—a use that was recently approved by the FDA, says Timothy Welty, PharmD, chair of the department of clinical sciences at Drake University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

The most-cited study used 25 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day in children, with a max dose of 50 milligrams per kilogram per day. “But the dose may be less for adults, because children tend to metabolize more rapidly than adults,” says Welty.

This content is imported from Instagram. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

Can CBD oil really help treat pain and anxiety?

Some promising research has started to back up claims about CBD oil and pain. “Several studies show that CBD reduces chronic pain with muscle spasms, arthritis, and nerve pain,” says Bhatia, who referenced a 2012 study in the Journal of Experimental Medicine and a 2016 study in the European Journal of Pain, both of which found reduced chronic pain or arthritis pain levels with CBD.

Welty explains that CBD oil likely enhances the effects of pain-relieving medications (like Tylenol or Advil)—but on its own “likely doesn’t control pain.”

That said, there really isn’t enough research yet to know for sure either way. “There are small studies and case theories, but they’re not well-designed,” says Welty. “The problem is that you’re not using a standardized product. Only the epilepsy studies are highly-controlled in different settings.”

This content is imported from Instagram. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

The same goes for CBD’s effect on anxiety. At this point, it’s not really clear how or why CBD may help with anxiety, although the drug is well known to have a sedative effect. “It may work on what’s called the endocannabinoid system in your brain,” says Welty. That endocannabinoid system, which impacts the central nervous system, influences neurological activities like pleasure, memory, and concentration.

But we may have a more definitive answer soon. “There are ongoing, well-designed studies for pain and anxiety using new pharma-grade CBD products. They will show us pretty clearly whether or not the drug is effective,” says Welty.

What about all those other benefits of CBD oil?

The one use for CBD oil that has been given a gold star by the FDA: epilepsy. However on announcing their approval this June, the agency released another statement cautioning that lots more research needs to be done before CBD oil can be considered safe and effective for other uses.

With that said, CBD oil has been researched quite a bit—albeit again not quite up to snuff for many mainstream medical experts like Welty.

Some studies show that CBD may reduce inflammation, which can be caused by physical or emotional trauma, diet, food intolerances, diseases, and viral and bacterial infections, says Bhatia.

Since autoimmune diseases are almost always linked to inflammation, it makes sense that research shows CBD may help with inflammatory disorders like multiple sclerosis, Hashimoto’s disease, asthma, lupus, celiac disease, and more.

Researchers have also found that giving CBD to schizophrenic patients appeared to reduced psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and disordered thinking.

“But the main things that have been studied are pain and anxiety, and a lot of work has been done around multiple sclerosis,” says Welty.

This content is imported from Instagram. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

Does CBD oil have any side effects?

The simple answer here is that researchers don’t fully understand the downsides to CBD oil. “We haven’t seen a lot of negatives with CBD oil,” says Bhatia. “But we don’t know the long-term effects yet of using this yet.”

This content is imported from Twitter. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

If you suffer from anxiety/depression seriously. Get off the pills and try some CBD oil. Changed my life!

— Dj TeeBee (@DjTeeBee) March 23, 2018

The most common side effects of CBD oil are sedation along with GI symptoms like diarrhea, says Welty. Studies have also found that about one in 10 people taking CBD had higher levels of liver enzymes, which can be a sign of liver damage. “About 1 percent of patients in the epilepsy studies had to discontinue use because liver enzyme increases were high enough that they were dangerous,” he adds.

Beyond that, there are no other known chronic issues, Welty says. In fact, the World Health Organization has said that “CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential,” and that “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.”

This content is imported from Instagram. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

Still, purity is a cause for concern: A 2017 research letter in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) analyzed 84 CBD products sold by 31 different online companies, and found that one in five contained marijuana components like THC, which could result in intoxication, especially if children were to take them.

Other studies have shown that about half of CBD oils have other contaminants like herbicides, fungicides, and fungus, adds Welty. But some states (like Iowa) are developing a system in partnership with manufacturers where government regulators will monitor and check CBD oil for purity Welty notes.

CBD oil may also interact with other drugs. It appears to be dangerous in combo with valproic acid—a common seizure medication used to treat depression and bipolar disorder—as well as blood thinners. “As with any new drug, there are still a lot of unknowns,” says Welty.

Like any medication, “if you are considering trying CBD oil, do your research and discuss it with your doctor before making a decision,” says Bhatia. Sure, while isn’t any research that should have you running to your doctor for a prescription just yet—there is some pretty convincing anecdotal evidence.

Ashley Mateo Ashley Mateo is a writer, editor, and UESCA- and RRCA-certified running coach who has contributed to Runner’s World, Bicycling, Women’s Health, Health, Shape, Self, and more.

Colleen de Bellefonds Colleen de Bellefonds is an American freelance journalist living in Paris, France, with her husband and dog, Mochi.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io

The benefits of CBD for women’s health—including period pain relief and better sex

The purported benefits of CBD have become pretty hard to ignore in recent years. There have been A-list stars—like Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Aniston—extolling its stress-relieving virtues, as well as a stream of new studies into how it may help ever-increasing aspects of health and wellness. As such, the market for products containing the prized ingredient is projected to be worth $16bn in the US by 2025.

While CBD for sleep and CBD for relaxation are often linked within advertising campaigns, there are plenty more benefits of CBD. “We’re already starting to see it used increasingly in healthcare,” says Dr Dani Gordon, a medical doctor, integrative medicine physician, and author of The CBD Bible. “It’s growing all of the time.” Indeed, one of the latest offerings to hit shelves—tampons infused with CBD by the cool menstrual care brand Daye—points to where this flourishing industry is headed next—helping to ease the symptoms of women’s health conditions like period pain, endometriosis, and menopause.

So how exactly could CBD help your mental and physical wellbeing, and should it become a staple part of your own bedtime routine? We take a look at what exactly it is (spoiler: this stuff won’t get you high), the science-based ways it can make you feel better, and how best to use it effectively. Now, sit back and relax.

What is CBD, and how does it work?

CBD, or cannabidiol, derives from the cannabis sativa plant—also known as marijuana or hemp—which was first used medicinally in Central Asia around 750 BC. While the chemical has become rather trendy in recent years, it lived for a long time under the spotlight of its sibling, THC—tetrahydrocannabinol—a psychoactive ingredient responsible for that well-known “high”. As you’ll know, cannabis comes with varying levels of legality around the world. In the US, federal law deems that CBD can contain a maximum of 0.3% of THC—although individual states, of course, have their own rules. Meanwhile, in the UK the limit is 0.2%.

This means that you can happily use CBD as a daily health supplement—and doing so may have a powerful effect. “It acts on the endocannabinoid system,” explains Dr Dmitry Loktionov, a gynecologist and founder of sexual wellness brand Quanna. “Endocannabinoids are chemicals produced by the body, and along with cannabinoids from CBD they activate cannabinoid receptors located throughout the body, which are linked to various physiological processes such as pleasure, pain, sleep, appetite, mood, memory, fertility, and pregnancy.”

In order to help you harness these benefits, there are now a wide variety of ways to take it. “CBD oils are among the most popular form, where it is applied under the tongue before swallowing, and it can likewise be ingested orally via gummies or jelly tablets,” explains Dr Loktionov. “There is also something called CBD extract—a pure form of CBD, that is best for more experienced users—which is massaged into the cheek or gum.” He notes that there has been a rise in CBD topicals applied directly to the skin or cosmetics (yep, CBD mascara is a thing), and there’s a burgeoning category of intimate health products, like massage oils or lube (talking of which, don’t forget to check out our best lube guide).

What are the benefits of CBD?

Research has shown that the benefits of CBD can include easing the symptoms of:

  • Periods and endometriosis
  • Perimenopause and menopause
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Sleep and sex
  • Chronic pain

It’s worth noting that the scientific explorations into CBD are very much in the early stages. “While it is being hailed as the new miracle ‘cure-all’, the research isn’t yet clear about its benefits,” says menopause and hormone expert Claire Snowdon-Darling, who is head of The College of Functional Wellness and co-founder of kinesiology clinic Balanced Wellness. But that doesn’t mean that, as part of a healthy lifestyle, it can’t play a useful part. “Many women have reported relief from a number of symptoms including PMS and hormone issues, anxiety and depression, insomnia, hair, and sensitive skin issues, and digestive pain,” she adds.

But, back to research, the future looks bright. “CBD has shown promise as a treatment option for symptoms including stress, anxiety, and insomnia,” explains Dr Mark Ware, the chief medical officer at Canopy Growth and a former associate professor in family medicine and anesthesia at McGill University. “It has also been found to have different therapeutic properties, including as an anti-inflammatory and pain reduction.” What’s more, there are positive signs it could help certain medical conditions. The World Health Organisation has stated that the use of CBD for epilepsy shows promise, and last year the United States Food and Drug Administration approved a purified CBD extract, called Epidiolex, to treat rare seizure disorders in patients.

Looking at CBD for female health specifically, while there are not yet any published studies, there is much hope given the evidence of its anxiety-relieving, pain-reducing and anti-inflammatory effects. “Research in this area has just begun to scratch the surface in understanding the complexities of the cannabis plant and highlights the vast potential for broader applications in the future,” notes Dr Ware. But that it could be beneficial makes sense. “We have cannabinoid receptors in our uterus and throughout the female reproductive tract, and we also have them in the brain area that deals with the stress response and hormone control—the hypothalamus,” explains Dr Gordon. “This part of the brain talks to our adrenal glands, thyroid, and ovaries to help regulate hormone balance, which directly affects our symptoms. As such, CBD can help modulate the stress response via this system and is also an anti-inflammatory.”

1. Periods and endometriosis

There are indications that CBD can ease pelvic pain, and therefore may help to soothe periods and endometriosis flare-ups. Welcome news to those of you who have had work, study, or—simply—life impacted by spending days clutching a hot water bottle and popping ibuprofen to little avail. “In the case of menstrual cramps, pain is often caused by the inflammation of the uterine lining at certain points during the menstrual cycle,” explains Dr Ware. “CBD specifically has properties which may help to regulate this inflammation and relieve pain.” While there has been no study specifically on taking it for period pain, one is currently in the works, and an existing body of research points to what the results might be. A study published last month found that cannabis “appears to be effective” for pelvic pain, as well as gastrointestinal issues and mood. Meanwhile, previous research indicated that cannabinoids were promising solutions to pain and inflammation, while a review suggested that CBD was a “modestly effective” pain reliever.

But how exactly can it be used to help around your time of the month? “Start taking CBD oil a week before your period is due to begin,” suggests Kemmy Gichaba, an osteopath and founder of wellness brand Holistic Impact. “Then, on the day it starts, mix a couple of drops with a generous teaspoon of coconut oil or shea butter and begin to massage in circular motions on the abdomen working your way in a ‘V’ shape downwards.”

In addition to PMS, there is also preliminary evidence that CBD could help specifically help endometriosis. The condition—which in addition to pelvic pain causes long periods, abdominal cramps, and discomfort during sex—affects 11% of women in the US and 10% in the UK. A study looking at how sufferers best managed their symptoms found that those who used cannabis reported the “highest self-rated effectiveness”, and last year, research suggested that as well as helping to regulate symptoms, it also appeared to limit the development of endometrial cysts.

For Laura Walton, an endometriosis sufferer and co-founder of CBD brand MOI + ME, CBD has been a gamechanger. “Having suffered from endometriosis for over 20 years and using several medications to help with the pain, using CBD oils and topicals like balms that can be applied to the direct area of pain has massively helped me manage my pain. I like the fact it’s a natural product and although certainly not a cure for endometriosis, it does help me personally,” she told us.

2. Perimenopause and menopause

The stages of menopause are something all women will go through at some point in their lives. While perimenopause usually begins in your mid-40s, the average age of menopause is 51. And CBD is becoming increasingly discussed as a treatment for symptoms—which include hot flashes, difficulty sleeping and anxiety. Data from Europe’s largest CBD and alternative health marketplace Alphagreen.io found that 15% of consumers are purchasing CBD for precisely this reason.

Dr Gordon explains that CBD products and medical cannabis—which is legal in parts of the US, and in the UK if prescribed by specialist doctors on a case-by-case basis—can be “incredible tools” for symptoms such as sleep disturbance, as well as helping with mood and anxiety. She explained: “I often combine cannabinoids with body identical hormone replacement therapy (HRT)—but even if someone cannot take HRT, that is when CBD and medical cannabis can be a great substitute, to dramatically improve quality of life.”

Now, the distinction between CBD and medical cannabis is an important one, because some experts believe that there isn’t yet evidence to support that the former can alone help fully-fledged menopause symptoms. “CBD appears to be a popular alternative choice for women undergoing menopause, but there is no scientific evidence that supports its use,” notes Dr Ayanthi Gunasekera, specialist registrar in gynecology at London Gynaecology. “CBD suppositories or lubrication may help with symptoms like vaginal dryness, but it is unlikely it will help with hot flashes.” Something to bear in mind.

3. Anxiety and depression

However, mental health is one area where CBD has long been championed. “It is a chemical very similar to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which means that when CBD passes the ‘blood-brain barrier’ by crossing from the blood system into the brain, it creates the same effect,” says Dr Loktionov, of its feel-good benefits. “This means when the body is experiencing a stress response, taking CBD can fool the brain into reacting like there is more serotonin—thereby relaxing the body.”

The calming effects of CBD have been well researched. In one study, 79.2% of the participants reported their anxiety levels had decreased while taking it, and other research found that those who took 300 milligrams of CBD experienced significantly reduced anxiety during a public speaking test. “In particular, studies have shown it to reduce short-term or ‘acute’ anxiety,” notes Dr Loktionov.

However, CBD shouldn’t be treated as a miracle solution—just yet. “There still needs to be more research on things like optimal doses, dosing strategy, and whether it should be used to treat acute or chronic stress, before it can be approved as an official treatment for anxiety,” explains Dr Loktionov. Indeed, while research in mice suggested CBD had a similar effect to the antidepressant imipramine, human trials are needed to confirm this. Additionally, another study found that CBD had little impact on participants’ emotional reactions to unpleasant images or words.

4. Sleep and sex

If you have ever googled how much sleep do I need you’ll know that getting your eight hours is important. “Consistently having trouble falling asleep, or experiencing poor quality sleep, can lead to long-term health problems including obesity, anxiety, depression, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as low energy and cognitive issues like brain fog,” explains Gichaba.

This is where CBD could come in—there’s evidence it can help with shut-eye due to its relaxing effects. A study discovered that after just one month of taking it, 66.7% of participants reported having better sleep, and further research found that those who took 160mg reported sleeping significantly longer. Dr Loktionov notes: “Although more research needs to be done before it can be approved as an official treatment for sleep disorders such as insomnia, studies like these indicate that there is scientific evidence that it can help.”

How to use CBD for sleep? “The best product to use in this instance is a CBD oil which is fast-absorbing, and provides a calming effect but without the grogginess,” explains Gichaba. “Place the drops under the tongue for 30 seconds to one minute before swallowing.”

And for that other kind of bedroom time—if you’ve got sexual anxiety, then CBD may help you get in the mood. “The female reproductive system has a cannabinoid receptor called TRPA1, found in the clitoris,” explains Dr Loktionov. “When activated this receptor causes an increase in nitric oxide, which in turn causes an increase in blood flow and enhanced sensitivity.” For other ways to boost your sex life? See our best vibrator guide.

5. Chronic pain

It is estimated that chronic pain affects 50 million people in the US, and 28 million in the UK. Once again, CBD may be coming to the rescue. A review found that cannabis-based medicines could increase relief.

More specifically, it could help those with rheumatoid arthritis—a condition predominantly affecting women, that causes pain, stiffness or tenderness in more than one joint. A study found that a CBD-based medication provided sufferers with significant improvements to their quality of sleep as well as pain while moving and resting. The drug, called Sativex, was approved in the UK in 2010, and it is currently being trialed in the US.

How does it work for long-term health issues? “CBD has a direct effect on the endocannabinoid system in the brain, which enhances the effects of other chemicals —such as serotonin and anandamide—to reduce pain perception,” explains Gichaba.

How should you take CBD, and at what dose?

If you want to try CBD for any of the above reasons, there are a few things you should know. Firstly, some methods will have a faster effect than others. “Using CBD oil either with a tincture or mist sprays directly under the tongue means that it will be absorbed directly into the bloodstream,” says Laura Walton, an endometriosis sufferer and co-founder of CBD brand MOI + ME. “Capsules and gummies are absorbed through the stomach, while topical creams and lotions are absorbed through the skin directly where they have been applied.” So, opt for what works best for you.

Similarly, how much you need is very individual. “When starting with CBD, finding your optimal amount takes a little experimenting,” explains Gichaba. “The typical dose is between 25-70mg of CBD per day, with 70mg being the maximum recommended in the UK. That said, there is no ‘official serving size’ and your own ideal dosage will be based on a variety of factors including your weight, metabolism, the type of product you’re using.” She advises working your way up gradually and having patience since it can take two to three weeks of consistent use to see the effects.

Anything else? “As with anything CBD use carries some risks,” notes Walton. “Though it’s often well-tolerated, with few side effects, diarrhea, appetite changes, weight gain/loss, and fatigue have been reported in some studies. It may also interact with other medications you’re taking, which is why people should always speak to a doctor before starting it.”